Throwback Thursday: “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” The logical fallacy of the appeal to tradition
“That’s the way we’ve always done it!” This is the logical fallacy of the appeal to tradition (Latin: argumentum ad antiquitatem). In family, business, and even church circles, you see this phrase used ad nauseum when it comes to setting a direction or even considering changing course. I have already posted some on this subject, stating that this is a lazy and unproductive way to lead an institution because it requires no thought. I’ll go a step further: it’s lazy because it exclusively borrows the thinking of someone else without question—especially if it’s brought about the desired results.
Both sides of the religion argument employ this:
A: I believe in God.
A: People have believed in the existence of God for thousands of years. A belief like that would last that long if it was wrong, right? [Source]
I know there are legitimate reasons to believe in the existence of God, mind you. But this appeal to tradition is a flimsy argument when much better arguments could be made (this is for a later time).
In church circles, this can happen:
A: Mom, why do we have a service on …read more