I’ve always found logical fallacies to be an inherently hilarious idea. I mean, think about it; they actually categorised stupidity. In fact, there’s a huge list of logical fallacies where several types of stupidity have been given their own individual names.
In the interest of helping people to avoid making stupid comments ridden with logical fallacies, I’ve composed a quick list. Remember, it’s natural to commit some logical fallacies but the more you use in an argument, the less intellectual integrity you maintain and the harder it is for anyone to take you seriously. So if you want to be “right” when arguing a point, make sure you learn these!
There’s way too many logical fallacies for me to make a comprehensive list so I’m only going to be able to mention a few common ones.
Ad hominem – Attacking your opponent’s character rather than his/her argument. “What he said is obviously incorrect since he’s ugly.”
Anecdotal fallacy – Using personal experience as proof. “One of my friends cured his cancer by jumping off a building, so I know the cure of cancer.”
Appeal to authority – Using the opinion of an authority figure to attempt to gain credibility. “It’s true because a famous person said so.”
Appeal to emotion – Attempting to gain credibility by manipulating peoples’ emotions. “Abortion is a horrific murdering of innocent children.”
Argument from ignorance – Claiming something to be true because it hasn’t been proven to be false. “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist, therefore, he must exist.”
Bandwagon fallacy – Claiming something to be true because many people believe it to be true. “Justin Bieber has lots of fans, therefore he must be a good singer.”
Burden of proof – Claiming that one person doesn’t require proof whereas the other does. “My point is obvious but yours makes no sense because you can’t prove it.”
Confirmation bias – Assuming something is true because of a few select examples. “After praying for rain one hundred times, it rained; therefore prayer works.”
Begging the question – Claiming something to be true by assuming that the preposition is true without actually proving it. “Because of creationism, evolution is obviously false.”
Circular reasoning – Using your proposition as proof for your conclusion. “I’m right because I say I’m right.”
False cause – Falsely assuming a causal effect based on a perceived relationship. “A lot of people get the flu virus when it’s cold therefore the flu virus is caused by cold.”
False dichotomy – Falsely assuming that only two possible outcomes can occur. “If it weren’t for Edison or Tesla, we would not have electricity.”
Gambler’s fallacy – Assuming that separate, independent events will affect the probability of another independent event. “Because a coin flip is 50/50 and my last flip was heads, therefore the next flip will be tails.”
Loaded questions – Proposition contains an assumption that, if answered, implies agreement. “When did you stop stealing things?”
Non sequitur – An argument in which the conclusion has no logical connection to the premise. “Because fish swim in water and water is made of H2O, therefore life was created by a cosmic turtle.”
Red Herring – Distracting somebody from a certain point with another, irrelevant point. “Well, why should I vote at all if there are other problems for me to consider? Take the war for example.”
Reductio ad Absurdum – Extending an argument to ridiculous proportions to show that it is wrong. “If we allow gay marriage, then what’s next? Animal marriage? Cross species marriage? Marriage with rocks?”
Slippery slope – Assuming that a change will cause a certain result to occur. “If abortion is allowed, people will legalise all forms of murder.”
Straw man – Misrepresenting an argument to attack it. “Evolution claims that we came from monkeys. My father definitely was not a monkey.”
Syllogistic fallacy – An argument in which the conclusion is inferred sequentially from multiple premises. “All people breathe air. All cats also breathe air. Therefore all people are cats.”
Texas Sharpshooter – Cherry picking data clusters based on their similarity and falsely assuming a connection (a type of false cause fallacy). “Statistically, sick people go to hospital and statistically, many people die in hospital, therefore hospitals cause death.”
There’s a lot more, you can Google the rest if you’re interested. An understanding of logical fallacies can help you create stronger logical arguments and pick holes at someone else’s poorly reasoned argument. It’s also a necessity for academic reasoning and writing, so it’s always good to know how to be “right”.