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Sir Sam´s Top 10 Favorite Logical Fallacies

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Samuel Carey

on 6 May 2016

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Transcript of Sir Sam´s Top 10 Favorite Logical Fallacies

10. Strawman (Scarecrow, Hombre de paja)
7. Ad Populum (Democratic fallacy, Bandwagon, Appeal to the populus, Appeal to the crowd)
A very commonly used tactic where the arguer tries to convince the audience to do or believe something simply because everyone else (supposedly) does. Just because the majority of a given population holds a particular opinion on a given matter does not necessarily prove truth or falsity.
6. Appeal to Ignorance (Ad Ignorantiam, Inability to disprove does not prove)
When appealing to ignorance, the arguer simply declares that if there is no solid evidence, or worse, no understanding, so what ever he or she wants to believe must be true. :( An agnostic is a person who will claim, ¨I don´t know!¨ is enough of a reason to ignore something. Ignorance cannot replace truth!
5. Slippery Slope (Domino, Snowball effect, jumping to conclusions)
The arguer claims that a sort of chain reaction, usually ending in some dire consequence, will take place, but there’s really not enough evidence for that assumption. The arguer asserts that if we take even one step onto the “slippery slope,” we will end up sliding all the way to the bottom; he or she assumes we can’t stop partway down the hill.
9. Appeal to Authority (Abuse of Expertise, Ethos)
We can add strength to our arguments by referring to respected sources or authorities and explaining their positions on the issues we’re discussing. If, however, we try to get readers to agree with us simply by impressing them with a famous name or by appealing to a supposed authority who really isn’t much of an expert, we commit the fallacy of appeal to authority. As well, we should be mindful of believing everything solely based on who said it.
8. False Dilemma (False Dichotomy, Black and White Fallacy)
Here the arguer sets up the situation so it looks like there are only two choices, when in fact there could be many more options. George W. Bush´s famous quote aimed at all the world´s nations regarding when the United States decided to invade Iraq in 2003 sums it up quite well: ¨You are either with us or with the enemy.¨ Claiming that no country could possibly be neutral in this conflict!
Sir Sam´s Top 10 Favorite Logical Fallacies
Here the speaker simply creates their own version, misinterpretation or exaggeration of their opponents´ arguments/points-of-view to make it easier to attack. Just like it´s easier to attack a poor strawman instead of a real man! Imagine the what their opponent is thinking when this happens: ¨But I never said that!!!¨

"Senator Jones says that we should not fund the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand why
he wants to leave us defenseless like that

"When the Sir told us we had to stay five minutes at break to finish our quiz, María said it was a good idea. I can´t believe it! She is such a teacher´s pet. She only said
because she is totally in love with the Sir

¨Laws against marijuana are plain silly. Why, Thomas Jefferson is known to have raised hemp on his own plantation.¨

¨Professor Jones denies that global warming is caused by man, nor is it a real concern. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both say global warming is a hoax. Global warming is not something to worry about.¨
“Caldwell Hall is in bad shape. Either we tear it down and put up a new building, or we continue to risk students’ safety. Obviously we shouldn’t risk anyone’s safety, so we must tear the building down.”
¨Either you buy a large car and watch it guzzle away your paycheck, or you buy a small car and take a greater risk of being injured or killed in the event of an accident.¨
“Gay marriages are just immoral. 70% of Americans think so!”
¨Professor Winston's test was extremely unfair. Just ask anyone who took it.¨
“People have been trying for centuries to prove that God exists. But no one has yet been able to prove it. Therefore, God does not exist.”
¨When asked about how to deal with Iran´s nuclear program, the presidential candidate simply replied, ´Well, I don´t know about any nuclear program in Iran. Next question, please?´¨
¨If the Supreme Court allows abortion, next think you know they'll allow euthanasia, and it won't be long before society disposes of all those persons whom it deems unwanted or undesirable.¨
“If I fail English 101, I won’t be able to graduate. If I don’t graduate, I probably won’t be able to get a good job, and I may very well end up doing temp work or flipping burgers for the next year.”
4. Red Herring (Distracting, Changing the subject)
A red herring fallacy attempts to hide weakness in an argument by drawing attention away from the real issue, thus a diversionary tactic or an attempt to confuse or fog the issue being debated. The name of the fallacy comes from the days of fox hunting, when a herring was dragged across the trail of a fox in order to throw the dogs off the scent. Partway through an argument, the arguer goes off on a tangent, raising a side issue that distracts the audience from what’s really at stake. Often, the arguer never returns to the original issue.
Accused by his wife of cheating at cards, Ned replies "Nothing I do ever pleases you. I spent all last week repainting the bathroom, and then you said you didn't like the color."
3. Hasty Generalization (Guilt by association, Genetic fallacy, Undistributed middle term, Being painted with the same brush, Discrimination)

Making assumptions about a whole group based on a sample that is inadequate usually because it is too small. Stereotypes about people (“librarians are shy and smart,” “wealthy people are snobs,” etc.) are a common example of the principle underlying hasty generalization.
¨All of those movie stars are really rude. I asked Kevin Costner for his autograph in a restaurant in Westwood the other evening, and he told me to get lost!¨
¨Several Nazis were members of the Kaiser Club. Hans was a member of the Kaiser Club; therefore, Hans was a Nazi.¨
2. False Cause (Faulty cause, Non-sequiter, Post hoc ergo proctor hoc)
This fallacy gets its name from the Latin phrase “post hoc, ergo propter hoc,” which translates as “after this, therefore because of this.” Here the arguer assumes that because B comes after A, A caused B. Sometimes two events that seem related in time aren’t really related as cause and event. That is, correlation isn’t the same thing as causation.
“President Jones raised taxes, and then the rate of violent crime went up. Jones is responsible for the rise in crime.”
¨The introduction of sex education courses at the high school level has resulted in increased promiscuity among teens.¨
1. Ad Hominem (Attacking the person)
In any debate, we must respond to the argument, not the person behind the argument. The Ad Hominem fallacy is committed when the arguer completely ignores the argument and deliberately attacks the person. This happens in political debates all the time. Just like the Red Herring, the tactic here is to divert the audience´s attention from the argument, or change the subject in a way that favours the arguer.
“Andrea Dworkin has written several books arguing that pornography harms women. But Dworkin is just ugly and bitter, so why should we listen to her?”
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