Moving the goalpost:

Definition Example
When the evidence presented by A to meet an initial standard of evidence is dismissed by B, and some greater standard of evidence is then imposed by A on B. You’re so weak you can’t even lift this box! … All right, I see you can lift that box, but you’re still weak. I bet you can’t lift this bigger box!
  Notes
It is often difficult for both sides of an issue to agree upon what would constitute sufficient evidence. However, such an agreement is foundational to any real progress in an honest discussion.

Case Study One

There have been many claims throughout recent years made by dualists about the limits of brain science to explain mental processes with the implication that belief in dualism is therefore warranted. When new studies falsify these claims, new claims are introduced.


Case Study Two

With many of the moon landing conspiracy theorists, as each of their claims is rebutted, they will move on to the next claim saying “But what about…” There appears to be no clear degree of evidence that will convince them.


Case Study Three

Consider the following popular internet post.

Boy writes God a letter, “Dear God, why do you let bad things happen in our schools?” God replies,”Dear son, I’m not allowed in your schools.”

If this particular god is giving his banishment from schools as the sole reason why bad things happen in those schools, then schools in which this particular god is allowed should not experience bad things. When presented with this corollary, those defending the quote often move the goalpost back to a more sensible and defensible position that makes the presence of bad people in schools the reason for bad things happening in those schools.


Case Study Four

Creationists often dismiss fossil findings that fill in the gap between 2 species by claiming the fossil only creates 2 additional gaps between species.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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