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List of Logical Fallacies Ranging From Straw-Man to Ad-Hominems

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posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 10:04 PM
Here's a nice read and well put together exposition on fallacious arguements and/or counter-topics. Some are even used here on ATS.

Argumentum ad antiquitatem (the argument to antiquity or tradition)- the argument that something is right or acceptable because of tradition or history.

Example. Standing for the national anthem

Exception to the rule: There is no exception per say, but the fallacy itself rests on two assumptions: the notion was correct when first introduced; in other words, it was correct because it was the most common view, plus past justifications for the tradition are still valid at present.

Argumentum ad hominem (argument directed at the person)- attacking the person making the stand and not the stand itself.

Example: Whenever someone calls someone else racist, xenophobic, bigoted, redneck, islamaphobic, homophobic.. "

Exception to the Rule: if the label matches the facts given about a person, or if a certain trait may very well be relevant to the issue, or if the trait can be proven, then no fallacy was committed. Hence, why I can get away with saying Hillary is incompetent.

Argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument to ignorance)- stating a notion is true because it hasn't been proven false.

Examples: either the atheist will say "God can't exist because no one has proven there is one" or they'll place an impossible or unlikely condition for belief, such as "Unless god shows himself and walks on water so that I can see it happen I refuse to believe in a god."

Exception to the rule: If despite all known evidence and research, we still can't figure out the undeniable answer, we are to go with the answer that best fits the evidence. As Sherlock Holmes once stated, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left--no matter how implausible--must be correct." Hence, why Christians can say God created the universe.

Argumentum ad nauseam (argument to the point of disgust; i.e., by repetition)- the fallacy of trying to prove something by repeating it over and over again and the expectation that the repetition alone will substitute for real arguments. It is also known as proof by assertion, an informal fallacy in which a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction.

Example: whenever someone presents the same refuted argument over and over again.

Exception to the rule: As far as I can tell, there is no exception to the rule; there is however the burden of the person restating the refuted notion to prove why it's right in spite of overwhelming evidence.

Argumentum ad populum (argument or appeal to the public)- the fallacy of trying to prove something by arguing that the majority of popular opinion agrees with you.

Example: CNN..

Begging the question- when what you are trying to prove is already assumed.

Example: They will often argue that "Atheism isn't belief. Atheism is the lack of belief." This is nothing more than a play on words.

Exception to the rule: if something outside your assertion can prove the assertion true. This is why atheists claiming "Christians think the Bible is true because it says it's true" doesn't work. Even Michael Shermer found that wasn't the case

Dicto simpliciter (sweeping generalization)- he fallacy of making a sweeping statement and expecting it to be true of every specific case; aka a stereotype

Example: whenever someone claim all Muslim are terrorists,

Exception to the rule: if an objective piece of evidence shows a group actually does perform this action.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this)-when correlation is mixed with causation.

Example: any given atheist notion concerning prayer, or saying prayer doesn't work
Exception to the rule: if correlation can indeed prove causation.

Naturalistic fallacy- the fallacy of trying to form a value conclusion (what is right or good) from statements of fact alone.

Example: someone might argue that the premise, "Science has concluded that naturalistic causes are solely responsible for the origins of life. You should therefore believe that a god does not exist."

Exception to the rule: There is no exception to this rule.

Non Sequitur ("It does not follow")- the simple fallacy of forming a conclusion about something that does not strictly follow from the premises or that may have another explanation.

Example: claiming that since ice cream sales rise the same time as car thefts, then ice cream causes car thefts.

Exception to the rule: No real exceptions per say; one merely has to show what one has to do with the other.

One-Sided Assessment-fallacy committed by many atheists when they ignore arguments of evidence from religion since it isn't what they prefer evidence to be.

Example: saying there are more Christians in prison than atheists. This doesn't work since there are many more Christians than athiest

Exception to the rule: none

Red herring-the fallacy of bringing irrelevant facts or ideas to an argument in order to distract from the topic at hand

Exceptions to the rule: same as non-sequitor

Slippery slope-an argument that says adopting one idea or belief will lead to a series of ideas or beliefs, without showing a causal connection between the two ideas or beliefs.

Example: If you didnt support Hillary you supported trump. Denial of one has nothing to do with acceptance of the other

Straw man- This fallacy occurs when a debater sets up a related but often extreme version or easier position

Exception to the rule: the best way is to show how your take is related to the one at hand.

Tu quoque ("you too" or "you are another")- This is the fallacy of defending an error in one's reasoning by pointing out that one's opponent has made the same error.

Exception to the rule: If one can prove it applies to the other
edit on 1-12-2016 by omniEther because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 11:00 PM
This source has 24. Some of which you didn't include that you could update your OP with.


posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 11:07 PM

originally posted by: omniEther
Here's a nice read and well put together exposition on fallacious arguements and/or counter-topics. Some are even used here on ATS....

List of common fallacies

Compiled by Jim Walker
originated: 27 July 1997
additions made: 26 March 2004

You don't need to take drugs to hallucinate; improper language can fill your world with phantoms and spooks of many kinds.
-Robert A. Wilson

When arguing with someone in an attempt to get at an answer or an explanation, you may come across a person who makes logical fallacies. Such discussions may prove futile. You might try asking for evidence and independent confirmation or provide other hypothesis that give a better or simpler explanation. If this fails, try to pinpoint the problem of your arguer's position. You might spot the problem of logic that prevents further exploration and attempt to inform your arguer about his fallacy. The following briefly describes some of the most common fallacies:

ad hominem:
Latin for "to the man." An arguer who uses ad hominems attacks the person instead of the argument. Whenever an arguer cannot defend his position with evidence, facts or reason, he or she may resort to attacking an opponent either through: labeling, straw man arguments, name calling, offensive remarks and anger.

appeal to ignorance
(argumentum ex silentio) appealing to ignorance as evidence for something. (e.g., We have no evidence that God doesn't exist, therefore, he must exist. Or: Because we have no knowledge of alien visitors, that means they do not exist). Ignorance about something says nothing about its existence or non-existence.

argument from omniscience:
(e.g., All people believe in something. Everyone knows that.) An arguer would need omniscience to know about everyone's beliefs or disbeliefs or about their knowledge. Beware of words like "all," "everyone," "everything," "absolute."

appeal to faith:
(e.g., if you have no faith, you cannot learn) if the arguer relies on faith as the bases of his argument, then you can gain little from further discussion. Faith, by definition, relies on a belief that does not rest on logic or evidence. Faith depends on irrational thought and produces intransigence.

appeal to tradition (similar to the bandwagon fallacy):
(e.g., astrology, religion, slavery) just because people practice a tradition, says nothing about its viability.

argument from authority (argumentum ad verecundiam):
using the words of an "expert" or authority as the bases of the argument instead of using the logic or evidence that supports an argument. (e.g., Professor so-and-so believes in creation-science.) Simply because an authority makes a claim does not necessarily mean he got it right. If an arguer presents the testimony from an expert, look to see if it accompanies reason and sources of evidence behind it.

argument from adverse consequences:
(e.g., We should judge the accused as guilty, otherwise others will commit similar crimes) Just because a repugnant crime or act occurred, does not necessarily mean that a defendant committed the crime or that we should judge him guilty. (Or: disasters occur because God punishes non-believers; therefore, we should all believe in God) Just because calamities or tragedies occur, says nothing about the existence of gods or that we should believe in a certain way.

argumentum ad baculum:
An argument based on an appeal to fear or a threat. (e.g., If you don't believe in God, you'll burn in hell)

argumentum ad ignorantiam:
A misleading argument used in reliance on people's ignorance.

argumentum ad populum:
An argument aimed to sway popular support by appealing to sentimental weakness rather than facts and reasons.

bandwagon fallacy:
concluding that an idea has merit simply because many people believe it or practice it. (e.g., Most people believe in a god; therefore, it must prove true.) Simply because many people may believe something says nothing about the fact of that something. For example many people during the Black plague believed that demons caused disease. The number of believers say nothing at all about the cause of disease.

begging the question (or assuming the answer):
(e.g., We must encourage our youth to worship God to instill moral behavior.) But does religion and worship actually produce moral behavior?

circular reasoning:
stating in one's proposition that which one aims to prove. (e.g. God exists because the Bible says so; the Bible exists because God influenced it.)

composition fallacy:
when the conclusion of an argument depends on an erroneous characteristic from parts of something to the whole or vice versa. (e.g., Humans have consciousness and human bodies and brains consist of atoms; therefore, atoms have consciousness. Or: a word processor program consists of many bytes; therefore a byte forms a fraction of a word processor.)

confirmation bias (similar to observational selection):
This refers to a form of selective thinking that focuses on evidence that supports what believers already believe while ignoring evidence that refutes their beliefs. Confirmation bias plays a stronger role when people base their beliefs upon faith, tradition and prejudice. For example, if someone believes in the power of prayer, the believer will notice the few "answered" prayers while ignoring the majority of unanswered prayers (which would indicate that prayer has no more value than random chance at worst or a placebo effect, when applied to health effects, at best).

confusion of correlation and causation:
(e.g., More men play chess than women, therefore, men make better chess players than women. Or: Children who watch violence on TV tend to act violently when they grow up.) But does television programming cause violence or do violence oriented children prefer to watch violent programs? Perhaps an entirely different reason creates violence not related to television at all. Stephen Jay Gould called the invalid assumption that correlation implies cause as "probably among the two or three most serious and common errors of human reasoning" (The Mismeasure of Man).

excluded middle (or false dichotomy):
considering only the extremes. Many people use Aristotelian either/or logic tending to describe in terms of up/down, black/white, true/false, love/hate, etc. (e.g., You either like it or you don't. He either stands guilty or not guilty.) Many times, a continuum occurs between the extremes that people fail to see. The universe also contains many "maybes."

half truths (suppressed evidence):
An statement usually intended to deceive that omits some of the facts necessary for an accurate description.

loaded questions:
embodies an assumption that, if answered, indicates an implied agreement. (e.g., Have you stopped beating your wife yet?)

meaningless question:
(e.g., "How high is up?" "Is everything possible?") "Up" describes a direction, not a measurable entity. If everything proved possible, then the possibility exists for the impossible, a contradiction. Although everything may not prove possible, there may occur an infinite number of possibilities as well as an infinite number of impossibilities. Many meaningless questions include empty words such as "is," "are," "were," "was," "am," "be," or "been."

misunderstanding the nature of statistics:
(e.g., th

posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 11:10 PM

originally posted by: namelesss

originally posted by: omniEther
Here's a nice read and well put together exposition on fallacious arguements and/or counter-topics. Some are even used here on ATS....

List of common fallacies

meaningless question:
(e.g., "How high is up?" "Is everything possible?") "Up" describes a direction, not a measurable entity. If everything proved possible, then the possibility exists for the impossible, a contradiction. Although everything may not prove possible, there may occur an infinite number of possibilities as well as an infinite number of impossibilities. Many meaningless questions include empty words such as "is," "are," "were," "was," "am," "be," or "been."

misunderstanding the nature of statistics:
(e.g., the majority of people in the United States die in hospitals, therefore, stay out of them.) "Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive." -- Wallace Irwin

non sequitur:
Latin for "It does not follow." An inference or conclusion that does not follow from established premises or evidence. (e.g., there occured an increase of births during the full moon. Conclusion: full moons cause birth rates to rise.) But does a full moon actually cause more births, or did it occur for other reasons, perhaps from expected statistical variations?

observational selection (similar to confirmation bias):
pointing out favorable circumstances while ignoring the unfavorable. Anyone who goes to Las Vegas gambling casinos will see people winning at the tables and slots. The casino managers make sure to install bells and whistles to announce the victors, while the losers never get mentioned. This may lead one to conclude that the chances of winning appear good while in actually just the reverse holds true.

post hoc, ergo propter hoc:
Latin for "It happened after, so it was caused by." Similar to a non sequitur, but time dependent. (e.g. She got sick after she visited China, so something in China caused her sickness.) Perhaps her sickness derived from something entirely independent from China.

proving non-existence:
when an arguer cannot provide the evidence for his claims, he may challenge his opponent to prove it doesn't exist (e.g., prove God doesn't exist; prove UFO's haven't visited earth, etc.). Although one may prove non-existence in special limitations, such as showing that a box does not contain certain items, one cannot prove universal or absolute non-existence, or non-existence out of ignorance. One cannot prove something that does not exist. The proof of existence must come from those who make the claims.

red herring:
when the arguer diverts the attention by changing the subject.

reification fallacy:
when people treat an abstract belief or hypothetical construct as if it represented a concrete event or physical entity. Examples: IQ tests as an actual measure of intelligence; the concept of race (even though genetic attributes exist), from the chosen combination of attributes or the labeling of a group of people, come from abstract social constructs; Astrology; god(s); Jesus; Santa Claus, black race, white race, etc.

slippery slope:
a change in procedure, law, or action, will result in adverse consequences. (e.g., If we allow doctor assisted suicide, then eventually the government will control how we die.) It does not necessarily follow that just because we make changes that a slippery slope will occur.

special pleading:
the assertion of new or special matter to offset the opposing party's allegations. A presentation of an argument that emphasizes only a favorable or single aspect of the question at issue. (e.g. How can God create so much suffering in the world? Answer: You have to understand that God moves in mysterious ways and we have no privilege to this knowledge. Or: Horoscopes work, but you have to understand the theory behind it.)

statistics of small numbers:
similar to observational selection (e.g., My parents smoked all their lives and they never got cancer. Or: I don't care what others say about Yugos, my Yugo has never had a problem.) Simply because someone can point to a few favorable numbers says nothing about the overall chances.

straw man:
creating a false scenario and then attacking it. (e.g., Evolutionists think that everything came about by random chance.) Most evolutionists think in terms of natural selection which may involve incidental elements, but does not depend entirely on random chance. Painting your opponent with false colors only deflects the purpose of the argument.

two wrongs make a right:
trying to justify what we did by accusing someone else of doing the same. (e.g. how can you judge my actions when you do exactly the same thing?) The guilt of the accuser has no relevance to the discussion.

posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 11:50 PM
I refer to Wikipedia all the time, it has some helpful hyperlinks.

posted on Jan, 12 2017 @ 09:00 AM
Knowing and understanding this list should be a prerequisite for everyone being able to use the internets.

Great Thread!

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