Monday, July 29, 2013

Logical Fallacy: Begging the Question

"To beg the question is to assume the truth of the conclusion of an argument in the premises in order for the conclusion to follow. It is a type of circular reasoning and an informal fallacy, in which an arguer makes an argument that requires the desired conclusion to be true. This often occurs in an indirect way such that the fallacy's presence is hidden or at least not easily apparent.
The term "begging the question", as it is usually phrased, originated in the 16th century as a mistranslation of the Latin petitio principii, which actually translates to "assuming the initial point"."

"The original phrase used by Aristotle from which begging the question descends is: τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς (or sometimes ἐν ἀρχῇ) αἰτεῖν, "asking for the initial thing.""

- Wikipedia
"I remember what begs the question means by thinking that the argument raises a specific question--it begs *the* question--What's your support for that premise? OR  more informally, What does that have to do with anything? You use the phrase begs the question when people are hoping you won't notice that their reasons for coming to a conclusion aren't valid. They've made an argument based on a lame assumption. The question is What's your support for that premise?"

Quick and Dirty Tips: Begging the Question

Begging the question - assuming the base or principle the consequence is built on is true.

"The USonian war against Iraq is legal because the USonian government wouldn't do anything illegal." 
(Wouldn't they?)

"The charges of physical abuse are absolutely untrue because the police would never do something like that." 
(Wouldn't they?)

"Women have a right to choose whether to have an abortion or not, therefore abortion should be allowed." 
(Do they?)

"The abortion is immoral because the unborn have a right to life." 
(Does it?)

"Affirmative Action can never be fair or just. You cannot remedy one injustice by committing another." 
(But is it an injustice?)

"Paranormal activity is real because I have experienced what can only be described as paranormal activity."
(Can it?)
- Begging the Question at Logically Fallacious

"This whole abortion debate about when human life begins is ridiculous. We should be thinking about the rights of the baby."(Do "babies" have rights? When is a baby a baby?)

John: "Why didn't you include Lorena's poetry in the student publication?" 
Anne: "Because it was judged as not sufficiently worthy of publication."

Fallacy Definitions: Begging the Question

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Logical Fallacy: Circular reasoning

The best known circular argument is "The Bible is God's Word/inerrant/The Truth, because The Bible says so".

"Free trade will be good for this country. The reason is patently clear. Isn't it obvious that unrestricted commercial relations will bestow on all sections of this nation the benefits which result when there is an unimpeded flow of goods between countries?"

"Paranormal phenomena exist because I have had experiences that can only be described as paranormal."

"If such actions were not illegal, then they would not be prohibited by the law."

"I like vanilla ice cream because it's my favorite kind."

"Ralph Nader was the best candidate for president, because he was totally better than any of the others."

"The Cubans wanted Kennedy dead, Oswald was in Cuba, therefore the Cubans hired Oswald."

Tautology is repeating things - "A is --- because A is ---"

"Sheena is a troll so everything she says is trolling"

"You have to follow the law, because it's the law."

Begging the question is related to this

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Logical Fallacy: "What sounds good must be true"

Argument By Prestigious Jargon

using big complicated words so that you will seem to be an expert.

"Fortifying the dextrose coherence leads to applicable inherence of explicable tolerance, therefore, we should not accept this proposal."

Why do people use "utilize" when they could utilize "use"?

"Bad Subjects, both the publication and the electronic mailing list, are certainly not alone in decrying the over-use of jargon and problems associated with 'difficult' 'overly intellectual' or 'obscure' language. In these venues, when jargonistic language isn't exposed as a cover-up for stupidity, or vacuousness, it has been labelled elitist and self-defeating."

Prestigious jargon is not in itself a logical fallacy. Some people really can't express themselves with simple and clear language and some people are so used to use certain words they use them everywhere. 
It is only a fallacy if the speaker chooses words she thinks the opponent doesn't understand, to confuse the opposition, or if difficult words are used to dazzle the opponent or/and the audience, and make the speaker look intelligent and as if she knows what she is talking about.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule, Appeal to Mockery, The Horse Laugh.

Because I can say it's stupid, it must be stupid or shortly, it's stupid because I say so.

Ridiculing, belittleing, mocking the argument or the opponent.

"1+1=2! That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!"

"Sure my worthy opponent claims that we should lower tuition, but that is just laughable."

"Support the ERA? Sure, when the women start paying for the drinks! Hah! Hah!"

"Those wacky conservatives! They think a strong military is the key to peace!"

"If the theory of evolution were true, that would mean that your great great great grandfather was a gorilla!"

"Nobody believes in socialism after college! Grow up!"

"Children shouldn't be given regular hearing tests, because hearing tests are stupid!"

"I imagine that someone like yourself would have no idea about how difficult this actually is."

"Supporting that cause would take several surgical trusses!"

"Those other cars look ridiculous. This is the only man's car here."

"Those clothes would make you look like a overdressed donkey."

Logical fallacy: Shifting the Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof is a fallacy in which the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side. The lack of evidence of one argument is taken as evidence of the opposite.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!"
--Carl Sagan, Astronomer

The problem here is to define where the burden of proof actually rests. In some cases the burden of proof is set by the situation.

"One is innocent until proven guilty"

In debate the burden of proof is placed on the affirmative team.

In most cases the burden of proof rests on those who initiate a claim or those with an affirmative, positive statement.

Examples of Burden of Proof

Molly: "I think that we should invest more money in expanding the interstate system.
Dolly: "I think that would be a bad idea, considering the state of the treasury.
Molly: "How can anyone be against highway improvements?"

Bill: "I think that some people have psychic powers."
Jill: "What is your proof?"
Bill: "No one has been able to prove that people do not have psychic powers."

"You cannot prove that God does not exist, so He does."

Scully: "Your sister was abducted by aliens? Mulder, that's ridiculous!" 
Mulder: "Well, until you can prove it didn't happen, you'll just have to accept it as true."

"This is one case where I like to throw my opponent's arguments back at them. If he claims, for example, that the KJV (King James' version of the Bible) is the perfect and inerrant Word of God and challenges me to prove him wrong, I will say something like: "I am God. Prove me wrong." I have been berated for this approach, accused of blasphemy, chided for being stupid, and lamented for having sunk to such depths to make a point, and so forth. But what no KJV-onlyist has yet done, is prove I am not God. So I must be."
-- Xenu

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Logical Fallacy: "ad hominem"

The most common fallacy is "ad hominem" or "argumentum ad personam". Someone's opinion, arguments, statements are invalidated because it is that someone stating it.

"As long as you act this way, don't expect anyone to take you seriously."

"I know you are not sincere and are merely trolling."

"No, the only sham is your failed intellect concerning these matters."

"I suspect you simply are spouting things you know nothing about."

"So you are still in denial"

"You don't have a single argument in that post. Nothing but facile, unargued, and incorrect assertions."

"Is that all you can say? More lies and innuendo about my "emoting"?"

" always you resort to lying"

"...once again shows our inability to distinguish between..."

"S/he is a professional disrupter."

In common language, any personal attack, regardless of whether it is part of an argument, is often referred to as ad hominem.

Personal attacks can be ad hominem fallacy:

"You can't believe Jack when he says there is a God because he doesn't even have a job."

"Charles Manson wrote this song, so it must be unlistenable".

"Candidate Jane Jones's proposal X is ridiculous. She was caught cheating on her taxes in 2003."

"What John said should not be believed because he has red hair"

But it doesn't need to be a personal attack. Circumstancial ad hominem fallacy, is when one's arguments are invalidated because the person claiming so is disposed to take that position.

"Tobacco company representatives should not be believed when they say smoking doesn't seriously affect your health, because they're just defending their own multi-million-dollar financial interests."

"He's physically addicted to nicotine. Of course he defends smoking!"

"What do you know about politics? You're too young to vote!"

"Well, he would [say that], wouldn't he?"

Ad hominem tu quoque: "you too..."

"So what if I used an ad hominem? You insulted me earlier."

"How can you tell me not to experiment with drugs when you did the same thing as a teenager?"

"Based on the arguments I have presented, it is evident that it is morally wrong to use animals for food or clothing."

"But you are wearing a leather jacket! How can you say that using animals for food and clothing is wrong!"

"I find it amusing and completely predictable that the responses here would be so vitriolic, and really nothing more than personal attacks and more empty assertions."

A reductio ad Hitlerum argument is a special case of an ad hominem argument. If Hitler said it, did it or supported it, it must be wrong, because Hitler was a bad person.
(The same way: reductio ad Nazium)

Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem fallacy, if the argument attacks a person because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument.

This form of the argument is as follows:
Person A makes claim P.
Group B also make claim P.
Therefore, person A is a member of group B.

"You say the gap between the rich and poor is unacceptable, but communists also say this, therefore you are a communist"

This fallacy can also take another form:
Person A makes claim P.
Group B make claims P and Q
Therefore, Person A makes claim Q.

"You say the gap between the rich and poor is unacceptable, but communists also say this, and they believe in revolution. Thus, you believe in revolution."

A similar tactic may be employed to encourage someone to renounce an opinion, or force them to choose between renouncing an opinion or admitting membership in a group. 
For example:
"You say the gap between the rich and poor is unacceptable. You don't really mean that, do you? Communists say the same thing. You're not a communist, are you?"

Guilt by association may be combined with ad hominem abusive. For example:
"You say the gap between the rich and poor is unacceptable, but communists also say this, and therefore you are a communist. Communists are unlikeable, and therefore everything they say is false, and therefore everything you say is false."

-- Wikipedia; Ad hominem