Friday, 03 December 2010
Useful? Yes. Interesting? Not so much.
Just because I like to do things the right way when I can and we are bloggers, I thought it'd be nice to post a blog of reference. Here is a list of10 of the most frequent logical fallacies and examples:
1. Ad Hominem: This fallacy disregards a valid argument by attacking the person making it.
"I think eating cheese is better than eating trash."
"You would think that, you're from Wisconsin."
Attacking the person so that their future statements are invalid is called Poisoning The Well, and if you really want to get nerdy with it, can engender questions of self-fulfilling prophecies.
2. Begging the Question: This fallacy is committed when a statement is believed to be true because the statement says it is true.
"I believe in God because the Bible says He exists and God wrote the Bible."
3. Generalization: This fallacy is committed when a conclusion is drawn from an incomplete (Hasty Generalization) or inaccurate (Biased Generalization) set of data.
"All funny people have big, red noses."
"How do you know?"
"All the clowns I've ever seen had big, red noses."
4. Appeal to Ignorance: When the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side, or when lack of evidence for the negative is said to support the positive (or vice versa).
"I've never seen anything disproving the existence of flying pigs, so I think they exist."
5. Questionable Cause: When a statement assumes that one event causes another simply because they occur together.
In the Middle Ages, it was thought that grain left in a dark corner turned into rats because over time the grain disappeared and rats appeared.
"Rap music is causing violence and drug use in society."
6. False Dilemma: Stating that X must be true because Y is false, when in reality both could be false.
"I didn't make the sky fall down, so you must have!"
7. Straw Man: Arguing against a distorted representation to appear correct.
Kanye West to George Bush. Definitely a bit of Ad Hominem in there, too.
8. Slippery Slope: If one action occurs, then others will happen afterwards.
"If we allow gay marriage now, then next we'll have polygamy!"
9. Appeal to Tradition: A statement is true because it was true or was considered true in the past.
"'Cuz that's the way we've always done it."
10. Appeal to Emotion: A statement is true because it feels true.
"But taking my underage girlfriend to bars with a fake ID feels so right."
Feel free to use these on me whenever you see fit. As iron sharpens iron.
This site has a much longer list and more details. I highly recommend it.