4.4

Assuming that George Stephanopoulos has not quoted Sarah Palin out of context, Palin’s comment where she likens Obama’s nuclear policy to child on a playground begging to be punched can be BEST described as an example of which fallacy?

  • false dichotomy
  • begging the question
  • ad hominem
  • weak analogy

Correct. This is an example of a weak analogy, because there are too many obvious and important differences between the situation of a nation restricting use of nuclear weapons and a child on a playground asking to be hit for the analogy to be considered strong.

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Multiple Choice Question

When George Stephanopoulos asks Obama to respond to Palin’s criticism, instead of addressing her argument, he says, “Last time I checked, Sarah Palin is not much of an expert on nuclear issues.” His response can be BEST described as an example of which fallacy?

  • begging the question
  • straw man
  • weak analogy
  • ad hominem

Correct. This is an example of an ad hominem fallacy, because instead of responding to Palin’s concerns about whether nuclear weapons are being restricted too much, he attacks Sarah Palin’s personal qualifications instead.

 

Question: Summarize the conclusion of Nadelmann’s primary argument, as well as at least two premises that he uses to support it.

Answer: Nadelmann’s primary argument is to legalize some drugs so that the resources used on arresting people involved in dealing with these drugs can be used on other things to benefit the American society.

He uses weak post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy when he is correlating the high number of arrests and the illegal status of drugs. Also he is using confirmation bias when he is interpreting information related to arrests and the use of drugs to serve the purpose of his own argument.

 

Colbert opens the interview by summarizing Nadelmann’s argument to the audience, saying, “Ethan, you say we should legalize drugs and that would solve all of our problems. Go on. Sell ‘em on the idea of giving weed to my kids.” Explain how this is a straw man fallacy by describing what Nadelmann’s argument really is and how it differs from Colbert’s interpretation.

Nadelmann’s argument is a controlled legalization of drugs while Colbert is drawing a weak analogy by drawing a meaning of if the argument made by Nadelmann is equivalent to exposing children to drugs without any control.

 

 

When Nadelmann admits that he has “smoked the occasional joint” and Colbert concludes, “So you are a criminal, and none of your arguments have validity now,” what fallacy is Colbert utilizing?

  • ad hominem
  • weak analogy
  • straw man
  • post hoc propter ergo hoc

When Nadelmann supports his argument with statistics about how many Americans, Democrats, or members of the audience support the movement to legalize marijuana, what fallacy is he committing?

  • begging the question
  • appeal to popularity
  • ad hominem
  • weak analogy

 

Madeleine says, “Standardized testing does more harm than good in the education system,” and then cites a single authority for where she got this information. You could make the MOST persuasive case that Madeleine was guilty of the fallacy of unqualified authority if her source was which of the following?

  • a summer-camp counselor who leads horseback-riding activities for 10-to-12-year-old girls
  • a researcher who recently completed a study about standardized testing
  • a professor of education who was quoted in a peer-reviewed article
  • a recently retired middle-school math teacher with 30 years of teaching experience

Kyle is an anti-vaccine advocate who brings up evidence of instances when specific vaccines have resulted in health problems, and then he poses the question, “Do we allow doctors to administer dangerous vaccines, or do we eliminate the harmful practice of vaccination?” What fallacy is Kyle committing?

  • false dichotomy
  • appeal to emotion
  • unqualified authority
  • ad hominem

 

Consider the following argument:

Premise: If we let people immigrate into the country illegally, they might bring diseases like leprosy.

Premise: If leprosy gets into this country, it will spread and become an epidemic.

Premise: If a leprosy epidemic breaks out, it will lead to the majority of Americans losing fingers.

Conclusion: Therefore, illegal immigration will lead to the majority of Americans losing fingers.

Which fallacy does that argument BEST illustrate?

  • appeal to emotion
  • unqualified authority
  • false dichotomy
  • slippery slope fallacy

In the interview, Jon Stewart and John Hodgman ridicule Pat