Logical Fallacies: Introduction

Hello! My admin name is Chivo. I am one of the new Admins here on Rationality Unleashed! and when I was added, I was asked what one of my interests were. I, like the true genius that I am, I opened my mouth and figuratively stuck my foot in it by uttering “logical fallacies”. To which I got a resounding GREAT! DO THAT! *sigh* So here we go down the rabbit hole…
Per the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe: “Even when all of the premises of an argument are reliably true, the argument may still be invalid if the logic employed is not legitimate – a so-called logical fallacy.”

Let’s let that soak in…..

You can have all the facts right and you can still be wrong? Wait,what? Yup! The way a logical argument works is A=B, B=C, therefore A=C, right? Right, except when it doesn’t.

Have I lost you yet? I doubt it. Let’s take it to the absurd to make an example: snow is white, my refrigerator is white, therefore, my refrigerator is snow. As I said, absurd. A 3 year old can tell the difference.

Let’s go to one that you probably know, but it is still subtle: Global Warming means that the Earth is warming, today it was unseasonably cold, therefore Global Warming is false. It SEEMS to be true. Both of the former statements can both be true, without a doubt. But, the conclusion is not true. By making a generalize statement about long term phenomenon (global warming) and comparing it to an extremely fleeting instance (daily weather) is a logical fallacy.

The grandfather of all logical fallacies is the non-sequitur. In Latin, this phrase means “does not follow”. And basically, once you break down any of the logical fallacies to their core, it’s a non-sequitur. The logic just does not follow. When you name a specific fallacy, you are actually just stating a subset of it. And, a way to defend against it!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this article explaining the idea of a logical fallacy as much as I had writing it. The first of the subsets (and one that I am very passionate about and you’ll see why) that I will attempt to break down will be the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

See you soon!


Contributor: Jonathan Tindell

A native Floridian living in Pennsylvania, eight year veteran of the United States Maine Corp that is in support of responsible gun control, and salesperson in the Oil and Gas industry that believes in climate change, Jonathan is almost the definition of a dichotomy.

See his full bio!

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