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Monday, August 22, 2011

Personal Experience - What a Fallacy - Day 216

Our culture today decides everything on personal experience. The argument is that if you have experienced something then you are allowed to be the expert on it. To some extent that's true. When you experience something you do understand the ins and outs. But when you base your argumentation on personal experience you have a tendency to fall into anecdotal evidence. I.e. Smoking doesn't affect your lifespan because I met someone who smoked all his life and is now 114 years old.

In the end, you have to find rigorous evidence. You need statistics. For instance, let's say I wanted to write on divorce and how to recover from it. I could probably write a similar article to someone who has experienced divorce by looking at statistics, a great many personal stories, and have a rigorous look at everything to find a common thread.

The saddest part about anecdotal stories are the ones who say things like, "God abandoned me when I had cancer. But now that I don't believe in God, I'm fine. Therefore God doesn't exist." Some people do the exact same thing with the Scriptures. They use an anecdotal approach to hermeneutics in the way that they see Scripture.

Living in a very materialistic and selfish culture seems to be a large factor in deciding everything upon ones own personal experiences. Personal experience shouldn't be our ultimate source. It's well and good and how we tend to learn most things. But it should be put into its place. Our ultimate authority should be the Word of God.

1 comments:

Brytni Jade said...

Amen! Great post! Great point! Our deceitful hearts are desperately wicked, and will deceive us into thinking our experience counts, when we should be looking to God's Word, and checking our experiences by it! Thanks again! ~Jeremiah 17:9