Logical Fallacy #8: Confusing Unexplained with Unexplainable

On the surface this logical fallacy seems very simple. The faulty logical proposition is to suggest that since we can’t currently explain the mechanism of an observed phenomena, it is unexplainable, thus must have a miraculous explanation. This also tends to fall on the assumption that the described phenomena and explanation is correct rather than mistaken. The proposition denies the ability to learn more about an event, denying future scientists and explorers from discovering the mechanism.

As with previous logical fallacies, always check if the basic assumptions are true. There is no point trying to find the mechanism of a phenomena if the phenomena is not what is described. For example, the mechanism for how crystals can help someone levitate is unknown… because crystals have never been demonstrated to help someone levitate. Or the mechanism for how the quartz crystal Guru Davi turned water into wine is unknown … because it wasn’t the crystal, nor was it water, nor was it wine. There is no point looking for the mechanism if the phenomena does not exist, or one that is misreported.

For those who are interested, the trick with the water into wine is to put phenolphthalein into the water first. Phenolphthalein is an indicator chemical that turns red/pink in the presence of basic solutions. Water is neutral, so it doesn’t have a colour yet. Now the quartz crystal is coated in sodium carbonate. When it is put in the water, the sodium carbonate turns the water into an alkaline (basic) solution, which turns the solution red. Don’t drink it – it isn’t wine. Trying to figure out how the water was turned into wine assumes the liquid started as pure water and ended as wine. That is a faulty assumption.

The second part of the fallacy is to assume that simply because an explanation has not been found to describe the currently observed phenomena (when that phenomena or occurrence is reported accurately) means it can never be explained, that is, that it is unexplainable – ever. Since the phenomena occurs, this must be an act of god/magic/aliens.

This gross assumption of unexplainability of an actual phenomena is foolish. Every time you learn a new skill you are able to do things you could not do before. Every time you learn a new fact, you know something that you did not know before. Some of you reading this are just now learning about this logical fallacy. If you were incapable of change, of learning, you would still be as helpless and ignorant as a new born baby. Clearly you can learn, grow and develop … so can humanity and human knowledge. The things that we know today about physics, chemistry, engineering and so on would absolutely awe an individual from a mere 100 years in the past. So to deny the ability for humanity to learn more in the future and one day be able to find the mechanism for a phenomena is very limiting.

It is not impossible that a god, or magic, or aliens have had a direct part in any particular phenomena. It just isn’t probable. Consider aliens. The logistics of travelling from one star system to here using what science we know now is a significant venture. If they did so, why would they do something odd behind for us to mull over instead of a clear statement of “we were here”. If aliens are able to travel between star systems instantly by super science means, then why aren’t we seeing more of them, instead of some vague weird phenomena? The simpler explanation is that this is a perfectly ordinary occurrence that we just haven’t figure out yet – like children watching the stage magician.

It is very appealing to look for a fantastic explanation rather than accept that at this point we are simply ignorant. Personally I prefer to accept my ignorance, because then I can learn how it was done. If it is a god, or aliens, or magic, then I probably can’t.