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Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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Martin Smyth

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Martin Smyth


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About Martin Smyth

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#fallacy
#namethisfallacy
#whatfallacyisthis
Sat, Aug 31, 2019 - 10:37 AM

Is there a logical fallacy in the following statement?

I feel like person B's statement is a fallacy but I can't figure it out, first thing to pop into my mind is a red herring but I'm not sure.

Person A: "We should question the results of a vote when it's possible that the vote has been tainted."

Person B: "There is no point in questioning the results of a vote since we'd have to question the results of every vote in living memory."



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Martin Smyth

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Print Sun, Sep 01, 2019 - 08:46 AM
I want to thank all of you for your responses, still pretty new to fallacies and from first glance, I kept thinking it was a red herring as it is alluding, but again thank you all and if I could upvote I would, but I need more points for that.


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Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

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Michael Chase Walker

Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

About Michael Chase Walker

Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Print Sat, Aug 31, 2019 - 10:45 AM
From Dr. Bo's Logically Fallacious:

Slippery Slope
(also known as absurd extrapolation, thin edge of the wedge, camel's nose, domino fallacy)

Description: When a relatively insignificant first event is suggested to lead to a more significant event, which in turn leads to a more significant event, and so on, until some ultimate, significant event is reached, where the connection of each event is not only unwarranted but with each step it becomes more and more improbable. Many events are usually present in this fallacy, but only two are actually required -- usually connected by “the next thing you know...”

Logical Form:

If A, then B, then C, ... then ultimately Z!
Example #1:

We cannot unlock our child from the closet because if we do, she will want to roam the house. If we let her roam the house, she will want to roam the neighborhood. If she roams the neighborhood, she will get picked up by a stranger in a van, who will sell her in a sex slavery ring in some other country. Therefore, we should keep her locked up in the closet.
Explanation: In this example, it starts out with reasonable effects to the causes. For example, yes, if the child is allowed to go free in her room, she would most likely want to roam the house -- 95% probability estimate[1]. Sure, if she roams the house, she will probably want the freedom of going outside, but not necessarily “roaming the neighborhood”, but let’s give that a probability of say 10%. Now we start to get very improbable. The chances of her getting picked up by a stranger (.05%) in a van (35%) to sell her into sex slavery (.07%) in another country (40%) is next to nothing when you do all the math:

.95 x .10 x .0005 x .35 x .0007 x .4 = about 1 in 25,000,000.

Morality and legality aside, is it really worth it to keep a child locked in a closet based on those odds?


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

Moderator

About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Sat, Aug 31, 2019 - 10:52 AM
I am being a bit pedantic, but

Person A: "We should question the results of a vote when it's possible that the vote has been tainted."

Via a reductio, it is possible that any vote has been tainted, so therefore, we must question the results of every vote. Either this is a absurd or it is meaningless, in that it would just be more clear to say "we should question the results of all elections."

Now to your question,

Person B: "There is no point in questioning the results of a vote since we'd have to question the results of every vote in living memory."

In one sense, they are alluding to what I had said. This means that all votes could be tainted. Their error is that just because all votes (past, present, and future) could be tainted, it doesn't follow that there is no point in questioning the results of any given vote. The general fallacy is the non-sequitur. Perhaps more specifically, this would be the Nirvana Fallacy. The ideal solution might very well be to question every vote in history, but since that it an impossible task (practically speaking), we can't ignore that questioning any one election would be good enough or at least an improvement.
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William Harpine, Ph.D.

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William Harpine, Ph.D.


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Print Sat, Aug 31, 2019 - 11:10 AM
Agree w/ Mr Walker and Dr. Bo.

Anyone with serious intellectual skills knows that we can and should question anything that needs to be questioned. That doesn't mean that we should be paranoid, just that we shouldn't accept all accepted wisdom at face value. Peace to all.

Good question, Martin Smyth!


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DrBill
Thursday, September 05, 2019 - 10:18:22 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I threw my reply on your behalf,DrBo. imo the issue is one of beneficence vs probability

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