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B-List Fallacies

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There are many fallacies that are rarely seen, not really fallacies, or otherwise just unworthy of my time to fully explain and your time to read and understand.  If these fallacies were celebrities, some of them might be invited to the Oscars, but most of them would be found on Hollywood Squares.  But, in order for this book to be the greatest collection of fallacies, I do feel the need to at least list them.    Having said that, this list is worth a quick read through -- just like Hollywood Squares can sometimes be entertaining to watch.

  • Abductive Fallacy: The fallacy of applying an inadequate simulation methodology to a given simulation task.
  • Accent Fallacy (fallacy of prosody): Like equivocation, changing the meaning of the same word, but by where you put the accent.
  • Amazing Familiarity: The argument contains information that seems impossible to have obtained -- like an omniscient author.
  • Ambiguity Effect: The tendency to avoid unknown options over ones that are explained, no matter how improbable.
  • Ambiguous Assertion: An unclear statement is made that could have multiple meanings, but is not used multiple times like amphiboly.
  • Appeal to Closure (a more specific form of argument from ignorance): Accepting evidence on the basis of wanting closure -- or to be done with the issue.
  • Appeal to Coincidence: Failure to acknowledge clear reasons behind an effect.
  • Appeal to Complexity: Concluding that just because you don’t understand the argument, nobody can.
  • Appeal to Convenience: Accepting an argument because its conclusion is convenient, not necessarily true.
  • Appeal to Luck (good or bad luck): Failure to acknowledge clear reasons behind an effect.
  • Appeal to Envy (Argumentum ad invidiam): Attempting to persuade by making one envious, rather than by evidence.
  • Appeal to Equality: An assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality.
  • Appeal to Intuition: Concluding that because a proposition does not match one's experience of how things work in general, or one believes they should work, then that proposition is false.
  • Appeal to Privacy: Refusing to open a topic for discussion because it is deemed “private”, thus by default acceptable.  Sometimes referred to as the Mind Your Own Business Fallacy.
  • Appeal to Stupidity: Attempting to get the audience to devalue reason and intellectual discourse.
  • Appeal to Utility: (see Appeal to Convenience)
  • Argument by Dismissal: An argument is rejected without saying why.
  • Argument by Laziness: Making an argument without bothering collecting support for the claims being made.
  • Argument by Pigheadedness: While not really an argument, or much of a fallacy, it is a refusal to accept a well-proven argument for one of many reasons related to stubbornness.
  • Argument by Rhetorical Question: Setting up questions in such a way to get the answers you are looking for.  This is more of a form of rhetoric than a fallacy.
  • Argument by Selective Reading: When an series of arguments or claims is made, and the opponent acts as if the weakest argument was the best one made.
  • Argument by Uninformed Opinion: (see Argument by Laziness)
  • Argument from Design: Assuming because something looks designed, it must be designed.  This fallacy originates from a belief that intelligent design is the only possible source of apparent design, ignoring evolution by random mutation and natural selection.
  • Argument from Inertia: More of a bias than a fallacy.  The tendency to stick with an incorrect argument or belief system despite realizing he or she is most likely wrong, just because admitting he or she were wrong would be too painful.
  • Argument from Omniscience: (see Amazing Familiarity)
  • Argument To The Future: Arguing that someday, evidence will be discovered to justify your conclusion.
  • Argumentum ad Captandum: Any specious or unsound argument that is likely to win popular acceptance.
  • Argumentum ad Exemplum (Argument to the Example): Arguing against a particular example cited rather than the question itself.
  • Barking Cat: Demanding that a problem should not be solved before other, more important problems are solved.
  • Big Lie Technique: Repeating a lie, slogan or deceptive half-truth over and over until people believe it without further proof or evidence.
  • Blood is Thicker than Water (Favoritism): Assuming truth because of a close connection with the one making the statement.
  • Bribery (Material Persuasion, Material Incentive, Financial Incentive): Paying someone to agree with your position, or accepting payment to agree.
  • Burden of Proof Fallacy (onus probandi, shifting the): Placing the burden of proof on the wrong side of the argument.
  • Chronological Snobbery: Thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present.
  • Confesses Under Torture: Assuming what one confesses under torture must be true.
  • Contextomy: A quote or other text taken out of context and used to mean something it wasn’t mean to mean.
  • Damning with Faint Praise: To attack a person by formally praising him, but for an achievement that shouldn't be praised.
  • Double Bind: Setting up a situation in which no matter what the person does or answers, he or she is wrong.
  • Double Standard: Judging two situations by different standards when in fact you should be using the same standard -- often done for selfish purposes.
  • Emphasis Fallacy: (see Accent Fallacy)
  • Essentializing Fallacy: It is what it is and it will always be that way.
  • Exaggeration: Not accurately representing the truth -- not quite a fallacy, but worth a listing on the B-list.
  • Exception That Proves The Rule: Exceptions to rules are evidence against rule, never for the rules.
  • Failure to State: Never actually stating a position on the topic, rather constantly being on the attack or asking questions.  This protects the person from attack.
  • Fallacy of Multiplication: Including more causes that are ultimately irrelevant.
  • Fallacy of Opposition: Asserting that those who disagree with you must be wrong and not thinking straight, primarily based on the fact that they are the opposition.
  • Fallacy of Quoting Out of Context: (see Contextonmy)
  • Fallacy of the Crucial Experiment: Claiming some idea has been proved by a pivotal discovery.
  • Fantasy Projection: Confusing subjective experiences, usually very emotionally charged, with objective realities, then suggesting or demanding that others accept the fantasy as truth.
  • Faulty Sign: Incorrectly assumes that one event or phenomenon is a reliable indicator or predictor of another event or phenomenon.
  • Finish the Job Fallacy: Ignoring reason and insisting that one must, “finish the job” or “finish what we started”, thinking the “job” is more important than the reason for completing or stopping the job.
  • God Wildcard Fallacy*: Excuses a contradiction in logic or reason by “divine mystery.”   The God wildcard comes in many forms, and is played when honest questioning leads to absurd or illogical conclusions.
  • Golden Hammer Fallacy: Proposing the same type of solution to different types of problems.
  • Hifalutin' Denunciations:  Denouncing an argument or opponent with vague, pretentious, and grand-sounding generalized accusations.
  • I Wish I Had a Magic Wand: Erroneously proclaiming oneself powerless to change a bad or objectionable situation, thinking there is no alternative.
  • In a Certain Respect and Simply: Take an attribute that is bound to a certain area and assume that it can be applied to a wider domain than was originally intended.
  • Intentional Fallacy: The problem inherent in trying to judge a work of art by assuming the intent or purpose of the artist who created it.
  • Invincible Ignorance Fallacy: Basically, just a refusal to argue.  Not accepting any evidence.
  • Knights and Knaves: Treating information coming from other persons as if it were always right or always wrong, based on the person.
  • Lack of Proportion: Exaggerating or downplaying evidence important in the argument.  Extreme cases could actually be a form of suppressed evidence.
  • Latino Fallacy*: The misconception that an argument, fallacy, or claim that has a Latin translation is more likely to apply than if it didn’t.
  • Lies (Misrepresentation): Not a fallacy, but important in reasoning not to overlook the fact that many arguments may contain outright lies.  Keep this in mind.
  • Lip Service: Pretending to agree when it's clear that you don't really agree.
  • Lump of Labor Fallacy (Lump of Jobs Fallacy): The contention that the amount of work available to laborers is fixed.  This can be debatable, depending on the economist asked.
  • Mind Projection Fallacy: Coined by physicist and Bayesian philosopher E.T. Jaynes, the mind projection fallacy occurs when one believes with certainty that the way he sees the world reflects the way the world really is.
  • Monopolizing the Question: Asking a question and then immediately giving the answer, in a way “forcing” your answer on the audience.
  • Norm of Reciprocity: A technique used to exploit people's natural tendency to want to repay debts.  In an argument, one may give into a point causing an unwarranted concession from the other side, out of the desire to repay the favor.
  • Not Invented Here: Ideas and arguments are not evaluated equally if they come from outside a social sphere.
  • Outdated Information: If outdated information is used in an argument, it would technically be more of an error in the truth of the premises than in reason, but be aware of this when doing your fact checking.
  • Packing the House: Filling the audience with friends, shills, or others who will cheer incessantly after you speak or make an argument, badger your opponent, and otherwise make for an unfair environment that will make your arguments appear much stronger and your opponent’s much weaker. Related to Pomp and Circumstance.
  • Paralogism: Can generally refer to any fallacious or illogical argument.
  • Paralysis of Analysis (Procrastination): Reasoning that since all data is never in, no legitimate decision can ever be made and any action should always be delayed until forced by circumstances.
  • Pigeonholing: A term used to describe processes that attempt to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories.  This usually covers a wide variety of more specific fallacies.
  • Pious Fraud: A fraud done for a good end, on the theory that the end justifies the means.
  • Pragmatic Fallacy: (see Appeal to Convenience)
  • Preacher’s We: To veil accusations of others by saying, “We” or, “Us” when you really mean “You”.
  • Probabilistic Fallacy: When inferences from the premises to the conclusion violate the laws of probability.
  • Psychologist's Fallacy: A fallacy that occurs when an observer presupposes the universality of his or her own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event.
  • Redefinition: Redefining a term, usually to make it fit your argument better.  For example, “Nothingness: That which only God can create something from.”
  • Reductionism: This is more of a philosophy than a fallacy, although those who don’t subscribe to the philosophy will often refer to it as a fallacy.  It is reducing things to the interaction of their parts.  For example, if one claims we are just biochemistry, then those who believe we are also a “soul” will consider this claim a fallacy.
  • Sanctioning the Devil: Avoiding debate with someone because debating him would give him undue credit.  Really not a fallacy, but can be considered one by the flat-earther you are refusing to debate.
  • Scope Fallacy: There are many specific fallacies detailed in this book that fit the under the category of “scope fallacy”.  These have to do mostly with ambiguity.
  • Self-Deception: The process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The process of prophesying will itself produce the effect that is prophesied, but the reasoner doesn't recognize this and believes the prophecy is a significant insight.
  • Self-Righteousness: Assuming that just because your intentions are good, you have the truth or facts on your side.
  • Sherlock Holmes Fallacy: Remember that Sherlock Homes was a fictional character, even if based on a real one.  His method of deduction was often stated as, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.  There are many flaws with this method in real life.
  • Sly Suggestions: Suggesting that your ideas may be true without making solid statements that can be proven wrong.  “You may be our next millionaire! Just subscribe to this service and you will find out if you are or not.”
  • Snow Job: “Proving” a claim by overwhelming an audience with mountains of irrelevant facts, numbers, documents, graphs and statistics that they cannot be expected to understand.
  • Sour Grapes: Denigrating something just because you can’t have it.
  • Spin Doctoring: Presenting information in a usually deceptive way to get people to interpret the information how you want them to.
  • Taboo: Refusing to critically examine a belief or argument because it’s not acceptable to do so, for whatever reason.  This is the refusal to reason.
  • Tautology: Using different words to say the same thing, even if the repetition does not provide clarity. Tautology can also refer to a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because the statements depend on the assumption that they are already correct (a form of begging the question).
  • There Is No Alternative: Discouraging critical thought by announcing that there is no realistic alternative to a given standpoint, status or action, ruling any and all other options irrelevant, or announcing that a decision has been made and any further discussion is simply a waste of time (or even insubordination or disloyalty).
  • Too Broad: The definition includes items which should not be included.
  • Too Narrow: The definition does not include all the items which should be included.
  • Undoability: Claiming something is not possible rather than you (or someone else) cannot do it.
  • Weasel Wording: Using ambiguous words in order to mislead or conceal a truth: “Save up to 50% or more!”
  • Word Magic: Assuming just because there is a word for it, it must exist.

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