Specious reasoning is any argument or analysis which has the apparent ring of truth or plausibility but is actually fallacious.
Such arguments are attractive because they are seemingly well-reasoned or factual, but are either fallacious or insincere. They are deceptively pleasing, but when not honestly mistaken are based on pretense. Many specious arguments are used as support for strongly held beliefs but are false. This kind of apologetical reasoning has a deceptively attractive appearance intended to generate a favorable response. It can be beautiful, well-constructed, elegant in simplicity, pleasing to consider; appearing completely reasonable at first view, apparently plausible, right, superficially fair, just, or correct, but not so in reality. A specious person or book can be bequiling because what they present themselves to be appears to be actual reality, not imaginary. Many such people and writers have themselves been "taken in" and deceived, and they sincerely believe what they say; and it is that which makes them seem all the more plausible.
Problems of biblical exegesis and textual criticism relating to internal textual consistency are often the result of specious reasoning based on assumptions rooted in lack of sufficient knowledge of culture, terminology and religious practice.
In contrast to misled, sincere reasoners and apologists, deliberately deceitful political demagogues, charlatans, con artists, and many merchants and salespeople are all specious liars. See marketing strategy and advertising.
The Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom", and "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." The Bible tells us what fear of the Lord is: "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength."
- For example, the difficulty of reconciling John 18:28 and Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7, is resolved by the knowledge that Passover called Unleavened Bread was a period of eight days, the knowledge that Friday was the regular Day of Preparation of the Sabbath of Passover that year (A.D. 33), the knowledge that the Jews carefully kept themselves ritually undefiled during the whole period of the eight days of Passover called Unleavened Bread, the implicit belief that scripture is internally consistent and not self-contradictory, and the reasonable understanding based on this knowledge that John 18:28 is referring to the anticipation of "eating the Passover" on the second day of Passover called Unleavened Bread, on Friday evening, the evening (beginning) of the Sabbath day, Saturday, which, because it was a Day of Assembly (Leviticus 23:4-8), was a "high day" of solemnity before the Lord. The assumption made by many that "eating the Passover" in John 18:28 refers only to the single night of the first Seder of Passover and that the Preparation of Passover of John 19:14 on which Jesus was crucified preceded the first Seder of Passover is a primary example of specious reasoning which, by failing to recognize the eating of the Passover for the eight days called Unleavened Bread creates an unnecessary difficulty that does not exist when all factors are taken into account.
- Proverbs 9:10
- Proverbs 3:5-7
- Proverbs 8:13-14