Critical Thinking involves identifying Logical Fallacies
A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning.
“You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts.”
Logical fallacies are often sneakily used by politicians, debaters and the media to fool people. Don’t be fooled!
The most common logical fallacy is the Straw Man Argument where you simplify someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.
eg. After Bob said we should put more money into education, Sudeena replied that she was surprised that Bob hated our country so much that he would leave it defenseless by cutting the military budget.
The Slippery Slope – When a relatively insignificant first event is suggested to lead to a more significant event and so on until we come to a ridiculous final conclusion.
eg. If we let students paint a mural here at school, soon they’ll be tagging all over the town and there will be horrible graffiti everywhere and no-one will want to come to our town and all the businesses will be closed down.
Other effective fallacies:
(shifting the) Burden of proof – I need not prove my claim, you must prove my claim is false.
Appeal to authority – eg. Gwyneth Paltrow says we need to detox our bodies every day.
Appeal to emotion – eg You may not want to eat your salad James, but think of the starving children in Africa.
Using an anecdote – My father used to smoke all the time. And he lived till he was 90, so banning smoking for kids won’t save lives.
Appeal to the masses – Everyone jaywalks, so our jaywalking laws need to be struck off the lawbooks.