Fallacy Examples

April 19, 2007 at 1:15 pm | Posted in interesting (to moose) | 3 Comments

I found this list in the comments of a post over at The Dilbert Blog.

I find that on many websites that explain logical fallacies the examples used get into “touchy” areas, like the existence of God.

That’s a good way to make people’s brains turn off so that they can’t learn the thing that you’re trying to teach them.

I suppose that I may have done that just now.

Anyways, I think that this is a neutral and entertaining list of fallacy examples.


Amazingly Bad Analogy
Example: You can train a dog to fetch a stick. Therefore, you can train a potato to dance.

Faulty Cause and Effect
Example: On the basis of my observations, wearing huge trousers makes you fat.

I am the World
Example: I don’t listen to country music. Therefore, country music is not popular.

Generalizing from Self
Example: I’m a liar. Therefore, I don’t believe what you’re saying.

Total Logical Disconnect
Example: I enjoy pasta because my house is made of bricks.

Judging Things Without Comparison to Alternatives
Example: I don’t invest in US Treasury bills. There’s too much risk.

Ignorance of statistics
Example: I’m putting ALL of my money on the lottery this week because the jackpot is so big.

Irrelevant Comparisons
Example: A hundred dollars is a good price for a toaster, compared to buying a Ferrari.

Incompleteness as Proof of Defect
Example: Your theory of gravity doesn’t address the question of why there are no unicorns, so it must be wrong.

Following the Advice of Known Idiots
Example: Uncle Billy says pork makes you smarter. That’s good enough for me!

Faulty Pattern Recognition
Example: His last six wives were murdered mysteriously. I hope to be wife number seven.

Failure to Recognise what’s Important
Example: My house is on fire! Quick, call the post office and tell them to hold my mail!

Ignoring all Anecdotal Evidence
Example: I always get hives immediately after eating strawberries. But withouta scientifically controlled experiment, it’s not reliable data. So I continue to eat strawberries every day, since I can’t tell if they cause hives.

Inability to Understand That Some Things Have Multiple Causes
Example: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: They were good singers.

Judging the Whole by One of Its Characteristics
Example: The sun causes sunburns. Therefore, the planet would be better off without the sun.

Taking Things to Their Illogical Conclusion
Example: If you let your barber cut your hair, the next thing you know he’ll be lopping off your limbs!

Proof by Lack of Evidence
Example: I’ve never seen you drunk, so you must be one of those Amish people.

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is also deliciously snarky when summarizing the comments made to previous posts. Refering to a previous post where he made an analogy about copyright violation:

Let me explain something about analogies. Analogies are not supposed to be identical to the thing you are making the analogy about. Imperfection is necessary. Otherwise an analogy would be, for example, “Downloading music without paying is like downloading music without paying.” It doesn’t add much to your understanding.

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3 Comments »

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  1. Heh heh…phallusy.

  2. I love the fallacy examples. I think you’re right that most ways of explaining fallacies gets people all defensive before they’ve really heard anything.

  3. These are great! You should make this a memory.


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