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Appeal to the Moon

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(also known as: bad analogy [form of])

Description: Using the argument, “If we can put a man on the moon, we could...” as evidence for the argument.

Logical Form:

If we can put a man on the moon, we can X.

Example #1:

If we can put a man on the moon, we can cure all forms of cancer.

Explanation: This is a form of a weak analogy.  Putting a man on the moon is seen to be a virtually impossible task, but since we did it, the (faulty) reasoning is we can then do any virtually impossible task.  Remember that mere possibility is not the same as probability.  These kinds of arguments are not suggesting mere possibility, but probability, based on the fact that we succeeded getting a man on the moon.

Example #2:

If NASA can put a man on the moon, you can certainly sleep with me tonight.

Explanation: This is an even worse analogy, taking the “we” out that the analogy had in common, and replacing it with “NASA” and “you”.  Now, it really makes no sense in the least bit, but I bet that someone, somewhere, will be convinced by it.

Exception: If the argument is for getting a man on the moon again, then this would work.

If we can put a man on the moon in 1969, we can do it today.

Tip: Believe in the possible -- just don’t count on it unless it is probable.



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