The Logical Fallacy of Chronological Snobbery

Victor Reppert on his dangerous idea blog calls attenion to the logical fallacy of chronological snobbery.  He references the concept on several posts.

I have seen chronological snobbery in some people when they say things like, “In biblical times people were superstitious and more prone to accept supernatural accounts uncritically; that’s why the Jesus story was embellished with miracles – so that more people would believe the story.” Such people erroneously think that skepticism is an invention of modern times.

Usually this snobbery is selectively applied.  For many people who reject the Bible on this basis still manage to find wisdom in Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, or Shakespeare.

4 Replies to “The Logical Fallacy of Chronological Snobbery”

  1. The wisdom of the other ancients you mentioned is in different areas. (and Shakespeare? He was post-Enlightnement)

    The term snobbery is misleading. We don’t so much look down on ancients. I would believe in magic too if I hadn’t had the benefit of being taught Galileo, Newton, Darwin etc. They didn’t have access to the insights of these people, so of course they believed in magic.

    History is pretty clear that people in ancient times were more superstitious than today, by a long shot.

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