Here is another fallacious argument:
Science doesn’t know everything
… or equivalent wording.
The argument is that since science doesn’t know everything, the believer’s unscientific claim is worthy of consideration.
The flaw in the argument
The statement “science doesn’t know everything” is obviously true. The believer thinks the corollary is that any idea he likes the sound of, that cannot be proven false, is worthy of consideration. This is wrong. Something is only worthy of consideration if there is a reason to suppose it is true. Usually that means some evidence.
If you don’t restrict yourself to things that are backed by some evidence, or if there is at least some logical reason to suppose they might be true, you will believe in absolutely anything. And I have this really great bridge to sell you.
This is a typical version of this fallacy:
Hundreds of years ago we didn’t know radio waves existed, but they obviously did exist, so how do you know “qi” (or whatever woo idea they are promoting) does not exist today?
The answer is – we don’t. But, no one imagined radio waves existed, or claimed to be using them before they were scientifically discovered either. The thing is, “how do you know “qi” does not exist?” is the wrong question. The question you should be asking is, “is there any evidence for “qi”?
Another example would include the ever lame James Van Praagh on Larry King last night:
Just because things cannot be proven scientifically in the scientific method or the way you choose it to be in your paradigm, your way of thinking, it doesn't mean it (sic) doesn't exist.
To which the obvious rejoinder would have been: just because I can’t prove to everyone that you’re a fraud doesn’t mean you aren’t one.
And if you thought that wasn’t lame enough, he had his own rather garbled version of the radio waves argument:
If that was the way it is germs, bacteria they wouldn't have existed if we didn't find them and prove them. Look at the planet Pluto. Pluto, we would not have known it existed until we discovered it. That does not mean it does not exist.
I’m going to write up a longer review of Larry’s Wednesday night “psychic” show when I get time.