The Effective Reader (Updated Edition) By D.J. Henry Chapter 13: Advanced Argument: Persuasive Techniques PowerPoint Presentation By Gretchen Starks-Martin St. Cloud State University, MN Biased Arguments A fallacy is an error in logical thought. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. (Unbiased statement) Lashonda trusts the news story because it’s printed in the newspaper. (biased argument) What is Propaganda? Propaganda is an act of persuasion that systematically spreads biased information that is designed to support or oppose a person, product, cause, or organization. Emotional appeal is the arousal of emotions to give a biased meaning or power to an idea. Spicy foods and stress cause stomach ulcers. (unbiased statement) Don’t buy your insurance from DealState; that outfit is a bunch of crooks. (biased argument) Irrelevant Arguments: Fallacies Personal attack is the use of abusive remarks in place of evidence for a point or argument. Also known as an ad hominem attack, it attempts to discredit the point by discrediting the person making the point. Example: Sam, a convicted felon, wants to ban smoking in restaurants. His opponents attack his criminal record, not his idea: “Now the lawbreakers want to make the laws.” Irrelevant Arguments: Fallacies A Straw Man fallacy is a weak argument substituted for a stronger one to make the argument easier to challenge. It distorts, misrepresents, or falsifies an opponent’s position. Attention is shifted away from a strong argument to a weaker one. Example: Governor Goodfeeling opposes drilling for oil in Alaska. But the U.S. is too dependent on foreign oil supplies, and the economy would benefit from having an American supply for oil. The Governor wants to keep us dependent on foreign oil cartels. The governor’s reasons for opposing drilling are not mentioned. Instead, the writer changes the tactic to the U.S. dependence on oil. Irrelevant Arguments: Fallacies Begging the question restates the point of an argument as the support and conclusion. It is also known as circular reasoning. Example: “Spinach is an awful tasting food because it tastes bad.” (BQ) Example: “I never eat spinach because it has a bitter taste, and I don’t like foods that taste bitter.” (not BQ) Irrelevant Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Name-calling uses negative labels for a product, idea, or cause. The labels use emotionally loaded words and use details that cannot be verified. Examples: Cristina Singer has an air of raunchy diva in her newest album. Even though her voice delivers a decent mix of pop, rock and soul, her vampire-in-leather costume and wicked-witch makeup makes her act scary to watch. People who burn the flag are traitors. Irrelevant Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Testimonials are irrelevant personal opinions to support a product, idea, or cause. Often a celebrity is used as a spokesperson. Example: Famous athlete Jerome High-Jumper says, “Drinking milk every day makes me the athlete I am.” Irrelevant Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Bandwagon uses or suggests the irrelevant detail that “everyone is doing it.” Therefore, you should do it too! Example: “I should be able to stay out until 3 A.M. All the other kids can. I’m the only one who isn’t allowed to stay out late on prom night.” Irrelevant Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Plain folks uses irrelevant details to build trust based on commonly shared values. An image is put forth to which everyday people can more easily relate. Examples: A candidate running for office dressed in blue jeans and a plaid shirt eating a hotdog. A woman dressed in casual clothes cooking in a kitchen where the TV ad is trying to get you to buy their product. Inadequate Arguments: Fallacies Either-or assumes that only two sides to an issue exist. Also known as the black-and- white fallacy, it offers a false dilemma because more than two options are usually available. Example: “If you don’t give to the toy drive, you don’t care about children.” Inadequate Arguments: Fallacies False comparison assumes that two things are similar when they are not. This is also known as a false analogy. Example: “Animals deserve the same legal rights as humans.” Inadequate Arguments: Fallacies False cause, or Post Hoc assumes that because events occurred around the same time, they have a cause-and-effect relationship. Example: “I won’t hit a home run unless I wear my special baseball cap.” Inadequate Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Card stacking omits factual details in order to misrepresent a product, idea, or cause. It intentionally gives only part of the truth. Example: A commercial mentions that the product is low in fat, but fails to say that it is loaded with sugar and calories. Inadequate Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Transfer creates an association between a product, idea, or cause with a symbol or image that has positive or negative values. Examples: “God Bless America” on a product “Be like Alicia Silverstone and Woody Harrelson…go vegetarian.” Inadequate Arguments: Propaganda Techniques Glittering generalities offer general positive statements that cannot be verified. It is the opposite of name-calling. Words like truth, freedom, peace, and honor are used to suggest positive things. Example: “A vote for candidate Anthony Vacarro is a vote for honesty and integrity!” Examining Biased Arguments Sometimes textbooks will choose to present biased arguments for your examination. Often these are excerpts from other sources and are included for you to evaluate. Watch for biased words in these passages. Chapter Review A fallacy is an error in logical thought. Irrelevant details draw attention away from logical thought by ignoring the issue. Inadequate details oversimplify the issue and do not give a person enough information to draw a proper conclusion. Propaganda is an act of persuasion that systematically spreads biased information that is designed to support or oppose a person, product, cause, or organization. Emotional appeal is the arousal of emotions to give meaning or power to an idea. Chapter Review Begging the question is also known as circular reasoning. Personal attack is also known as an ad hominem attack. False cause is also known as post hoc. False comparison is also known as false analogy. Either-or is also known as the black-and-white fallacy. Practice: Complete the Following: Chapter Review Applications Review Tests Mastery Tests Remember to complete your scorecard for the Review Tests in this chapter.