Below is work in progress. Still collecting and organising.
Problems with answer the question
Attack the person (ad hominem)
- "He's a Biologist, not a Climatologist, so what he says about Global Warming is wrong"
- "You can't argue for vegetarianism and wear leather shoes" (tu quoque)
- "But last year you argued the opposite! How can we believe you now?" (tu quoque)
- "Of course you think Yokohama is best. You're from Yokohama!" (circumstance)
Change or simplify the argument to make it easier to attack (strawman)
Bob: "We should do a study abroad to learn about other cultures"
Fred: "Bob said that knowing Japanese culture alone is not enough. I disagree…."
Ad Hoc rescue (No true Scotsman)
Bob: All Japanese people eat rice
Hiro: I'm Japanese, and I hate rice. So you're wrong.
Bob: No TRUE Japanese person hates rice.
Relativist Fallacy (subjectivist fallacy)
"I'm entitled to my own opinion"
"I don't have to eat vegetables. My blood type is A"
"When did you stop cheating on your homework?"
"Criminals do not obey gun laws. So we should not have gun laws"
Fallacy of the Middle Ground/ Golden Mean/Moderation:
"London is in England. You think it is in Japan. Let's agree that it's near India. "
"You say we need a 100% cut in nuclear weapons. I say 0%. How about 50%?
False Choice / False Dichotomy / False Dilemma / Excluded Middle:
"If you're not with us, you're against us"
"Either quit your part-time job and study more, or quit University and get a job"
Causation and Sampling
Begging the Question
- (conclusion included in question) (petitio principii)
- BQ: "Labelling products with nutritional information will help people eat better"
"Milk makes me sleepy because it has a soporific quality"
He's good at sports because he's an athlete.
It's illegal because it's against the law
(assuming only one explanation, ignoring other causes or common causes)
Bananas are shaped like they are so humans can eat them
"If we let gay people marry, next people will be marrying their pets"
Confusing Cause and effectw
You might hear people say: Correlation is not causation
Panda populations are decreasing. Temperature are doing up. Pandas cool the world. (Ignoring common cause)
(Denying the antecedent)
(Affirming the Consequent)
- "I started sneezing when I saw her, so she must have given me a cold" (cum hoc)
- "I started sneezing after I saw her, so she must have given me a cold" (post hoc)
Bad sampling / Hasty generalisation
You might hear people say: "the plural of anecdote is not data"
- "My grandfather smoked every day and lived to be 114, so smoking must be OK"
- "Electronics companies are evil. Look at Apple in China."
- "90% of people asked by email, said that email was useful"
- "Crime is going up in Japan, as can be seen from all the news reports" (Spotlight)
Confirmation Bias (accidental - when deliberate, "Cherry Picking")
- 1000 articles that say yes, one that says no, and you only read the "no".
Composition (nature of a part is the nature of the whole):
- "My computer is made of cheap silicon and metal, so it should be cheap."
- "Vaccines contain a compound of mercury. Mercury is dangerous. So vaccines are dangerous"
Division (nature of the whole is the nature of the part)
- "You like ketchup, so you must like tomatoes!"
Undistributed middle / Ambiguity:
- Evolution is a theory. Theory is not fact. Therefore evolution is not true.
Appeals to Bad Evidence
Appeal to Authority:
- "As Einstein said...."
- "9 out of 10 doctors smoke Camels"
- "They say that..." (Appeal to Anonymous authority)
Appeal to nature:
- "We shouldn't inoculate babies, because the ingredients are not natural."
Appeal to Emotion
- Fear: "If we don't act now, immigrants will take our jobs"
- Flattery: "Intelligent people like yourselves already know that
- Ridicule: "What kind of idiot would believe that?"
- Pity: "You should give him an A. His dog is sick."
- Spite: "He didn't vote for me, so I won't vote for him"
Appeal to Consequences / Wishful Thinking (ad consequentiam)
- "If that were true, then I would be sad. So it's now true"
- "If that were true, I wouldn't be able to sleep. So it's not true"
Appeal to confusion
- "I don't understand how magnets work, so all science is suspect"
- "The eye is too complicated a structure to have evolved"
Appeal to unconnected quality
- "It's more expensive/newer, so it's better"
- Appeal to Belief: "Most people think that carrots improve eyesight"
- Appeal to Popularity: "Most people agree we should reduce immigration"
- Appeal to Common Practice "Most people smoke - it must be ok"
- Appeal to Tradition: "It has always been done that way"
- Bandwagon: "All my friends would laugh at me if I said I believed that"
Burden of Proof (ad ignorantiam)
You might hear people say: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
- "Prove it! You can't, can you?"
- "There is no evidence that psychic powers do not exist"
- "The tests didn't find anything, so you're not sick"
Genetic Fallacy / Guilt by Association
- "My dad told me, so it must be true"
- "I don't believe it - it was on TV, and everything on TV is a lie"
- "The manufacturer paid for this investigation, so it cannot be believed"
- "How can you be a vegetarian? Hitler was a vegetarian!"
Red Herring (irrelevant topic)
Poisoning the well
- "By the way, don't listen to anything he says. He's being paid to say it"
- "I've rolled three sixes in a row. The next one will not be a six."
Lying and suppressing evidence
- "That's a fallacy, so it can't be true!"
- "We should vaccinate children, because anti-vaccine writers' arguments are flawed"
Further reading on Fallacies