Thursday, February 19, 2009

Logical Fallacies for Dummies

A simple dumbed down version of the 10 most common logical fallacies.

1. Argument to the Person: Rather than using actual facts to provide for your arguments, you say the person is dumb. (Ex: "Your argument is bad because you are stupid."

Problem with example: Rather than using facts that disprove a person's argument, the author chooses to attack the person rather than his facts.

2. Circular Resoning: Restating the claim rather than proving it. (Ex: "A rubber tire is made of rubber."

Problem with example: We know that a rubber tire is made from rubber, duh.

3. Hasty Generalization: Trying to figure out what a problem is while using little evidence. (Ex: My roomate got tired playing basketball, therefore he is overweight.")

Problem with example: You don't know whether they have been playing for five minutes or five hours, how intense my roomate played, wheter the game was physical or not, etc.

4. False Cause: Assuming that since B followed A, A caused B. (Ex. The TV broke after my sister turned it on, therefore my sister broke the TV.

Problem with example: The TV could have been old and it's time was up, heck maybe it's unplugged?

5. Either/or: Saying you have only two options. (Ex: You can either drive a Ford or a Chevrolet.)

Problem with example: There aren't just two car makes out there. You could drive a Toyota, Nissan, Dodge, Suburu, and others.

6. Red Herring: Bringing up a topic that doesn't have anything to do with the main point. (Ex: The Daytona 500 was a great race last week, I had eaten so much that I was stuffed.)

Problem with statement: What does what I'm eating have to do with the Daytona 500 race. Nothing since it didn't affect the race, so me eating is irrelevent to the race.

7. Slippery Slope: Assuming one event will start a chain reaction. (Ex: If the professor doesn't come to class, then he will be fired and we will get a bad replacement professor and everyone will fail.)

Problem with example: The professor could be sick, maybe the replacement is good, and everyone won't fail.

8. False Comparison: Comparint two things that are too diffrent. (Ex. Saying NASCAR doesn't need a playoff is like rewarding the New England Patriots the Championship with a 16-0 record.)

Problem with example: NASCAR and Football are two completely diffrent sports, therefore you can't judge how each determine a champion.

9. Non sequitor: Having data that doesn't support a conclusion. (Ex: My tires are flat, therefore my car won't start.)

Problem with example: Will the engine crank when you turn the key? Just because your tires are flat doesn't mean your car won't start. You may not be able to drive it though.

10. Bandwagon: Claiming the popularity of an idea makes it good. (Ex: A lot of people I know own an Xbox 360, so I guess I should buy one.)

Problem with example: So everyone having an Xbox 360 automatically makes it better? What if the person likes the games better on the Playstation 3 or Nintendo Wii.

Basically, you've gotta think critically about what's being said and ask questions.

I've posted this hear to help you guys out.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This is a great tool, and we are wasting it. I know I'm guilty of it as well.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stuck in the Driveway (Really, really rough copy)

He awoke to the sound of a telephone ring and herd his father answer it. All he could think about was why he answered the phone and got out of bed. Just as he opened his bedroom door, he could hear the front door shut.
Feeling sick to his stomach, reluctantly, he got a bowl of cereal to eat. The most on his mind was the fact that he wasn’t well.
All he could think was the bug his mother suffered for the past couple of days. She was in bed for a majority of the time and couldn’t keep anything that she ate in her system, dehydrating herself. She was finally good enough to go back to work now. All this, while finishing his bowl of cereal.
The telephone rang.
He now knew something wasn’t right at this moment. He picked up the phone and one the other end was his mom. She asked of him to come get her un-stuck in the driveway.
There was no second guessing, despite the fact he was sick. He jumped up out of his chair, grabbed his coat, boots, and other gear he needed.
Over the past week, it snowed like crazy and nearly a foot and a half of snow accumulated on the ground, not enough to make getting out impossible, but enough to prevent, “joy rides” downtown.
With his gear on, he grabbed a shovel and headed up the driveway. As he walked up he saw his mom’s car stuck on the lefts side with her left-rear taillight against a tree with her wheel buried in the snow. If there was any place for her to get stuck, the left side in the embankment was. If she had got stuck to the right, she would have gone down the edge, leaving her car immobile.
His father had already tried a few things, including chains that were in his wife’s car. His father than asked his son to get the chains out of his car. The son then walked back down to the parking area where his car was parked.
The son had made efforts to brush the snow off his car, which resulted in snow piles around his car. The piles made getting in a slight pain, but not too much of one. He opened the rear hatch and grabbed his chains. The only thing left for the son was to get the chains back up the hill.
The chains, back in the driveway, would be hard to install on the car. The angle to place them on the left-front tire was awkward, as the car’s left-side was against the embankment. He eventually just placed the chains on the ground and attempt to have the car use those as a base point to get some grip hopefully to move forward out of the position.
Despite the efforts, it didn’t work.
The father cursed out loud and figured the only thing that he could do was try to pull her out. The problem though was his truck was in the parking area with no hope of getting it out. The father called his wife’s father to bring his chain.
Meanwhile, the son felt tired, winded, and hot. He had to take a short rest to regain as much of his composure as he possibly could.
While this was going on, the mother was able to position her car so that it wasn’t against the tree. The problem now was that she couldn’t get momentum to get up the driveway.
The son’s grandfather then pulled up and gave a chain to the son. The son then delivered the chain to his father and the hooked the mother’s car to his father’s truck. The process of getting the stuck car down had begun.
Not the smoothest of works, but eventually the mother’s car was able to get down to the bottom and get another run up the driveway. This time, she made it out.
The father and son then walked up and down the driveway to pick up the materials that were used. It was safe to say that both were relived.
The father then got ready to go to work. Nothing could possibly overtake this in his day.
The son went back into the house and continued to diminish the effects of his stomach bug. Drinking Gatorade, ingesting soup, and laying down, he would eventually feel better.