Logical Fallacies

I hate logical fallacies, and too often people unknowingly use them to make an argument. Sometimes I understand them, like a slippery slope argument, but the rationale is more emotional than logical. Here is a directory of logical fallacies, all of which should be banned.

Ad Antiquitatem – (Appeal to Tradition) Maintaining the status quo for it’s own sake.

eg. We’ve always allowed people to carry concealed guns in public, we shouldn’t change things now.

Ad Baculum – (Appeal to Force/Fear) A threat of violence or similar punishment, like jail time, to prove a point.

eg. Killing foetuses is wrong, and if you don’t agree I’m going to kill you.

Ad Hominem – (Appeal to Person) Attacking the person rather than the argument.

eg. You’re ugly, therefore you’re wrong.

Ad Ignorantium – (Appeal to Ignorance) A lack of evidence against something is proof of something.

Ad Populum – (Appeal to Common Belief) If most people believe it, it must be true.

Ad Verecundiam – (Appeal to Authority) An expert says it’s true, therefore it’s true. This is especially problematic when the expert is an expert in an unrelated field.

eg. Bill Maher believes global warming is real. Therefore it’s real.

Appeal to Emotion – If it feels good, it must be true.

eg. Lowering taxes sounds like a good idea, therefore it is.

Appeal to Nature – If it’s natural, it must be good.

eg. Eat 100% certified organic Hemlock.

Begging the Question – (Circular Reasoning) The conclusion is identical to the premise. It begs the question: Where did this logical path originate?

eg. God loves us, we know this because the bible says so, the bible was written by god who wouldn’t lie because he loves us.

Composition – Properties of an object’s individual elements transfer to the object itself.

eg. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is a freaky song, therefore the Beatles are a freaky band.

Division – An object’s individual elements posses the properties of the original object.

eg. A part of Nazi Germany’s society was universal healthcare, therefore universal healthcare is bad/kills millions of Jews.

Equivocation – One word with two definitions is used without differentiating between the two definitions.

eg. The “I Am Canadian” ad for Molson Canadian Beer equating patriotism with alcoholism.

False Dilemma/Dichotomy – There are only two choices when, in reality, there are more than two choices.

Faulty Analogy – If two things are like each other in some aspects, they are like each other in all aspects.

Genetic – To say something’s origins determine it’s nature. The most common of which is Godwin’s law.

eg. One of the pioneers of rocketry, Wernher von Braun, was a Nazi. Therefore, rockets kill millions of jews.

Hasty Generalization – Assuming a small sample size is indicative of all cases.

eg. Everyone I know is a Christian. Therefore everyone is a Christian.

No True Scotsman – The redefinition of a word to fit an argument.

eg. Guy A: No Christian believes in evolution.
eg. Guy B: Well this guy over here is a Christian who believes in evolution.
eg. Guy A: Well then he is not a true Christian.

Red Herring – A rapid and subtle shift to an irrelevant topic.

eg. The Feed Starving Children Act of 2010 is loaded with so much pork. Let’s talk about that.

Slippery Slope – Saying that one thing will progress to another, more extreme step.

eg. First there are cameras on the streets, then there will be cameras in our houses watching all day.

Straw Man – Oversimplifying the argument, then attacking that instead of the original argument.

eg. _________________________

Gambler’s Fallacy – Related to probability, the idea that previous outcomes of a truly random event influences future outcomes. Comes in many forms, such as thinking numbers are due, or hot.

eg. I’ve rolled this dice 12 times and six hasn’t come up once, therefore six is more likely to appear next time.

Atkinson Fallacy – The views of those who actually care about the issue all lean in one direction, therefore they should be ignored.

Freudian Fallacy – The idea that the way one thinks is shared among all people.

eg. I love my penis, and women must be jealous because they don’t have a penis, and that explains all female behaviour. – Sigmund Freud (paraphrased)

Hipster’s Fallacy – If something/idea is not very popular, it must be good/true.

eg. Most have never heard of this band, they must be awesome.

Appeal to God – God never intended this to happen, therefore it shouldn’t. God can be interchangeable with any divinity, including Mother Nature.

eg. We were never meant to live in houses and wear clothes.
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2 responses to “Logical Fallacies

  1. “I hate logical fallacies…therefore I use them” – That’s a logical fallacy right there. Based on your long, TL;DR posts on ponies – cartoon ponies, mind you – are completely irrelevant.

    Plus, you used Godwin’s Law and like to use the idea that Christians are bad for everything in this world. Argumentum ad ignoratum. I don’t see anything on Muslims or other religious groups. It seems Christians are the only things you know.

    “All of these arguments should be banned” – That’s a logical fallacy right there. And you’re also using the logical fallacy of appealing to the masses in the terms of you supporting irrational and – rather disgusting – sexual deviancy. You whine about cartoon ponies which have nothing to do with reality.

    Now, as regards to the “Slippery slope” – more often than not they happen. It’s a matter of causation, timing, and logical organization. For example: interracial marriage was legalized based on faulty reasoning – it’s all about love/we’re all the same/ and then it lead to same-sex marriage, and then it will lead to other forms of sexual deviancy. Call that a red-herring or whatever you like, but if anything, this entire post proves you’re a hypocrite.

    And genetics – that’s a scientific arguments. Genes cannot lie. Personality, intelligence, your physical appearance is all based on genes. That is not a logical fallacy; that IS logic.

    Most of these fallacies literally have nothing to do with actual fallacies in regards to argumentation. In short: I highly suggest you learn basic logic and premises and their conclusions before claiming the Holier than Thou statement.

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