10 Personal Incredulity Fallacy Examples

One of the most common fallacies people commit when reasoning is the personal incredulity fallacy.

This error in thinking occurs when someone believes something is not true or possible simply because they cannot believe it themselves.

For example, imagine someone who has never seen the ocean before. When they hear about the vast expanse of water covering most of the planet, they might be unable to believe such a thing is possible. As a result, they might conclude that the ocean must not exist or that reports of it are exaggerated or fabricated.

This is an example of the personal incredulity fallacy. Just because someone finds it difficult to believe something is true or possible does not mean it is false or impossible. Our personal beliefs and experiences are limited, and things can exist or be true even if we cannot understand or accept them.

The personal incredulity fallacy is particularly pernicious because it can lead people to reject facts and knowledge critical for making informed decisions and understanding the world. To avoid committing this fallacy, it is important to be open-minded and willing to consider evidence and arguments that challenge our preconceptions and beliefs.

Here are some scenarios where the personal incredulity fallacy can be used.

Examples of Personal Incredulity Fallacy

1. Religion

Scenario: Someone says, “I can’t believe in a God that would let bad things happen to good people.”

In this situation, the person doesn’t understand how there could be a God if bad things happen to good people. However, this thinking is based on personal feelings rather than evidence or logic. In other words, just because someone doesn’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s not true or real. So even though someone may feel like they can’t believe in God because of bad things happening to good people, it doesn’t necessarily mean God doesn’t exist.

2. Climate Change

Scenario: Someone says they don’t believe humans can impact global warming.

Some people don’t believe humans can cause climate change because they think our actions aren’t powerful enough to affect something as big as the planet. However, scientists have found overwhelming evidence that human activities like burning fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas) and deforestation cause climate change through the release of masses of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They then trap heat from the sun and warm up the Earth’s surface, leading to various adverse effects like rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, and damage to ecosystems. So, while it might be hard to imagine how we could impact something as vast as our planet’s climate system, there is clear evidence that our actions have real consequences for us and future generations.

3. Creation

Scenario: An Evolutionist argues, “I cannot believe the divine being or force responsible for creation since I cannot see, touch or scientifically explain it.”

Those who deny Creationism often use the personal incredulity fallacy to dismiss it as being unscientific. However, this argument needs to recognize that there are many things in the world that we cannot see, touch or scientifically explain but we know exist. For example, we cannot see or touch gravity or love, yet we know they exist because we experience their effects. Similarly, the existence of a divine creator cannot be dismissed just because we cannot scientifically prove it.

4. Alternative Medicine

Scenario: A patient says, “I don’t believe in conventional medicine because it’s filled with chemicals.”

Alternative medicine is any procedure or medical treatment that is not considered part of conventional medicine, meaning it’s not backed by scientific evidence and has not been proven effective through rigorous testing. In this scenario, the patient expresses his skepticism about conventional medicine because he believes it relies too heavily on chemicals. He may be looking for more natural remedies or treatments that don’t involve harsh chemicals or invasive procedures. However, alternative medicine can also have risks and side effects, just like any other type of medical treatment.

5. Conspiracy Theories

Scenario: Regarding man’s visit to the moon, someone may argue, “I don’t believe the government is telling the truth about the moon landing.”

Some people believe the moon landing was fake and didn’t happen. This thinking can be a mistake because it’s based on personal feelings rather than evidence. However, evidence shows that it did happen, including photographs, videos, and even rocks brought back from space! So, just because someone finds it hard to believe doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

6. Technology

Scenario: Someone says, “I can’t believe in artificial intelligence that can think like a human.”

This situation talks about people’s disbelief in the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) being able to think like humans because they find it hard to imagine machines having the ability to replicate human thought processes. However, proponents of AI believe that with advances in technology and machine learning algorithms, computers will eventually become capable of processing vast amounts of data at lightning speeds and making complex decisions based on this information.

7. Astronomy

Scenario: Someone says, “I can’t believe the Earth is round. It looks flat to me.”

In this scenario, the person is skeptical or unsure about what scientists have proven about the shape of our planet. Even though it may seem like the Earth is flat when we look at it from our perspective on the ground, many pieces of evidence prove otherwise. It’s understandable why some people hesitate to accept scientific facts if they can’t see them with their own eyes. However, there are many ways to demonstrate that the Earth is round and not flat as it may appear at first glance.

8. Bermuda Triangle

Scenario: A person dismisses the Bermuda Triangle theory by saying, “There’s no way that could be true,” without considering the facts.

The Bermuda Triangle remains one of the world’s greatest mysteries. Numerous planes and ships have disappeared within the region, and the cause remains unknown. Despite extensive research and investigations, theories about the Bermuda Triangle continue to circulate. Ignoring the evidence and facts prevents people from learning the truth about the Bermuda Triangle.

9. Evolution

Scenario: A creationist argues, “How could one species turn into another? That seems impossible!”

Some people find evolution too complicated to believe because they can’t imagine how it could happen. They cannot believe that species of plants and animals can evolve or gradually develop and become different from their ancestors over many generations. However, scientists have studied evolution for years and found evidence supporting the idea that all life on Earth has evolved over millions of years.

10. Challenging Vaccines

Scenario: During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people reasoned, “The vaccines make people sicker. So long as you maintain good hygiene, you don’t need to get a shot.”

Some individuals doubt the effectiveness of vaccines because they find it hard to believe that such tiny substances can protect us from getting ill. Since vaccines are made up of small amounts of weakened or dead viruses or bacteria, which help our immune system recognize and fight off these harmful organisms if we come into contact with them in the future, they argue that they tend to make people sick and that some died from the vaccine. However, vaccines have been proven to be very effective at preventing severe illnesses and protecting public health.


Personal incredulity fallacy can be seen in many situations where people reject claims or arguments that they find hard to believe. They dismiss ideas simply because they go against their preconceived beliefs or expectations. It thus hinders us from thinking critically. We should evaluate claims based on evidence and reason rather than our personal beliefs or opinions.