Question: In the aftermath of a shooting at a local high school, Helen starts a movement to ban the fluoridation of water in the community. She uses statistics that demonstrate how more school shootings have occurred in the years since the fluoride was added to the water. Assuming that this is the only evidence she provides in her argument, explain what fallacy Helen is committing and why her argument doesn’t work.
Answer: Helen is committing Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Just because two events coincide, does not make it a cause and effect relation.
Question: Does the presence of a fallacy in the above argument automatically prove that the conclusion is false? Explain your answer.
Answer: No, it does not automatically prove that the conclusion is false. The logic presented in the argument is not correct therefore the argument cannot be treated as a compelling argument.
Question: Deborah argues that it would help the environment if Ron recycled. Ron responds that the environmentalism movement has gotten so politicized to the point that people often just support environmentalist policies based on party lines. Explain what the red herring is in Ron’s fallacy.
Answer: Ron has brought up an irrelevant issue to counter argue the main issue raised by Deborah. Helping the environment is a real issue and arguing that it is politicized does not decrease the importance of the issue.
Why is it a fallacious argument to assume that just because something extraordinary can’t be proven false, then it must be true?
- because someone someday might be able to definitively prove it false
- because the burden of proof is shifted away from the person making the extraordinary claim
- because there’s never any reason to believe in something that you have not directly experienced
- because science has already figured out essentially everything there is to know about the natural world
Question: In your opinion, are there ever any situations in which appealing to popularity (i.e., arguing that everyone else is doing it) is an appropriate justification for an action? Explain your answer.
Answer: In my opinion, if there is a situation where my life is in danger and i have now clue what to do, I would look around and see what others are doing to save their life and may follow their footsteps. For example I am in a new city and there is an announcement made that all the people have to run to a shelter due to something bad is happening, I will go in the direction where others are going.