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o John's objections to capital punishment carry no weight since he is a convicted felon. - This is an ad hominem fallacy, in that John can still have valid objections to capital punishment, whether or not he's a felon. Furthermore, suppose his felony is tax fraud. What does that have to do with capital punishment?
The previous is also known as "circumstantial ad hominem", in that the person is making this argument because it is in the interests of this person to make that argument. Regular ad hominem would be "your position on capital punishment is invalid because you're a high school dropout". Note the difference, in that the first one had the underlying assumption that it was in the interests of the person making the argument to make it, and the second one just attacks the person, with no assumption of the interests of the person conntected.
o All men are rats! Just look at the louse that I married. - This is the fallacy of "hasty generalization". The fallacy is committed when not enough A's are observed to warrant the conclusion. If enough A's are observed then the reasoning is not fallacious.
What it means is that you cannot say that all men are rats by looking at a representative sample of one person. First of all, showing that ANY man is not a rat would completely disprove the statement, but even on a more general scale, showing that most men are not rats would show that she just messed up and married a rat.
o If the Republicans win the election, then we will lose our benefits and probably end up homeless in the streets! - This is the "slippery slope" fallacy, coupled with an "appeal to fear". The slippery slope is that ff X happens, then Y will inevitably happen. It plays upon common stereotypes and exacerbates them, without producing evidence. It's the same as saying "We can't let them ban pornography in the libraries. Once you ban one type of speech, you might as well start burning all the other books, and then comes the second holocaust."
o Of course Nixon was guilty in Watergate. Everybody knows that. - The "appeal to belief" fallacy. It is a fallacy because just because most people "know" something or believe something is not evidence that it is true.
o Mary joined our class and the next week we all did poorly on the quiz. It must be her fault - This is the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Basically B happens after A, therefore B happened because of A. It's like saying "The President was inaugurated in January, and February had the most suicides, therefore people killed themselves because of the new President." Just because something happens another thing does not indicate a cause and effect.
o I don't know what colleges are teaching these days! I have just received a letter of application from a young man who graduated from the state university last June. It was a wretched letter – badly written, with elementary errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The state university does not deserve the tax support that it is getting.- Another "hasty generalization" fallacy, coupled with a "guilt by association" fallacy. The speaker made the assumption of the university based upon one graduate's poor letter, and attributed the grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors to the university because the individual was a graduate of the university, notwithstanding the fact that grammar, punctuation, and spelling are pretty much all taught before university.
... and therefore it probably isn't the universities fault, but the high school, junior high, or even elementary school.
o He went to college and came back a pot-head; college corrupted him. - Another "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. He went to college (A), became a pot head (corrupted (B)), therefore B happened because of A.
o Many people say that engineers need more practice in writing, but I would like to remind them how difficult it is to master all the math and drawing skills that an engineer requires. - This is an "appeal to pity", as well as a "red herring". First the reader is told that A (writing) does not need more practice because engineers have the difficult task of mastering B and C, and since that is hard on the engineers, proposition A is wrong. Furthermore, the "red herring" is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim. The fact that it's difficult to master math and drawing is not an argument that engineers don't need more practice in writing.
o Those who favor gun-control legislation just want to take all guns away from responsible citizens and put them into the hands of the criminals. - this is a "straw man" fallacy. The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. A person that favors gun control legislation does not want to put guns into the hands of criminals, of course, but this fallacy would imply that they do.
o After a taste of the morning coffee that his wife had made, Paul asks, "Did you do something different with the coffee this morning? It tastes a little bit different." "Look," snaps his wife, "if you don't like the taste of my coffee, you can just make it yourself!" - "Argument from Outrage". That is, because I'm angry about what you said, I'm right. Now in the case of being married, this might not be a fallacy. As a husband I can tell you that when my wife is mad, I'm always wrong... :)
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Thank you so much. This is perfect, and right on time. Thank you for your help!!
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