Using each fallacy twice, identify the fallacy in each of the following passages as either:
A. Confirmation Bias
B. Availability Error
C. Genetic Fallacy
D. Composition Fallacy
E. Division Fallacy
F. Appeal to the Person
G. Equivocation Fallacy
H. Appeal to Popularity
I. Appeal to Tradition
J. Appeal to Ignorance
K. Appeal to Emotion
L. Red Herring Fallacy
M. Straw Man Fallacy
N. Begging the Question
O. False Dilemma
P. Slippery Slope
Q. Hasty Generalization
R. Faulty Analogy
1. _______ My friend Robb is from England, and he loves to watch baseball. My co-worker Elizabeth is also English, and she also loves nothing better to watch a great baseball game. It must be that all English people love the sport of baseball.
2. _______ To meet our national energy needs, we have a simple choice: we can either continue to use imported oil, which makes us vulnerable to the whims of those oil-producing nations; or we can drill more oil domestically, which would put us in control of our own destiny. The right choice is clear.
3. _______ Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution has presented a lot of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony over these last few days in order to convince you that my client is guilty of this crime. Even I will admit that some of it may have sounded strong. But let us not forget that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. That’s right: no other country in the world sends more people to prison than this country. This suggests to me, and I hope you agree with me on this, that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed. Please: give my client a not guilty verdict.
4. _______ The building tenants have asked that I, the landlord, repair the broken windows in their apartments. I must refuse this request. If I agree to give them new windows, then of course they will ask for new washing machines, and then no doubt they will want me to build a swimming pool and a gym for them. It will never end, and I’ll be broke before I know it.
5. _______ I’ve always believed that Mary Baxter, the founder of my spiritual group, would never die. After all, she claims that she has discovered a series of spiritual chants that, if said daily, can free the person saying the chants from all illness and disease. In fact, that claim is the foundation of our entire spiritual practice. The proof for me that these chants do work has been that Mary Baxter herself, even at 80 years old, looks so healthy and vibrant. The other proof is that I, too, have been mostly healthy since I started saying these daily chants. (I did catch an infection that put me in the hospital for several months recently, but that’s because I must not have been saying the chants with enough devotion at that time.) But today I see a report that Mary Baxter has just died of cancer, and I simply can’t believe that. This must be a hoax by our enemies. After all, she discovered those chants, so she can’t die!
6. _______ In his essay Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. argues that we have a moral obligation to openly disobey laws that degrade humanity. But I can’t agree with this. After all, society needs laws. Without laws, there would be complete anarchy. How can Dr. King argue that we should live without any laws at all? This is not an acceptable view.
7. _______ Paper is soft and easy to rip. Textbooks are made out of individual pages of paper. Therefore, entire textbooks must be soft and easy to rip.
8. _______ The school board has ruled that it was improper for me, an elementary school teacher, to show an R-rated horror movie to my 5th grade class for Halloween, because the movie contained too much violence for young children. But guess what? The whole world is violent. There’s violent crime and war taking place all over the planet right now. You cannot keep people hidden from the reality of violence forever. The school board was simply wrong to judge my actions to be improper like that.
9. _______ According to a recent CNN poll, a majority of people in the US believe that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. So, that’s all the proof we need to conclude that humans and dinosaurs did indeed coexist.
10. _______ Tim loves the way that cappuccinos taste. Cappuccinos are made of milk, water, and coffee grounds. So, Tim must love the taste of milk, he must love the taste of water, and he also must love the taste of coffee grounds.
11. _______ The Senator has done a lousy job and, frankly, does not really deserve to be re-elected. But he is a very ambitious politician and would be personally devastated if he lost the election. He seems like a nice guy, and I’d hate to see him suffer like that. I say we vote for his re-election.
12. _______ John Rocco, the president of the downtown business association, has argued that all local businesses should voluntarily help to pay for more security guards during the upcoming holiday shopping season, in order to make shoppers feel safer. Well, I’m a local business owner, and I’ve done some research on Rocco. I have discovered that he has had two DUI convictions in the past ten years. Why should we listen to him, when he has engaged in this kind of dangerous activity in the past? Anyone who does something like that is someone that I do not trust. I say that we just ignore Rocco and don’t pay for any more security guards.
13. _______ Bill the Mechanic’s advertisement says that he is the world’s most honest mechanic. I know that you do not believe that this advertisement is true, since you are convinced that he charged you for work on your car that he did not actually perform. But, while I admit that you have very strong evidence to support your belief, you simply cannot be correct. After all, the world’s most honest mechanic would never charge someone for work he did not do!
14. _______ Eddie was going to take the Metrolink train from Riverside to downtown Los Angeles tomorrow morning, because taking the train is much safer and less time consuming than driving during morning rush hour traffic. But this afternoon, while researching the train schedule online, he came across an old news story about a Metrolink train accident, in which the train conductor, distracted by sending text messages, crashed into another train that had been given the right of way by the train dispatcher. This made him that feel that taking the train was much more dangerous than he had originally thought, so he changed his plans and decided to drive after all.
15. _______ I think that the hostess at this restaurant must be a government spy. Right before I came to the restaurant, I was at a secret meeting of the Communist Party, and when I got to the restaurant, the first thing the hostess asked was, “How many are in your party?” How would she know that I’m a member of this political party unless she is a spy?
16. _______ George Washington is a past US president who was president during wartime and whose image is on American currency. Abraham Lincoln is also a former US President, was president during wartime, and his image in on American currency as well. So this must mean that, now that wartime president George W. Bush has become a former US President, his image will be placed on American currency as well.
17. _______ For over two thousand years, the most respected and lucrative professions in this society have gone to members of the top three social groups, called “castes.” If you are not born into one of these top three groups, then you have other jobs that you can do that are also important to society, even if they are lower paying and more physically demanding. People in the lower castes now want this to change, and they are demanding legislation that guarantees that all professions in society be open to them. But why should we go along with this? I mean, I understand their point of view, but when we have done something the same way for thousands of years, we really should not change it.
18. _______ The board game Monopoly was originally created in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie in order to teach people about the evils of property ownership. The current version of the game has been changed somewhat from Magie’s original version, which relied heavily on property owners demanding excessive rent from those without property. But the overall objectives of the game remain the same, and this must mean that anyone who plays this game today is engaging in an anti-capitalist practice.
19. _______ The United States is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Since Kansas is part of the United States, this means that Kansas must be bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
20. _______ Halloween customs such as going house to house in costume, carving pumpkins, and lighting bonfires, all began as parts of ancient Pagan harvest festivals in the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. So, anyone who does any of these things for Halloween must be a follower of Paganism.
21. _______ Senator Barrow advocates increased social security benefits for the poor. It is regrettable that the senator finds it necessary to advocate socialism. Socialism defeats initiative, takes away promised rewards, and leads directly to inefficiency and bloated government. It was tried for years in Eastern Europe and it failed miserably. Clearly, socialism is no good.
22. _______ Members of the jury, please do the right thing and vote that my client is “not guilty” of this crime. Yes, the prosecution has presented evidence, a lot of it quite strong, that makes my client look guilty. But he has three mouths to feed at home, three children who want their dad home with them. And just think of how heartbroken his poor mother will be if her child is found guilty for a crime like this. Plus, he himself is an emotional wreck right now and may not be able to handle much more grief. Have a heart here, please, and let him go free.
23. _______ Each of the parts of this airplane is very light. Therefore, the airplane itself is very light.
24. _______ I believe that Disneyland is the greatest place on Earth, and the reason I believe this is because I’m convinced that there is no place on Earth greater than Disneyland.
25. _______ The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien has sold more copies than any other novel in history. Therefore, there can be no doubt that The Lord of the Rings represents the highest artistic achievement ever created by a novelist.
26. _______ While renovating Chicago’s Lexington Hotel in the 1980s, construction workers discovered a secret vault behind a basement wall. Television personality Geraldo Rivera claimed that the vault must have belonged to legendary mobster Al Capone, since Capone used a hotel suite there as his headquarters during the 1920s. Rivera further claimed that Capone must have used that vault to hide thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars before his surprise arrest, and that since Capone surely would not have let anyone else know how to enter the vault, that the money must still be there. When Rivera had the vault blasted open, live in front of 30 million television viewers, though, there was nothing in the vault but a few empty bottles. But does that mean Rivera was wrong? Of course not. You can’t prove that Capone didn’t actually leave money in that vault just like Rivera said. For all we know, everything could have been exactly like Rivera said, but maybe rats chewed up the money or something over the years. Or maybe the money was printed on a bad batch of paper and it all simply disintegrated over time. Until you can rule out all of these possibilities, I’ll continue to think Rivera was right.
27. _______ School teachers constantly warn their students not to take drugs. But Tylenol is a drug, so, if I want to follow the advice of my child’s teachers, this means that I should not give my child Tylenol or any other medication the next time she gets a fever.
28. _______ There are some people who favor a ban on trophy hunting: hunting of lions, bears, elephants and tigers solely for the hunter to have a trophy to hang on the wall. But trophy hunting has been a sport enjoyed for many decades; it has been regarded as an exciting and challenging sport through much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Surely, then, it must continue to be seen as a legitimate and morally acceptable sport.
29. _______ From the second century to the seventeenth century, almost all Europeans believed that the Earth was the unmoving center of the universe, and that all other things in space revolved around the Earth. During this period, astronomers were able to make precise mathematical models of the moon’s rotation around the Earth, and this knowledge of the moon’s orbit around the Earth was taken to be definite proof that the belief that all things revolved around the Earth was correct. In 1610, however, the astronomer Galileo Galilei invented a powerful new telescope that allowed him to see that there were several moons revolving around the planet Jupiter. Galileo claimed that his discovery disproved the idea that all things revolve around the Earth. The authorities, however, concluded instead that Galileo’s telescope must have been an instrument of witchcraft, since it allowed people to see something – moons revolving around Jupiter – that, they believed, could not possibly be true. Galileo was put on trial, found guilty, and imprisoned for the rest of his life.
30. _______ Nobody has ever been able to prove that space aliens have not landed on Earth. So, it’s obvious from this that the only conclusion that can be drawn is that space aliens have indeed landed on Earth.
31. _______ The NAACP and their supporters want us to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds here in South Carolina, because they claim that the flag is a symbol of slavery and discrimination. But if we agree to this and remove the flag, then where does it end? Someone else will come along one day who is offended by the Easter Bunny, and then we’ll have to cancel the Easter egg hunt for the kids. And of course we’ll have to get rid of the Christmas tree, because some people are offended by Christmas. Do you see the floodgates we open up if we let the flag opponents have their way here? Friends, let’s keep the flag right where it is.
32. _______ I went to a classical music concert last night, and the orchestra played music composed by Bach, Handel, and Beethoven. While I was reading the composers’ biographies in the concert program during an intermission, I noticed that Bach, Handel, and Beethoven were all from Germany. So, I hadn’t realized this before, but it now looks to me like all classical music composers are from Germany.
33. _______ Cats are small, cute, and furry, and they make great house pets. Skunks are also small, cute, and furry, so I bet that they make great house pets too.
34. _______ The Secretary of Defense is making the case for a prolonged military stay in Iraq, and yet he took active steps to avoid serving in the military during wartime when he was a young man. Clearly, he has no case.
35. _______ This is really a simple issue, with a simple choice to make: do we want our troops home safe with their families, or do we want them to be homesick in a far away desert for an unlimited amount of time? Bring our men and women back home now.
36. _______ Kay spent several hours last week watching programs about shark attacks during the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week television event. Many of the programs contained explicit, gruesome footage of sharks attacking seals and whales, as well as interviews with people who had suffered severe injuries from shark attacks. This weekend, she had planned to spend a few days at the beach in San Diego taking scuba diving lessons and snorkeling with her friends. But, after watching those television shows, she felt that she would be risking her life by going anywhere near the water, so she told her friends to go without her.
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