- Which of the fallacies described in this chapter have you heard/seen used the most often? In what kind of situations have you heard the fallacy used?
- I have heard / seen he Ad Hominem and Red Herring fallacy the most. Often when in arguments, people will target the individual instead of the actual information that is at hand. When talking about politics or right and wrong situations I tend to see people use Ad Hominem. As for Red Herring, I often see this in suspense novels to make the reader think one thing and mislead them to the conclusion.
- Describe a time when you may have used one of these fallacies (either consciously or subconsciously) to argue your point of view. How did the person you were talking with respond?
- When arguing my point to family members, I often use Red Herring to try to change the subject when I either find myself wrong or not wanting to try to argue my point anymore. Depending on who I am with, some people will catch me trying to change the subject through Red Herrings, but others won’t notice and they will drift to the other subject without noticing.
- Identify the fallacies in the following passage: Slippery Slope & Appeal to Questioning Authority
There has been a dangerous trend of states’ legalizing gay marriage as of late. It’s apparent that the gay agenda has infiltrated the legislative bodies of these states and has influenced the legislatures into passing laws that allow gay marriage. The liberal media and its glorification of gay marriage have certainly played a part as well. These laws destroy the traditional morals of this great nation.
Despite the trend, several politicians still agree that gay marriage is an affront to America’s traditions and values. If America allows gay marriage, it’s only a matter of time before this nation allows other nontraditional relationships, such as polygamy or incest. Marriage has always been a sacred institution between a man and a woman and should remain that way. Otherwise, it’s inevitable that the morals of the American people will fall by the wayside.
- Identify the fallacies in the following passage: Appealing to Emotions & Slippery Slope & Red Herring
Fraternity members who hold college parties are unfairly depicted in the media because of overreactions to a few cases where fights or sexual assaults have occurred at a fraternity party. Only an idiot would ban fraternity parties on campus. Most of the complaints about fraternity parties come from antisocial loners, people who hate parties in the first place. I’ve held several fraternity parties with alcohol available and nothing has ever gone wrong. Clearly placing some kind of ban or regulation on fraternity parties on campus would be a pointless action. I have seen other parties off campus that were not held by fraternities where assaults happened. Once administrators ban fraternity parties, their next step will be to ban any sort of social event on campus where alcohol is permitted.
- Choose one of the passages above and make three suggestions for how the argument could be stronger.
- For both passages above, I suggest that people don’t jump to conclusions as fast, backing up your evidence adds strength to your arguments and use statements that are direct and honest.