15 Bad Arguments We All Abuse

15 Bad Arguments We All Abuse
by LordZB | November 8, 2012
  1.  Ad hominem – ‘To the man’ arguments are ones which attack the opponent to discredit him without addressing the dispute. “Dr Madeup is an adulterer, therefore you should ignore his medical advice.” 
  2.  Tu quoque – ‘You too.’ This argument is one which occurs when a person attempts to defend themselves by accusing their accuser. “I may be a thief, but you are gambler.” 
  3.  Appeal to popularity – ‘Ad populum.’ This argument, that if a majority believes something it must be true, is a very tempting one. There is safety in numbers. 
  4.  Appeal to tradition – Simply because something is old does not necessarily make it better. “Slavery has existed for most of human history, therefore I should have some slaves to do my gardening.” 
  5.  Argument from authority – ‘Ipse dixit – He said it.’ The appeal to authority can be useful only when the authority a person holds is directly related to the argument. For instance “He has a medical degree, take the medicine he prescribed” is not unreasonable. But “He is a doctor and he says that God is real, therefore there is a chap in the sky” 
  6.  False dichotomy – Also known as the false dilemma, this argument attempts to pin the opponent into a position by offering a biased choice that will undermine them. “Either you are for a total ban on pornography or you want children to watch it.” 
  7.  Post hoc ergo procter hoc – ‘After it, therefore because of it.’ This fallacy is hard-wired into our brains. All humans, and many animals, have a strict sense of causation. That is how superstitions form. “I was wearing these pants when I took the test. I got an A. Therefore these pants will help me get an A on this test.”
  8.  Generalization – “The politician cheated on his expenses, therefore all politicians are cheats.” 
  9.  The straw man – A straw man argument is one which sets up a position the opponent does not hold to discredit them by demolishing it. “My opponent wants to retire the Trident submarine. He wishes to leave us without any form of defense.” 
  10.  The false middle – If presented with two arguments we might be tempted to assume that the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. “Stabbing someone in the heart is almost always deadly.” “Stabbing someone in the heart is perfectly safe.” 
  11.  Composition – The argument of composition is one which attributes the characteristics of a part to the whole. “Atoms are invisible, the wall is made of atoms, therefore the wall is invisible.”
  12.  Burden of proof – When somebody makes a claim it is up to them to produce evidence in favor of it. This logical fallacy is often used in the form of “Prove it doesn’t exist!”
  13.  Non sequitur – ‘Does not follow.’ The non sequitur is an argument which does not follow logically from its premise. It is often used to sneak a contentious point by hiding it next to a point of agreement. “Murder is illegal and wrong. Cannabis is wrong.” 
  14.  Slippery slope – The slippery slope is a common argument. “If we let homosexuals marry then soon people will be marrying toasters and horses!”
     Fallacy fallacy – This fallacy can occur when you catch an opponent on using a fallacy. “You used a fallacy, therefore all that you said is wrong.”


Polling (after the 2012 election)

Polling (after the 2012 election)

      Is Nate Silver Incentive Compatible? – is the “Nate Silver” (or Simon Jackman, or Drew Linzer, or Sam Wang) equilibrium sustainable over the longer term? More precisely – might these models cannibalize the individual polls that they need to draw on for data?

Political Maps (US voting for President)

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Nov 2012 links

Some Red-State Residents Say They Want to Secede -- But Their States Wouldn't Be Able to Sustain Themselves // If CA were to secede, the state would have a nearly balanced budget. If AL were to secede, it wouldn't be able to pay for stop signs.

The Public Apparently Isn't Interested In Sound Economics

Polarization of US Government
Election Prediction sites, predictions, and discussions:
Data and visualization blogs worth following -- April 27, 2012 by Nathan Yau

Robert Reich (Romneyism)
  1. Corporations are the basic units of society.
  2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits.
  3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same. 
  4. Pollution, unsafe products, unsafe working conditions, financial fraud, and other negative side effects of the pursuit of profits are the price society pays for profit-driven growth.
  5. Individual worth depends on net worth 
  6.  People who fail in the economy should not be coddled.
  7. Taxes are inherently bad because they constrain profit-making.
  8. Politics is a game whose only purpose is to win.
  9. Democracy is dangerous because it is forever vulnerable to the votes of a majority intent on capturing the wealth of the successful minority, on whom the economy depends. 
  10. The three most important aspects of life are family, religion, and money. 
  11. Patriotism is a matter of guarding our economy from unfair traders and undocumented immigrants, rather than joining together for the common good.
Soup Kitchens Caused the Great Depression (Krugman), i.e. increased use of the social safety net is a cause rather than a result of the depressed economy.

Charts: FlowingData