Each statement below contains a logical fallacy. Identify the fallacy and briefly explain, in one or two sentences, why it is an error in reasoning. 1. Mabel is not qualified to lead the school board because she used to drink liquor in her 20s. • Ad hominem: committed by attacking the person who’s making an argument, rather than the argument itself. One of the most common fallacies, it is a direct attack on a person’s character rather than focusing on his or her arguments. Stating that Mabel used to drink that why she is not qualified it a person attack. 2. A child can be either an athlete or a good student.
• Either/Or: An oversimplification that assumingly reduces several alternatives to a mere binary opposition, basically means you only have two choices. You only have two choices of being a athlete or a good student. You can choose to be bad student if you wanted. 3. Any change in health care will lead to socialism; we don’t want to live in a socialist country, so we can’t reform health care. • Slippery Slope (Bad Precedent): assuming that a proposed step will set off an uncontrollable chain of undesirable events. Changing health will lead to socialism is an extreme statement. 4. All teenagers text while they drive; therefore, we should raise the driving age to 21. • Hasty Generalization: drawing conclusions from too little of evidence and often relying on stereotypes. Say all teenager text and drive, well some teenager don’t have a car and/or a cell phone. 5. If we don’t all drive hybrid cars, the world will end in the next decade because of environmental damage.
• Slippery Slope (Bad Precedent): assuming that a proposed step will set off an uncontrollable chain of undesirable events. That an extreme statement stating that the world will end because we’ll don’t drive hybrid. 6. Senator Range has been seen entering a strip club; therefore, his economic reforms are not plausible. • Ad hominem: committed by attacking the person who’s making an argument, rather than the argument itself. One of the most common fallacies, it is a direct attack on a person’s character rather than focusing on his or her arguments. In this case strip club makes the senator economic reform wrong it a personal attack, degrading his character which will degrade his reforms as mediocre or of no value to the public.
7. Everyone else is getting rid of TV, so we should too.
• Bandwagon: Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. We used to think that our planet was flat. 8. Because of the recent shootings in schools and theaters, we can conclude that these are inherently dangerous places that need more regulation. • Begging the Question: an argument is held to be true because of practical truths and common sense. Common sense is sometimes correct, but all too many times all too commonly incorrect. 9. If you want a successful child, you should enroll him or her in as many early learning classes as possible.
• Creating false needs: emotional proof appeals to what people value and think they need. Advertisers often create a false sense of need in order to sell a product. 10. Music education is useless because it just teaches kids how to play music. • Begging the question: restating the premise in the conclusion rather than disproving. Choose your answers from these eight fallacies.
Some of these will be used more than once.
• Begging the question
• Slippery slope
• Ad hominem
• Creating false needs
• Red herring
• Hasty generalization