Monday, April 30, 2012

Mondays fallacies are fair of face

Here's a couple of new logical fallacies to help with games of "Fallacy bingo" (TM), today we have two really common ones,

The AD-HOMINEM - Attacking your opponent’s character or personal traits instead of engaging with their argument.

Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone without actually having to engage with their argument. After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

APPEAL TO AUTHORITY - Using the opinion or position of an authority figure, or institution of authority, in place of an actual argument.

Much of the time experts have better information and understanding than others, but holding a position of authority doesn't necessarily mean that someone is right. After all, the highest medical authorities used to think that bleeding people was a good general cure for sickness. Not able to defend his position that evolution ‘isn’t true’ Bob says that he knows a scientist who also questions evolution (and presumably isn’t a primate).

More to follow...


Chairman Bill said...

Are you sure you're not doing an analysis of the Daly Mail here?

Chairman Bill said...

Or the House of Commons?

Steve Borthwick said...

Actually CB it's compulsory to use logical fallacies when you're in in Government, otherwise you get labelled as a trouble maker..