Fallacies from Chapter 5 - 5469
1. Women, like the land, have been traditionally fought over by men. To the victor go the spoils. So, amongst the class of things called booty, men find their wives.
Analysis: Questionable analogy as there are so many relevant differences between women and the land.
2. I’ve noticed that many of my friends that seem to suffer from nervous tension, are people who drink coffee. It seems clear that coffee drinking causes nervous tension.
Analysis: Questionable cause since it is doubtful that coffee is causing the nervous tension. A more likely cause is a type A behavior.
3. She’s wearing old clothes and her hair is unkempt. She must be a street person.
Analysis: Hasty conclusion. Perhaps she just left her gym.
4.We’re gonna have trouble with the new paper boy, honey. He’s been late twice already.
Analysis: Small sample because 2 times being late is insufficient to generalize about his lateness. He's new and may need a few times to learn his routes.
5. Hey, let’s start shopping at Safeway. It’s a whole lot cheaper. Yesterday I was there and found carrots at 29 a pound, potatoes at 39 cents a pound, spinach for 49 cents, and a giant cauliflower for $1.19.
Analysis: Unrepresentative sample as only produce is mentioned in the sample.
6. Senator: “I make $100,000 a year and that puts me in the lower middle class.”
Analysis: Questionable use of good statistics since $100,000 a year can hardly be classified as lower middle class.
7. We never had any problems with our computer until Jerry showed up at our house. He's to blame for the computer problem now.
Analysis: Hasty conclusion since perhaps it is a coincidence. (questionable cause is also acceptable)
8. The prosperity of the rich comes from hard work. After all, our country is based on the principles of hard work and free enterprise. The wealthy deserve the fruits of the hard labor they had to undergo to get what they have.
Analysis: Questionable cause since much of the prosperity of the rich comes from inheritance.
9. Since each scene of the play “Evita” was good, I can assume that “Evita” was a good play.
Analysis: Composition since the scenes may not have flowed well together.
10. Microsoft is a very important corporation and I hear that Joe works there. He must be a very important person.
Analysis: Division since not everyone who works at an important company is important.
11. Nobody working at the cafeteria is making over $10 an hour. Jannean works there. So, she must be making $10 an hour or less.
Analysis: No fallacy and certainly not division. The argument is deductively valid.
12. Blaming violent television shows and movies for violent behavior in people is like blaming subways because some people get mugged in them.
Analysis: Questionable analogy because the causal relationships between violent movies and violence versus subways and muggings are very different.
13. In 1995, I hitchhiked across the country. On the way, I met helpful people everywhere I went except in Oklahoma, where people were suspicious and unkind. Except in Oklahoma, this is a friendly country.
Analysis: Small sample based on probably only a few people that they met in Oklahoma and other states.
14. Most Americans buy new computers every 1-2 years and new houses every 4-6 years.
Analysis: Questionable statistics, especially the one about computers.
15. Mike and Sean make up the best doubles pair on the tennis team. So, I assume they are also the best singles players on the team.
Analysis: Division since they may be average players who play very well together and may not be the best singles players on the tennis team.
16. I read in Time Magazine where the U.S. has 3% of the world’s population and uses 75% of the world’s raw materials and energy.
Analysis: Questionable statistics since the facts show it's closer to 6% and 50%.
17. I've gone out with two women in my life and they rejected me. Thus, women will always reject me.
Analysis: Small sample since two is not enough to generalize here.
18. Alcoholics tend to be malnourished. So, being malnourished is at least one cause for becoming an alcoholic.
Analysis: Questionable cause since it's the other way around.
19. Fords are great vehicles. All of my friends who had a Ford Taurus thought so and I once drove a Ford Explorer.
Analysis: Unrepresentative sample since there are several other kinds of Ford vehicles.
20. We spend at least 10 times as much on Corporate Welfare as we do on Welfare for the poor, and they’re cutting the latter. Don’t you think fairness requires that we cut Corporate Welfare as well?
Analysis: It's probably a questionable analogy, but some would claim that it is no fallacy based on their world view.
21. Molly must listen to KMGG. She’s got a KMGG sticker on her car bumper.
Analysis: Hasty conclusion since someone may have put the bumper sticker on their car. (It actually happened to me)
22. Ray is not someone who you want to associate with. All you have to do is look at him to know what kind of a person he is.
Analysis: Hasty conclusion since someone's looks is insufficient to evaluate them for the kind of person they are.
23. Billions of dollars in private-sector scholarships and grants go unused every year.
Analysis: Questionable use of good statistics for the following reason: If the money is going unused, it's because it can't be used; employees can only take advantage of tuition assistance programs and company scholarships when they or their children are enrolled in college. Moreover, these funds are available only to employees and their dependents, and not the general public.
24. Each day thousands of people are violating our borders and our laws. and Washington actually rewards these lawbreakers by forcing states to give them benefits paid for by the taxpayers. That's like giving free room service to someone who breaks into a hotel.
Analysis: Questionable analogy from the standpoint of motive or intent. Illegal immigrants often can't find work at home and in despair come North (for example - Mexicans). Breaking into a hotel usually wouldn't be the strategy of despair for a person seeking shelter. Also note that room service from a hotel is a luxury whereas welfare benefits are necessary for survival.
CATE: Computer-Assisted Teaching Environment
Distance Education office at Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA USA
Last updated: 15:23 on 30 January 2013
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