B: There are, literally, truckloads of logical fallacies, and at the rate we’re going, it’d take us all day to get through ‘em. So let me instead mention just a few by name and brief description. Some of these may actually be considered the same:
- Ad hominem.
- Proof by example.
- “The Last Word” – the person making the last, most recent, or final argument does not necessarily have the correct argument.
- “Too Old.”
- “The Majority is Always Right” – let’s recall that voting cannot decide truth. This could be seen as a form of ad hominem. And by the way, the minority’s not always right either.
- “Mockery” – a lot of discussions consist of irrelevant jabs made at the opposition and contribute nothing to the argument being made, perhaps in an effort to assert superiority of some kind. Pointing out perceived weaknesses of personality, or interjections such as “whatever,” generally don’t strengthen an argument, and aren’t counterarguments by themselves.
- “Name-Calling” – neither are “idiot,” “goob,” “doofus,” or the like.
- “Proof by Statement” or “by Tautology” or “Circular Reasoning” – an argument isn’t true just because you or someone else says it is, or because it is somehow inherently so.
- “Ulterior Motive” – an argument’s truth does not depend on whether or not the one making it would benefit from its truth.
- “Hypocrisy” – a mistake made by somebody does not affect an argument, and neither does it necessarily preclude one from having any credibility.
- “Accolades/Honors/Degrees” – ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem.
- “Simmering Time” – an argument’s strength does not depend on how long one has taken to formulate it in his, or several people’s, thoughts, be it a second or a century.
- “Distracting” – focus on the main argument, not on peripheral details that aren’t necessarily relevant. A bunch of people like to point out little grammar errors, for example, that have little, if anything, to do with the point being made. They might go so far as to say that it indicates a lack of intelligence in the arguer, which – being another case of ad hominem – also has nothing to do with the point being made. Also goes along with the “Mockery” type above.
- “Scapegoat” – one person espousing an ideology making a mistake does not render the entire ideology incorrect. Similar to “Hypocrisy” above.
- “Too Long/Short” – as mentioned in the blog’s purpose page, an argument’s validity does not depend on its length.
- “Biased” – the truth of a statement does not depend on any biases a person has; similar to “Ulterior Motive” above; also, it may be considered another form of ad hominem.
- “Correlation Implies Causation” – just because there appears to be a relationship between two variables does not mean that there actually is, as we’ll discuss later.
- “Bad Argument” – one may use improper reasoning to justify truth, or proper reasoning to justify an untruth, but neither of those change because of the argument.
- “Unprovable” – just because a statement cannot be proven, does not mean it’s false. Likewise, if it can’t be unproven, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
- “Converse” – just because A implies B does not mean that B implies A. Furthermore, the absence of A does not imply the absence of B.
Let me also note that any prospective disagreement of ours with each other does not imply that we hate each other. “Hate” is a word thrown around quite a bit these days; let’s please agree that disagreement does not equal hatred.
Lots of disagreements and mockery come from lack of understanding of other people’s thoughts and actions. It’s naïve to think that we necessarily know how to manage these things better than others. So often in the past misunderstandings have led to big conflicts, yea, even wars. If people had taken the time to try to understand others, there wouldn’t have been a conflict. But instead we think we do understand others and we think that they’re wrong. Brilliant minds have been mocked many times in the past for thinking thoughts that turned out to be aligned with truth. Galileo comes to mind as an example, although perhaps in his case, it wasn’t so much mockery from the other side, but rather staunch, vehement – and even violent – disagreement. If I disagree with assertions made in fields in which I am not expert, would I not be a hypocrite? Instead as I said before, I will wonder aloud with questions to which I have not found a satisfactory answer. There may be something I have yet to account for, hence that possibility is left open.