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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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John

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caravan
Sun, Nov 04, 2018 - 09:17 AM

People are saying that if you're going to let immigrants in you must be willing to open your house to them.

With the caravan of immigrants coming north, many who are against this are using one argument in particular. They are saying that if we let them in "you should open your house to house 3 or 4 of "them."" I find that it's a minor reason to not allow people to escape injustice. It's as if it's a false equivalence or a scare tactic. Where they end up seems irrelevant plus what if their next door neighbor becomes a sponsor family. I know there's a fallacious argument in there. Thank you.



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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 Sun, Nov 04, 2018 - 09:33 AM
You can use an analogy to show how nonsensical this is. You can ask, "If we allow people to give up children for adoption in the United States, then must be willing to adopt 3 or four children? If not, why the difference?" I don't think there is a fallacy per se, but I do think an unreasonable claim is being made.
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Abdulazeez Alabbasi

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Print Mon, Nov 05, 2018 - 12:46 AM
I guess that's a non-sequitur. Maybe a response to that would be "If you let certain people move in to your neighborhood, does that entail that you have to accomodate some of them in your house?", and since this obviously is ridiculous and the answer would be no, follow up with "Alright then how does letting certain people inside the borders of the entire country necessitate that you let some of them inside your house?"


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skips777

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Print Mon, Nov 05, 2018 - 03:55 AM
Well you started out with a straw man...it isn't letting immigrants into the country...it's ILLEGAL immigrants. It's illegal, period. No debate about that.....


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Mel Blumberg

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Print Mon, Nov 05, 2018 - 11:39 AM
This question does not correctly state the issue:
"They are saying that if we let them in 'you should open your house to house 3 or 4 of 'them.' "

The correct issue is different and could be stated as follows: "If you demand that the Caravan people be admitted despite my deep concerns for the potential financial costs to me as well as in terms of the safety and security of myself and my family, you should be willing to ensure that you take on your fair share of the possible costs and consequences by opening the gates of your gated community to immigration and directly sponsoring 3-4 members of the caravan."

You might respond, "That's silly. We all pay taxes, and will equally share the burden of supporting the new arrivals until they get established and become contributing members of our society." In the end, we will all be better off. "Besides that, it is the just, and fair, and right thing to do."

Let's look at the utilitarian argument more deeply via a cost/benefit analysis--in particular, Cui Bono, who benefits? In this situation, obviously the migrants would benefit. In addition, owners of large farms and factories would benefit from the availability of cheap labor. Wealthy people who live on islands, on mountain tops, and inside gated estates and protected communities would benefit from the cheap labor on their estates, and from enhanced financial portfolios. The average citizen would experience maximal levels of life satisfaction and benefit from being just, virtuous, and righteous and would undoubtedly be admitted directly to Heaven if there were such a place. But what about the costs? The taxpaying public would have to pay for the schools, healthcare, legal and welfare benefits for the new arrivals-- and even some additional law enforcement since we have all of these restrictive laws that a few of the migrants seem to be ignoring.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that the cost of supporting the migrants is $1000 per year for each taxpayer. Mr Smith earns 50 thousand dollars per year. Ms. Movie Star earns an average for 20 million dollars per year. That 1000 dollars means Mr. Smith's kids will have to forego dental care for the year. That 1000 dollars is what Ms. Movie Star usually tips her hairdresser at Christmas time.
Since there are many more Smith families that Ms. Movie Stars, I doubt the utilitarian argument would hold up, and we would not achieve the "best for the most" by admitting the Caravan. If this is correct, we then have to revert to arguments based on altruism, duty, justice, equality or fairness. But those are for another day.


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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 Tue, Nov 06, 2018 - 12:57 PM
Strikes me as a variation of Slippery Slope (also known as absurd extrapolation, thin edge of the wedge, camel's nose, domino fallacy)

Description: When a relatively insignificant first event is suggested to lead to a more significant event, which in turn leads to a more significant event, and so on, until some ultimate, significant event is reached, where the connection of each event is not only unwarranted but with each step it becomes more and more improbable. Many events are usually present in this fallacy, but only two are actually required -- usually connected by “the next thing you know...”


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Registered User Comments

Mel Blumberg
Wednesday, November 07, 2018 - 10:28:10 AM
@Michael Chase Walker:
Hi Michael,
I agree. This is often made specific during the debate when those "against" say something like: "...And besides if we let this one Caravan of 3,000 people in, larger ones are sure to follow." What confuses me on this one is that a fallacy involves the use of faulty reasoning." Is it really unreasonable to predict that more people would want to come if these people are successful. We have no evidence that this will happen, but it seems to be a reasonable outcome. I could easily see the fallacy if the "against" side said, if we allow the 3000 in , they will be followed by 10,000 and then by millions. ...Appreciate your thoughts...


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Jim Tarsi
Wednesday, November 07, 2018 - 02:44:48 PM
That's a slippery slope argument. There is no evidence that if we allow 3000 in that soon more will follow. You may think it's a plausible extrapolation, but we're talking logical fallacies here.

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Jim Tarsi
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 02:47:38 PM
@Mel Blumberg: Upon re-reading, it looks like you were not taking a political stance. I was assigning "liberal" and "conservative" to each person in the argument. Now I see that you were using those as examples and not your personal viewpoint. I apologize.

It seems, though, like you totally restated the argument. Perhaps it was as simple as "if we let them in 'you should open your house to house 3 or 4 of 'them.' " The simple argument, restated:

You want us to let them in.
If we let them in, I will have to pay some of the costs (financial, decrease in safety, etc.) involved with letting them in.
I did not want to let them in.
I don't have to pay any of the costs.
You must pay the costs for the immigrants. That can be done partially by you sponsoring 3 or 4 immigrants.

I think this stays true to the original intent of the statement. In this case, the argument stems from differences in how our system of government works. General consensus is that decisions are made by majority vote, and everyone bears the burden. Some people, however, think that individuals need to bear the burden of their actions specifically.

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Mel Blumberg
Wednesday, November 07, 2018 - 11:06:08 AM
Jim,
Thanks for the clarification. You may have put your finger on the basic point of contention. The Cons say that the decision is not being made by General Consensus or even by elected representatives, but rather by persons external to the US. The Pros might say except, possible for the Caravan, the migrants are obeying US Law in seeking asylum. The Cons reply, "Since they will not be entering through the 'normal' portals of entry, they will be violating US law. Since you (the Pros) are encouraging and helping people to violate the law, you should not expect my support of them or of you." To this the Pros respond, "It is mostly women and children, and besides the law is immoral, and it is our duty to protest immoral laws".

Where are the fallacies in this debate? I have some candidates but would be fun to hear the opinions of the "elders." In addition to the Slippery Slope Fallacy, my candidates are the Righteousness Fallacy; the Appeal to Common Sense Fallacy; the Appeal to Equality Fallacy; the Appeal to Self-Evident Truth Fallacy, and the Argument from Ignorance Fallacy.

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Jim Tarsi
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 09:20:34 AM
@skips777: I don't like the answers to this question taking a political turn, with answers based on the writer's beliefs. This website is devoted to spotting logical fallacies in arguments and identifying them, not breaking down the arguments in light of one's political beliefs.

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Mel Blumberg
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 02:16:39 PM
Hi Jim,
Could you point out the "political turn" to my answer. I thought I was fairly stating the arguments pro and con.

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Jim Tarsi
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 09:24:39 AM
Might this argument be a slippery slope? If we allow the caravan in, it is also the moral stance to take care of its members. The government can take care of them temporarily, but not permanently. They probably cannot afford to take care of themselves right away for long enough until they find good work. Therefore, if we let them in, the only moral response is to have them live in our homes.

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Jim Tarsi
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 09:21:17 AM
@Mel Blumberg: I don't like the answers to this question taking a political turn, with answers based on the writer's beliefs. This website is devoted to spotting logical fallacies in arguments and identifying them, not breaking down the arguments in light of one's political beliefs.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Monday, November 05, 2018 - 07:31:49 AM
@skips777: Don't let politics cloud your ability to reason. This claim has nothing to do with the legal status of the immigrants. For example, logic wise, all of the arguments are the same:

People are saying that if you're going to let immigrants in you must be willing to open your house to them.

People are saying that if you're going to let illegal immigrants in you must be willing to open your house to them.

People are saying that if you're going to let pedophiles in you must be willing to open your house to them.


People are saying that if you're going to let group x in you must be willing to open your house to them.


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skips777
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 07:26:48 AM
I agree the arguments are the same, I simply disagree that that is what people are saying about legal immigrants.

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