Friday, April 27, 2012

Fallacy du jour

For fun (in the loosest sense) I thought I'd post a couple of logical fallacy definitions regularly for a while as a kind of mini-series.

What prompted this was a business meeting I attended yesterday which, in my utter boredom I played a little game of logical fallacy bingo (in my head), it was actually quite fun so I thought I'd throw it out there as a suggested way of getting through those interminable ego-feasts that pass for management meetings in companies these days.

So today we have a couple of classics, you're bound to hear these two in any business meeting (lasting more than a minute!)

The STRAWMAN - Misrepresenting someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.

By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone's argument, it's much easier to present your own position as being reasonable or valid, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine rational debate. After Will said that we should put more money into health and education, Warren responded by saying that he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenceless by cutting military spending.

The BANDWAGON - Appealing to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation.

The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity. If it did, then the Earth would have made itself flat for most of history to accommodate people’s popular belief. Shamus pointed a drunken finger at Sean and asked him to explain how so many people could believe in leprechauns if they’re only a silly old superstition. Sean, however, had had a few too many Guinness himself and fell off his chair.

More to follow...

No comments: