Logical Fallacies

Posted: June 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

Logical Fallacies

STRAWMAN: Misrepresenting someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.

SLIPPERY SLOPE: You said that if we allow A to happen, then Z will eventually happen too, therefore A should not happen.

SPECIAL PLEADING: You moved the goalposts or made up an exception when your claim was shown to be false.

THE GAMBLER’S FALLACY: You said that ‘runs’ occur (like getting 7 red numbers in a row at a roulette table), not realizing that each spin (event) is completely independent.

BLACK-OR-WHITE (AKA FALSE DICHOTOMY): You presented two alternative states as the only possibilities, when in fact more possibilities exist (the “grey area”)

FALSE CAUSE (AKA Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (Literally: “After this, therefore because of this”): You presumed that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

AD HOMINEM: You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. Politicians do this frequently.

LOADED QUESTION: You asked a question that had a presumption built into it so that it couldn’t be answered without appearing guilty.

BANDWAGON: You appealed to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation.

BEGGING THE QUESTION: You presented a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise. (Example: The Bible is true because God exists, and God exists because the Bible says so, therefore the Bible is true since God exists…)

APPEAL TO AUTHORITY: You said that because an authority thinks something, therefore it must be true.

APPEAL TO NATURE: You argued that because something isn’t ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good, or ideal.

COMPOSITION/DIVISION: You assumed that one part of something has to be applied to all, or other, parts of it; or that the whole must apply to its parts.

ANECDOTAL: You used a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence.

APPEAL TO EMOTION: You attempted to manipulate an emotional response in place of valid or compelling argument.

TU QUOQUE: You avoided having to engage with criticism by turning it back on the accuser. You answered criticism with criticism.

BURDEN OF PROOF: You said that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

NO TRUE SCOTSMAN: You made what could be called an appeal to purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flows of your argument.

TEXAS SHARPSHOOTER: You cherry-picked a data cluster to suit your argument, or found a pattern to fit a presumption. (Example: Climate change deniers zooming in on a small part of the graph and ignoring the trend in the entire data set.)

FALLACY FALLACY: You presumed that because a claim has been poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made, that the claim itself must be wrong.

PERSONAL INCREDULITY: Because you found something difficult to understand, or are unaware how it works, you made out like it’s probably not true. (Example: Bill O’Reilly doesn’t understand how the tides work… therefore God did it.)

AMBIGUITY: You used a double meaning or ambiguity of language to mislead or misrepresent the truth.

GENETIC: You judged something as either good or bad on the basis of where it comes from, or from whom it came.

MIDDLE GROUND: You claimed that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes must be the truth.


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