To reduce complicated questions, which can be effectively answered in multiple different ways, to only two, diametrically opposed, possible answers.

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1 LOGICAL FALLACIES 1. Scare Tactics To reduce complicated issues to simple threats or to exaggerate a possible danger well beyond its actual likelihood. Example: Because of the possibility of a terrorist hijacking or a mechanical failure, flying on a plane is too dangerous and should be avoided altogether. Example: Because of the possibility of poisoning of Halloween candy by some people who give it out to trick-or-treaters, communities should ban trick-or-treating. 2. Either/Or Choices To reduce complicated questions, which can be effectively answered in multiple different ways, to only two, diametrically opposed, possible answers. Example: Either you support the President in everything he says and does or you are not a patriotic American. 3. Slippery Slope To greatly exaggerate the supposedly inevitable future consequences of an action by suggesting one small step will initiate a process that will necessarily lead the way to a much bigger result. Example: If you restrict my right to say whatever I want anywhere I want however I want this is the beginning of totalitarianism in America. 4. Bandwagon Appeals Suggesting that simply because a lot of others are doing it, you should too. Example: Everyone else is displaying a flag, or a support our troops sticker on their car; therefore, you should too. Example: Everyone else is going out and getting fish tacos tonight, so you should too.

2 5. Appeals to False Authority Suggesting that you should listen and follow what someone has to say about something that he or she is in fact not a credible, reliable authority on. Example: Britney Spears says that the president has a great plan for the economy, and so therefore I am supporting him because I trust what she has to say. 6. Moral Equivalence Proposing that because some people act a certain way, than everyone else has the right to do so too. Example: If governments are going to impose restrictions on smoking for health reasons then they must impose the same restrictions on drinking and eating of fatty foods. 7. Ad Hominem Arguments Attacking the character of a person rather than engaging with the claim, reasons, and evidence she or he is setting forth. Example: In listening to what you have to say I have this to say in reply: only an idiot would argue for pursuing a peaceful solution to this conflict. Example: Here s what I think about what you have written: anyone who opposes the death penalty for murder is a criminal at heart. 8. Poisoning the Well Present an argument is such an emotionally dishonest and manipulative way that it is virtually impossible to respond without seeming to look dishonest or immoral one s self. Example: Of course, this liar will tell you that he didn t steal my stuff. You can t believe a thief. Go ahead and ask him. He ll deny it. 9. Guilt by Association Arguing that all members of a group are like some other members of that group, or are responsible for what those others have done. Example: Those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 were Muslims; therefore, all Muslims are potential terrorist threats to the United States.

3 10. Faulty Causality The faulty assumption that because one event follows another, the second necessarily causes the first. Example:The administration closed the smoking court in our school at the end of last year, and fights among students have gone down this year; therefore, closing the smoking court caused the reduction in fights among students. Example:Bill bleached his hair blonde last week, and this week three other guys at the same school did the same; therefore the latter all changed their hair color because Bill did. 11. Begging the Question Assuming as true the very claim that is disputed, in a circular argument Example:I can t be guilty of embezzlement; I m an honest person. Example: You can t give me a C; I m an A student. 12. Equivocation An argument that gives a lie an honest appearance, by insisting on what is only partially or formally true. Example: I gave you everything I had to give you (right then and there when you asked me, but not of course everything I could have given you if I took into account what I maintain elsewhere). 13. Non Sequitur An argument which leaves out a necessary portion in a logical sequence, seeming to suggest a logical connection when in fact one does not exist. Example: American students' relatively poor performance in foreign language and geography examinations means that they should be subjected to regular standardized tests in these two areas each year throughout their mandatory period of schooling. Example: She is a feminist; she must hate men.

4 14. Appeal to Ignorance Suggesting your argument is won simply because it has not, to your mind at least, been convincingly refuted. Example:No one has ever convincingly proven that U.F.O.s don t exist; therefore, they do. 15. Faulty Analogy Drawing an analogy that is based upon faulty equations or identifications of terms. Example: It has been scientifically proven that people need to drink a certain amount of water every day to keep healthy. Water is a liquid and so is soda. Therefore people should be able to substitute beer for water, drinking as much beer each day as doctors recommend people drink water, in order to keep healthy. Example: Students in Kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary School did better when given milk and cookies in class than when not; therefore students at UWEC will do better too if they are given milk and cookies in class. 16. Red Herring Drawing attention away from the issue at hand by focusing on an irrelevant issue as a substitute for making a case. Example: You can t trust Jim to do a good job as student body president; he doesn t dress with an up-to-date sense of style. Example: I don t support the President s foreign policy; look at the disastrous way he has taken care of our domestic economy. 21. Loaded Question Question thrown out in argumentation that actually is more than one question blended into one, making it difficult to answer without seeming to confirm part of a charge against you. Example: Have you ever stopped beating your wife? Example: Have you always been incapable of speaking intelligently?

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