Defining Terms: Red Herring

Another common debate tactic that is often used is called Red Herring.  You may have heard of that term before but don’t know where it came from.  When hunters are training dogs to track the scent of an animal the trainers will rub a Red Herring (a fish) across the trail to try to throw off the dog from following the scent.

In apologetics a Red Herring is a similar technique used by a person to distract or take them off the main point of an argument or from following the evidence to areas that may seem related to the subject, but in fact are not.  A common Red Herring is the use of emotions in an argument.  For example they may repeat old outdated arguments to cause you to get angry or to make you change your focus to the old outdated argument rather than what you planned on talking about.

In his book, Faith, Fact, and Reason Study #2,  Chris Sherrod gives us an example of  a popular Red Herring used by Darwinian evolutionist.  When looking at the fallacies of the theory of evolution Christians will often point out that there is no mechanism for the process of evolution to take place.   Darwinian evolutionists want to make the issue about time.  They say given enough time, anything can evolve, but the truth of the matter is that no matter how long the time period is, nothing will change if there is no mechanism for the change to occur.  Because the age of the earth and universe is open to discussion, it makes an easy Red Herring.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions welcome.

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