When anyone has faulty structure is reasoning, we call that a fallacy. In this post I’m going to go through a couple of examples. This is important for us to learn about because if you want to win an argument or make good decisions in everyday life, than you need to know bad reasoning.
Example #1- Appeal to ignorance. This takes the form: We don’t know whether X is true or not. Therefore, it’s true. Let’s take a classical concrete example. Somebody might say,” We don’t know with absolute certainty that God exists. Therefore, he exists.” Obviously, I think anyone can agree that this is seriously bad reasoning
Example #2- Appeal to majority or popularity. This can be seen in the following example, “Well of course God exists, how else do you explain that the majority of the world believes in him?” Well, it doesn’t follow necessarily that because the majority believe X,; therefore X, is correct. The majority could possibly be wrong. Just because the majority of people believed in a flat earth hundreds of years ago, didn’t make it true. In fact, we know now that they were seriously mistaken.
The final example is known as, The Slippery Slope Fallacy. This takes the following form, “When X happens than Y will happen and once Y happens than Z will happen. So, ” If I don’t pass this math class than I won’t graduate on time. Therefore, I won’t graduate, Therefore, I’ll be homeless. Therefore, I won’t get married.
Now we might laugh but we’ve probably all had irrational thinking like this. The problem in the reasoning is that just because I don’t graduate on time doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t graduate, nor does it mean that I will be homeless.