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					General Fallacies

Read the fallacious arguments below and discuss why they are
problematic. Then match the fallacies with the name that best
describes them.


Fallacious arguments

1. “America: love it or leave it.”

2. “Since scientists cannot prove that global warming will occur, it probably
won't.”

3. “If we pass laws against fully automatic weapons, then it won't be long
before we pass laws on all weapons, and then we will begin to restrict other
rights, and finally we will end up living in a communist state.”

4. “Government is like business, so just as business must be sensitive
primarily to the bottom line, so also must government.”

5. “A book is pornographic if and only if it contains pornography.”

6. “We should not believe President Clinton when he claims not to have had
sex with Monica Lewinsky. After all, he's a liar.”

7. “Are you willing to elect my opponent and risk total bankruptcy within 5
years?”

8. “Australians are thieves. That Australian exchange student was always
stealing.”

9. “Affirmative action proponents accuse me of opposing equal opportunity in
the work force. I think my positions on military expenditures, education and
public health speak for themselves.”


Names to describe these logical fallacies

Slippery Slope               Hasty Generalization     Shifting the Issue

Questionable Analogy         Begging the Question     Circular Definition

False Dilemma                Argument from            Complex Question
                             Ignorance
Causal Fallacies


Fallacious arguments

10. “Immigration to California from Mexico increased. Soon after, the welfare
rolls increased. Therefore, the increased immigration caused the increase in
welfare rolls.”

11. “You have a fever and this is causing you to break out in spots.”

12. “By leaving your lights on overnight you are contributing to global
warming.”

13. “Protesting against racial injustice only causes more of it to occur.”

14. “The car accident would not have occurred if the parking meter had not
gotten in the way.”

15. “If the mill were polluting the river then we would see an increase in fish
deaths. And fish deaths have increased. Thus, the mill is polluting the river.”

16. “If you get hit by a car when you are six then you will die young. But you
were not hit by a car when you were six. Thus you will not die young.”



Names to describe these logical fallacies

Complex Cause               Insignificant Cause         Denying the Antecedent

Joint Effect                Coincidental Correlation Confusing Cause and
                                                     Effect
Affirming the
Consequent
Emotive fallacies


Fallacious arguments

17. “Madonna says cycle helmets should be a legal requirement, so it must be a
good idea.”

18. “Britain should not join the Euro – the pound sterling has hundreds of
years of history.”

19. “If we do not pass immigration reform, pretty soon we will go bankrupt
because we will have spent all of our children's money on support for illegal
aliens.”

20. “Don't be the last person on your block to install a burglar alarm in your
home!”

21. “How can you give any credit to the scientific theories of a man who
cheated on his wife?”

22. “How can you say you oppose higher taxes when poverty-stricken school
children cannot afford to buy lunches?”


Names to describe these logical fallacies

Appeal to popularity       Erroneous appeal to         Ad hominem (argument
                           authority                   against the person)
Irrelevant appeal to       Appeal to fear              Appeal to tradition
emotions
ANSWERS

General Fallacies

1. "America: love it or leave it." [False Dilemma]

2. "Since scientists cannot prove that global warming will occur, it probably
won't." [Argument from Ignorance]

3. "If we pass laws against fully automatic weapons, then it won't be long
before we pass laws on all weapons, and then we will begin to restrict other
rights, and finally we will end up living in a communist state. Thus, we should
not ban fully automatic weapons." [Slippery Slope]

4. "Government is like business, so just as business must be sensitive
primarily to the bottom line, so also must government." [Questionable
Analogy]

5. "A book is pornographic if and only if it contains pornography." [Circular
Definition]

6. "We should not believe President Clinton when he claims not to have had
sex with Monica Lewinsky. After all, he's a liar." [Begging the Question, and a
good example of how faulty reasoning can lead to true conclusions. :)]

7. "Fred, the Australian, stole my wallet. Thus, all Australians are thieves."
[Hasty Generalization]

8. "Satanist Quarterly reports that 87% of Americans are atheists. Therefore,
there is no god." [Argument from Biased Authority and Argument from
Popularity]

Causal Fallacies

9. "Immigration to California from Mexico increased. Soon after, the welfare
rolls increased. Therefore, the increased immigration caused the increase in
welfare rolls." [Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, aka Coincidental Correlation]

10. "You have a fever and this is causing you to break out in spots." [Joint
Effect]

11. "By leaving your oven on overnight you are contributing to global
warming." [Insignificant Cause]

12. "Protesting against racial injustice only causes more of it to occur."
[Confusing Cause and Effect]

13. "The car accident would not have occurred if the parking meter had not
gotten in the way." [Complex Cause (of which only a part is mentioned)]

14. "If the mill were polluting the river then we would see an increase in fish
deaths. And fish deaths have increased. Thus, the mill is polluting the river."
[Affirming the Consequent]

15. "If you get hit by a car when you are six then you will die young. But you
were not hit by a car when you were six. Thus you will not die young."
[Denying the Antecedent]