Talk:Logical fallacy

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This logic related article has been awarded SILVER status for quality. We like it, and you should too! See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Editorial notes
  • Main article on a wider subject.
  • Better organisation of the list required.

Archives for this talk page: <1>, (new)


Let's Make Ratwiki Silver Again! Corona (chat) 19:29, 22 March 2021 (UTC)

Gold status[edit]

I say we make this a golden article! --NiciesMan (talk) 08:16, 9 May 2021 (UTC)NiciesMan

Thermian Argument[edit]

Is the Thermian Argument and the various rebuttals to it worth mentioning?--BruceGrubb (talk) 04:09, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

No. (edit: the crticism of the thermian argument) is nott a fallacy. It is a highly specific argument to a highly specific context. Fallacies deal with general logic with rules that can be universally applied. Fallacies are also well established rules, not something coined in the last decade. Having said that, from a rational and critical thinking point of view, (edit: criticism of the) thermian arguments is completely correct. If a text is sexist, then it is sexist. If it is a commentary on sexism it is one thing, if it is simply sexists...then no narrative or authorial excuse explains it away. An author is never obligated to be sexist under any writing rules. Literally thousands of non sexist or non racist works are produced every year. With the unlimited possibilities of fiction and multiple narrative techniques which one can use, writing a sexist or racist plot is easily avoidable. If your text is sexist, be it consciously or subconsciously, the text is to blame, not some appeal to "narrative" or "internal consistancy" bullshit excuse. ShabiDOO 04:27, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
I disagree. Anthropologically the terms for this are effectively etic (external) and emic (internal). Horace Miner's 1956 "Body Ritual among the Nacirema" used the then popular etic that '"primitive" peoples believe in magic but we are so much enlighten' and turned it on the then current 1950s United States totally ignoring the emic reasoning. The result was was that this culture is just as much a bunch of magic believing savages as whoever was being studied in Africa this month. By ignoring the emic (internal) one comes to a false conclusion. Claiming a Thermian Argument effectively says 'forget this emic point and go full speed ahead with an etic argument'.
IMHO claiming a Thermian Argument smacks too much of the type of nonsense Pulling said regarding D&D, or the people who claim that every depiction of a swastika is a reference to Nazis regardless of what it actually represents and has resulted in some really stupid things.
It is like reading The Iron Dream and not getting the point. On the surface it is a purple prose paint by the numbers example of the Hero of Thousand Faces but the sting in the tail is it portrayed as a novel by Adolf Hitler in a timeline where he came to America and became a Scifi writer. People who don't understand the real massage (ie the internal message) claim the novel supports Nazism when in reality it doesn't. What the work really does is hold up a mirror to the tropes so common to the Hero of Thousand Faces and causes us to see some uncomfortable things there.
Basically claiming a Thermian Argument is the ultimate get out of argument card as it allows one to dodge the key elephant in the room of what is the story really trying to say and does the world it present make internal sense?
I am reminded about the old joke about a person taking the Rorschach test and complaining about all the dirty pictures they are seeing. Even Sigmund Freud commented that sometimes a cigar is just that...a cigar.--BruceGrubb (talk) 08:39, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
I cannot see anything resembling an argument in that jumble of text. It is nothing but terrible comparisons and misdirects. "Sorry, my character had to be a pointless racists who helps confirms and perpetuates harmful stereotypes because, honestly, despite being a creative and imaginative authors and having an absolute blank canvas and nobody holding a gun to my head forcing me to write otherwise, I just couldn't for the life of me come up with any other conceivable way to have crafted this story despite the near infinite places this story and character could have gone. Zheesh ShabiDOO 11:04, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
I think that one (or both) of you needs to define what you mean by "Thermian Argument". I see different versions online.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:27, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
I agree. Between this and the other talkpage where it's been mentioned, it seems to be getting used to refer both to a particular argument and to the counterargument. ๐’ฎ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘’ talk 13:47, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Yes. That was entirely my fault...sorry. I am supporting criticism of the thermian argument. The thermian argument [internal-rules/consistency of the fictional space justify x] or [treating text/works as worlds of their own rather than cultural artifacts] is garbage. ShabiDOO 14:27, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Is it? Step back and really look at something like Pokemon. From the prospective our our world there is a lot wrong there. From that POV Pokemon is a animal abuse simulator giving your "friends" a health dose of Stockholm syndrome and PTSD. Basically 10 year olds engaging in dog fighting. It is the kind of thing that leads to the dystopian world of Harrison Bergeron--BruceGrubb (talk) 01:03, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
You are comparing completely fictional fantastical creatures being compelled to train, with harmful human sexist and racist tropes and human women being raped? Seriously? ShabiDOO 01:12, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
@BruceGrubb I wonder if you could define what you are both talking about? Because I'm still confused.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:54, 24 July 2021 (UTC)

โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”˜ We are talking about the Thermian Argument which to oversimplify is defending something offensive in a piece of fiction by real world standards by in-universe reasoning.

The idea that capturing and effective torturing living sentient if not sapient creatures for your own prestige and profit like some form of freaking battle harem (There are jokes about the "help" Mr Mime gives Ash's mom and Ditto can take on human form.) is not on par with human sexist and racist tropes (Guess they don't know about the whole Jinx fiasco) only shows the special pleading that is needed to allow the 'its a Thermian Argument' defense.

Newsflash, Orcs themselves are "completely fictional fantastical creatures" and that is the very example used to establish the Thermian Argument. So to defend invoking the Thermian Argument defense we have...a Thermian Argument. (Facepalms)--BruceGrubb (talk) 04:07, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

Bruce you don't have a grasp of what the termian argument is. Are you Arguing for it or against it? don't seem to be able to distinguish between differentiating a text for being racist or a commentary on racism (that has nothing to do with the termian argument) and the justification of pointless racism via narrative sophistry. Debating whether something is racist is not the same as justifying racism. Try to distinguish the two. Also, yes there is a major difference between the mistreatment of outlandish creatures and the normalisation of sexist tropes. I would hardly call the first one praiseworthy, the second is very harmful. ShabiDOO`
(EC) The way you write makes you hard to understand. is defending something offensive in a piece of fiction by real world standards by in-universe reasoning would be better stated is defending something offensive (by real world standards) in a piece of fiction via in-universe reasoning, or something like that. The way you wrote it makes it seem as though 'by real world standards' modifies 'piece of fiction', rather than 'offensive'. Your referring to the counterargument as the 'Thermian Argument' defense also does not help. ๐’ฎ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘’ talk 16:53, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
I am arguing against 'invoking "that is a Thermian Argument"' regarding in-universe defense of criticism. The original presentation of this is still online which is more than be said of the original rebuttal video (supposedly taken down due to "hate speech" if some of the comments on mirror are to believed which given how dysfunctionally Youtube polices itself I can, sadly, easily see, though it could just as easily be for some copyright claim BS by one of Youtube's bots) It is a little ramblly and could be a lot tighter in how it makes its point.
Dan Olsenโ€™s Claim that the โ€˜Thermian Argumentโ€™ is a Fallacy is Fallacious does a far better rebuttal as it goes over the actual Logical fallacies with Dan's position. The rebuttal says at the end "In short summary: Dan Olsenโ€™s claim that the โ€˜Thermian Fallacyโ€™ is a fallacy is a non sequitur for a very specific, non-representative context that ignores the fundamentals of good storytelling, and depends too much on Appeals to Consequences and emotional arguments" but if you know what to look for there are other fallacies denoted in the piece: ad hoc, ad hominem, confusion of correlation and causation, special pleading, and straw man (Orc Rape porn exists but it comes from Japan...which has a 1.2 per 100,000 rape rate while the US is 23.8 times more rape per 100,000. Make of that what you will.)
A point Dan ignores entirely is until recently author's generally didn't have full control of their work; what got in and what was cut or altered was at the whim of the publisher. "Cold Equations" is a case in point. The fact that is effectively a racist (the woman basically dies because she and her entire culture were stupid idiots) train wreck was totally out of poor Godwin's hands. If Godwin wanted the story published he had to give Campbell what he wanted which is the illogical effectively racist stupidly we got. I would like to think something along the lines of "The Cold Solutions" was one of the pieces Godwin submitted but was rejected by Campbell. And What of Earth? shows just how resent this problem is.--BruceGrubb (talk) 06:18, 26 July 2021 (UTC)
"Good story telling" is just a bullshit excuse. I repeat...hundreds of writers and producers make non biggoted and non harmful content every day. As for who contributes to the final product (writer, editor, producer, menacing interferers) is also entirely irrelevant. In fact...literally ANY explanation is irrelevant. If it is is racist. It doesn't ever need to be racist. If it has harmful tropes...then it has harmful tropes. It doesn't need to have them. As for your "rape rate" what the fuck? Do you honestly believe that in Japan rape happens at so much of a lower level or could that be explained by underreporting and different statistics? As for the thermian explanation being a fallacy. It is not a fallacy. The best you could say is the argument is fallacious. As for the critique of the thermian explanation being fallacious: There is no strawmanning. The thermian argument is fully and properly reported. There is no special pleading (the orc example is but one of MANY examples so even if it were a bad example, there are countless others that do a better job of explaining it). There is no appeal to emotion...I don't think you understand what appeal to emotion means. An argument can have emotional undercurrent without being a fallacious appeal to emotions. I would highly recommend brushing up on critical thinking and the fallacious. There are a few good youtube videos which explain the main ones well. They are constantly misunderstood and misused. Basically: good story telling justifies pointlessly biggoted shit with harmful tropes = harm. ShabiDOO 07:06, 26 July 2021 (UTC)
"If it is is racist." Uh, no. As demonstrated by Jynx what one culture sees as "racist" may have totally non racist origins. That pokemon was a wild mixture of the singing fat lady of opera, Yama-uba, an icy ghost known for having long, white hair, a frayed red kimono, and dark, frost-bitten skin, and Yamanba style based off her. It is akin to saying goddess Hel (Hild) is half racist because she is sometimes depicted half black (the Oh My Goddess manga has Hild with brown skin) Even the related Ganguro style didn't have racism behind it - it was a rebellion against the norms of the Japanese cultural view of beauty by adopting the opposite.
Also, cultural tone deafness can result in racist images. The cover of Queen of the Spiders adventure case in point. Bad enough the evil Drow were black skinned. Worst the explanation of it being due to using ultravision (as opposed to the more logical infravision) underground didn't make sense...even in-universe. But to depict them as if they were the black extras out of a 1930s Tarzan movie?! Who thought that was a good idea? And the Drow are still darkskinned to this day. But there is no racism involved...just a series of really really dumb choices.--BruceGrubb (talk) 12:40, 26 July 2021 (UTC)
Bruce if you cannot distinguish the problem of determining if something is racist (nothing to do with thermian explanation) Vs. justifying racism through the excuse of story telling...I'm not going to continue engaging with you. There is no point. ShabiDOO 13:42, 26 July 2021 (UTC)
First, multiple articles suggest that the origin you give for Jynx is wholly speculative; I could not find an official statement offering any such explanation. Second, even assuming that the origin you suggest is correct, this is still a poor defense of the Thermian argument. You are claiming that the allegation that the design of Jynx was racist is false, because the design was innocuously inspired. This justification, however, rests on out-of-universe information about decisions in the creative process. A Thermian argument would claim that the design is not racist solely on the basis of some explanation for the design given in-game. The Thermian argument fails in general because such in-world explanations are insufficient to exonerate an objectionable depiction. Such in-universe details might be usable as evidence in a broader argument, but they do not stand on their own. As for actual in-universe descriptions of Jynx, we have: "It seductively wiggles its hips as it walks", it "is known for its weird wiggling that causes people to dance", and it speaks a language which is "like human speech", but "it is impossible to tell what it is trying to say". Frankly, I do not see any path to even a token Thermian argument that the original Jynx design was not racist.
Now, to consider Pokemon more generally. For simplicity, let's assume that we are in agreement that it cannot fairly be called an animal abuse simulator or a dogfighting simulator. The question is whether we can justify this stance solely on the basis of in-universe justifications for a distinction between dogfighting and Pokemon battles; anything beyond this would cease to be a Thermian argument. Well, what have we got? From a brief bit of digging, I gather that it is stated within the games that pokeballs are comfortable and that trainers cannot coerce their Pokemon. Now, are these claims enough to justify our attitudes? It hardly seems like it. It is easy to imagine people pushing dogfighting making similar statements with regard to the dogs. People oppose dogfighting for particular reasons, and persuading them to endorse dogfighting would necessarily involve sublimating those reasons. Insofar as these reasons pertain to animal cruelty, one would expect a dogfighting advocate to portray dogfighting as something not really involving animal cruelty. Consequently, we would expect similar details in a game made by such a person as we actually see in Pokemon. Note that this doesn't mean our belief is unjustified, only that our belief requires justification from details about the real world, not just about the game world. And this makes sense. What would be really persuasive evidence that Pokemon is a dogfighting simulator? Well, one thing would be if the creator were arrested for dogfighting! ๐’ฎ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘’ talk 00:45, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”˜ Here is a simple question that should demonstrate my point. Is the use of a swastika, regardless of context, racist?--BruceGrubb (talk) 06:05, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

Bruce you have completely ignored everything that I said. And even more, ignored what Serene just said, who took the time to investigate and type out a well thought out and reasoned reply. Ignoring this and continuing on with the same argument is void of intellectual integrity. As you have an arts degree you should be quite familiar with how intellectual exchange works. As I was referring to before: determining whether something is racist or a commentary on racism (or even an ambivalent stance on race) has nothing to do with the thermian argument. In other words, whether a swastika in a work of art was used as a blatantly racist symbol in an attempt to glorify or excuse racism OR if it was used as a symbol of hate in an attempt to critique racism OR if it was even a simple backdrop/historical-symbol to a story that had nothing to do with hate or racism at all ... IS ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT TO THE THERMIAN ARGUMENT. Obviously the nazi symbol can be used in a work of art to advance racism, critique racism or have nothing to do with either of those. The thermian argument simply excuses racist or tentatively racist elements, or the use of harmful sterotypes and tropes or anything within that general family...because of inworld logic/narrative structures and protects it from out-of-world critiques. To debate whether it IS racist or has harmful tropes is a different problem all together. So for example, that the case of a narrative where a woman who has been treated badly by a man ends up marrying the man because it is convenient for the plot or the rules set up by the creators of that fictional universe and void of commentary on this issue. The question as to whether it advances harmful tropes about women is one issue (nothing to do with thermian). The excuse that uasing these harmful tropes is justified because of the convenience of story telling or ensuring the internal consistency of the rules of the fictional world however (or at the very least shielding the creators from criticism of using harmful tropes) IS a different issue. That is the thermian argument. As I have said three times before it is bullshit. Creators can easily avoid this by using all of the tools available in their creative writing/production kit in their minds and the near limitless places they can go in a fictional world. If you can easily avoid harmful tropes without commentary and still make great fiction...then it should be a fairly easy straightforward decision. ShabiDOO 12:05, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

Alright. Could someone please explain what the "Thermian Argument" is? Corona (chat) 12:29, 27 July 2021 (UTC)

As said before to oversimplify it is defending something offensive in a piece of fiction by real world standards by in-universe reasoning. The irony is that the term comes from a fictional race that can't tell fiction from reality which given the whole parody tone of the movie (Galaxy Quest) is likely a comment on typecasting by both studios and fans or perhaps on fans who can't tell the difference between the actors and the character they portray.
As Dan Olsenโ€™s Claim that the โ€˜Thermian Argumentโ€™ is a Fallacy is Fallacious states "if a person is not able to differentiate between reality and fiction, the problems lie more with that person than the work of fiction."--BruceGrubb (talk) 00:53, 15 August 2021 (UTC)

False equivalence, bad example?[edit]

I find the "Winner-take-all is an anti-democratic way to run a multi-candidate election, but people would have "too much of a vote" in a purely proportional system." If anything it feels more like a non sequitor.--BruceGrubb (talk) 06:18, 26 July 2021 (UTC)

Better organization of the list[edit]

also form a far tighter list:

Informal Fallacies[edit]

  1. Appeal to Force: using force or the threat of force to gain acceptance to his or her conclusion.
  2. Abusive (Ad hominem): instead of trying to disprove the truth of what is asserted, one attacks the person who made the assertion
  3. Circumstantial: An attempt to prove an opponent ought to accept an argument because of the special beliefs and circumstances of your opponent.
  4. Argument from Ignorance: Assertion that a statement is true because it has not been proven false.
  5. Appeal to Pity: pity is appealed to for the sake of getting a conclusion accepted.
  6. Appeal to the People: Attempt to win popular assent by arousing the feelings and enthusiasm of the multitudes.
  7. False Authority: Use of the feeling of respect or admiration people have for a popular person to win assent to a conclusion, especially for matters outside the province of their special fields of authority.
  8. Accident: Attempt to discredit a general rule by taking a particular exception to that rule. What is true โ€œin generalโ€ might not be universally true without qualification, because circumstances alter cases
  9. Hasty Generalization: Converse of the fallacy of accident, hasty generalization is when you make a conclusion based on atypical cases
  10. False Cause: Mistaking what is not the cause for a certain phenomenon for the real cause. Sometimes this fallacy occurs when one event precedes a second, and is therefore falsely claimed to be the cause of the second event.
  11. Begging the Question: Assume as a premise for your argument the very conclusion you want to prove.
  12. Complex Question: presume a definite answer to a prior, unasked question

Ambiguity Fallacies[edit]

  1. Irrelevant Conclusion: Argument purporting to establish a particular conclusion is directed to prove a different conclusion
  2. Equivocation: Use of expressions of double meaning in order to mislead.
  3. Grammatical Construction: Unclear statement because of the loose or awkward way its words are combined
  4. Composition: Applying properties of parts of a whole to the whole itself
  5. Division: reverse of composition; What is true for the whole is true of its parts--BruceGrubb (talk) 18:59, 20 August 2021 (UTC)

Carl Saganโ€™s Baloney Detection Kit[edit]

  1. Ad hominem โ€” Latin for โ€œto the man,โ€ attacking the arguer and not the argument
  2. Argument from authority
  3. Argument from adverse consequences
  4. Appeal to ignorance
  5. Special pleading
  6. Begging the question, also called assuming the answer
  7. Observational selection, also called the enumeration of favorable circumstances, or as the philosopher Francis Bacon described it, counting the hits and forgetting the misses
  8. Statistics of small numbers
  9. Misunderstanding of the nature of statistics
  10. Inconsistency
  11. non sequitur โ€” Latin for โ€œIt doesnโ€™t followโ€
  12. post hoc, ergo propter hoc โ€” Latin for โ€œIt happened after, so it was caused byโ€
  13. Meaningless question
  14. Excluded middle, or false dichotomy โ€” considering only the two extremes in a continuum of intermediate possibilities
  15. Short-term vs. long-term โ€” a subset of the excluded middle, but so important Iโ€™ve pulled it out for special attention
  16. Slippery slope, related to excluded middle
  17. Confusion of correlation and causation
  18. Straw man โ€” caricaturing a position to make it easier to attack
  19. Suppressed evidence, or half-truths
  20. Weasel words

That should help--BruceGrubb (talk) 19:36, 20 August 2021 (UTC)

The subtypes of the 'fallacy fallacy' seem wrong[edit]

First time using a wiki, apologies if i'm doing it wrong

There are 4 subtypes listed for the fallacy fallacy:

  • Forward: Argument A for the conclusion B is fallacious. Therefore, B is false.
  • Converse: The conclusion B is false. Therefore, Argument A for B is fallacious.
  • Converse of Inverse: Argument A for the conclusion B is not fallacious. Therefore, B is true.
  • Inverse: The conclusion B is true. Therefore, Argument A for B is not fallacious.

I see 2 problems here:

#1: The words 'converse' and 'inverse' are used incorrectly[edit]

In propositional logic, these terms are used like this:

  • original: P -> Q
  • converse: Q -> P
  • inverse: !P -> !Q
  • contrapositive: !Q -> !P

In this case:

  • P = Argument A is fallacious
  • Q = Conclusion B is wrong

What this article describes as converse of inverse is actually just the inverse, and vice versa.

#2: Not all variants are fallacious[edit]

The inverse of the converse(a.k.a. the contrapositive) of a conditional statement shares the same truth value as the original, by definition. This however doesn't apply to converse and inverse. While being logically equivalent to each other, they can differ from the original, and I'd argue that they actually do in this case. E.g. The following sentence

> The conclusion turns out to be wrong, therefore the argument supporting that conclusion must in some way be flawed

sounds like perfectly valid reasoning to me, but according to this article, it is a 'converse fallacy fallacy'

If I'm wrong, I'd appreciate a counterexample

LastExceed (talk) 13:59, 8 March 2022 (UTC)

You seem to be right regarding the use of inverse. And while it is true that if some conclusion is wrong, then an argument for that conclusion must in some way be flawed, it isn't necessarily true that the argument involves a fallacy; there are non-fallacious argumentative errors that can be made. ๐’ฎ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘’ talk 16:09, 8 March 2022 (UTC)
can you give an example of a non-fallacious argumentative error?
LastExceed (talk) 19:39, 8 March 2022 (UTC)
To take a silly example, if I argue (P1) The Moon is made of cheese, and (P2) All cheese is edible, so (C) the Moon is edible, I have made an error (the Moon isn't made of cheese), but I would not ordinarily be said to have committed a fallacy. The argument is valid, it just isn't sound. ๐’ฎ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘’ talk 01:43, 9 March 2022 (UTC)
Indeed, one of the most common problems with an argument are premises not being true. This isn't a flaw in the reasoning or way of thinking meaning it isn't a fallacy. It is however a stumbling block to making a sound argument. People tend to overlook that in order to have a sound argument, not only must the conclusion follow (and lack flaws in reasoning) but ALSO the premises be actually true. Phenomenally easy to forget and since people focus so much on fallacies and that a false premise doesn't have a convenient "fallacy label" even gets over looked by people versed in critical thinking. Very good catch though LastExceed on inverse/converse! ShabiDOO 17:53, 9 March 2022 (UTC)