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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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Jonathan Thomas

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Jonathan Thomas


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#example
#fallacy
#whatfallacyisthis
slavery
what fallacy
Mon, Oct 01, 2018 - 04:50 PM

What fallacy?

"...I say that the Bible was a proponent of slavery. And then he says: "No it isn't, it just says that you have to be a good slave owner"..."

I saw this on a forum. What fallacy is his friend engaging in?



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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, Oct 01, 2018 - 05:03 PM
That sounds like a joke. I can imagine a laugh track being cued up after that line :) This would be distinction without a difference.
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Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

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Michael Chase Walker

Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

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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, Oct 02, 2018 - 02:04 AM
I’ve always believed genocide to be a heinous murderous act unless God commands it. In which case it is a noble, even righteous task because God ordered it. Since God is the originating essence of morality even genocide is moral if determined or ordered by him. (William Lane Craig) Thus, the slaughter of Canaanite women and children as depicted in Hebrews was ultimately condoned in the Old Tedtament, as was slavery. Slavery is proof of Gid’s mercy because he could have just as easily ordered their deaths instead.

Even German soldiers of the Reich were absolved from genocidal crimes because they wore belt buckles inscribed with the words “Gott Mit Uns”. And if you’re reading this and not realizing it is absolute parody and sarcasm you should seek out psychiatric help immediately.


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Jacob

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Jacob


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Print Wed, Oct 03, 2018 - 12:43 AM
I am an atheist so I invoke the fallacy of unfalsifiability on this one. You make many assumptions which cannot be proven.

Genocide is good if god commands it.

Morality comes from god

What would prove to you that these statements are not true? If there is nothing then these beliefs are unfalsifiable.

You have one sentence which is truely awful. “Slavery is proof of gods mercy because he could have killed them and chose not to”. In my view god does not exist. Let’s say he does exist. I can think of another fallacy. The fallacy of relative privation. You argue that slavery is good because it is better than death. Slavery is not good just because it is less awful than death. Slavery is awful too. In reality, if god exists, then god gave two awful choices, slavery or death, so god is awful.


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Colin P

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Colin P


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Print Wed, Oct 03, 2018 - 10:42 AM
Answer "None", there is no fallacy. Two points:

1) A related generalised question is whether "I advise be a good X" is equivalent to "I propound being an X"? Common sense says that "I advise be a good prisoner" is not equivalent to "I propound being a prisoner." So there is a distinction introduced by the word "good" and an argument relying on the difference is not fallacious.

2) In point of fact the Bible does not say you have to be a good slave owner. Either the respondent mis-spoke or the Board OP mis-quoted. One thing the bible says is that people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.


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Colin P
Thursday, October 04, 2018 - 04:55:06 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Thank you for conceding on my prisoner point. In that first point I omitted reference to the Bible because the particular source is irrelevant to the logic of what is being debated.

In my second point I corrected a factual error, which should be permitted without reservation in any debate. (My PC timeline says that the original question was posted 66 hours ago, and my answer was posted 24 hours ago. If there are knee-jerk reactions they are not mine.)

As a contribution to your later point about the god who I call God, the Christian viewpoint is that the God of the Bible needs no protection from anyone. The Bible says you are a slave. That means the Christian viewpoint is that God says you are a slave. What is the fair way to treat a slave? It is to free them. The Bible examines what is meant by freedom. Meaning that from the Christian viewpoint, and through the Bible, God explains what freedom is. And how to gain true freedom.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Wednesday, October 03, 2018 - 11:25:54 AM
@Colin P: Colin, would you honestly say that if I told men they should be good rapists (i.e., I told them to to use as little force as possible when raping, etc.) that this would NOT be a clear indication that I endorse (advocate for, publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy) raping? Perhaps I meant that "of course not raping is better than raping, but if you are going to rape, let me tell you how it should be done!" This is still an endorsement. There is no correct answer to the best way to rape - or keep slaves. The answer is simple, you DON'T DO IT.

The one difference I can see if in an inevitable situation with which one has no control. This is like your prisoner example. With inevitability, the person doing making the comment would not be endorsing the action (i.e., being a proponent of) if there is a choice involved. The god of the bible has no such limitation. He can easily command people not to own slaves.

I challenge you to find any situation where this doesn't apply, then look at your answer again and see if it was really the result of rational thought or a knee-jerk response to protect the god of the bible.

As to your second point, you are correct that the bible never explicitly says "be a good slave owner," but it does give detailed instructions on how to own and treat slaves... Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property (Exodus 21:20-21). This passage and many more like it are often justified by claiming that it was an "improvement" over the old way, in other words, be a better slave owner. Perhaps that is not your view that is fine, but just mentioned this because this a very common apologetic response to slavery in the bible.

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