Argument from Incredulity

The argument from incredulity occurs if someone refuses to accept an argument simply because he cannot personally understand it. This is a logical fallacy very frequently used by flat-Earthers.

The general form of the fallacy:

  • Premise 1: I can’t understand how X can happen
  • Premise 2 (unstated): If X happens, I can understand how it  could happen
  • Conclusion: X is false.

The fallacy happens in the second, unstated premise. If the subject can’t understand the fact X, it does not mean the fact is wrong, or that nobody else can understand it. The problem could exist in the subject themselves, not in the facts being discussed.

Usually, this fallacy is manifested in how they answer a statement they don’t understand, for example by using emotional exclamations that absolutely do not address the topic.

Sometimes, the fallacy occurs not because the subject can’t understand, but because they deliberately refuse to understand.  This happens because they fell victim to repeated provocations disseminated by unscrupulous flat-Earthers. When the subject became provoked, they would no longer be able to use their reasoning skills effectively.