Some Fallacies That We Have Named

The fallacies below haven't shown up in any our our books or readings, so we will name them ourselves:

  • The Appeal to Innumeracy

    Arguments based on mathematical calculations or graphs are immediately ignored by almost all readers because "they don't do math" and assume that all arguments based on math or graphs are just examples of "figures don't lie, but liars sure do figure!"

  • The Fallacy of Assumed Linearity

    This one is related to the Appeal to Innumeracy. If a graph shows that something is going up with time, the assumption is made that it will continue to rise in the same way forever. "The Stock Market has been going up for the last two years, therefore we should move all the Social Security funds into the market to increase the money available to Seniors through the year 2050."

  • The Fallacy of Label Slapping

    Just because you can slap a Fallacy label on something does not make it untrue. When you cite an expert opinion, the expert may actually know what he or she is talking about. You can't dismiss this as Appeal to Authority. When someone tells you that an antihistamine really helped with his hay fever, do you not try that over-the-counter medication because his recommendation was a Testimonial? Label Slapping is a common game in politics, of course. Would you vote for someone who is a "San Francisco Liberal"?

  • The Appeal to Invincible Ignorance

    Do not confuse this with the Appeal to Ignorance, which is very different. The Appeal to Ignorance can be summed up in the phrase: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." In other words, you can't claim that space aliens stopped your car because nobody riding with you can tell you why it won't start.

    The Appeal to Invincible Ignorance is used when someone clings to an incorrect belief, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. "I don't care what science tells us about the age of the Earth. I know it is 6000 years old, and you can't convice me otherwise, no matter what you say."

  • The Appeal to Baloney

    "If you can't dazzle them with logic, then baffle them with baloney." Psuedoscientific claims often substitute elaborate scientific-sounding "theories" for an actual logical argument backed up with real evidence. The term "Baloney Detection Kit" was made popular by Carl Sagan. BDK's are offered by many authors in Critical Thinking.