Logical or Rhetological Fallacies
With Internet troll-dom at an all-time high, with bloggers being paid to dishonestly haunt comments areas of well-trafficked websites to undermine and dispute perspectives they are paid to torpedo, it has become incumbent upon decent citizens of the Internet to be able to fight back using reason and logical thought. But what if you discover a perspective you do not understand or an argument which posits an idea you cannot mentally parse?
Odds are, it may contain logical fallacies which make the point without actually explaining how it got there. Logical fallacies undermine arguments by using a form of rhetorical shorthand which, to the unaware, seem to make logical assertions without the intervening logical steps being shown. Kind of like when you were a kid and your teacher would ask you to “show your work” on the math assignment you were given. Rhetorical fallacies skip over the work, by slight of hand, and leave you to present your case to the person while trying to handle their cognitively dissonant statements in your own head.
Fallacies are common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of your argument. Fallacies can be either illegitimate arguments or irrelevant points, and are often identified because they lack evidence that supports their claim. Avoid these common fallacies in your own arguments and watch for them in the arguments of others.
I arm you with this chart because of its beautiful simplicity, providing the name of the fallacy, what it means and a simple example of the fallacy. The types of fallacies are broken into sections: Appeal to the Mind, Appeal to Emotions, Faulty Deduction, Manipulating Content, Garbled Cause and Effect and On the Attack. I enjoyed the simple graphical icons associated with each, helping to further cement them into your subconsciousness. These fallacies are worth remembering particularly if you spend any time on the Internet or watching modern media.
Our thanks goes out to Informationisbeautiful.net and the charts creator, David McCanless. Kudos, sir!
As an exercise, take them to your favorite newscast and play “Spot the Fallacy” while you watch. Don’t make this a beer game unless your goal is to become very, very intoxicated…