31 logical fallacies in 8 minutes

I learned about fallacies recently, and it’s nice to have a way to put a name to ways in which we don’t think or argue logically.

Music: Adventures by A Himitsu

Website about fallacies

1. Fallacy of Composition
2. Fallacy of Division
3. The Gambler’s Fallacy
4. Tu Quoque (Who Are You To Talk?)
5. Strawman
6. Ad hominem
7. Genetic Fallacy
8. Fallacious Appeal To Authority
9. Red Herring
10. Appeal to Emotion
11. Appeal to Popularity (Bandwagon)
12. Appeal to Tradition
13. Appeal to Nature
14. Appeal to Ignorance
15. Begging the Question
16. Equivocation
17. False Dichotomy (Black or White)
18. Middle Ground Fallacy
19. Decision Point Fallacy (Sorites Paradox)
20. Slippery Slope Fallacy
21. Hasty Generalisations (Anecdotes)
22. Faulty Analogy
23. Burden of Proof
24. Affirming the Consequent
25. Denying the Antecedent
26. Moving the Goalposts
27. False Cause (and Texas Sharpshooter)
28. Loaded Question
29. No True Scotsman
30. Personal Incredulity
31. The Fallacy Fallacy

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  1. 3) Gambler’s Fallacy. Yes. I believe in luck. Go ahead and shoot me for it. That said, I don’t ask anyone to accept luck as logic. It could stop at any time.

    4) To Quoque: I don’t actually think of that as having anything to do with logic. You’re right, that the person speaking may be quite correct. But, at least in the example you used, I think of it more as a way to shut down the conversation because you have no interest in discussing this topic with this person. It’s not logic, it’s F*** off, I’m not listening to you tell me I’m too fat and I have no interest in doing as you suggest and I don’t appreciate being nagged about it. So is that actually a fallacy?

    20) Slippery Slope. Okay, I do look at the slippery slope on occasion. But you said it was only a fallacy if I could stop at any point. If I have no power to stop the problem and believe that others will not act to stop the problem until it gets to a much worse level, is that really a fallacy? I suppose I can’t prove my lack of faith in humanity or a specific human is correct at all times, but if I’ve seen the same story play out several times already? That seems more like proof that everything is headed for the slippery slope. I prefer making new and different mistakes to making the same ones over an over. If the only thing I can do is say “No, stop right now!” because stopping at a later point has proven in the past not to work, is that inherently fallacious?

    • Tu Quoque (literally translates ‘you too’) is a fallacy because it DEFIES logic. Her example may be just a of case trying to weasel out of considering there advice. However, it can also be a way to sway others into rejecting someone else’s argument in favor of your own similar to 6) Ad Hominem. This is way it’s also called the appeal to hypocrisy.
      There have been countless examples of this: especially in politics when someone tries to avoid questions about the ethics of the personal conduct by pointing the figure at someone else’s. Just because your opponent has always lived according to their message doesn’t not make their message invalid. It’s like saying: “Because many of the writing of the U.S. Constitution were slaves owners, the document can’t provide real case for equal citizenship.”

      As for the Slippery Slope fallacy, because it assumes a resulting of a chain of events (one surely follows the other) means it might not be a fallacy if there a good chance this chain of events if likely to occur. The validity of the arguments depends on two factors: each link in the chain being equal strong (your argument can’t be stronger than your weakest link) and the number of links (the more factors there are, the greater the chance of a different outcome). In orders words (in response to same story playing out several times question), just because you’ve seen the same chain of events play out several times doesn’t mean the same beginning will always lead directly to the same ending. One needs to consider what happens in-between.

      • Thank you for some of the clarifications.

        I’ve never seen To Quoque used as an appeal to a group, only in arguments between two people as the example given here. I suppose I wouldn’t think To Quoque would work to sway someone towards an argument rather than away from it, since it applies in most cases to both parties unless you have an expert vs. a normal person.

        I don’t credit ad hominem attacks or use them, nor appeals to hypocrisy. Nor appeals to emotion excepting how emotion factors in to the desired result, which wouldn’t make it a fallacy (ie sadness leading to contrition, and contrition being a factor in a more merciful judgment in the example, not that we get contrition in that example).

        With slippery slopes, I’m generally looking at 3 to 4 link chains. And I do consider all of the links. It’s more that I can intervene at step 1. Chances of hitting step 2 are high because of XYZ factors and my chances of making my voice heard are decreased. Once we hit step 2, step 3 will advance if opponents have all of this political appeal due to high emotions and speed, and I will have lost my chance to stop things. And if they haven’t listened to me by step 3, then step 4 has become inevitable barring an act of God. There are also immediate negative factors at all 4 steps. I get that the argument is only as good as its weakest link. Obama = taking away everyone’s guns, for example, is a chain of logic that has never made any sense to me because I not only can’t see any evidence for the various links, I can’t even see the links that lead to this conclusion.

        • It think I can explain “Slippery Slope” argument. It isn’t about chains themselves but countering arguments with exceptions. Basically when someone say A+B=C (oversimplifying) and was proved wrong, he say then A+B=C=X etc. Point is that basically you force opposite side to disprove supposed exceptions instead adding own proves. When you bring argument, fact that you didn’t bring exception on the first place simply hurt your argument, as it suggest that you didn’t really think over it.

  2. “Drink this, Socrates. It’s all natural!”

    “You say two plus two equals three. I saw two plus two equals five. You’re wrong, so I must be right.”

  3. Fallacious Appeal to Authority isn’t restricted to issues outside of a person’s field; it can also apply to issues for which the given person could in fact be an expert, but are relying on faulty data or have simply come to a wrong conclusion. While it is generally a good idea to rely on expert opinion on any given topic, it’s not wrong to challenge the validity of presented data if erroneous or faulty conclusions if the logic behind them is weak.

    The issue with Appeal to Authority is that it is usually used as a shortcut to presenting actual information or constructing good arguments. “So-and-So says A, therefore A” is not an adequate substitute for “Information C examined by Process B leads to A, as So-and-So suggests.” It’s not enough to simply parrot what the expert says; it’s always best to present their information and logical process instead.

    • Good point. Though she generally refer to most common uses when people bring some debatable experts as proves for own arguments. Cases when someone bring legit though incorrect at specific case expert are extremely rare.

      • I mean outside the field of scientific debate. But they are generally strict regard that.

      • Usually, what I find in most discussions is that Appeal to Authority generally dismisses serious questions and discussion by essentially saying, “This expert says this; end of discussion.” It’s like a parent saying, “Because I say so!” It may be genuine, but it feels hollow and unconvincing.

        One thing to remember about debate is that it isn’t merely about proving who is right and who is wrong, but about uncovering the truth and, just as important, convincing people of its rightness. To be convincing, it’s not enough merely to cite the expert, but to outline their data and logical process. That way, the hearer can see for themselves whether the expert’s opinion on the subject is reasonable and sound.

        It’s like in Algebra or Calculus: the teacher doesn’t want you to just give the correct answer, they want to see your work. Citing an expert might equate to giving an answer, but the hearer is going to want to see the work.

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