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30 Ways to Lose an Argument: The Logical Fallacies Collection

2 4 if The A-B Examples 1845 2015 Logical Fallacies then Ad Hominem: "Vegetarians don't have a clue about culinary sophistication. When it comes to food, you just can't trust a tree-hugger." Anecdote: Chevy trucks are the biggest waste of money! I owned one for four years and had to replace my transmission twice. Don't buy that garbage! Appeal to Ignorance Appeal to Tradition Appeal to Consequence Ad Hominem Anecdote Appeal to Ignorance: No one's ever been able to prove that ghosts exist, so it's obvious that they don't. Appeal to Tradition: Catholicism has been around for nearly two thousand years! There's a reason why so many people believe it; it is a time-tested, people-tested faith. How could you possibly deny its validity? the right way 10 collection Appeal to Consequences: If we taught Creationism in school, people wouldn't wonder so much what the purpose of life is; for that reason alone, we ought to realize that Creationism is more valid than evolution. ii Argumentum ad Baculum: Not believing in God is about the worst thing you can do. You'll burn in Hell if you don't change the way you think. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: Trust me, if you don't get this electrical panel replaced, it could start your house on fire. See the corrosion here? It's been known to ignite sparks and burn through 30 WAYS TO LOSE AN ARGUMENT to the insulation. Argumentum ad Baculum Argumentum ad Ignorantiam Argumentum ad Populum Begging the Question Bandwagon Ad Hominem: Attacking a person or their character rather than making a claim based on reasoning, Ad homiment arguments include name-calling, labeling, and being offensive and show little intelligent thought. Argumentum ad Populum: Moving the country to the Affordable Care Act is the only thing that makes sense. Just think how many struggling single mothers and sick children are out there without insurance because they can't afford it. Anecdote: Using a personal or isolated experience as compelling and worthwhile evidence; suggesting that a personal or unique experience can be applied to other circumstances. Bandwagon: Ninety-three percent of the students surveyed said they believe the tuition spike was to pay for the college president's salary. How could it not be true? 11 12 13 14 15 Appeal to Ignorance: Using human ignorance or the inability to prove something in order make a claim. 4 Begging the Question: The country's moral situation will only get worse if religious attendance doesn't improve. (This statement raises the question: but does church attendance actually Appeal to Tradition: Using tradition or cultural belief to suggest that something is true or accurate; suggesting that, because something has long been done a certain way, it must be the correct way. (Similar to Bandwagon.) improve morality?) Appeal to Consequences: Concluding that a premise is either true or false based on what the consequence of that premise would be. Black or White: The United States needs to either triple its production of oil to reduce costs or require automobile manufacturers to make cars that get 75 miles to the gallon. There's no other way the economy can survive with these gas prices. Argumentum ad Baculum: Making an argument by inciting fear or making threats. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: Relying a person's or group of people's ignorance to make a claim; misleading a person or group by appealing to their lack of knowledge in a particular topic. Cherry-pick: The Atheist Times just reported some pretty convincing evidence: 78% of people who give up God claim to be happier and healthier. Argumentum ad Populum: Attempting to sway popular support by appealing to sentimental weakness rather than with facts or reason. Black or White Cherry-pick Circular Composition Confirmation Bias Circular Reasoning: You can't give me a C on this paper! l'm an A student! And A students don't get C's. 9. accurate. (Similar to Appeal to Tradition.) Bandwagon: Claiming something to be true or accurate simply because most people believe it to be true or Reasoning Composition: Making erroneous conclusions about the composition of a thing or idea and then using the part or the whole of a thing or idea to relate it to a new thing or idea. 10 Begging the Question: Making a claim that uses a tacit or implied assumption; raises a question by 17 18 19 20 Confirmation Bias: Angels must be real because l've heard too many stories about how someone was healed or guided during a time of sickness or stress when they prayed for an angel. (Ignoring all the times when someone prayed for an angel and wasn't healed or guided). assuming an answer or shared belief. 11 Black or White: Suggesting only two alternate conclusions exist when, in reality, several possibilities exist. (Similar to Excluded Middle.) Cherry-pick: Cherry-picking a particular data set or collection of facts while ignoring others in order to make an argument that suits a particular purpose. Confusion of Correlation and Causation: It's been shown over and over that kids who play violent video games tend to be more aggressive. Therefore, violent video games cause kids to be aggressive. 12 13 Circular Reasoning: Using evidence that hasn't been proven in order to prove something else, then using that something else to prove the original claim; using X to prove Y, then using Y to prove X. 78% E Excluded Middle: If we don't immediately put a stop to the selling of guns to the public, violence is going to fly through the roof and anyone who doesn't have a gun is going to get shot. 14 Composition: Making erroneous conclusions about the composition of a whole or part of something, making incorrect assumptions about how a whole or part of something relates to a whole or part of something else. Half Truth: This van gets 28 miles to the gallon, has all-wheel drive, power-everything, and a built- in DVD player. You can't go wrong! (Ignoring the fact that the van has a faulty transmission and three safety recalls). 15 Confirmation Bias: Making an argument that relies heavily on a personal bias; inadvertently ignoring certain facts because of previously held beliefs. (Similar to Cherry-pick.) Confusion of Correlation Excluded Middle Half Truth Loaded Question Misunderstanding Confusion of Correlation and Causation: Making claims about the cause of something simply because there exists a correlation between two things (i. e., arguing that a statistical correlation between children who play violent video games and violent behavior means that violent video games cause violent behavior). and Causation Statistics Loaded Question: When are you guys going to stop your wholly unethical practice of making people feel like their house is going to flood, then overcharge them to have their plumbing fixed? 16 17 Excluded Middle: Considering only the extremes in any argument and ignoring the possibilities that exist in between; false dichotomy. (Similar to Black or White.) 21 22 23 24 25 Misunderstanding Statistics: Eighty-four percent of people who die in this country die in a hospital room. If we'd just learn to stay out of hospitals, we'd live longer! 18 Half Truth: Intentionally misleading a person to believe something by telling something that is, in fact, true, Non Sequitur: The last time we had a lunar eclipse, there was an earthquake in San Francisco. It's but leaving out important information. pretty obvious that San Franciscans need to start panicking for this Friday's lunar eclipse. 19 Loaded Question: Asking a question that, if answered, will imply a shared agreement; forcing a person to agree to an assumption by them answering a question. Omniscience: Everybody knows that women prefer men with heavy stubble and men prefer Know-it-all women with blonde hair. 20 Misunderstanding Statistics: Making strange or erroneous claims about a particular idea by using statistics that have little or no ability to make such a claim; misusing or misinterpreting a statistic or set of statistics to make a claim. Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc: The financial meltdown happened after republicans took office so we can blame the republicans for the crisis we're in. A >B Non Sequitur: Latin for, "it does not follow." Making a conclusion that does not follow from previously 21 established premises or conclusions. (Similar to Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.) Proving Non-existence: I know you think I'm crazy because I believe aliens have visited earth in the past century, but you go ahead and prove that they haven't! Red Herring Proving Non-existence 22 Omniscience: Using non-qualified statements to suggest ideas that imply "all" or "every" thing or situation; statements that would require the arguer to be omniscient in order to make such a claim. Non Sequitur Omniscience Post Hoc, Red Herring: Interviewer: Have you been overcharging customers without them knowing? Ergo Propter Hoc Business owner: We take our business seriously and we do everything we can to build a quality product. Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc: Latin for "it happened after, so it was caused by." Suggesting that, because something previously happened that is related to an event, the previous happening caused the new event. (Similar to Non Sequitur but deals with something in time) 23 27 28 29 30 Reification: If you'll only open you're heart, love will find you. 24 Proving Non-existence: Instead of proving something to exist or be true, an arguer asks his/her opponent to prove that it doesn't exist; proving real by suggesting the opposite can't be proven. Oh, yeah? X! Slippery Slope: If fast food restaurants continue to increase portion sizes, the next thing we'll know, McDonald's will be serving gallon-sized Cokes and burgers as wide as large pizzas! A! *-T 25 Red Herring: Diverting attention by changing the subject. 1% Small Numbers Statistics: The two students that were assaulted on campus prove there is a 26 Reification: Treating abstract or hypothetical things or ideas as concrete realities; personifying abstractions. scary trend in college violence that we need to be cognizant of. 27 slippery Slope: Arguing that a change in procedure, law, or action will create a domino-effect of adverse consequences; suggesting that if one thing happens, a series of things will inevitably happen. Straw Man: Brooke: NASA is spending too much money on space exploration. Harold: What are you, anti-American? Space is the future of human exploration. 28 Small Numbers Statistics: Using an instance of a small fraction of the population to make an argument for the greater population. (Similar to Anecdote.) Tu Quoque: Stephanie: Vegetarianism is the best approach to reducing animal cruelty in this 29 Straw Man: Concocting a false or made up scenario and then attacking that scenario in order to make an opponent look bad; person A has position X, then person B uses position Y (distortion of X) to attack person A. country. Drew: Well, I just watched you eat a pepperoni pizza last week, so anything you say about vegetarianism being worthwhile might as well be thrown out the window. Small Numbers Straw Man Tu Quoque 30 Tu Quoque: Avoiding engagement with another's argument by arguing something unrelated in return; answering criticism with criticism. Reification Slippery slope Statistics 16 26

30 Ways to Lose an Argument: The Logical Fallacies Collection

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Need a reminder about which fallacy to avoid so that your argument sounds intelligent? Here's you go-to guide!

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