Logical fallacies are arguments that don’t work They seem convincing, but fail under close examination What do logical fallacies do? Oversimplify Assume Fail to provide evidence Make jumps in logic Divert attention from the real issues OVERALL: They damage your ethos Imagine you’re a reader with an opposing view What points would you criticize? Bad words: always, never, and everyone Sweeping generalizations lead to overstating a case Generalization. A conclusion about an entire group based on a sample that’s neither large enough nor truly representative. Having met several Texans, I can tell you that they are all outgoing. Non sequitur. No clear connection between a conclusion and its support. Latin for “it does not follow.” Congress will surely approve the education bill, since they already passed the voting reform bill. Rabbits are a symbol of the American Dream because Lennie and George work on a ranch. Forced Hypothesis. The explanation is forced because there’s not enough evidence. It often ignores alternative explanations or counter-arguments. Ex. Everyone clapped after Sophia’s recital, so she must be an excellent pianist. Slippery Slope. You cannot permit something because it leads to extreme consequences. Ex. If we allow the government to legalize marijuana, it will next legalize cocaine and heroin. Before long, our kids will all be addicted to hard drugs. Begging the Question or Circular Reasoning. The claims of an argument assume the conclusion is true. Ex. Using a cell phone while driving is hazardous, so it should be completely outlawed. ▪ This argument doesn’t offer proof that driving while using a phone is dangerous, but simply asserts that it is and expects readers to agree. Red Herring. An irrelevant topic is introduced, diverting attention from the relevant debate. Ex. The government cannot begin to improve education until it balances the budget. Straw Man. An argument that distorts the opposition. Ex. People who oppose this education bill want us to go back to the age of one-room school houses. Obviously, we live in a different era. ▪ The author exaggerates the opposing side’s position, creating a “straw man.” A man made of straw is easy to defeat. Ad Populum. An argument that appeals to an audience’s presumed shared values. Latin for “to the people.” Ex. As good Texans, we want what’s best for our beloved state, which is why we can all agree that Cowboy Bob is the best candidate for governor.