Are you manipulating or being manipulated with bad arguments? 3 LOGICAL FALLACIES you need to know

Fallacious arguments and false reasoning seem to thrive in today’s media and political circles, but this lack of critical thinking has a life of its own and has found its way into relationships, friendships, and work environments. In promoting our own ideas and views, we tend to use misleading statements, and it is not rare that we too are manipulated by them in return. Critical thinking can save you time, money, and personal dignity.

A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning. It is an argument that uses a false basis in an attempt to persuade someone.

Speaking objectively, logically, and truthfully is sometimes harder than you might think. This text will cover commonly used fallacies by politicians, TV commercials, and religious leaders in today’s society. There are many logical fallacies to choose from, and my initial intention was to cover them all. After realizing I was writing a post and not a book about this topic, I decided to deal with the five that were used the most, but I brought that number down even further, so the focus will be on three logical fallacies that I’ve seen flourish in the past decade.

1. Ad hominem

This one is by far the most favorite one from politicians across the globe, the most dominant in media, and the hardest to be free of in our daily lives even. It is because we were raised by listening to that old stupid saying “It is not about what is said but about who has said it.” Ad hominem fallacy refers to an attack on the person advancing the argument instead of on the validity of the evidence behind that argument. You will recognize it by the speaker’s focus on personality, speech patterns, wardrobe, educational background, political views, sexual preferences, religion, skin color, or anything other that has nothing to do with the actual statement from the opponent.

Ad hominem is usually used when a person has no valid argument. Attacking the person is easier than attacking her views.
Ad hominem fallacy

Instead of providing sound reasoning, ad hominem fallacies replace logical argumentation with attacks that are unrelated to the truth of the matter. The aim is to discredit the other person. “Bad” people can make valid claims, and “good” people can make invalid claims. You should always separate the words from the person saying them. The validity of an argument has absolutely NOTHING to do with the character of the person, and you not liking somebody is not evidence for that person to be wrong about something.

The truth is the truth no matter who says it.

EXAMPLES of AD HOMINEM fallacy:

  • You are too young to have an opinion about that.
  • Your doctor is cheating on his wife so you shouldn’t listen to his medical advice.
  • All politicians are liars.
  • He is ______ (insert religion) so he must be wrong about this too.
  • She is old. What could she possibly know about social networking?
  • You do not live in my country so your opinion about _____ (insert anything) is wrong.

2. Petitio principii

Circular reasoning is repeating the same argument over and over again, and it is often present in dogmatic thinkers. You will recognize it by having the same conclusion as the premise. An argument is made by trying to prove itself by itself alone. It is mostly used in the fanatic approach to religion with an unwillingness to even consider the opponent’s argument.

People who use these kinds of arguments are very difficult to talk to. Their sentences are meaningless even though they seem correct.
Petitio principii fallacy

The problem with these arguments is that they may seem correct. The form of an argument is invalid, but the statement sounds like it is true. Saying that someone is the best because no one else is as good as him is, in fact, circular reasoning. That someone may be the best, but the argument does absolutely nothing to prove it. Some people even try to justify their arguments by giving examples of other circular statements such as, “I am right because I am right just as the sky is blue because it is blue.”

If the premise and the conclusion are the same, the argument is a fallacy.

EXAMPLES of PETITIO PRINCIPII fallacy:

  • I am right because I said I’m right.
  • Smoking pot is illegal because it is against the law.
  • That book is true because it is written in it that it is true.

3. Non Sequitur

This is the fallacy of stating a conclusion that does not strictly follow from the premises. The most common form of this fallacy is what is often called “a slippery slope,” but it is also referred to in modern pop culture as “that escalated quickly.” In the attempt to convince others of their views, some people will resort to exaggeration to get their point across and list a series of actions resulting from the first action without showing a causal connection.

People who use the slippery slope often play with fears and list a number of things as consequences.  A good example of this is fearmongering, the intentional attempt of making people afraid of something when it is not necessary.
Non Sequitur fallacy.

The purpose of the slippery slope is to shock the listener. Provoking an emotional response often leads to agreeing. You should always stop and think about the potential manipulation of your provoked feelings. The problem with this fallacy is that it suggests unlikely and/or ridiculous outcomes with no proof. One change inevitably leading to another with no evidence is a common way politicians and religious leaders manipulate the masses.

Be careful. Fear is a powerful tool.

EXAMPLES of NON SEQUITUR:

  • If we let gay people adopt children, we will soon let pedophiles adopt children and children will be put into homes where they will be abused, which will lead to them being psychologically damaged and grow up to be crazy murderers and rapists.
  • Legalizing prostitution would cause more marriages to break up, which would in turn cause the breakdown of the family, which would finally result in the destruction of civilization.
  • If you don’t do your homework, you’ll fail the class. Then you won’t graduate from school or get into college. You won’t get a good job, and finally, you’ll be homeless.

Recognizing logical fallacies

Think for yourself. Trust should never be blind without any questioning. When trying to recognize when someone is trying to mislead or fool you, understanding logical fallacies (intentional and unintentional) is very important. They are false arguments that will not prove the point. Try following the premises and logic, stop for a moment before making your decision, and don’t be easily manipulated by those who provoke fear in you. Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.


Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again my dear pagan soul. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. May God and Goddess bless you in everything you do and spirit guides follow you wherever you go.

Pagan life, pagan blog, blog o paganizmu

In love and light,
Towint

11 thoughts on “Are you manipulating or being manipulated with bad arguments? 3 LOGICAL FALLACIES you need to know

    1. Dear Towint and groundedafrican,

      This is an excellent post. Well done! I agree that the pandemic has brought even more instances of people being vulnerable to various fallacies and falsehoods. Needless to say, due to misinformation and disinformation as well as the pandemic and other global issues, 2020 and 2021 as well as the past few years had been very difficult and trying, not to mention having to deal with the pandemic. It was all quite surreal, perhaps in some ways more bizarre than ghosts and the paranormal (not that I believe in such things). One could indeed say that we live in interesting times, but often for the wrong reasons. It is all quite a big mess in danger of getting bigger still. Even a global pandemic still cannot unite folks in the USA and wake them up. Perhaps it will take an even bigger crisis to do so, such as a series of climate change disasters.

      Truth, decency and morality have become martyred in the post-truth era and the age of misinformation. In any case, the best and most dedicated amongst the likes of us are also inveterate teachers of everlasting, transcendental wisdom to save humans from themselves, their self-interests and their destructive ways. I often even have to coin new words to do so. The latest examples are my three neologisms “Misquotation Pandemic“, “Disinformation Polemic” and “Viral Falsity“, as discussed in my very extensive and analytical post entitled “💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 🦠“, which you can easily locate from the Home page of my blog.

      I look forward to your visiting the post and reading your thoughts and feedback on the various issues broached there. By the way, whenever you visit my blog, I would like to recommend using a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

      Moreover, please avoid using WordPress Reader to view my blog. Since my intricate blog contains advanced styling and multimedia components plus animations, it is advisable to avoid viewing the contents of my blog using the WordPress Reader, which cannot show many of the advanced features and animations in my posts and pages. It is best to read the posts and pages directly in my blog so that you will be able to savour and relish all of the refined and glorious details plus animations. My blog contains not just text and images but also bespoke stylings and dynamic animations — images and stories that are animated on their own. These are not videos but actual animations. You will realize very soon that my blog is unlike any other that you have ever visited.

      A new season has just arrived. Wishing both of you a productive week and a wonderful March doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most, whether aesthetically, physically, intellectually or spiritually!

      Yours sincerely,
      SoundEagle

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for such a thoughtful feedback, SoundEagle. You are very kind and lovely, so I’m sending you lots of love. We will be seeing each other around. 💚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for the invitation to view your blog. It is beautifully creative and expressive. I will read your post this weekend and will be sure to leave a comment. I wish you a wonderful week and March as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for shedding light on how easily people influence others with their opinion. I was never a fan of the expression “Your Truth”. Those two words imply that if someone believes it, it should be accepted unconditionally as fact.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, people often mix up beliefs with facts 😀 When it comes to beliefs, you can indeed have “your” truth, but not so much when it comes to facts. I am glad you enjoyed the read. Thank you for the feedback 💚

      Liked by 2 people

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