Philosophy can certainly help people learn how to think rationally and help to distinguish between valid thinking and errors of deception. This is important because we are told to "not be decieved" (Luke 21:8, 1 Cor 15:33, Galatians 6:7) and we are told to "judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24), and how can we do that unless we are familiar with how to think clearly and logically? Unfortunately, philosophers are often guilty of irrational thinking themselves, since they typically do not have the Bible to guide them, and this article will attempt to point out a few common errrors of philosopers.
First, I will start with mis-identified, or false fallacies. A fallacy is an argument that is claimed to be false or mistaken because it does not rely on a provable or truthful assertions, or does not rely on logic, or is an invalid type of reasoning which will lead to a wrong conclusion. A typical philospher will look over an argument, and then attempt to refute it by pointing out what are "common fallacies". However, many types of arguments that philosophers have decided are fallacies only appear to be fallacies. Identifying an argument as "a common fallacy" is not enough to prove that such an argument that follows the form of the fallacy is necessarily wrong. I call these the "fallacies of philosophy".
Ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority) -- This is said to be a fallacy, supposedly because there is no true or real authority. Yet, this argument is rather circular for the philosopher to make, because the philosopher attempts to make himself an authority when he invents his "logic rules" and "fallacy lists" that others must follow. If the philosopher will not allow others to appeal to authority, then logically, he cannot claim an argument is wrong by saying the argument does not follow the philopher's own authoritative list of rules! Therefore, the action of denying others the right to "appeal to authority" is simply not logical at all. Admitedly, not all arguments that appeal to authority are correct because a supposed authority may certainly be wrong. Nevertheless, it is not true that all appeals to authority are illogical, nor is there anything inherantly wrong with the process of relying on an authority. It all depends on the truth of the authority one is appealing to. There is a huge difference between inference and conjecture because inference is based on valid assumptions, and conjecture is based on invalid or questionable assumptions. Just as making inferences is not necessarily wrong, likewise, appeal to authority is not inherently wrong, it depends on the truthfulness and reliability of the authority. Realistically, there is a reliable authority, and it is truth, scripture, and God. Some might also say that math and logic are inherently truths as well. Making an appeal to The Authority, the Lord, is not illogical and is certainly not a fallacy.
2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:The other "appeal to authority" which is not invalid is when dictionaries need to be consulted. If one rejects the dictionary definitions of words, one might as well be living in a personal fantasy world. Words have meaning.
2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Slippery Slope -- This is a said to be a fallacy because wild conclusions or results are supposed that nobody would agree with, but such results are either unlikely, or not necessarily a consequence of the prior premise. Or, as one writer put it at http://www.drury.edu/ess/Logic/Informal/Slippery_Slope.html, "slippery slope involves "if-then" relationships (especially causal connections) which are not (as in the case of deductive logic) 100% absolutely certain." The error the philosopher makes is that he does not realize that God does know the future, and he has told us the future in prophecy.
Nevertheless, God argues using "slippery slope" type of reasoning, and this type of reasoning is not necessarily invalid. Obedience brings blessings, and disobedience brings cursings. Doing bad things will lead to worse things happening to you, like being cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.Name Calling -- This is said to be unfair in debate. It is similar to an "Ad hominem" attack, or an attack on the person instead of the argument. I agree that the truth stands on its own, and that truths can be spoken by people of questionable character, and that character attacks might not have anything to do with the validity of the arguments being presented. Nevertheless, Jesus and the prophets personally attacked the character of their enemies by calling them plenty of names such as hypocrites, liars, murderers and worse. The point should be that unfair name calling should be avoided, but truthful name calling is certainly appropriate. Accurate and truthful descriptions of another's bad character are the type of rebuke we are asked to make when contending for the faith.
Deut 4:23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.If one is simply claiming that another is lying, that's not too helpful. But if one says another is a liar as a conclusion one makes after showing specifically why another's belief is a lie, that's almost the entire purpose of the debate and logic -- to be able to determine truth from lies. So if a person actually lies, it's really no different to say that the argument is a lie or that the person is a liar.
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
What is the purpose of the "no name calling" rule? Ostensibly, it is to keep debate civilized. However, in truth, it seems to be more of a hypocritical escape method whereby one person, when exposed as a liar or fraud, can attempt to claim the other is really the low life. "He called me names". Why is this hypocritical? Well, such a claim is also an attack; the other person is demonized as a "name caller".
Whether you gently say a person's argument is a lie, or you harshly call the person a liar, the liar can falsely rely on this "no name calling tactic" to say, "You are calling me names, which is not fair". But such a statement is really just another lie, because name calling is fair when it's a truthful description.
See all of Matt 23, Jesus calls them hypocrites repeatedly.
Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.Jesus even called Peter, "Satan", which means adversary or opposer.
Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.Peter, when filled with the Holy Ghost in Acts 2, said that his audience was responsible for murdering Jesus; essentially he called them murderers.
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.Stephen, in Acts 7, emulated Peter, and called the Pharisees murderers and worse:
Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.Paul calls his enemies "decievers"; he might as well be calling them "liars".
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:Therefore, calling your opponants names, when the names are truthful descriptions, is not wrong, nor is it a reason to discard the witness of the one doing the name calling. Name calling is only wrong when it's slander and libel, which is essentially making untruthful statements about another person.
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
What is the purpose of name calling? From the first three examples above, the purpose seemed to be to cut to the heart of the opponant. It seems to be the conclusion of the argumentative process. Jesus was murdered by the ones he called hypocrites. Peter pricked the hearts of his listeners and moved them to repentance. Stephen's comments cut right to the hearts of the Pharisees, and enraged them so much that they murdered him like they killed Jesus. Paul's comments were not spoken directly to his enemies, so their purpose is primarily descriptive, to warn about the deceivers. I think the point is that truthfully revealing someone's bad character affects that person very strongly. Not only that, but it takes real bravery, courage to be bold enough to expose someone else because it can expose yourself up to retaliation if the person is not moved to repentance.
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
There certainly are numerous other errors that philosophers make with regard to Bible discussions, and I'd love to hear from you if you have any to share. I've simply encountered the errors above very frequently in debate regarding Bible Prophecy. I may add more to this page later.