Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Elephant Gun Fallacy and Other Fallacies

Post 16:

If the election were held today it appears as though Obama would win, though the polls in several states (MO, OH, IN, WI, etc) are very close and within the margin.


In my constant viewing of major websites on the INTERNET, from blogs to gaiaonline, to news sources, I often run into large fallacies. From Ad Hocs, Ad Hominims, Ad Dushbagium, etc.. Every website that I come to happens to be filled with them. Logical fallacies are one of the banes of the INTERNET, and of debates in general, for two main reasons: They do not allow proper debates to happen - They make you look ignorant. Furthermore, the third thing that I hate about logical fallacies is that so many people use this one: The Elephant Gun Fallacy I think I just made it up too, might go copyright it now. Logical Fallacies and the Elephant Gun: What Really Grinds My Gigantic Notched Wheels.

They Do Not Allow Proper Debates to Happen:
I am often in debates where the opposing side (or, even myself) tosses out fallacies in order to cloud the issue and come off as the winner. Remember, in a debate, you are not trying to convince the other side, but merely trying to convince the audience. The main one that I see is a straw man fallacy. Quite often I see these fallacies pop up and not actual effect the debate proper, but they derail it into an argument as to if it were actually a straw man or not. This is a great method to distract the opposing side, but it is a very bad fallacy. During all times, the fallacies basically only harm the actual debate, as they violate the rules and make it so nobody knows what anybody is talking about.

They Make You Look Ignorant:
When I am debating with somebody on Gaiaonline and I toss out a fallacy most people jump on it as an attempt to show that I am an idiot. While I am for tossing out the fallacy, the fact that it is jumped on itself is another fallacy (Ad Hominim). While it makes sense that two fallacies should cancel each other out, they do not, and they are both wrong. If I see another person using it I simply try to point it out and stay on topic, but, as I said above, I am often moved to a sub-debate over the fact of if it is indeed a fallacy or not. This, as may be the motive, is a thread killer. Frankly, any time you attempt to confuse the issue simply because you can not come up with a good response shows that, for that moment, you are ignorant. Furthermore, it does hurt your credibility in all other debates.

The Elephant Gun Fallacy:
I do believe that I just gave a name to this fallacy, though I am not sure if it has another name already. Really, this is just the fallacy that bugs me the most, and, as Hajile used it in the previous blog entry in a comment, I feel that it is needed to be posted here. It goes something like this:
The Elephant Gun is used to keep all elephants from hurting me
I have an Elephant Gun in the corner and have there has never been an elephant in this room
Ergo, the gun has kept them out

You will often see this sort of fallacy used to defend the Patriot Act or the Iraq War. There has never been a terrorist attack ON US SOIL from 9/11 til now, so, clearly, the Patriot Act is working. That is absurd and illogical. This is the fallacy that I hate the most, and yet it is the one that people seem to use the most. You see it everywhere, every letter to the editor, every business memo, everywhere. This fallacy infiltrated our lives and has shown up all over. That said, start to point it out each time you see it; try to figure out how many times you use it in a single day, then, tell me the amount.

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Ben said...

Is that youe projection map or someone else's?

Barga said...

It is a map I made using the RCP averages from their polls

Anonymous said...

I think that's the post-hoc fallacy you're talking about there, eh?

Barga said...

I do not think that it is a post-hoc, as that is an A then B therefore A cause B

I think it is more A is linked to B, if not B, then A worked

Hajile said...

I was mentioned in a blog post! xD

I can't say I'm very good at recognizing fallacies, my own, another person's.

But I can still see if there is something wrong with an argument. So I guess that's kinda the same thing.

Not much to respond to with this post, is there?


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