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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Logical Fallacies

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by GingerCoffee, Feb 1, 2014.

    I see a lot of logical fallacy accusations that don't apply as they were used, but I've also been told I wasn't using one of them correctly when I thought (and still do think) I was using it correctly.

    It's a straw man fallacy to change my words then argue against the changed argument. I'm not sure which misunderstanding led @Lemex to say I wasn't using the fallacy charge correctly: he didn't understand what I meant or there is some nuance about the fallacy I'm not aware of.

    I'm going to have to find the example this came up with.

    The most common straw man fallacy I see is regarding evolution theory debaters. They claim scientists exclude evidence about God and the Bible from science. They argue we should be "teaching the controversy."

    (Of course the scientific community piles the straw on by arguing 'science doesn't investigate designers' but that's another issue.)

    The evolution debate is not about considering all the evidence fairly, that's a no brainer for science. The debate is that the evidence against evolution theory is insignificant.


    As for the ad hominem, people do tend to think it refers to any and all insults. It doesn't. It's only when you use the insult or some other belittling of a person's expertise as the reason their argument or claim is wrong. I've had a ton of that thrown at me in this forum, for example claiming nurses can never have any medical expertise. :rolleyes:

    This can be a tricky fallacy to apply at times when one does feel the person one is debating is so poorly informed about a topic it's hard to know where to start. One cannot give another person a college course of information in a couple posts.

    But to apply that when the other person's posts are at least up to the same level as the person making the accusation of ignorance makes it an ad hom fallacy. My medical knowledge is extensive, if it wasn't then the facts I posted would have been easily refuted.

    There's some overlap with pure insults that have ad hominem implications. When I see the conversation changing to, "you are dense, haha" and I see all the cheer leaders joining in, that's when I know they got nothin' and need to distract from that problem. So it's partly an insult. But when the implication is, your argument isn't based on evidence, it's based on obstinance, then it becomes an ad hom because it ignores the evidence by discounting the arguer.
     
  2. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    This thread might be in the debate forum, but it is not up for debate. :oops:
     
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  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    This thread confuses me. Is this some kind of official thread or just a personal opinion? It doesn't seem very useful as an official thread and if it's a personal opinion, it is equally open to the opinions of others.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That was when you claimed JJ_Maxx used a strawman fallacy, and I pointed out it couldn't have been because a strawman is usually an argument - what he did was essentially say 'I think you are wrong'. I'm not sure how you can say you are not sure about a misunderstanding on my part when there wasn't any: you tried to replace the word 'misrepresentation' with 'strawman', forgetting that a strawman argument is an argument. That's why it's called a logical fallacy, Ginger. A comment cannot be a logical fallacy, that's not even basic logic nor is it a nuance I was being picky about, that's just the way things are. You can't argue against language.

    Now, I can't find JJ's actual post at the moment (for me it is 1 in the morning), but while you might be able to say he misrepresented what you said by saying you are wrong on something you were not saying, a strawman argument is when you essentially construct a parody of the opposing argument and tackle that because you cannot tackle the actual points. Person A says: 'I don't like penguins, they remind me of the nazis for some reason' and person B says 'You can't call all penguins nazis! What about the nice penguins?!' Person B is guilty of the Strawman logical fallacy because it attempts to counter an argument that didn't exist. Again, what JJ essentially said was 'I think you are wrong'.

    I shouldn't have to point this out, but an argument is something that argues a position with the intention to attempt to convince the other side. So, say, 'I think Richard II should have killed Bollingbroke while he still had the chance, Richard knew Bollingbroke was dangerous and popular with the masses after all', that is an argument. Just saying 'Richard II should have killed Bollingbroke' is not an argument. It is an opinion. Therefore no matter how hard you try to say otherwise, something that isn't an argument can't be called a logical fallacy because a fallacy means there has been some rationale to undermine another side, or make a side seem stronger than it actually is. That's the reason we consider logical fallacies so lowly in rhetoric in the first place.

    If you don't understand the difference between an opinion and an argument then I frankly have no idea how you can claim academic authority in a debate.
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I have a feeling this thread is going to descend into arguments, especially since the OP mentions evolution and God and whatnot.
     
  6. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're wrong.
     
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  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If I wasn't so drunk right now, I'd link to 5 articles showing you otherwise.
     
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  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I was more put off by the OP calling out another member than the evolution and God stuff.

    I was thinking maybe someone could put together a sticky thread that lists the major fallacies and examples for all of use to reference.

    This thread only mentions two.
     
  9. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Like I said in the other thread, if a member here makes a list of fallacies, other members might not agree on the definition, and we'll have even more arguments. It's best to just link to a few good sites.
     
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  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just to be absolutely clear: No, this is not an official thread. It is not the official position of Writingforums.org. It's personal opinion.

    Though I do think it would be a good idea to have a posting in the Resources section that links to offsite lists of logical fallacies, so long as those sites have some credibility. The Perdue site is probably a good place to start.
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I can probably add a posting in the Resources section sometime tonight. I'll include the Purdue link as well as some links from other universities, if that's OK with you.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    What are you talking about? I didn't call anyone out. @Lemex and I discussed this earlier and came to a resolution where I understood what he meant and I think it was mutual.

    And then the discussion in the DEBATE ROOM RULES thread drifted off topic.

    What good is a rule that people can't make false fallacy charges? What are you going to do if someone incorrectly charges another with a fallacy? Point to the rules?

    I was just trying to move the discussion to its own thread, no more no less. And I certainly wasn't trying to post a resource thread.
     
  15. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Can someone start a thread on where to send my TPS reports?
     
  16. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Man alive, all this fallacy talk is so fucking depressing. Seriously. Please everybody just stop it.

    Redolent of sixth-form (high school) debates: spotty adolescents throwing around these fancy yet rigid and usually unhelpful terms thinking it makes them look all sophisticated.

    It doesn't.
     
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  17. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is quite a handy guide:

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/pdf/LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A3.pdf

    I'm not sure if that should go in Resources or not, since it's not really writing-based, just a nice primer.

    The Fallacy Fallacy would be a good one for everyone to remember: just because a point is badly argued, that doesn't mean it's wrong.
     
  18. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Did you see the new sticky on the updated cover sheets? I'll fox you a copy
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes, that's all someone's got.
     
  20. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I'd like to add to the list "you're wrong because you don't agree with me" fallacy
     
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  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The fallacy fallacy is popular too.
     
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  22. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    That's only a fallacy when you use it. :D
     
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  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I see this fallacy around here a bit:

    post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc

    In English it means, correlation does not mean causation.
     
  24. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I added a list of fallacies in the Resources section. There are links to three good sites.
     
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  25. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Big thanks! That should be useful. :)
     
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