Friday, May 18, 2012

Final fallacy

The final instalment in my fallacy series today, hopefully you have found it as thought provoking as I have. The slippery slope is so common that it has entered into common language and is often used as a warning, "don't smoke, it's a slippery slope to much harder drugs". To finish I've selected perhaps the most telling fallacy, i.e. just because something is a fallacy it still doesn't prove that it's not true, the only way to discover that in any kind of satisfying way is by examining the evidence and using reason.

SLIPPERY SLOPE - Asserting that if we allow A to happen, then Z will consequently happen too, therefore A should not happen.

The problem with this reasoning is that it avoids engaging with the issue at hand, and instead shifts attention to baseless extreme hypotheticals. The merits of the original argument are then tainted by unsubstantiated conjecture. Colin Closet asserts that if we allow same-sex couples to marry, then the next thing we know we’ll be allowing people to marry their parents, their cars and Bonobo monkeys.

FALLACY FALLACY - Presuming that because a claim has been poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made, that it is necessarily wrong.

There are few things more frustrating than watching someone poorly argue a position one holds. Much of the time a debate is won not because the victor is right, but because s/he is better at debating than their opponent. Recognising that Amanda had committed a fallacy in arguing that we should eat healthy food because it was popular, Alyse resolved to eat bacon double cheeseburgers every day.

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