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Logical Fallacies That Aren’t

I see the most logical fallacies in debate and discussion when people are trying to point out logical fallacies. This is because people like to use logical fallacies as a weapon without having any real fundamental understanding of what a logical fallacy is. I will give some examples.

“You are an idiot.”

This is not an ad hominem. This is an insult. When you claim that someone is using a logical fallacy when someone insults you, you sir are the only one using a logical fallacy. This is an example of a real ad hominem: “You are wrong because you are an idiot.”

“Expert X says experty stuff.”

This is not a logical fallacy. He might have really said experty stuff. No fallacious statement or line of reasoning was made. This can be annoying since they are often trying to paint you as dumb by trying to bring people who hold more expertise into the discussion to paint you as ignorant, but it isn’t a logical fallacy. This would be the logical fallacy of appealing to authority: “You are wrong because Expert X disagrees with you.”

“I believe humans naturally are social creatures.”

This is not a logical fallacy. The fact that someone brings up nature doesn’t mean that they are committing the logical fallacy of appealing to nature. This is how someone is performing the naturalistic fallacy: “You are wrong because humans are naturally social.”

I can make this list quite long. Usually, if you refrain from truth claims, you aren’t making a logical fallacy. “I believe X, Y, and Z” can’t be a logical fallacy. Even, “I believe X, due to Y, because Z” can’t be a logical fallacy even if what you are saying is, “I believe in monkey dishwasher due to purple, because ice cream has no bones.” That is weird, and it might be horrible reasoning … but it isn’t a logical fallacy.

Many oft quoted fallacies aren’t real fallacies and no one should call them such. If you go to “yourlogicalfallacyis.com” you will see many non-logical fallacies included. This list probably doesn’t do any great benefit to others and more likely just mis-educates.

Here are some examples that are included in this website.

Tu Quoque. This is when someone doesn’t answer your question and they instead ask their own question. That isn’t a fallacy, and in many contexts it isn’t dishonest or anything else problematic. Who ever included this on a list of fallacies is wrong because they are dumb ^_^.

Loaded question. WTF? Why would someone say this is a logical fallacy? There is nothing fallacious about a loaded question. It might be jerky, but in no way is it a fallacy.

Burden of Proof. Anyone who says anyone has a burden of proof is making a fallacious statement. This website says that someone who makes a claim has a burden of proof. That is untrue and fallacious. Just because you make a claim does not mean that it is assumed by the universe that you must prove it. You can say something, and move on with your day. It might be wrong, it might be right, but there is no burden of proof on anyone. This isn’t a logical fallacy.

Ambiguity. I am not very deep in this list, and this website is really shitting the bed. Now it is saying that if you are ambiguous in order to deceive that is a logical fallacy. No it isn’t. It is just being a fucking weasel.

Anecdotal. Anecdotes are fine. Sometimes an anecdote can prove or disprove something in a narrow context. If someone says, no one can stand on one foot, you reply, “I know that is not true because I saw a guy do it once.” If that is true, that is actually a very strong argument that disproves his statement. Anecdotes can often be problematic when grossly over generalizing one experience into the rest of reality. No matter what though … it surely isn’t a fallacy.

The Texas Sharpshooter. This is just picking specific data that supports your point. It isn’t a logical fallacy. It’s unreliable and lame, but not a fallacy.

There are other fallacies that people also misinterpret. The difference will often be whether or not there is a truth claim. The “Middle ground fallacy” is only a real fallacy if someone claims that the truth is in the middle. Otherwise, it might just be someone trying to compromise.

It feels so powerful to claim someone is committing a logical fallacy, but if you do it wrong, you might be the only one who is, and look like a giant dummy.

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Aaron White

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