Presentation on theme: " Read the following argument. Examine it closely. Do you think it is logically sound? Why? [T]he acceptance of abortion does not end with the killing."— Presentation transcript:
Read the following argument. Examine it closely. Do you think it is logically sound? Why? [T]he acceptance of abortion does not end with the killing of unborn human life. It continues on to affect our attitude toward all aspects of human life. This is most obvious in how quickly, following the acceptance of abortion, comes the acceptance of infanticide―the killing of babies who after birth do not come up to someone's standard of life worthy to be lived―and then on to euthanasia of the aged. If human life can be taken before birth, there is no logical reason why human life cannot be taken after birth. Source: Francis A. Schaeffer, "It is Your Life that is Involved",
Looking closely at the argument, you may have noticed that it insists that a chain of events (dehumanizing attitudes like acceptance of infanticide) will happen if one single event is allowed to occur (acceptance of abortion) without offering any proof that this chain reaction will occur. The argument contains what’s called a fallacy (weak, misleading, or deceptive reasoning on the part of the writer). This particular fallacy is called a “slippery slope” fallacy.
When examining an argument in order to judge its quality, we must understand and know how to identify these logical dodges. Look in your Dialogues textbook on pages 46-57. This lists some of the more common logical fallacies with examples. Consider some of the persuasive appeals that you’ve been exposed to. Do you think you’ve seen any of these fallacies used? When? What was the argument?
Ad Hominem With this fallacy, the person making the argument attacks his or her opponent personally rather than attacking the argument being made.
Ad Misericordiam This is an appeal to emotion that leaves logic behind.
Ad Populum This sort of argument makes an appeal to popular emotions or prejudices instead of offering logical reasoning.
Bandwagon: This is an argument that indicates that something is desirable or right simply because it’s popular.
Begging the Question: This sort of argument defends the thesis with an unproven claim or idea that it simply tries to pass off as fact.
Circular Reasoning: This sort of argument tries to support a claim by simply restating the claim in different words.
Dicto Simpliciter This sort of argument provides an unreasonably simple solution to a complex problem.
False Analogy: This type of argument uses an analogy as a form of support when the items in the analogy are not similar enough to warrant it.
False Dilemma: This sort of argument indicates that there are only two alternatives in the situation when there are, in fact, more.
Faulty Use of Authority: This argument uses an authority who is competent in an area entirely unrelated to the topic at hand.
Hasty Generalization: This type of argument produces a conclusion based on too little evidence.
Non Sequitur: Here, an argument is made in which the conclusion that is drawn does not follow from the premise that has been established.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: This type of faulty argument insists that one event caused another simply because the first event came first and the second came after.
Red Herring: This argument, instead of supporting the thesis with reasoning, introduces a distraction that simply changes the subject instead of supporting the claim.
Slippery Slope: This type of faulty argument claims that if one event is allowed to happen, then it will cause a chain- reaction of other events that either end in a spectacular failure or success. None of the links in this supposed chain is proven, though.
Stacking the Deck: This sort of faulty argument uses only evidence that supports its thesis, completely ignoring any contrary evidence no matter how compelling.
Straw Man: This is a misrepresentation of an opponent’s idea or position in order to make that idea or position easier to refute.
Form groups of 3-4 people. Your group will pretend to be a sleazy advertising company, and it is your job to put out an ad for a product or a commercial for a politician using as many fallacies as possible to sway the audience. Create an ad for your politician or product using as many fallacies as possible. Choose a spokesperson from your group to read your ad to the class. The rest of the class will need to listen carefully and attempt to detect any fallacies presented in the ad.