The invincible ignorance fallacy is a deductive fallacy of circularity where the person in question simply refuses to believe the argument, ignoring any evidence given. It is not so much a fallacious tactic in argument as it is a refusal to argue in the proper sense of the word, the method instead being to make assertions with no consideration of objections.
The term "invincible ignorance" has its roots in Catholic theology, opposite of the term vincible ignorance, where it is used to refer to the state of persons (such as pagans and infants) who are ignorant of the Christian message because they have not yet had an opportunity to hear it. The earliest use of the term seems to have been by Pope Pius IX in the encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (1863), although discussion of the concept can be found as far back as Origen. When and how the term was taken by logicians to refer to the state of persons who pigheadedly refuse to attend to evidence remains unclear, but one of its first uses was in the book Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument by W. Ward Fearnside and William B. Holther.
- "Invincible Ignorance" by Bruce Thompson, Department of Humanities (Philosophy), Cuyamaca College[dead link]
- Fearnside, W. Ward and William B. Holther, Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument, 1959. ISBN 9780133017700.
- Listing of the fallacy on philosophicalsociety.com
- "Thinking Straight", the personal website of Lee J. Ballard
- Discovery.org article: "Naturalism's Argument from Invincible Ignorance"
- Post in the Daylight Atheism blog
- Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (On Promotion Of False Doctrines), 10 August 1863