Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Call for Fallacies

My Math 1030 class opens in one week from today, and the first chapter in our textbook is on critical thinking and logical fallacy. To that end I'm trying to put together a set of examples of logical fallacies as expressed in articles, politics, books, etc. Here is a list of the fallacies I'm looking for:
  • appeal to popularity: "a lot of people believe this is true, therefore it's true"
  • false cause: A came before B, therefore A causes B
  • appeal to ignorance: "there is no proof that this is true, therefore it's false"
  • hasty generalization, or "the plural of 'anecdote' is 'data'": "this happened a bunch of times, so it must be generally true"
  • limited choice, aka false dichotomy: "either this is true, or that's true" (ignoring a third way)
  • appeal to emotion: "this is all warm and fuzzy, therefore it's true" (or, alternatively, "this is all slimy and yucky, therefore it's false")
  • personal attack, aka ad hominem, tu quoque: "he's a degenerate puppy blender, therefore whatever he says is false"
  • circular reasoning
  • diversion, aka red herring: "this is true, and this is vaguely associated with that, therefore that is true"
  • straw man
  • appeal to authority
If you can link to any example of any of these fallacies that you encounter in the course of your blog reading, please post them in the comments. Any source will do-- political thought (liberal, conservative, and otherwise), advertising, op-eds, you name it, as long as it can be cited.