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The Inane Ramblings of Devour

OR : How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Game!

Author: Devour

Logical Fallacies!

Posted by Devour Saturday May 30 2009 at 10:38AM
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The Law of Fives states simply that:
All things happen in fives,
Or are divisible by or are multiples of five,
Or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to five.
The Law of Fives is never wrong.

Forums are a place for discussion, and discussion can be something that can breed intelligent thinking and creative influence, flowering a special new creation or train of thought that wil eventually lead to us toppling our reptilian overlords and taking back the planet that is rightfully ours!
    Unfortunately, that's pretty much in the minority. And, I mean, like one thread in a hundred, maybe a thousand, maybe a google. I don't know, I'm just making these numbers up on the spot. But, yeah, it's really often that you'll see the chance of logical, intelligent discussion trampled under the boot of general stupidity.
   However, the absolute worst thing for an argument, and I mean the WORST, has to be someone using a logical fallacy. This is basically when someone makes a conclusion from a set of two statements that doesn't make sense. That's summing it up. Greatly.
   You can keep an eye for them, though, and either point out the fallacy, making yourself look clever and a bit of a git, or just ignore them, which is probably the best idea since most of the time whatever you're going to say is going to be wrong. Now, onto the show!

Ad Hominem Argument ( Argument against the Man )
Probably the most common thing used in discussion is an ad hominem attack, which is basically where a person attempts to get rid of another's points via a general attack on that target's ability to talk about a subject. It can be a logical fallacy for a variety of reasons, from things such as that person doesn't need to be qualified to discuss the subject at hand or that the person has got advice from another person.

Note: You also have reverse ad hominem attacks, such as an appeal to authority, which is where a person attempts to suggest that, since someone knows about a subject, they are correct on that subject. This almost certainly cannot be true, and therefore is a logical fallacy.

Timmy makes a complaint about Game X.
Jimbob suggests that Timmy cannot complain about Game X, because he is not a games developer.
Timmy does not need to be a developer to complain, and therefore Jimbob has done a logical fallacy ALL over the floor.
( This example is technically also a deductive fallacy. See below. )

There is one thing to remember about ad hominem attacks, though, and that is that they need to be in the same style as all other attacks, otherwise they are merely insults. For example, if someone calls you stupid without another statement behind it, that is just merely an insult, not an ad hominem attack. So, don't be stupid and say that someone calling you stupid is doing an ad hominem attack as you're then proving you're stupid. Okay? However, some ad hominem attacks may be insults, and should be treated as such.

Deductive Fallacies ( A + B = C )
That insults bit there has brought us on smoothly to deductive fallacies, which are where two - potentially true - statements add up to a conclusion that is not necessarily true. I'd guess these are probably the second most used fallacies in the entire world, although they're often hidden by verbal diarrhoea.

Most ad hominem attacks are insults.
Most insults are insulting.
Therefore, most ad hominem attacks are insulting.

Second Example:
All people who troll this game hate it.
Jimmy hates this game.
Therefore, Jimmy is a troll.

Non Sequitur ( False Cause )
Moving onto the next fallacy, we've got the non sequiturs, which is a fallacy based around the idea that one thing follows another, when it does not. Pretty often used, you'll probably hear them yourself.

I pray every night, so this game will be great.

Verbal Fallacy
My second to last fallacy, the verbal fallacy is obtained through improper or ambiguous use of wording or grammar, giving a false conclusion.

Game D is better than nothing.
Nothing is better than Game W.
Therefore, Game D is better than Game W.

Proof by Intimidation ( Proof by Verbosity )
The final fallacy ( for today, anyway ), proof through verbosity is something you'll see rarely used, although - when you do - the person will often have never been called out about it and therefore usually take up page sprawls with utter dogpoop. This fallacy comes from someone intimidating a forum / person through a great deal of writing, with little substance usually, and therefore claiming victory simply through the unwillingness from anyone to try and unravel their post to make sense of it or to find out if there is any substance in.


( By the way, if any of you are interested, I'll go into detail about the lesser fallacies within the larger groups, or just do more fallacies in general. It's nice to help out a little bit. )

maxnrosy writes:

good read

Sun May 31 2009 3:04AM Report
Mystik86 writes:

Indeed a refreshing read, and very informative-therefore it must be entirely wrong, right? Just kidding. Very nice to see some intelligent discussion going on for once...

Mon Jun 01 2009 4:41AM Report
Tsukano writes:

congratz on passing phil 102! its sad that most people have a hard time getting through that class... but i guess thats the reason you see so much stupidity in forums

Mon Jun 01 2009 6:48PM Report
Sargoth writes:

For more information

While I support your intiative, sometimes I feel that people are just using these to dismiss statements and ignore the intent of the argument.  While you can win at the debate club, it does nothing to sway the people's mind. 

Tue Jun 02 2009 2:05PM Report
Eindrachen writes:

Sargoth has the gist of it.  It is one thing to point out a logical fallacy as a tactic.

But if your own argument ain't got no meat to it, you won't make much of an impression, other than picking apart other people's words.

Wed Jun 03 2009 9:57PM Report writes:
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