- Reject the notion of using a logical fallacy, to try to discredit the blog post or the writer.
Logical Fallacy refers to an error in reasoning that will render an argument invalid. They are unsubstantiated assertions that are often delivered with a conviction, which makes them sound as though they are proven facts.
You can also consider it a false statement that weakens an argument by distorting an issue, drawing false conclusions, misusing evidence, or misusing language.
There are a number of fallacies, but the goal is to say something in order to prove that your point is incorrect. I will go through the most common and provide examples.
Keep in mind, I am not perfect, so I may fall victim to them myself. I am doing my best to stomp them out of my thought process
A. Ad Hominem
One of the most commonly used tactics online. It is a personal attack argument, based on the perceived failings of an adversary, rather than on the merits of the actual topic at hand.
Craig’s blog post: The invasion of one’s right to their body, is gravely infringed upon during the horrendous act of rape.
Ad Hominem Rebuttal
Why do you think your opinion is valid on the topic of rape, when you’ve never been raped before?
Explanation: This is an illogical rebuttal. The person did not say they were a rape victim, or that they know exactly what it feels to be a victim of rape.
They were simply equating the right each person has to their own body, and then understanding how rape horrendously, infringes upon this right.
A2. Keep in mind; you can legitimately use an ad hominem, if the message or position will have a direct impact on the position of a speaker or group. You should bring up questions on their ability to appear objective, on the very message or position they are speaking.
Example: I want to preserve this location and make it safer for new residents. I believe that new developments would assist in this vision. I care about the people of this community.
Legitimate Example of Ad Hominem: Wait a minute; you are the owner of the company handling the construction for the new residential, and commercial properties in this location.
Upon completion, you stand to earn several hundreds of millions of dollars. You do not care about the neighborhood. In fact, the current residents will be priced out. This is all about profits for you.
B. Ad Misericordiam
This is an argument that involves an irrelevant or highly exaggerated appeal, to create pity or sympathy.
Sue’s blog post: I do not believe cheating is a suitable option for committed relationships.
I understand the many reasons someone would go astray, but in my opinion, you should seek counseling, try to rekindle the relationship by discussing where things went wrong, or decide to separate. I simply refuse to think cheating is an option, because it will not fix my relationship.
Ad Misericordiam Rebuttal
You don’t know my story. Who are you to say, with your idealistic and naive babble, that cheating is not an option?
My husband physically abuses me on a daily basis, we have four children, I’m unemployed and he refuses all forms of intimacy. I felt trapped. Do you expect me to leave him? Where would I go? What if he hunts me down and kills me? I had to cheat.
Explanation: The blog did not say there are no reasons, which would push someone to cheat. Instead, it says there are many reasons, but cheating is not the option to assist in these matters.
The commenter decided to use a pity story, to make you feel guilty and understand why they felt cheating was the only suitable decision.
I will continue this over a series of different posts, and then attach to hot button issues.
I understand this does not apply to everyone, but for the sake of understanding my wife’s perspective with minor incidents, I think it is necessary.
It is quite troubling how people argue today. They read or listen, create their own problem, and then argue with that problem as if you created it.
I would love to hear your take on this. Do you encounter people who purposely use these tactics? Are you now able to recognize them more?
…to be continued.