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Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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bob pellegrino

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bob pellegrino


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Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 08:47 PM

What fallacy is this? Dictators support attacks on journalists. Therefore if you attack one journalists opinion, you are pro-dictator.




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Rich McMahon

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Rich McMahon


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Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 10:36 PM
I can see either false equivalence or non sequitur displayed in this conspicuous fallacy. But IMOP more important than the specific type of fallacy present is the intuitively obvious absence of REASON present.

A real-world illustration:

Joseph Goebbles was the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda under Adolf Hitler. In short, he was responsible for dissemination of all state -supported news, opinion & propaganda under this dictatorship. Making the simplifying assumption he is
a proxy for all like-minded journalists within this Nazi regime, consistent with this fallacies' proposition, anyone DISAGREEING with Goebbles would be supporting this Nazi Dictatorship, which is absurd. QED, we have a glaring fallacy.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - 07:02 AM
There are two significant problems with this argument. The first is use of the term "attack." It can be reasonably assumed that the arguer is referring to physical attacks on journalists of the dictators. In the second use of the word "attack" the arguer is specifically referring to "attacks on opinion," which quite different from chopping a journalist into pieces or similar (the implied use of "attack" by dictators). This is the equivocation fallacy.

The second problem has to do with the form of the argument:

(If you are a) Dictator, (then you) support attacks on journalists.
Therefore, if you attack one journalists opinion, you are pro-dictator.


the form being...

If P then Q.
Therefore, if Q then P.


Another example of this is:

If I have herpes, then I have a strange rash.
Therefore, if I have a strange rash, then I have herpes.


One can obviously have non-herpes rashes.

This is the fallacy known as Commutation of Conditionals where we are switching the antecedent and the consequent in a logical argument.
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Michael Chase Walker
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Michael Chase Walker

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About Michael Chase Walker

Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 08:53 PM
See Dr. Bo's Fallacies of Composition or Division aka Part-to-whole or whole-to-part fallacies.

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Abdulazeez Alabbasi

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Abdulazeez Alabbasi


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Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 08:55 PM
Since some errors in reasoning can be classified into many fallacies, I think the one you mentioned is an ad hominem (guilt by association) and also can be considered as a false equivalence


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lun

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Print Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - 10:04 PM
It seems to me to be a fallacy of affirming the consequent which falls under non sequitor
The statements sound like,
If u r a pro-dictator, then u support attack on journalists
You support attack on journalists
Therefore, u r a pro-dictator


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Jeff Tix

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Print Mon, Dec 03, 2018 - 05:44 AM
My problem is two different interpretations of “attack”. Is it verbal? Physical? Even fatal? All journalists are subject to question. If the journalist lives to be questioned a second time, then there is no problem. The issue is in the silencing, not he attack.


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bob pellegrino
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 11:06:30 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
"Attack" is meant as a verbal attack. The example is, President Trump says that certain media outlets are "enemies of the state". Left wing media labels him a dictator or "dictator like" for attacking the media in general and certain journalists in particular. Therefore if you are a Trump supporter, you are automatically "pro-dictator". This is the "guilt by association" part, but the association is not based on a true fact. (The fact that real dictators also kill journalists also seems not to matter in their false analogies). This happens a lot today. Trump will say that MS13 gang members are "animals", and the left media will put up headlines that read "Trump calls Hispanic immigrants animals", so he is apparently a white nationalist or white supremacist. He will ban 7 muslim countries from entering the USA and he is portrayed as banning ALL Muslims from entering our country, so if you are a Trump supporter you must also be Islamophobic. Perhaps we need a new, specialized fallacy name for this type of reporting like the "Trump Derangement Fallacy" LOL.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Tuesday, December 04, 2018 - 07:41:59 AM
So there are a couple of things going on here. First, it Trump's (alleged) dictator-like behavior. Recall my response to Abdulazeez below. Referring to media as "enemies of the state" and proposing state-run media is very dictator like. It is not at all unreasonable to suggest as much.

Therefore if you are a Trump supporter, you are automatically "pro-dictator".

This is where this gets problematic. Trump is not a dictator, he is "dictator-like" in some ways. So that fact that Trump supporters are pro-dictator just does not follow (Rich's non sequitur). Of course, we can't even say that Trump supporters support dictator-like behavior because perhaps a Trump supporter may hate the fact that verbally attacks journalists but support Trump for other reasons. Thus, claiming as much is Abdulazeez's guilt by association.

Trump will say that MS13 gang members are "animals", and the left media will put up headlines that read "Trump calls Hispanic immigrants animals"

Assuming this is true, this is simply factually incorrect. Out of curiosity, I Googled "Trump calls Hispanic immigrants animals" and one hit came up - a conservative blogger making this claim. I am not up on politics, but I recall Trump making an ambiguous statement about people crossing the border being "animals," and only after the media reported on it, he clarified that he was referring to the gang members. If this is the case, the media was doing what they always do... in short of specifics, applying the least charitable interpretation.

He will ban 7 muslim countries from entering the USA and he is portrayed as banning ALL Muslims from entering our country

This is getting a bit too political, but make sure you see the whole picture and are not blinded by ideology. Trump unequivocally did call for a Muslim ban: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1401/establish-ban-muslims-entering-us/ (video of him saying the very clear words).

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Rich McMahon
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 10:55:57 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I read this assertion differently, i.e., that
the initial “attack” referred to was also non physical. But I acknowledge your inference is quite plausible. In this case I think we also have a non sequitor, relating dissimilar phenomena. This, in addition to the ‘Commutation of Conditionals’ which really nailed it, and which I believe my Goebbels example illustrated.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Monday, December 03, 2018 - 11:31:31 AM
Hi Rich. This is certainly a non sequitur as well, as many fallacies are. The non sequitur tells us that the conclusion does not follow. When possible, we want to explain WHY the conclusion does not follow. This is when more specific fallacies could better demonstrate the problem with the reasoning.

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Abdulazeez Alabbasi
Monday, December 03, 2018 - 08:51:24 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Isn't it also guilt by association? It fits a guilt by association fallacy form as well.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Monday, December 03, 2018 - 09:24:09 AM
I am not so sure about that one. Perhaps the clarity of the the guilt by association fallacy is obfuscated by the equivocation. Ignoring the equivocation, if dictators attack journalists, and if you attack journalists, then you are "guilty" because you are attacking journalists, not because of the association. This seems to fall under the exception example I have: Pol Pot, the Cambodian Maoist revolutionary, was genocidal; therefore, he was a very bad man. Frankie is genocidal; therefore, Frankie must also be a very bad man.

Again, naming the fallacies is a game of semantics and while many may fit, some are better than others. I am sure you can make a convincing argument for the guilt by association fallacy, I just think that one is not worth mentioning (perhaps because I don't see what you do).


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