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Logical Fallacy Bingo
Transcript of Logical Fallacy Bingo
bandwagon/ad populum: This is an emotional appeal that speaks to positive (such as patriotism, religion, democracy) or negative (such as terrorism or fascism) concepts rather than the real issue at hand.
"If you were a true American you would support the rights of people to choose whatever vehicle they want."
hasty generalization: This is a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. In other words, you are rushing to a conclusion before you have all the relevant facts.
"An environmental group illegally blocked loggers and workers at a nuclear plant--environmentalists are radicals who take the law into their own hands."
Non sequitur: the logic does not connect, almost like intentionally distracting. Perhaps there is the loosest connection, but it's a messy jump.
'Slim, of medium height, and with sharp features, Mr. Smith's technical skills are combined with strong leadership qualities' (New York Times).
red herring: This is a diversionary tactic that avoids the key issues, often by avoiding opposing arguments with loosely related emotional arguments, rather than addressing them. Example:
The level of mercury in seafood may be unsafe, but what will fishers do to support their families?
slippery slope: Slippery Slope: This is a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of small steps, through B, C,..., X, Y, Z will happen, too, basically equating A and Z. So, if we don't want Z to occur, A must not be allowed to occur either. Example:
If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environment eventually the government will ban all cars, so we should not ban Hummers.
false authority: basically...exactly what it sounds like
Mrs. Smith, owner of The Daily Grind Coffee Shop, insisted that pregnant mothers need not be concerned about the effect of caffeine consumption on the behavior of their unborn children.
circular reasoning: Circular Argument: This restates the argument rather than actually proving it. Example:
George Bush is a good communicator because he speaks effectively
post hoc ergo propter hoc: Post hoc ergo propter hoc: This is a conclusion that assumes that if 'A' occurred after 'B' then 'B' must have caused 'A.' Example:
"The report notes that nationally, violent crime fell every year from 1993 to 2004, before rising in 2005 and 2006, just as 'America’s streets filled with millions of people visibly wearing, and being distracted by, expensive electronic gear.' (Sewell Chan, "Are iPods to Blame for Rising Crime?" The New York Times, September 27, 2007)
Ad hominem: an attack on the character of a person rather than his or her opinions or arguments. Example:
'Gentlemen of the jury, because I have justice on my side, I am sure you will not be influenced by this gentleman's pretended knowledge of the law. Why, he doesn't even know which side of his shirt ought to be in front!' -good ole' Abe Lincoln
moral equivalency: compares minor misdeeds with major atrocities.
"I can't believe you feed your pets canned food--it's full of pesticides and horse meat. Would you feed your kids horse?"
Either/or: This is a conclusion that oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only two sides or choices. Example:
The universe could not have been created from nothing, so it must have been created by an intelligent life force.
Straw Man: This move oversimplifies an opponent's viewpoint and then attacks that hollow argument.
People who don't support the proposed state minimum wage increase hate the poor.
Abortion needs to be outlawed--it's an inhumane form of birth control!
Begging the Claim: The conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim. Example:
In explaining why exclusive men's clubs in SF have such long waiting lists, Paul B. 'Red' Fay, Jr. (on the roster of three of the clubs) said, 'The reason there's such a big demand is because everyone wants to get in them.'
Genetic Fallacy: This conclusion is based on an argument that the origins of a person, idea, institute, or theory determine its character, nature, or worth. Example:
The Volkswagen Beetle is an evil car because it was originally designed by Hitler's army.
Ralph Wiggum: Martin Luther King had a dream. Dreams are where Elmo and Toy Story had a party and I was invited. Yay! My turn is over!
Principal Skinner: One of your best, Ralphie.
("The Color Yellow," The Simpsons, 2010)