July 28, 2016

Logical Fallacies, Facebook Style

Every day, I notice logical fallacies on Facebook. In fact, if you combined Facebook and Twitter feeds, and you had only a moderate amount of friends (let's say....400 - 600 each), I think you would have a decent chance of illustrating every major logical fallacy within 60 minutes...perhaps within 30. I use examples from my feed below, and definitions from: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

Let's see - looking at my Facebook feed for the past hour, we have:

What do we have here? How about the following possibilities:

1. Genetic fallacy - "Judging something good or bad on the basis of where it comes from, or from whom it comes." Christianity's religious laws include: "Thou shalt not kill," and "Thou shalt not steal" and so on. But, because those are religious laws, and Christians believe they should be included in the laws of the land, apparently, that places them in the same camp as ISIS.

2. Appeal to emotion - "Manipulating an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument." ISIS is bad - they want their beliefs to be law. You also want your beliefs to be laws, therefore you are as bad as ISIS.

3. Or, Reducto ad Hitlerum, updated.

Note how none of these deal with careful arguments, presenting evidence, etc. Returning to the Facebook feed, we find:

Strawman - "You misrepresented someone's argument to make it easier to attack." The Church does not argue that being a lesbian is a sin. Sin is all about action - sex with someone of the same sex, and to whom you are not married, is sinful, provided it meets other criteria.

And from the feed:

        "Report: Trump to create super-PACs to attack Cruz, Kasich"

        Comment: If this is true, this man is beyond a doubt filled with the impulses of a tyrant

1. See aforementioned "appeal to emotion."

2. Genetic Fallacy - Since lots of politicians form PACs to accomplish the tasks of attacking their competition, this cannot uniquely shows Trump to be a tyrant. Unless, of course, many politicians are tyrants...in which case this is not genetic fallacy.

These are but a few of the examples I have encountered today....

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