Adelaide Chapter

Abductive reasoning & Conspiracy Theories by Ken Samples

September 25, 2022

On Thursday 22nd September, Dr Kenneth Samples from Reasons to Believe, spoke to RFA on “Abductive reasoning & Conspiracy Theories”.

What does this mean? Reasoning can be deductive, inductive or abductive.

  • For deductive reasoning, the conclusions are certainly true.
  • For inductive reasoning, the conclusions are probably true.
  • For abductive reasoning, the conclusions are plausibly true.

Abductive reasoning is the ‘best’ explanation for a given phenomenon, where the best explanation is the one that is most likely to be true.

A conspiracy theory is a theory that explains an event that is the result of a secret plot by powerful conspirators. Examples are:

  • the American government were engaged in a plot to kill President Kennedy.
  • a select group of people who are part of clandestine societies control the world.
  • getting vaccinated is a bigger risk to their health than getting infected with the coronavirus.

Most conspiracy theories are false, but some are true. Ken described how best to evaluate them. A video of his talk and the ensuing discussion is available on YouTube.

Kenneth Richard Samples earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social science from Concordia University and his M.A. in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. He is a senior research scholar at Reasons To Believe (RTB). He uses his knowledge to help others find the answers to life’s questions and encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges sceptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical level.