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Chris M.
Chris M., M.S.W. Social Work
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Identify any examples of fallacies in the following passages.

Resolved Question:

Identify any examples of fallacies in the following passages. Tell why you
think these are fallacies, and identify which category they belong in, if they
fit any category we’ve described.

2. Letter to the editor: “Andrea Keene’s selective morality is once again
showing through in her July 15 letter. This time she expresses her abhorrence
of abortion. But how we see only what we choose to see! I wonder
if any of the anti-abortionists have considered the widespread use of
fertility drugs as the moral equivalent of abortion, and, if they have,
why they haven’t come out against them, too. The use of these drugs
frequently results in multiple births, which leads to the death of one
of the infants, often after an agonizing struggle for survival. According
to the rules of the pro-lifers, isn’t this murder?”
— North-State Record

3. In one of her columns, Abigail Van Buren printed the letter of “I’d rather
be a widow.” The letter writer, a divorcée, complained about widows
who said they had a hard time coping. Far better, she wrote, to be a
widow than to be a divorcée, who are all “rejects” who have been “publicly
dumped” and are avoided “like they have leprosy.” Abby recognized
the pseudoreasoning for what it was, though she did not call it by our
name. What is our name for it?

5. Letter to the editor: “Once again the Park Commission is considering
closing North Park Drive for the sake of a few joggers and bicyclists.
These so-called fitness enthusiasts would evidently have us give up to
them for their own private use every last square inch of Walnut Grove.
Then anytime anyone wanted a picnic, he would have to park at the
edge of the park and carry everything in—ice chests, chairs, maybe even
grandma. I certainly hope the Commission keeps the entire park open
for everyone to use.”

6. “Some Christian—and other—groups are protesting against the placing,
on federal property near the White House, of a set of plastic figurines representing
a devout Jewish family in ancient Judaea. The protestors would
of course deny that they are driven by any anti-Semitic motivation. Still,
we wonder: Would they raise the same objections (of unconstitutionality,
etc.) if the scene depicted a modern, secularized Gentile family?”
— National Review

8. From a letter to the editor: “The counties of Michigan clearly need the
ability to raise additional sources of revenue, not only to meet the
demands of growth but also to maintain existing levels of service. For
without these sources those demands will not be met, and it will be impossible
to maintain services even at present levels.”

9. In February 1992, a representative of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico
gave a radio interview (broadcast on National Public Radio) in which he
said that the Church was against the use of condoms. Even though the
rate of AIDS infection in Puerto Rico is much higher than on the U.S.
mainland, the spokesman said that the Church could not support the use
of condoms because they are not absolutely reliable in preventing the
spread of the disease. “If you could prove that condoms were absolutely
dependable in preventing a person from contracting AIDS, then the
Church could support their use.”
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Homework
Expert:  Chris M. replied 6 years ago.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
These are the fallacies in this chapter.

Personal attack ad hominem-thinking a person's defects refute his or her


_ Circumstantial ad hominem-thinking a person's circumstances refute

his or her beliefs

_ Inconsistency ad hominem-thinking a person's inconsistencies refute his

or her beliefs

_ Poisoning the well-encouraging others to dismiss what someone will say,

by citing the speaker's defects, inconsistencies, circumstances, or other

personal attributes

_ Genetic fallacy-thinking that the origin or history of a belief refutes it

_ Straw man-"rebutting" a claim by offering a distorted or exaggerated version

of it

_ False dilemma-an erroneous narrowing down of the range of alternatives;

saying we have to accept X or Y (and omitting that we might do Z)

_ Perfectionist fallacy-arguing that we either do something completely or

not at all

_ Line-drawing fallacy-requiring that a precise line be drawn someplace on

a scale or continuum when no such precise line can be drawn; usually occurs

when a vague concept is treated like a precise one

_ Slippery slope-refusing to take the first step in a progression on unwarranted

grounds that doing so will make taking the remaining steps

inevitable or insisting erroneously on taking the remainder of the steps

simply because the first one was taken

_ Misplacing burden of proof-requiring the wrong side of an issue to make

its case

_ Begging the question-assuming as true the claim that is at issue and

doing this as if you were giving an argument


Expert:  Chris M. replied 6 years ago.



On #2, since you don't have "Appeal to emotion" on your list, you might use "Straw man" as the writer rebuts the claim that widows have a difficult time by minimizing the experience of widows and focusing instead on the negative stereotypes of divorcees as "rejects" and lepers. To my mind, this is a bit of a stretch, but I don't see any others on your list that fit.


On #6, I have "Burden of Proof," which is meant as "Misplacing burden of proof."

Edited by Chris M. on 11/12/2010 at 4:14 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX answer I was looking for was #'s 3 and 9. I hope I have the correct answer. Thank you you really helped me alot.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

For # XXXXX I put circumstantial ad hominem fallacy.

#9 line drawing fallacy.

Expert:  Chris M. replied 6 years ago.
I guess you could make a case for circumstantial ad hominem fallacy on #3. On #9, Perfectionist fallacy and Line-drawing fallacy are somewhat similar, but I would go with:

Perfectionist fallacy - The speaker is defending the Church's position of not supporting the use of condoms because the proposal doesn't solve the problem perfectly. This is a fallacy because perfection is not necessary in addressing the problem of the spread of AIDS.

Edited by Chris M. on 11/12/2010 at 4:50 AM EST

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