Logical Fallacies and Where to Find Them
This is Part Two of “How To Stop Having Political Discussions Like A Five Year Old.”. You can find the table of contents for the rest of the series here.
Let’s start here. Before we move on to more detailed problems, we need to talk a bit about your integrity. To be a bit more specific, you need to have intellectual integrity.
What do I mean by this? Well the first problem we’re going to tackle is logical fallacies. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. They are problems in your logic that makes your reasoning incorrect. However, many people commit these logical mistakes in order to make an argument more persuasive to the everyman. For those who are super interested in solid logic, they will often call you out on these fallacies. You may even heard of some of them from time to time, specifically:
Ad Hominem: Attacking a person’s character instead of their argument (IE libtard, snowflake, fascist, racist).
Begging The Question: Creating a circular argument, where your premise proves your conclusion, but your premise requires your conclusion to be true. (IE The Bible is true, because it is God’s word. We know that the Bible is God’s word, because the Bible says so.)
Slippery Slope: Claiming that allowing one thing will lead to other more exaggerated versions of that thing. (Allowing LGBT people to marry will lead to people wanting to marry animals? Ludicrous!)
For a more complete list, you can check out this super cool website (and maybe even buy a poster for reference next time you’re having a discussion).
So to the point, what does this have to do with integrity? Well, the way that I think about fallacies is to compare them to cheating at a game. Logic has a set of rules, very similar to playing a game with your friends. Sure, you can choose to be sneaky and avoid all the rules, and if you’re not caught, maybe you will win.
This is where integrity comes in. If you play a game, and that game has a set of rules, when you break those rules, you have not won the game. You may have that W tallied on your record, but we both know that you didn’t beat your opponent. You played unfairly, by your own set of rules, and honestly, you should feel shame about that.
In the same vain, there may be arguments that you win by using logical fallacies. In fact, since there is a lot of America who has become disinterested in critical thinking, you might win a lot of discussions this way. But, you and I will know that you didn’t win. You broke the rules of logic, and your argument is invalid.
To be direct: Have some damn integrity.
Now, that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s delve into how you’re currently cheating, and what you need to do to start playing the game by the proper rules. I’ll try to keep the fancy terms to a minimum going forward, while also hitting on the basics of logical fallacies.
Let’s delve in.