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Logical Fallacies Paper

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The logical fallacies that I have chosen to study in this paper are "Appeal to Emotion" Fallacy, "Common Belief" Fallacy, and the "Hypothesis Contrary to Fact" fallacy. In the following paragraphs I will be defining the fallacies and how they relate to critical thinking. I will also be providing a popular culture example for each fallacy to illustrate each fallacy. In conclusion I shall attempt to provide Pro's and Con's for each Fallacy.

The first Fallacy I chose was the "Appeal to Emotion" Fallacy. An Appeal to Emotion is a fallacy with the following structure:

1. Favorable emotions are associated with X.

2. Therefore, X is true.

This fallacy is committed when someone manipulates peoples' emotions in order to get them to accept a claim as being true. (Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion, 2006) Example: In 1972, there was a widely printed advertisement printed by the Foulke Fur Co., which was in reaction to the frequent protests against the killing of Alaskan seals for the making of fancy furs. According to the advertisement, clubbing the seals was one of the great conservation stories of our history, a mere exercise in wildlife management, because "biologists believe a healthier colony is a controlled colony." (Master List of Logical Fallacies, 2004) Concrete critical thinking should be used to not be swayed by this fallacy. Its effectiveness is in its emotional appeal to its audience. Logical arguments are very difficult and time-consuming and rarely effectively spurn people to action. It is the power of this fallacy that makes it so popular and widely used. However, it is still a fallacy.

The next Fallacy I have chosen to examine is the "Common Belief" Fallacy. An Appeal to Common Belief Fallacy is defined by any argument that defends a belief by pointing out how many other people have the same belief. But consensus does not make something true. Just remember that even today, huge numbers of people remain ignorant of basic science and think that the earth is the center of the universe. The fact that most Americans believe in angels do not make angels real; the fact that most Americans believe that JFK was a great president do not prove that he was. (Gracyk, 2003) Other examples of this fallacy are: "O.J. killed his wife, everyone knows that" and "Of course there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraqi, everyone knows that". When we are uncertain about something, we turn to other people and assume they know what they are speaking of. We do the same with beliefs. The more other people close to us believe in something, the more likely we will be to accept that it is true. It takes strong critical thinking to avoid being swayed by this Fallacy.

The final Fallacy that I am examining in this paper is the "Hypothesis Contrary to Fact" Fallacy. This Fallacy occurs when from a statement of fact the argument draws a counterfactual claim (i.e. a claim about what would have been true if the stated fact were not true). The argument falsely assumes that any state of affairs can have only one possible cause. (Hypothesis Contrary to Fact, 2006) Gun advocates use this Fallacy when they defend the second amendment, the right to bear arms. "In this country citizens are permitted to own guns. Therefore, if guns were outlawed, citizens would be unable to protect themselves and there would be an uncontrollable crime wave." I chose this fallacy because I personally think that it is being used today with the book "The Davinci Code ", by Dan Brown. Mr. Brown presents a fact and surrounds it with fiction and half truths to tell a story. An example of this would be the fact that there was indeed a Council of Nicea in 325. However, the deity of Jesus was never under discussion. What was under discussion was whether Jesus was coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The result of the vote was the Nicea Creed which states:

"We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light,

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