Ad hominem Ad hominem, also called “argument against the speaker” Argument against the writer, not the writer’s argument
Argument from ignorance A claim is true because it has never been proven false, or false because it has never been proven true
Appeal to pity An argument based on emotion, not on reason
Argument from authority An argument that a claim is valid because the person making the claim is an expert
Circular argument AKA “begging the question” An argument that assumes what it is attempting to prove is already true
Either-or argument An argument that poses only two possible alternatives when there may be more alternatives
Ad populum AKA “bandwagon argument” An argument that a claim is valid because many people think it is or act as if it is
Hasty generalization AKA “inadequate sampling” An argument that draws a conclusion based on an insufficient number of cases
Post hoc reasoning From post hoc, ergo propter hoc Assuming event A causes event B because event A precedes event B
Oversimplifying AKA “slippery slope” An argument that omits important information in establishing a causal link
Red herring A false clue or a way to mislead your reader about your true intentions; a distraction
Straw man To present a simplified version of an opponent’s viewpoint to make his or her viewpoint easier to attack
Spot the Error We shouldn’t sell the Ridgeway division. It’s been a part of our company for over 40 years! I would be sad to see it go.
Spot the Error Nobody has ever proven that global warming is occurring. Therefore, global warming is a myth.
Spot the Error According to Dr. Smith, global warming is a fact. Therefore, it must exist.
Spot the Error http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ewWFWQ wlTs
Spot the Error Why do I believe in God? Because the Bible tells me God exists. Why do I believe the Bible? Because God’s disciples wrote the Bible, of course!
Spot the Error If we don’t start selling our products online, we’ll certainly go out of business.
Spot the Error http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/1510 29/ http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/1510 29/
Spot the Error Of course Matthew is in favor of buying more computers for the office—he is crazy about computers.
Spot the Error I believe smoking in teens is detrimental to their health. Over 20 studies have shown that teen smokers are likely to become lifelong smokers. Therefore, I believe we should all stop smoking and instead chew bubblegum. I own a candy store, and I would be happy to sell everyone bubblegum at a discounted rate.
John Doe is opposed to euthanizing homeless animals in animal shelters. Obviously, Joe is saying that he wants the world to be overrun by homeless cats and dogs. Eventually, he wants cats and dogs to take over the planet and destroy mankind. I oppose Joe’s argument that animals are more important than humans for these reasons…
Spot the Error Our four major competitors have started selling products online. Obviously, we should, too.