Let's Have Fun With: Fallacies

All right, instead of working on that polyamory post I promised, I decided to pull out something waiting for its turn as a draft, finish it, and brush it off.

This is something not directly related to literature, but it's still interesting! I'll be relying on TV Tropes to convey some of the information, but I hope you learn something from this.

Let's get funky with fallacies!

What are fallacies?

Since I'm introducing a topic, as opposing to teaching it in the conventional sense, I'll let Mr. TV Tropes do most of the heavy lifting:

Fallacies are common errors in logic.

Okay, it's more complex than that, but that's the nutshell. I suggest going to the above link later, but since it will take forever to click through all the links, I'll pick out some of the highlights, especially the ones that pop up in fiction more often.

The "slippery slope fallacy"

"If A happens, then Z will eventually happen."

This is the presumption that one small step will lead to some outlandish consequence, regardless of actual logic. It's a kind of hyperbole used to scare people (and that's the case with a lot of fallacies).

Probably one of the most relevant examples to today's political climate is this argument: "If same-sex marriage is made legal, then what's next? Marrying puppies?"

This is ridiculous, because there's the entire process of consent, so you're comparing crystal methods and Skid Row. (That's a music reference.) While you can't deny that chain of events can happen, you have to put some thought on it and apply basic cause-and-effect before concluding that A will lead to Z.

(Psst. Reason why the gay marriage won't lead to human-puppy marriage because a puppy can't give proper consent. Until a puppy gains human intelligence and the ability to choose decisions for itself, human-puppy marriage won't happen.)

"Appeal to popularity"

"A large amount of people believe in X, therefore it must be true."

It's the belief that something must be true or false because so many people believe it. But as our parents taught us, just because it's popular doesn't mean it's right.

This comes to play with just about every single popular work out there. Twilight, Jersey Shore, you name it. Basically, popularity doesn't equal high quality--but this doesn't mean a mainstream story is trash just because it's popular.

Besides, complaining that "they suck since they went mainstream" is really subjective.

The "association fallacy"

"If A is B, and B is C, then A must be C."

Transitive property doesn't apply to everything. Just because two things share a factor doesn't mean they also share another factor.

Let's lift an example straight off TV Tropes: Hitler ate sugar. Hitler was bad, therefore sugar must also be bad.

False. While excessive sugar can lead to diabetes, just because a bad person loved something doesn't necessarily mean that thing is bad. Hitler loved dogs. Does that mean that dogs are bad? Not fundamentally.


We can go on like this forever, but instead, I'll direct you again to TV Trope's page on logical fallacies.

Have fun!

YOUR TURN: How many logical fallacies do you know? What's your favorite?