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Argumentum ad lunam

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Part of the series on
Logic and rhetoric
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Argumentum ad lunam (also appeal to the moon[1]) is the argument that, "if we can put a man on the moon", we must also be able to X (usually something really important).

The argument is almost always an informal fallacy and a false analogy.

Form[edit]

Bo Bennett raises the following examples:[2]

P1: We can put a man on the moon.
C1: (unstated) We can do anything.
C2: We can end world hunger.

While C1 might be (if stated) stated differently, its ludicrosity is obvious. Just because you can do one thing, does not mean you can do another.

There is one (mostly) non-fallacious form of the fallacy:

P1: We put a man on the moon in 1969!
P2: (unstated) We can do things we've done before!
C2: We can put a man on the moon today!

P2 here seems much stronger — usually, people can do things in repetition. In this case, however, such an illusion falls away with a glance at NASA's budget.

See also[edit]

xkcd's take

References[edit]