11/13/2012

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.”

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Spiegel said...

Yes I like this posting and the importance of becoming cognizant about how matters are discussed.

12:27 PM  

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