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18 Cards in this Set

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Fallacy in which a person's opinion is influenced due to the public/peer's opinion.
June says she likes the color green but everyone says green is the ugliest color. She succiently changes her opinion to agree.
Appeal to false authority/Doubtful Authority
arguing with references to so-called experts or famous people that have no true citation on the issue
"According to Ted Koppel, interest rates will remain low during the next fiscal year," he is not an expert in business even though he is a respected journalist.
Appeal to ignorance
Fallacy that a statement is true because it hasn't been proved false.
UFOs exist. It hasn't been proven otherwise.
UFOs don't exist. It hasn't been proven otherwise.
Ad hominem
This fallacy tries to divert the attention from the facts of an arguement by attacking the motives or character of the person making the opposing argument.
"The public should not take Dr. Mason's plan for improving county health services seriously. He is a former alcholic whose wife recently divorced him."
Non sequitur
Literally, "does not follow." A conclusion or statement that does not arise logically from the premises of a given argument.
"Disarment weakened the US after WWI. Disarment also weakened the US after the Vietnam War. For this reason, efforts to control guns will weaken the US."
Tu quoque
This fallacy asserts that an opponent's argument has no value because the opponent does not follow his or her own advice.
A judge favors stronger penalties for convicted drug dealers. During his confirmation hearings, he admitted to smoking marijuana when he was a student.
Post hoc/Ergo propter hoc
"After This, Therefore Because of This." This fallacy assumes that because of two events occurring close together in time, the first must be the cause of the second.
"Every time a Republican is elected president, a recession follows. If we want to avoid another recession, we should elect a Democrat as our next president."
Straw man (person) reasoning
attempting to strengthen your own view by distorting the opposing view or making it seem overly simplistic. The opposing view thus becomes a "straw man" that you can knock down easily. This techinique usually hurts your credibility.
"Why, apart from moral considerations, do you think teenagers should be taught to abstain from sex until marriage?

…[N]ot one of 800 sexologists at a recent conference raised a hand when asked if they would trust a thin rubber sheath to protect them during intercourse with a known HIV infected person. … And yet they're perfectly willing to tell our kids that "safe sex" is within reach and that they can sleep around with impunity."
Red herring
Avoiding the "real" argument by introducing something irrelavant or tangentially related, thereby changing or shifting the topic of discussion.
"The mayor has proposed building a new baseball-only sports stadium. How can he even consider allocating millions of dollars when so many pro baseball players are being paid such high salaries?"
Representing one written piece as only possible approach to truth.
Everything you need to know is in the Bible.
Slippery Slope
Fallacy that one thing WILL lead to another.
"(1) If you buy a Green Day album, then next you’ll be buying Buzzcocks albums, and before you know it you’ll be a punk with green hair and everything.
(2) You don’t want to become a punk.
(3) You shouldn’t buy a Green Day album"
Begging the question/circular reasoning
Cicular reasoning--that is, drawing conclusions from assumptions that have not been proven.
"The unfair and shortsighted legislation that limits free trade is a threat to the American economy."
Hasty or sweeping generalizations
This fallacy occurs when a conclusion is reached on the basis of too little evidence.
"Because our son really benefited from nursery school, I am convinced that every child should go."
Misleading statistics
Statistics that have been misrepresented or distorted in an attempt to influence an audience.
"Women will never be competent firefighters; after all, 50% of the women in the city's training program failed the exam." ... Only two women were in the program.
False dichotomy/dilemma (either/or)
Contrasting your own choice only with one that is wholly undesirable, while overlooking other options.
"We must choose between life and death, between intervention and genocide. No one can take a neutral position on this issue."
Scare tactics
To reduce complicated issues to simple threats or to exaggerate a possible danger well beyond its actual likelihood
Because there is a chance of a hijacking or mechanical problem on the plane, flying should be avoided all together.
Using a word with two or more definitions, usually in order to confuse or deceive.
"As a human endeavor, computers are a prasieworthy and even remarkable accomplishment. But how human can we hope to be if we rely on computers to make our decisions?" --human refers to the race originally then to the characteristics of the race (merciful or civilized).
Faulty analogy/argument for analogy
Assuming that since two things are alike in one respect, they must be alike in others. Often, an analogy is false because important pieces of information are missing or overlooked.
"The overcrowded conditions in some parts of out city have forced people together like rats in a cage. Like rats, they will eventually turn on one another, fighting and killing until a balance is restored."