Logical Fallacies

by River Clegg

Begging the question: When you argue in a circle such that the soundness of your premises rests on your conclusion being true.

Ad hominem: Meaning literally “to attack the body,” this is when you attack your opponent’s character instead of his or her argument.

Straw man: When you mischaracterize your opponent’s argument by gathering together a bunch of straw and building a dummy out of it, then dressing it in your clothes and yelling about how your opponent’s argument is so stupid that not even the dummy would believe it.

Red herring: When you try to distract from the argument at hand by suggesting that we go fishing.

Arm wrestling fallacy: The belief that any argument can be settled by arm wrestling.

False analogy: Remember analogies from when you were a kid? Like “Michael Jordan is to basketball as Babe Ruth is to baseball”? Those still make no sense to me.

Gambler’s fallacy: The belief that any argument can be settled by Kenny Rogers. (In reality, the only arguments he can settle are ones about conflicting interpretations of Kenny Rogers lyrics. And even then not always, because his songs have a lot of layers.)

Cherry picking: When you refuse to get back on defense, but just wait around under the basket so you can score the ball quickly the next time your team is on offense.

Argument from silence: When you presume your conclusion to be sound simply because your opponent has yet to counter it. (Probably because of how stupid he feels thanks to that straw man dummy you made.)*

Alligators: Basically render the whole idea of logic moot.

False dichotomy: When you assert that one of two opposing statements must be true, when in reality it might be a third thing altogether that’s true — and maybe that thing can accommodate the first two statements together! Boy, doesn’t the turmoil in the Middle East just seem like one big false dichotomy now?

Pornography: Not a logical fallacy in its strictest sense, but masturbating to it sure is fun. Am I right?

Fallacy of exclusive premises: The worst of all logical fallacies.

Robin Williams: When your argument rests on you being Robin Williams.


*You should poke pins in the dummy in case voodoo is real.