Equivocation, Doublespeak, (subtype of Ambiguity), Fallacy of four terms
When one term is used with more than one meaning, the fallacy of equivocation has been committed. Such ambiguities may be deliberate, or they may result from ignorance of more specific meanings of the terms.
Examples of fallacious equivocation include, "science is dogma" and "evolution is just a theory, so intelligent [sick] design theory is science and is equally valid", and "science is just a matter of faith". (These are also tu quoques because evolutionists correctly point out that religious beliefs are expressed as dogma, that intelligent [sick] design is not a scientific theory, and religion truly is expected to be a matter of Faith.)
"Science is dogma" is a deliberate or ignorant misrepresentation of the nature of science. It could reasonably be argued that some scientific theories are so central and so well established that they have become part of the foundation of understanding of particular scientific principles. The central dogma of genetics is an example of inappropriate use of the term 'dogma'. This important concept has been confirmed almost without exception, yet a few important exceptions to the rule have been found by scientists.
"Evolution is just a theory, so ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’ is science and is equally valid". Such a statement misrepresents evolution, theory, ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’, and science.
Biological evolution (change in the genome between parental and descendent generations) is an observable fact. Evolutionary processes have been demonstrated to be operating in our own species, in bacteria, and in cichlid fish, to name but three examples. Evolution (biological) is not a theory, it is a fact. Evolutionary theories do not claim to be facts, they are formulations that seek to explain, on the basis of empirical observation and experimental testing, mechanisms that have generated the fact of biological evolution.
In vernacular usage, the term 'theory' refers to everyday notions and to cognitive formulations that have not been subjected to any experimental testing. Scientific theories, on the other hand, are the descendents of scientific hypotheses that have withstood falsification testing. A scientific theory is much, much better established than a vernacular-terminology theory.
Despite the claims in books written about ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’ it is a religiously motivated philosophy that has not been subjected to any scientific testing, and, as such idism is not science. The content of idism consists only of numbers games and attacks on science (more to follow).
In the vernacular, faith can be defined as 'aceptance of ideals and beliefs that are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or reason'. Within Christianity, Faith (uppercase deliberate) is a very important principle in which the Believer is expected to accept God into his or her heart expressly without any direct, irrefutable, tangible evidence for the existence or actions of God. Modern philosophers of religion acknowledge that philosophical attempts to prove the existence of God have failed, and philosophy of religion has fallen back on fideism. Since the benefit of belief in religion comes through the emotional components of belief, the principle of basing belief solely on Faith has considerable merit.
Science, on the other hand is not a matter of faith because acceptance of scientific principles is based upon empirical and experimental evidence that has been independently examined or replicated experimentally and thus has survived the scrutiny of accredited experts in the field.
Credible experts possess the following attributes:
1. sufficient expertise in the subject matter in question.
2. claims made are within area(s) of expertise.
3. adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question.
4. not significantly biased by subjective motivations or prejudices.
5. expertise within a legitimate area or discipline (related to the subject matter).
6. the authority must be identified.