Fallacies from Chapter 5 - 5469
Note: The questions that are starred in the book have answers to them on page 357.
[From Ch. 4, page 91; #23 - Composition. Although each play is inexpensive, lots of plays quickly add up to a great deal of money, as slot machine players find out every day.]
2. Questionable analogy. The game show is in no way analogous to a prison camp. The indignities the contestants suffered while confined to a house are hardly comparable to the atrocities committed in a fascist prison.
3. (Very) small sample.
4. Questionable statistics (or unknowable statistics). On what basis can anyone place such a precise value (or, indeed, even a rough value) on human life?
5. Questionable cause. An even greater percentage of heroin addicts first drank milk, coffee, tea, and booze, not to mention having smoked cigarettes. (And as the greeting card noted a few pages back, they all are habitual breathers.) To support a causal connection in this case, we would need evidence showing that all or most pot smokers go on to heroin, but in fact we have all sorts of evidence proving that the vast majority who smoke dope never even try heroin, much less get hooked on it.
6. Questionable Analogy. With all due respect to Justice Scalia, the insurance mandate is nothing like requiring people to buy broccoli. A major argument for the mandate is that people who don’t buy health insurance push the cost of medical care onto others, because hospitals are required to give treatment to people who go to emergency rooms for their health care whether they can pay for it or not. But the failure of people to buy broccoli doesn’t push the cost on to others, so Congress would have no reason to require it.
7. Irrelevant reason. The fact that psychological ploys make ads effective is irrelevant to the ethical argument that advertisers are wrong to manipulate people.
8. This is one of those cases where other values become relevant. Religious fundamentalists might argue that we should ban miniskirts and bikinis, so they would see the analogy as questionable, while most others would see it as apt.
9. Hasty Conclusion. It is hasty to conclude that the country would be better off with more women in politics because women aren’t afraid to ask directions. Presumably the premise is a metaphor for women seeking the advice of experts. Plenty of politicians get expert opinion that turns out to be bad advice.
10. Slippery slope and questionable analogy. Although the fan is making a far-fetched prediction to ridicule the idea of punishing Barry Bonds, his slippery slope is too exaggerated to be convincing. And the analogy between taking performance-enhancing drugs, which are illegal, and eating cereal, which isn't, is just a lame joke.
11. Common practice. A lousy justification for underpaying part-timers.
12. False charge of fallacy. The fact that Mormons now consider polygamy 'immoral and wrong' is not an inconsistency as Green's charge of hypocrisy implies. It represents an official change in policy brought about by the need to conform to state law.
14. Common practice or no fallacy depending on the way you interpret the legality of Bush's actions. There is considerable legal controversy over this issue. It might be worth having students do some research on it.
15. If you take this as a humorous swipe at Fox News, there is no fallacy except, maybe, the ad hominem attack. If taken seriously, the analogy is questionable since Russian state TV outdoes Fox News in propaganda by a long shot.
16. Questionable analogy. The government's analogy is better than Microsoft's. First, the primary product Microsoft was selling was not just a different kind of software operating system than Netscape's. Microsoft's competition to Netscape's system was just an add-on to the rest of Microsoft's systems. So this was not exactly like adding cans of Pepsi to Coca Cola six-packs. (Note, also, that you can buy Coke and Pepsi by the can.)
Second, the government's analogy takes account of a fact having overriding importance, namely that Microsoft's basic system had (and still has) a lion's share of the market, some say enough to influence monopoly practices. So their buyers have to take their software, meaning paying extra if they also want to add Netscape's system, whether they want Microsoft's or not. The only alternative would be to move from Microsoft's basic system, to which buyers are already wedded. (Think of the translation problems in changing over, say, to a Macintosh system.) That is the power of Microsoft having the lion's share of the business.
But third, the government's analogy isn't perfect either. It should compare Microsoft's actions to one company owning the vast majority of supermarkets and packaging a product, say, milk, so that it comes packaged with a house brand of sweetener. If you want Nestle's Quick, you have to buy it extra, and toss out the prepackaged add-on milk sweetener, paying for it but not using it. (In that case many would feel forced to give up Nestle's Quick, victims of the grocery conglomerate's near monopoly power.)
17. Questionable statistics: Reliable statistics on illegal activities are hard to come by.
18. Small sample. Also suppressed evidence. We know (some of us) that people differ and that for lots of people good looks and popularity are very important, and also that 'the quiet one in the corner' is likely to be right only for some.
19. Questionable Analogy. The analogy trivializes the issue. Slashing trillions from the discretionary budget involves deep cuts in social and medical services and is in no way comparable to forbidding Michelle to expand her wardrobe. In fact, if she never bought another dress, she’d have enough in her closet to last a lifetime.
21. Inconsistency, evading the issue, and irrelevant reason. Certainly the Danish paper was inconsistent in printing offensive cartoons about Muhammad but refusing to print cartoons about Christ because they might be offensive. Further, the editor's comment evades the issue that the cartoons were offensive, not to mention blasphemous. And finally, whether he asked or didn't ask for the cartoons is irrelevant to the argument that they should or should not be printed.
22. Slippery slope.
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Last updated: 15:23 on 30 January 2013
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