How to Think Better – Avoid These 5 Logical Fallacies

1. Strawman Fallacy

You tell your friend that eating fats can be part of a healthy diet and he gets mad and starts yelling at you, “Oh, so you want me to eat McDonald’s all-day?! You want me to eat trans fats all day?! Is that what you call healthy?!” 

In his mind, he’s somehow rebutting your argument. However, what he’s done is essentially twisted what you said into something that you didn’t say, and now he’s attacking his own little constructed argument. 

You tell him that you were thinking more along the lines of nuts and seeds, but for some reason, he continues to be very angry with you.


2. Red Herring 

You and your friend are debating the complex question of how taxes should be collected. You’re more fiscally conservative while he’s more fiscally liberal. 

And so far, the argument has been going great but all of a sudden he brings up Donald Trump and all the bad things Trump has done in his life. 

He goes on and on about Trump may be thinking that he’s somehow strengthening his position, but he’s essentially introduced something that’s irrelevant to the debate, and his argument of whether Trump is a good guy or a bad guy really says nothing overall about the merits of fiscal conservatism just like whether Hillary is a sketchy lady or a nice lady says nothing about the merits of fiscal liberalism. 


3. Ad Hominem

You’re debating your friend about a topic and you bring up some very valid points. And instead of addressing those points, he gets angry and starts telling you how you’re wrong because you’re an asshole or because you’re ugly implying that your character or your physical attributes somehow have anything to do with the validity of your argument. 


4. Argument From Ignorance

A friend of yours asks you to explain in detail everything since the start of the universe. You tell him that even though we know quite a bit, we don’t know every single detail about everything but we’re looking for evidence constantly and working on putting the puzzle together. 

He laughs in your face. See, you have no answers but he does. He tells you that the spaghetti monster created everything with his loving tentacles. 

You’ve just been served an argument from ignorance. We don’t know certain things for sure, therefore it must be the spaghetti monster. 


5. Argument From Authority

Your friend tells you that he saw on TV that if he eats some crazy herb every day, he won’t get cancer anymore. 

And you’re kind of skeptical and ask for more evidence, and he tells you that it’s true because the guy who said it on TV is this famous doctor and he also has a Ph.D

Unfortunately, just because someone has a Ph.D. doesn’t mean that they’re not full of shit. And also, unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to understand this. 


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One response to “How to Think Better – Avoid These 5 Logical Fallacies”

  1. The examples seem to be defensive, and specifically pointed.

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