Deception (Part 16) - Resisting Deception (Part A)


XIII. Resisting deception 1. Know the truth A. The purpose of deception is to lead one's mind away from the truth. B. Therefore, knowing the truth will prevent deception. C. Without the knowledge of the truth, it is easy to be duped into believing something false. D. The scriptures are the truth (Joh 17:17; Psa 119:142, 151). E. Therefore, reading and memorizing scripture will prevent us from having our hearts deceived (Deut 11:16-18). F. Teaching the scriptures to our children will keep them from being deceived (Deut 11:19). 2. Get understanding which is the antidote to deception. A. Those without understanding will be easily deceived (Oba 1:7). B. Therefore, devote your soul to getting understanding (Pro 4:5-7). i. Understanding n. - 1. a. (Without article.) Power or ability to understand; intellect, intelligence. ii. Understanding comes from the word of God (Pro 2:6). iii. Be not unwise, but understand that the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17). 3. Learn how to think correctly. A. Learn grammar i. Learning grammar is key to understanding Bible doctrine, which is truth. ii. Learning grammar is also the key to clear thinking. iii. "Conversely, clear thinking depends upon the careful use of language; we cannot think clearly unless we formulate our ideas precisely in words. Essential to logical reasoning is the ability to say accurately what we mean." (Charles H. Vivian, English Composition, 1961, p. 11) B. Learn basic logic and reasoning i. Inductive Reasoning a. "Induction is that kind of reasoning which proceeds from the particular to the general. That is, in induction we begin with a number of particular facts and formulate a general statement or principle which "covers" them or indicates what they all have in common." (Ibid, p. 18) b. This is generally how the hard sciences like physics and chemistry discover scientific laws. c. Reasoning by Analogy (i) "In reasoning by analogy we follow the inductive method in a special way. We observe particular similarities between two things, and then we generalize: we infer that the two things are similar in other ways, too." (Ibid) (ii) "Finally, we should remember that reasoning by analogy never constitutes genuine proof, but only indicates that the conclusion is likely to be true." (Ibid) d. Reasoning by Cause and Effect (i) "Closely related to reasoning by analogy is reasoning by cause and effect. For the latter is based on the assumption that like causes produce like effects, or that if we have often previously seen cause A followed by effect B, the next time we see A we may expect to see B again. Here, too, we observe particular connections between things and infer a more general relationship." (Ibid, p. 18-19) ii. Deductive Reasoning a. "Deduction is that kind of reasoning which proceeds from the general to the particular. That is, in deduction we begin with a general statement or principle and apply it to a particular case." (Ibid, p. 19) b. "A single specimen of deductive reasoning can be expressed in the form of a SYLLOGISM, which is a conventional device for showing clearly the relationships among the ideas included. The syllogism consists of three parts: (1) the major premise, stating the general principle on which the reasoning is based; (2) the minor premise, indicating the particular case to which the general principle is applied; and (3) the conclusion, which completes the logic of the application. In syllogistic form the preceding example would appear as follows: "Major premise: All water exposed to a temperature below 32°F. will freeze. Minor premise: The water in my automobile radiator is water exposed to a temperature below 32°F. Conclusion: Therefore the water in my automobile radiator will freeze." (Ibid, pp. 19-20) iii. Common fallacies in Inductive Reasoning a. "In inductive reasoning, we begin with particulars and proceed to a generalization which goes beyond them; we must be careful, therefore, not to proceed too fast or too far, not to generalize more broadly than the evidence reasonably warrants. Failure to observe this precaution may result in three sorts of fallacy: inadequate sampling, faulty analogy, and faulty causal relationships." (Ibid, p. 21) b. Inadequate Sampling (i) "The fallacy of inadequate sampling (or hasty generalization) may occur when we generalize on the basis of too few particulars or when we ignore other particulars which actually show our generalization to be unsound." (Ibid) (ii) "Under any circumstances it is well for us to observe and consider as many particulars as we readily can and to be on the alert for any which might either clearly show our generalization to be invalid or at least render it suspect." (Ibid) c. Faulty Analogy (i) "The fallacy of faulty analogy may occur when from particular similarities between two things we infer a further or more general similarity which does not really exist." (Ibid) (ii) "How can we guard against this fallacy? What clues should make us especially careful about accepting certain analogies that we encounter? Once again there are no formulas; but we should remember that reasoning by analogy never constitutes proof; it only indicates a probable conclusion. Fault analogy is especially likely to appear when the observed similarities are superficial or when the analogy is based on just a few similarities between things which have many aspects." (Ibid, p. 21-22) d. Faulty Causal Relationships (i) "The fallacy of faulty causal relationships may occur when the cause-and-effect relationship that is inferred does not actually exist or, more frequently, when more complex relationships are involved." (Ibid, p. 22) (ii) "The danger of fallacy in reasoning from effect to cause is illustrated by the fact that even the best physicians sometimes make wrong diagnoses. A particular effect may be produced by one of several different causes—a particular set of symptoms by one of a number of diseases—and it is possible to go astray, as the doctor may do in this case, by ascribing the effect to the wrong cause." (Ibid, p. 22) (iii) "What are the chief precautions for guarding against fallacies in cause-and-effect reasoning? What are the tests we should apply to such reasoning when we meet it? We should make sure that when causes are assigned, they are really adequate to produce the effects; we should determine if possible whether, in each of the causal sequences which are compared, all the same causes and only the same ones are operating; we should ask whether an observed effect might have been produced by causes other than those assigned and whether something might keep an expected effect from occurring." (Ibid, p. 23) iv. Common fallacies in Deductive Reasoning (page 23) a. Faulty Premises (i) "If there is something wrong with either or both of the premises in a syllogism–or with the implied premises in an informal deduction–then the conclusion may be false even if the logic itself is airtight." (Ibid) (ii) "One test that we should apply to deductive reasoning, then, whether our own or another's, is to examine the premises on which the conclusion is based. Any implied premises should be made explicit for the purpose of this examination." (Ibid, p. 24) b. Non Sequiturs (i) "Unlike the use of false premises, the non sequitur (Latin for "it does not follow") fallacy in an error in the logic itself, in the relationships among the ideas, such that the conclusion does not follow from the premises. This fallacy may occur, for example, when the major premise is not a universal generalization, and therefore it does not necessarily include the particular instance cited in the minor premise:" (Ibid) (ii) "If the logic in a sample of deductive reasoning is to be foolproof, then, the subject of the major premise must be modified, explicitly or implicitly, by an adjective which makes the generalization universal: by a word such as all, every, any; or if the premise is negative, a word or words such as no, none of, not any." (Ibid) (iii) "Another principle that is useful for recognizing and avoiding non sequiturs is that the subject of the major premise must appear in the predicate of the minor premise:" (Ibid) c. False and Irrelevant Issues (i) Ignoring the Question 1. "Proving something else besides the point at issue is called ignoring the question: the reasoner ignores the real question and talks about something else, hoping to produce the same effect as if he were discussing the real one. A common example of this tactic is the argument ad hominem (or argumentum ad hominem); this phrase means an argument aimed or directed "at the man." Instead of trying to demonstrate a weakness in my opponent's reasoning, I assail his character. Even if the issue is completely impersonal (say, whether a new school building should be erected) I say in effect, "We cannot believe what he says, because he is a drunkard," or "because his brother-in-law is in prison." In the strict sense the argument ad hominem is a negative or unfavorable argument; but or course a similar fallacy may occur when I reason in favor of something. Instead of trying to show the soundness of a point of view, I simply say that it is held by a person or persons whom I characterize as admirable. If this person is really an authority on the subject, then his holding the view may be cogent. If he is only someone of whom I imply a generally or vaguely favorable impression, however, his opinion may well be irrelevant." (Ibid, p. 25) (ii) Begging the Question (Arguing in a Circle) 1. "Giving a false appearance of proof may be the effect of begging the question or arguing in a circle. In begging the question, the reasoner actually assumes in his argument the truth of what he is trying to prove. I may say, "These guilty men committed the crime for which they are on trial." If they are guilty of the crime, then certainly they committed it; but merely calling them guilty does not prove that they are. Arguing in a circle is a closely similar fallacy: the reasoner makes a statement and then justifies it by saying what amounts to the same thing in different words. For example, "Miss X ought to win the beauty contest. Why? Because she is the most beautiful girl among the contestants." Again, I should ask myself whether the reasoning is more than just word-juggling and, if so, whether it proves the real point at issue." (Ibid, pp. 25-26) 2. Jesus' accusers were begging the question (Joh 18:29-30). 4. Learn how to make decisions logically and not emotionally. A. The heart is the seat of the emotions (Neh 2:2; Pro 14:10; Ecc 2:10; Ecc 9:7; Isa 65:14; Isa 35:4). B. Heart n. - 1. a. The hollow muscular or otherwise contractile organ which, by its dilatation and contraction, keeps up the circulation of the blood in the vascular system of an animal. 9. a. The seat of the emotions generally; the emotional nature, as distinguished from the intellectual nature placed in the head. C. The fallen human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). i. We must learn to guide our heart, not follow it (Pro 23:19). a. Guide v. - 1. a. trans. To act as guide to; to go with or before for the purpose of leading the way: said of persons, of God, Providence, and of impersonal agents, such as stars, light, etc. 2. fig. and in immaterial senses: To lead or direct in a course of action, in the formation of opinions, etc.; to determine the course or direction of (events, etc.). a. of persons or agents. (i) In other words, we must lead and direct our hearts when we form opinions and determine the course of our lives. (ii) The old saying, "Let your heart be your guide" is foolish and unbiblical. b. Those that are wise guide their hearts (their emotions) (Pro 23:19); those that are fools allow their heart (their emotions) to guide them (Pro 28:26). ii. We must keep our heart with all diligence (Pro 4:23). a. Keep v. - 1. To seize, lay hold of; to snatch, take. Obs. II. Transitive uses (in early use also intr.). * To have regard, pay attention to, observe. 9. To have regard, to care, to reck 14. To guard, defend, protect, preserve, save. b. Diligence n. - 1. Constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent application and endeavour; industry, assiduity. c. We need to ever be on our guard to protect and defend our hearts so we are not led away by emotion. iii. Emotions unchecked can inhibit faith and understanding (Luk 24:41; Gen 45:26). iv. Never make a serious decision when you are in a state of heightened emotion such as sadness, grief, exuberance, depression, anger, etc. a. Wait until you are in your right mind and then decide what to do. b. People often do foolish things when they are experiencing the euphoria of the "in love" feeling. c. People often make foolish decisions regarding remarrying when they are grieving and feeling lonely. d. People often make foolish financial decisions when they are excited about the prospect of a new purchase. e. People often make foolish decisions when they are scared.