10 Logical Fallacies


  • Sometimes I'll go on some questions on the main site, or I'll just go on off site stuff, and I run into debates about programming.

    Some arguments were really good, some contained logical fallacies.

    What is a logical fallacy?

    A logical fallacy, is an error/flaw in your argument's reasoning/logic. Some fallacies can even undermine your argument entirely.

    I've studied on fallacies recently and found it really really interesting so I thought of sharing my knowledge with you, the reader.

    First, the "appeal to" fallacies.

    Appeal to Popularity ("Bandwagon")

    Appealing to popularity as an attempted form of validation.

    Example:

    "while wait() do" idiom is followed by hundreds, if not thousands, so it's valid!

    The problem with the bandwagon fallacy is that the popularity of something has nothing to do with its validity.

    Millions of flies are attracted to human waste, does that make human waste good for us? No.

    Appeal to Emotion

    Manipulating emotions rather than making an actual argument.

    Example:

    Teacher: "Why should I give you another day to do your homework?"
    Student: "I have soccer practice very late and I was swamped with work from other classes, and I had a recent family emergency. It's been really stressful."

    This is not a logical reason to be given more time to do work.

    Appeal to Authority

    Using the thoughts of an authority as an attempted form of validation.

    Example:

    Hey, the teacher says 2 + 2 = 5, and she is a mathematician, so she is right!!!!!

    Not to say that all appeals to authority are wrong and fallacious, maybe they do have knowledge on the topic, but to only rely on authorities is wrong. They can also be wrong on certain topics.

    Appeal to Purity ("No true Scotsman")

    Saying "only true X do Y" or "true X don't do Y" or something along those lines.

    Example:

    "No true Scotsman sugars his porridge!"

    Only true programmers code in Notepad.

    This argument intends to avoid valid criticisms.

    Appeal to Common Sense

    Yes. This is a fallacy.

    Arguing that your argument is true because "common sense", when in reality, it's not.

    You need to specify why and what is common sense, rather than just saying it is.

    It's common sense that if you smack your children, they will stop the bad behavior. So don't tell me not to hit my kids.

    There are way more "appeal to" fallacies, but don't wanna use all 10 just to discuss those

    Strawman

    This one is a big one.

    Willful misrepresentation of an argument so that it is easier to refute.

    The misrepresentation is often exaggerated, oversimplified, but it's plain fabricated.

    This makes it much easier to refute your "version" of their argument, so you can present your argument as reasonable.

    Example:

    I argue: Elementary schools should not have recess so they can focus on school work. *

    A strawman argument to this could be:

    "Oh so you want to bore these kids to death????"

    The issue is that this misrepresentation, is of course not the real argument. I never said I wanted to bore them to death.

    It's much easier to attack a strawman rather than a real man.

    Attacking a strawman argument is much easier than attacking the real argument.

    Ad hominem

    Latin for "to the man", this argument, attacks the opponent's character rather than the actual argument.

    What's funny is that they use this as a counterargument.

    Example:

    Chubby man: I think dogs are better than cats.

    Slim man: Should we really be believing an overweight man???

    The personal insult has nothing to do with the argument...

    Circular Reasoning

    Starting with what you want to end with. You basically restate your argument rather than actually proving it. My argument is right because it's not wrong.

    Example:

    Dogs are better than cats, because cats are worse than dogs.

    You're not really proving your point here. You're just restating your argument. A "formula" for circular reasoning is:

    "A therefore B; B therefore A."

    Avoid this kind of logic, and when providing evidence for your argument, be as specific as possible.

    False Dichotomy (false dilemma, "black-or-white", "either-or")

    Presenting two options as the only options despite the fact that there might be more.

    Example:

    "You're either with us, or against us!"

    There are more possibilities than that.

    Last but not least,

    The fallacy fallacy

    Asserting that an argument is wrong simply because a fallacy has been made.

    pretty ironic cuz u made a fallacy 2 !!!!!!

    Nutritionist: I recommend that you eat fruits and vegetables because they are healthy.
    Patient: No, because that is an appeal to authority, so I will eat pizza.

    More fallacies coming soon......


  • @sjr04Alt This video sums up these (common) arguments pretty well
    To quote the video, "Here's a bunch of statistics that sound really convincing until you analyze them for more than 5 seconds."
    The ad hominem bit reminded me of this video 1 2 (Yes this vid's also by JAR lol)

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