Lets try to work out if I am here or not. Am I in Paris? No. Am I in London? No. Am I in New York? No. Am I in Rio? No. Now, if I am not in Paris, London, New York, or Rio, than I have to be somewhere else. But, if I am somewhere else, I cannot be here. Conclusion: I am not here.
There you go. I conclusively demonstrated, that I am not here, or did I? How is it possible to demonstrate that I am not where I am, that is not here. After all, where ever you go there you are. Is this a paradox, or just bad reasoning? There are paradoxes, so it is not impossible that this is not another one. On the other hand, there are bad reasoning too. The question also arises, are paradoxes just bad reasoning in the first place. Whatever is the answer to this question, there is something wrong with this proof.
What is Wrong with This Proof:
There are statements we can make about others, but not about ourselves. I can make a statement about Joe, e.g. that Joe is in Sydney, but he does not believe it. But, I cannot make the same statement about me, that is I am in Sydney, but I do not believe it. This would be paradoxical, since the first part of the statement’s prerequisite is that I believe that I am located in Sydney. That is by stating that I am in Sydney I am stating my believe about my location. So, this statement says, that I believe and not believe at the same time something. It seems to me, that this is not even a paradox, but a self contradictory statement, which is a meaningless statement, that is not even a statement of anything.
So, is this proof is a paradox? No, it is not, because it is not a statement about believes, but a statement about facts. I am not stating that I am here, but I do not believe that I am here. It is a statement about a fact of my location and not a statement about my believe about my location.
OK, so it is not a paradox, then it must be bad reasoning. But what type of bad reasoning? Lets investigate what kind of logical fallacies this comes under. I said fallacies, as there are a number of logical fallacies involved in this proof.
First of all, it comes under the fallacy of hasty generalisation. Secondly it tries to arrive at the conclusion via the negative. It tries to find my location, by excluding other locations. This is not an effective method, as it can lead to an infinite task, as we have to eliminate all the other possibilities, which can be infinite, when it comes to universals. This proof only offers a few possible other locations and not an exhaustive list of them. That is why it is a hasty generalisation. It jumps to conclusion too soon.
So What is The Big Deal:
OK, we can see this is not valid reasoning, form the start, instinctively. So, what is the big deal, why we need to work out, how it is faulty reasoning? Yes, the example I gave is very obvious, but it is not so obvious in many cases, especially when it comes to Christian or other theistic apologetic. In many, if not all, theistic arguments for God, they use this type of logical fallacies. Most of the time it is very hard to see that there are logical fallacies in their arguments. Theist usually try to establish the existence of their God by giving some negative attributes, that is what their God is not, and use hasty generalisation, to show God exists.
In conclusion, it is a good thing, a wise thing, to check every argument for logical fallacies first. I will save us a lot of time and trouble, if we notice any bad reasoning in the argument. Most importantly, we should check our arguments too. It will save us from a lot of embarrassment.