Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Make-Up for 11/7 Blog: Goon Squad Analysis

Seth Gilbert
Period 2
“A Visit from the Goon Squad” is structured in a way that constantly gives the reader new insights into its various characters. The trajectory of Lou’s character is one that is thoroughly covered and by the end of the novel the reader has a good idea of the motivations behind the man. While some characters appear only in short clips, the book tracks Lou from middle age to his death twenty years later. He is a man who needs to feel dominant and who needs to “win.” In his case, his need to win drives him to marry Mindy (even though it is questionable whether or not he really loves her), and drives apart his relationship with his favorite son, Rolph. He felt a deep connection with Rolph and was soothed by “his bright blue eyes and quiet spirit”, but Lou betrayed that connection later on in life. Lou’s loneliness despite the myriad of women and children he shared his life with shows that he latched on to the empty things instead of what was really important in life. Like Bosco, he attempts to return to his younger bliss at his death by reuniting with Jocelyn and Rhea, but unlike Bosco, he fades slowly away. Lou is a strong character whose force got him nowhere in life; and in chasing the unimportant, he slowly drains and is left with nothing but memories of his youth. This is why time has such a devastating effect on Lou’s life, and most likely why the author devoted so much text to this fascinating character.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Consequences: Key and Peele logical fallacy

While surfing YouTube due to procrastination, I came across a Key & Peele comedy sketch that humorously displays a logical fallacy. The set-up of the scene is that a principal has called an ex-convict to 'scare straight' a few misfit students. The speaker begins talking about the bad things he had done at their age. The consequences, however, of his actions are completely unrelated and aren't direct consequences at all. At one point in his speech, he says,"And then I really started getting into crime. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And then.....I got trampled by a heard of buffalo. Consequences!"
Other consequences include having a piano dropped on his head, getting AIDS, and getting shot from a catapult into the mouth of a dragon. According to him, these were all direct Consequences of his crime during his youth.

This is a great example of the Post Hoc logical fallacy. The speaker is arguing that because of his crimes all these horrible and completely non-related consequences happened, without further explanation. Another example of this logical fallacy in the short is when the speaker says, "I did a drive-by at my own sister's quinceanera. And then.....I got sucked into a wormhole. Consequences!"


Logical Fallacies in DirecTV Rob Lowe Commercials

DirecTV has recently released a series of commercials centered around Rob Lowe and his odd alter egos. In the commercials, normal Rob Lowe has DirecTV and as a result is happier. Half of the commercial is normal Rob Lowe explaining the advantages of DirecTV. The other half of the commercial is “creepy Rob Lowe,” “awkward Rob Lowe” or any of the other negative Rob Lowe personas. These gross or strange characters all have cable.

These commercial utilize multiple logical fallacies. DirecTV is glorified because it is associated with attractive, confident, and famous Rob Lowe. Cable is downplayed by being associated with a bizarre and distasteful character. Also, the commercials use argument ad hominem when they attack the character of people who have cable by implying that they are akin to the scary Rob Lowe alter egos. Finally, the commercials represent an appeal to Rob Lowe’s ethos as a famous person.

The logical fallacies present in the Rob Lowe commercials are far from dangerous. They are just silly ways to appeal to consumers with humor. However, in other more serious situations, logical fallacies can be misleading and untruthful. Luckily, they can often be spotted and avoided.


Slippery Slope on AT&T Kid

         In an AT&T commercial there are a few little kids sitting at a table trying to answer the question "Why is it better to get what you want now rather than later?". A little girl decides to answer the question with a reference to raisins. The little girl begins by saying you should always eat your raisins so that they don't turn into grapes. If you have raisins and you wait they will turn into grapes therefore you should not wait to eat them.
         Along with the little girl being ridiculously cute girl in the video, AT&T is trying to say that you shouldn't have to wait for a service or that the internet service that is slow. They say that if you have a service, and it is slow you shouldn't have that company and therefore you should buy AT&T's product.

Have a nice holiday!

The Straw Man in Mean Girls.

This clip from Mean Girls is an example of a Straw man. The teenagers of the school make Regina George out to be more then she is. They also idealize everything that she does. Making her to be this great almost inhuman like person. 


Logical Fallacies on The Voice

In the first televised round of every season of The Voice on NBC, four select celebrity coaches select their teams. Quite often, more than one coach will turn around for the same artist and must convince the artist to choose them as their coach. In order to win over the singer, coaches use many logical fallacies to strengthen their argument. 


In this particular example, Pharrell pointed out the red herring which Blake uses with many artists, his background as someone who lived in Nashville and various other "typical country" towns. Instead of explaining how he would help the artist improve to eventually win, Blake focuses on the close living proximity of the artist and himself, using this as the basis of his argument. In retaliation, Blake uses post hoc, demonstrating an over exaggeration of Pharrell's famous, big hat, he states that since Pharrell wears something as silly as the hat, it is impossible to take him seriously as a voice of authority. 

There are many other moments from The Voice demonstrating logical fallacies. While this may not be the most elaborate or best suited example, it is extremely memorable which is why it stood out to me when thinking of what to write this blog about. 

Logical Fallacies in Ferguson

When I started watching the news coverage of the Darren Wilson indictment, I noticed that the logical fallacy of bandwagon appeal was very present. It all started with one car being lit on fire. Then another car, and many more buildings after that. The protesters saw that the fires were creating large amounts of attention and one by one, local businesses run by hard working Americans, were being destroyed. Bandwagon appeal can be so influential because when something so controversial like the failure to indict Darren Wilson happens, people are going to respond and it only takes one person to start a trend. If somebody decided to stand up and say lets honor Michael Brown by showing peace and respect, the situation could have been much different.

Appeal to Authority in The Office

The American adaption of The Office, an originally British show, is one of the most popular television shows in recent memory. It is a mockumentary of the happenings of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. While it appears to be just a normal, primetime sitcom, it has logical fallacies, including appeal to authority, buried in the show.

Dwight Schrute is one of the show's main characters. He might be the most liked and the most popular character on the show. He is often used a the right hand man of the branch's manager, the infamous Michael Scott. However, Schrute is not often seen as a man of authority. He wants to be recognized as a man of power, so he uses the logical fallacy of appealing to authority. His official title is assistant to the regional manager, but he feels as if that is not powerful enough for him. Instead, Dwight tries to make himself assistant regional manager, a title he feels is more just.

This example of a logical fallacy is very similar, in my opinion, to the one in the Monty Python Clips, of Arthur, who always introduces himself as "Arthur, King of the Britains." He uses this title to make himself more important, in a similar fashion that Dwight does in The Office. While a sitcom at heart, The Office also uses logical fallacies.

Could Switching to Geico Really Save Me 15% or More on Car Insurance?



There are a many examples of logical fallacies in modern life. They can be found on TV more than anywhere else, often in the form of amusing commercials. The logical fallacies in amusing commercials are often obvious, and subsequently very funny, because they expose to viewers how absurd commercials truly are. In an unfunny commercial, the ad will most likely use logical fallacies, but subtly, so that viewers cannot tell, and perhaps don't care. Commercials like the one above, on the other hand, embrace the absurdity of advertising with logical fallacies to make their commercial funny and amusing, even if in no way representative of the product.

In the above set of commercials, a serious, well-dressed man asks "Could switching to Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?" followed by a comedic rhetorical question which the adjoining video clip answers as "yes." The initial assertion of each rhetorical question is an example of a non-sequitur and faulty analogy. None of the rhetorical questions have anything to do with whether a customer could truly save 15% or more on car insurance, but the man asks each question with an icy seriousness that might temporarily trick the viewer into believing they might be related. In the mind of the audience, whether or not Geico's claim is true is reliant upon the answer to the ridiculous follow up question, to which the answer is inevitably yes. This could also partially be a straw man argument, because the man is misrepresenting the possibility that Geico's claim is false by saying its only false if the answer to the rhetorical question is false, which it is not.

Generally, however, the people who watch these commercials are not convinced to buy car insurance because they are guaranteed to save 15% because "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." They are convinced because the absurdity of the commercial is funny, and that humor draws them to remember the claim of being able to save 15% or more on car insurance.

My Favorite Pastime: Finding Fallacies in Political Debates

Political debates, whether before presidential or Congressional elections, are interesting, to put it mildly (not so mildly put, they make the job of Saturday Night Live writers more a matter of copy-and-pasting than anything else). In a debate between Mark Udall and Cory Gardner on October 15, who were both running for Colorado Senator, some humorous logical fallacies sprung up. When Udall was asked about his opinion on what the response to the Ebola outbreak, Udall used his time wisely and passionately repeated in many different ways that Ebola was bad and that America needed to fight Ebola, finishing nicely with a casual slippery slope, red herring, and ad hominem attack on Gardner, saying that Gardner voted for a budget cut to the CDC, implying that Gardner must not care about the Ebola outbreak. Gardner quickly elaborated on the red herring, clarifying that, in fact, Gardner had voted for that same budget cut as well. Udall attempted to clarify that it was a different vote, though never quite making clear the difference.

Both debaters in response to questions about Ebola made sure to mention their association with the fight against Ebola, beautifully exemplifying the logical fallacy of glory by association. Udall assured viewers that he had recently talked with workers at the CDC about the Ebola outbreak. Therefore, he must be the right choice, as he is so invested in the issue. Gardner, not to be outdone by Udall, told a beautiful sob story about talking to a nurse at a children's hospital about keeping children safe and stopping the Ebola crisis.

This was only a response to a portion of one debate of one election. There is a plethora of fallacies to be found in political debates, and they are sure to be accompanied by a fit of laughter. 

More Monty Python

It has been brought to the attention of our classes that Monty Python is filled with logical fallacies, and I was shocked to see that this clip was not presented as a the prime example of a logical fallacy.

In this video king Arthur is asking on of the local villagers who lives in the castle that is in the distance. The villager uses a red herring to completely distract king Arthur from the original question and then the villager precedes to go on a long tangent about everything wrong with the English government. The villager then uses the logical fallacy ad nauseum by discussing the English government until Arthur is angered and leaves.

King Arthur also uses some logical fallacies. One logical fallacy that King Arthur commits is exerting his authority. When he becomes impatient with the villagers he begins stating that he is king of the britains and orders them to give him information. Arthur also brushes off the villager's ideas about government by oversimplifying and saying that he is king because a woman came out of a lake and gave him a sword.

Both King Arthur and the villager use logical fallacies upon meeting each other and end up making no progress in finding knights for the round table.

I'm a liberal, so I guess I should be hailing Obama.

It's time for a nice, quick little post about politics. Oh joy. Contained within this video, are ten sleazy political ads from 2012's elections. There are no shortage of such things, I can tell you that much. In this instance, however, I would like to bring up the fifth advertisement specifically. Within this fun little ball of joy, Obama is labeled as evil because Putin, Castro, and Chavez all said something nice about him. This commercial employs guilt by association: saying that because someone we associate with negative ideas likes Obama, Obama should be associated with those same ideas. That is all it does, and these commercials run rampant every election. Negative ad campaigns usual employ nothing but logical fallacies and downright lies to lessen a candidates appeal. The main problem is, a great number of people don't fact check or even consciously think about these ads, either because they don't care enough or are so loyal to their party they base their interpretation as to the truth of an ad entirely around that. Anyway, that's all I have to say, and may the spirit of McCarthy guide you.







Monday, November 24, 2014

Logical Fallacies in the Simpsons

The Simpsons is a classic animated TV show that has been going on since 1987.  The Simpsons is a hilarious show about a middle class american family.  The show has many logical fallacies in its 26 plus seasons.  One specific example is where Homer, the dad, is trying to buy illegal fireworks.  He goes to the clerk of a store and ask for a ton of embarrassing things and then squeezes in illegal fireworks.  He asks for a porno magazine, box of condoms, a bottle of alcohol, some pantie shields, and some illegal fireworks.  The clerk then mumbles that he doesn't sell any but then as the last shopper leaves, the clerk says that he does in the back.  The logical fallacy in this example is that it doesn't matter what Homer asked for before the fireworks.  Also why does Homer ask for embarrassing things before he asks for the fireworks, it doesn't affect if the clerk sells fireworks. That is why it is a logical fallacy.  The Simpsons has many logical fallacies in many episodes.  

Logical Fallacies in Relation to Mike Brown Trial

I will state the fallacy before I give all my feelings and opinions on the Mike Brown case. Obama gave a speech in regard to the rioting in Ferguson. He said “This country was built on the rule of law…” And someone made a statement staying that, “This country was not built on law, it was built on the free labor of our ancestors (slaves).” So basically Obama later on goes and say we should accept the decision made and either way there would have be controversy after the verdict. I believe Obama campaign back in 2008 was based on change and hope. How are we supposed to have hope and change if these same situations keep happening? Some argue that this isn’t a race issue and I think who ever think’s that is absolutely stupid. I mean there are countless cases of African-American people, mainly male, who are getting killed, and who are unarmed and falsely accused.  My uncle was shot by a cop in his car because the cop assumed he was carrying weapons in his car. And the cop was found not guilty. I’m not even sure if what I’m saying is even a Fallacy, but still I feel this is a big issue right now. Just go on the internet and look up cops abusing their power. It’s really messed up and upsetting to see.

I honestly have a fear of cops. I can no longer feel safe when I am around a cop and I don’t know if trust them. Sure I appreciate what they do; they put their lives on the line for people for the people of their community. But will the corrupt ever change? It almost made me sick when I heard the verdict of the Mike Brown case. “Not Guilty…” Are you fucking serious?


The facts are that a young boy, African-American, 15, named Mike Brown was shot 6 times. Not only was he shot 6 times, but he was shot 6 times by a white cop (Darren Wilson). Not only did Mike Brown, scream “Don’t shoot, I don’t have a weapon!” He also had hands in the air giving the signal of surrender. But he was still shot 6 times. Also Mike Brown was a part of a peaceful protest at the time, but the police felt they needed to take action.


The Logical Fallacy Within Politics

It is no new idea that politics can be filled with a plethora of things that are not completely true. This is a strategy used by every politician to usually make their opposition sound horrible. The logical fallacy being discussed is ad hominem. This is almost always used when a certain person cannot answer a complex question. One example of this is if someone where unable to answer, what would they do about the tax situation. If they are unable to completely answer this question they may say something less complex but then accompany it with something about how the opposing side may be doing his way wrong. This is just another example of the many logical fallacies used on an everyday basis in our society.

Logical Fallacies in Fast Food Advertising



There are many logical fallacies in contemporary American Culture. They're present in many different settings and ways. I think the fallacies that occur in fast food advertising and in their commercials/signs are significant.

For example, the famous McDonalds sign. Under the M, it states, "Over 99 Billion Served." Okay...Does that make it better? Socially better? Physically better? Economically better?

McDonalds is one of the many examples however, they tend to use the fallacy of Appealing to Popularity. Is it something you should automatically like? Should we support and believe in McDonalds because it's popular? I feel that's what's wrong with our society. These false ideas are made out to be good ones because of what people say about them. There's no reasoning behind why you should go except for the fact that 99 billion are served. Come in and try this because everyone does.

McDonalds is known to be an attractive place to the American people but that doesn't make it healthy or good. Don't be fooled by what the media portrays. Popularity is just one way how places and the media appeal to logical fallacies but I feel it's an obvious one in the world we live in.

Logical Fallacies are postmodern.

Slippery Slope: American Dad


American Dad is a popular animated television series created by Seth Macfarlane. One episode shows Stan Smith, the main character, angry due to an above ground sprinkler in his neighbor's yard. He then goes to a neighborhood watch meeting to try to make above ground sprinklers banned. To help his argument he shows a violent video that, in the end, states that above ground sprinklers can kill children.
In this scene Stan uses the strategy slippery slope, when the writer presents an occurrence as inevitably leading to an extreme negative result. In the video that Stan showed to everyone it led to an extreme negative result when he showed the children get seriously injured while playing near the sprinkler.

Logical Falacies in Subway Commercials

Subway commercials have plenty of logical fallacies in them. One of the major ones is false cause. These have appeared in the commercials in plenty of different ways. One of the first ways would be any commercial where Jared Fogle comes on and tells the viewers that by eating subway he lost all his weight from eating subway. No one loses weight from just eating a bit healthier. A lot of other work goes into it, so by telling the viewers that by eating subway they will lose a ton of weight is a giant false cause. A second big logical fallacy in these commercials would be the bandwagon affect. Subway gets great athletes to star in there commercials and say that they eat at Subway all the time. By doing this they are trying to get fans of the player, team and sport into the restaurant through. There are plenty of other logical fallacies to be explored in the Subway commercials, but false cause and bandwagon are two of the biggest ones out there.

Pat Quinn Logical Fallacies

The logical fallacy regarding Pat Quinn's attack on Bruce Rauner is known as ad hominem. Ad hominem is essentially attacking a person's character as opposed to what they have done, or their views.

Bruce Rauner invested money in a retirement home for old people. Apparently said home has been mistreating their patients and causing deaths. Quinn claims that because an he owns share's in the company, he is responsible for the deaths and therefore is not fit for the governorship of Illinois. Now this is a ad hominem because Rauner's investment has nothing to do with politics or his views on something. Quite frankly it was a desperate joust by the Quinn campaign to save a sinking ship. It does not make any sense to logically vote for a person based on their investment in a company that they perhaps may not even actively partake in.

It is a real shame that ad hominems are used in political campaigns because they really create a facade of who a person is. With the rise of super-pacs, smear campaigns have rendered actually political beliefs by candidates irrelevant. The public no longer craves what the candidate wants, it craves what types of mistakes the candidates have made in the past. To clean up our political system one must first figure out a way to clean up our campaign strategy, and reverse the ruling of Citizens United.

Logical Fallacy

In the show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, there are many different examples of logical fallacies. In this scene "Science is a liar... Sometimes," Mac attempts to explain why his friends should believe in the bible rather than evolution. I think he uses the red herring logical fallacy because he tries to divert the crowd's attention away from evolution vs. the bible, and talk about how smart people are wrong sometimes. I wouldn't go as far as to say that he makes good points in his argument, but you could make an argument that what he is saying is actually helping his case. That is a stretch though. Mac and his gang of friends are relatively dumb compared to the rest of the world and so it is understandable as to how the argument that Mac makes changes their mind about evolution vs. creation. I am not saying that I believe in one thing or the other, just that the reasons that Mac gave would normally not persuade the audience.

Mac uses the red herring fallacy to draw the audiences attention away from what they were initially talking about. Instead, they start to talk about whether you can trust smart scientists to be credible. I think that in a normal court his arguments would not persuade a jury. In this show, however, the gang that he hangs out with is uneducated enough to take his drastic reasons and make them seem like good plausible reasons.

Logical Fallacies Within Commercials

The logical fallacy I chose to analyze was found within American advertising. Specifically, the advertisement was a flash mob organized by T-Mobile to encourage smartphone users to switch plans. The commercial starts off with one guy dancing in the center of Liverpool Station to blaring music. As time goes on, the songs change, and more and more people join in to dance to the music. While some of these are actors, a great deal of people spontaneously started dancing themselves, even though they didn’t know what was going on. This is an example of bandwagon appeal, because many people began dancing to the music without truly understanding why they were doing it.

Another commercial that exudes fallacy is the Taco Bell commercial for their new bacon club chalupa. The commercial begins with two women at a club looking for guys. One woman claims that she knows how to attract one, because, “guys love bacon”. Almost immediately after she says this, several men come over to them and comment on how good they smell. This is a hasty generalization, in which the woman believes that because “guys love bacon” they will be drawn to her if she carries the Taco Bell bacon club chalupa. She immediately assumes that all men love bacon, and the commercial supports this fallacy by showing her successful results.

A third commercial containing logical error is the 2014 Chevy commercial titled “Maddie”. This commercial begins with a woman kissing her dog. The commercial then cuts to several clips of the girl growing up with the dog, learning how to drive, experiencing a breakup, and celebrating her birthday. At the end of the commercial, the girl has grown up and her dog is gone. However, the girl is now married with a kid, and she and her family pile into their 2014 Chevy to get a new puppy, whom their daughter loves immediately. The commercial then states, “A best friend for life’s journey.” This is a logical fallacy because it appeals heavily to the emotions of the watcher. The commercial contains absolutely no information about the structure or statistics pertaining to the car’s performance. Rather, it explicitly relies on the idea that the viewer will be swayed to buy the Chevy for the sake of sentimentality and familiarity. Without a doubt, American commercials are littered with an abundance of logical errors.

IGNORATIO ELENCHI

The man who invented Western philosophy, Aristotle, considered ignoratio elenchi, which roughly translates to "irrelevant thesis," an umbrella term that covered all other logical fallacies. Indeed, most of the other fallacies on this list could be categorized as subsets of the irrelevant thesis. Formally, ignoratio elenchi refers to any rebuttal that fails to address the central argument.

And for those who are searching for an example of ignoratio elenchi, look no further than the presidential debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry. What transpired during the event happens with almost every question asked in a political setting. For example, at a televised debate between presidential candidates, the mediator might ask, "If you become president, what would you do about the rising unemployment numbers?" to which the candidate might reply, "I'm glad you asked, because unemployment is the greatest problem facing this nation yadda yadda yadda, and my opponent's plan to deal with the problem is completely insufficient." Notice, in this example, how the candidate dodged the question entirely. He made an argument, but it didn't answer the mediator's concerns and was thus an irrelevant thesis.

Another example of ignoratio elenchi is the "two wrongs make a right" fallacy, which was recently used to great effect by the Democrats during the final stages of the healthcare debate. When asked if he thought using the reconciliation strategy to pass the healthcare bill with a simple majority vote was the right thing to do, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid--after claiming that nobody was talking about it (a logical fallacy known as the incorrect statement)--Reid released a statement detailing how many times the Republicans have used the reconciliation strategy over the last decade. Like the example above, Reid made an argument, but it was an irrelevant one that said nothing about how right or wrong the strategy is.

This kind of thing happens in cycles, because the majority party is always changing hands. When the minority party is called childish for filibustering a judicial nominee or something, for instance, they always come back with something along the lines of "You guys did the same thing a few years back, nanny nanny boo boo!" This is, of course, a meaningless argument, even though it is usually true. Even if your opponent shot somebody and got away with it, it doesn't mean you can do the same thing.

Self Driven Cars vs Dodge

The search engine Google has designed and produced many different products to stay ahead of their competitors while making copious amounts of money. Google has produced items from t-shirts to glasses that can tell you anything you need to know. They have even designed and created a prototype of a car. However, this is no ordinary car. The self-driving car does all the work for the driver. It accelerates, decelerates, turns, parks, and does anything and everything an ordinary driver would do. It is the first of its kind. Of course, every car company that produces manual cars had a strong opinion against this. The self-driving car was even attacked in a 2011 Dodge Charger advertisement.  This commercial uses the logical fallacy "Slippery Slope" to promote the image of manual cars and decrease the public opinion of self-driven cars. The "Slippery Slope" fallacy occurs when the speaker states a series of increasingly negative statements to lead to a final negative outcome. The ad begins with the narrator saying, "hands free driving." In today's society, hands free driving is an extremely dangerous and frowned on way to drive. The narrator then goes on to say, "Cars that park themselves. An unmanned car driven by a search engine." This wording makes the idea of self-driven cars seem like a terrible and unsafe concept. summarizes the basics of the self-driving car, Finally, he ends with the final, most negative claim, "It ends with robots harvesting our bodies." The argument the narrator makes is formed by a series of increasingly negative statements in attempt to force to reader to believe that self-driven cars are a bad idea.

Appeal to Authority/Celebrity

Commercials are filled with logical fallacies. Often, they appeal to either pathos or ethos. Sometimes, they use some celebrity that has absolutely no connection to the product to promote the sales. In one commercial, Pawn Stars host Rick Harrison promotes single blade razors. Not only does Harrison not have any credentials to give credence to the company's ploy to get people to buy their product. Harrison talks about former Presidents used single blade razors to get the smoothest shave possible. This reason to buy the razor has absolutely no validity because Presidents are normally not experts on  shaving materials, and if they are they should be experts in politics.


No Grey Area with ISIS

Either/Or is a fallacy in which there are believed to be only two options for a specific situation, when really the situation is being oversimplified.  An example of this fallacy in our society today is the United States' involvement with ISIS. ISIS has been, and still is, killing many innocent people, some of who are our own, along with threatening the United States. In one of these threats, an ISIS terrorist is seen in a video holding a knife over the head of an innocent journalist.  This terrorist speaks directly to the camera and sends a message to President Obama stating that the journalist's life depends on President Obama's next move. After seeing this video, we believe Obama has just two options. One option being that he does not get involved with ISIS, allowing them to continue killing hundreds of innocent people, in addition to the obvious fact that they will not spare the journalist's life. The other option would be to get involved with ISIS, in which case millions of innocent lives, more of them being our people, would be taken.

Watching these events unfold, we believe Obama has been given just two options, when in reality there are truly many more options. Unfortunately, this oversimplification of the situation has led to the United States becoming involved with ISIS, creating many problems. One of which, unfortunately was the death of the journalist we saw in the video.

Slippery Slopes in Portlandia

The slippery slope logical fallacy is when one assumes that one event will automatically follow the other without and real backing or rationality behind the thought process. Many times we see this slippery slope logical fallacies in our everyday lives, at home as well as in the hallways. If we don’t do our homework then we might struggle with the concept, if we struggle with the concept then we will have trouble studying, then we will do poorly on the test, if we do poorly on the test then our grade in the class will drop, and then with that low grade we won’t get into the college that we want, and then we can’t get the job we want, and we won’t be successful. This is one way that shows how logical fallacies shape our society’s views and overall attitude.

In this example, the TV show Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, humorizes this logical fallacy which pretty much describes a situation spinning completely out of control with no real reason behind it. In the clip, we see Fred’s character showing concern that he has gained weight and is now fat. He divulges this concern with his wife and soon they are both at the consensus that he has gained weight, sending them both into a spiral. They blame this on the pasta that they consume. The slippery slope here is that if he now eats pasta, he will become majorly overweight, which is completely irrational. In extreme measures, they now only eat raw foods which causes Fred’s character to become delusional and treat pasta as a secretive addiction which he must satisfy. While the clip adds a side of humor to the fallacy, it accurately depicts the irrationality of the slippery slope.


Logical Fallacies in the Colbert Report

Before starting this post I would like to point out that I do know that the Colbert Report is a satire and the persona he represents on the show is not the one he really is.

In a recent episode of the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert tackles the issue of Obama's immigration speech. Along with FOX News he calls the order executive amnesty. He claims the executive amnesty gives the immigrants more rights than just citizens. He also mentions early immigrants, but claims that they were different. He then goes on the compare Obama to an emperor. He also says that riots may occur from people seeing how same things are. He uses a slippery slope fallacy here. He also claims that Obama is declaring war on the constitution, which is a faulty analogy.


Colbert is jumping to conclusions without, as he admits, even hearing the speech. He accuses Obama of overreaching his powers, and tries to discredit him. He is emulating the conservative media and their attacks on him. Colbert does not follow logic in his stories so much as heart and his own word, truthiness.

Logical Fallacies in American Society: Part 1 of a Potentially Infinite Series

Logical fallacies are as common in American society as Starbucks stores. You can find them on almost every corner, from obvious examples that shout from the rooftops like appeals to tradition, to more subtle fallacies such as the American tendency to make hasty generalizations. However, there is one fallacy that has not only been around since the War for Independence, but has also been used arguably more than any other. 

Ad populum is an appeal to an individuals sense of self, in this case, the individuals sense of being American. It can manifest itself in many ways, from senseless "flag-waving" to more persuasive encouragement to join the crowd. These kinds of argument have stood the test of time, despite that many writers throughout American history, including Tim O'Brien, have shown why mindless patriotism is not an advisable course. Ad populum based arguments were used to drive out Loyalists, or "Tories" from the U.S. during and after the War for Independence. This mentality of be American or get out was used to imprison Japanese Americans during World War II (this was also the work of hasty generalizations, in this case also known as blatant racism). Even a few months ago in his speech to build popular support to make war on ISIS, President Obama used some of what could be defined as ad populum argumentation. 

This patriotic chatter has always been convincing to Americans, and always will be, unless our society undergoes some sort of drastic change. For many people, their country is their first loyalty, and believing in patriotic ideals makes them feel like they're part of something bigger. Unfortunately, this harmless feeling of belonging can easily be turned into a powerful mob mentality by someone who can use ad populum cleverly, and that has been a relatively common occurrence throughout American history. 

Hast Generalization Advertisements

There are many incidents of hasty generalization in the world, but the most easily seen are the ones that take place in media. The Old Spice and Axe men's body wash commercials are prime examples of hasty generalization. The main idea of both brands is that if someone uses their products their hair and body will not only smell fantastic, but the user will also attract girls with no issue whatsoever. 

The idea that a good smelling body will attract girls is absolutely ridiculous. The company's advertisements are generalising the fact that smelling good attract women. They don't mention anything about how people look or act.  The ads just say if you smell good, which you will by using their products, you will get any girl you want. 

Logical Fallacies

How I Met Your Mother is a great Tv show and it has a lot of logical fallacies. In almost every episode there are countless logical fallacies represented. In my recent viewings of How I Met Your Mother, I have noticed some logical fallacies. In the first episode I saw, two of the characters named Barney and Robin are dating and they hate to get into fights. One day Robin ruined some of Barney's ties. Barney loves his ties and Robin understands that the broken ties would spark an argument. When Robin begins to tell Barney she uses a red herring and starts to unbutton her blouse. This is a logical fallacy because Robin uses something irrelevant to distract Barney from his anger. Later in the episode the characters get stuck in a ski lift and neither can use a logical fallacy to escape from their upcoming fight and what they had avoided so long all comes down on them at once.

In another episode, one of the characters named Marshall is at his house with Lilly, his wife, and their friend Barney. After Marshall eats, Lilly asks him to wash his dishes right away. Barney then believes that Marshall and Lilly are going to get a divorce because Lilly made Marshall wash his dishes. This is a non-sequitor because their is a disconnection between the premise and the conclusion. In the same episode another fallacy surfaces. Later in the episode Barney is explaining to Marshall about how to deal with the dishes "problem," and Barney says, " If you wanted a replica of the 16th chapel on my ceiling, would it be my job to paint it? Then it's not my job to clean this dish." This is a fallacist's fallacy because Barney is using a fallacy to reject and idea's correctness.

These are just a few fallacies found in episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Anytime someone watches the show they can notice multiple fallacies throughout the episodes. Logical fallacies have branded themselves in pop culture and are everywhere. It is important to understand them because they use forms of logic, but they do not help add truth to an argument.

Logical Fallacies in Everyday Media

It goes without saying that Americans watch a lot of tv. The average American watches five hours of tv each day, totaling to 1,825 hours of television each year. I have done the math and that totals to about 76 days, or almost 21%, of the year Americans spend sitting stagnant and watching television. In the United States there are approximately 8.5 minutes of network television per half hour, and almost 10 minutes on cable, but what are we really being told in those commercials?

I thought back to an Old Spice commercial from four years ago in which a man is placed into many different situations perceived as female fantasies, and he is there because he uses Old Spice body wash. Yes, that commercial is four years old, crazy, I know. The majority of  the commercial actually does a good job of not having any fallacies in logic, stating that one's man can smell like a man who does these things. It is not until the very end of the commercial where the seemingly calculated logic breaks down. The commercial delivers the crushing blow to it's own argument when the protagonist says "anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady" This is an example of a non sequitur argument in that the conclusion is no way connected to the condition given. Smelling like one particular body wash as opposed to another will no matter how assertively they tell you, not allow you to fly. Therefore, smelling like Old Spice as opposed to a lady will not make anything a possibility.



Logical Fallacies in Gatorade Commercials


Gatorade commercials are well known for depicting world class athletes drinking gatorade and then working out or competing at a sporting event. However, this is an example of a hasty generalization because by having an athlete, such as JJ Watt, drink a gatorade and then proceed to make an incredible play, gatorade is making the generalization that in order for an athlete to perform well, they must drink gatorade. However, while of course it isn't necessary to drink gatorade to preform well athletically, gatorade is a very solid sports drink.

It's Weird Even If It Works

Beer companies are notorious for using logical fallacy in their commercials, and Bud Light tried to exploit the superstition and passion of footballs fans with a commercial entitled "Very Superstitious". The commercial focuses on football fans doing outlandish rituals that supposedly help their teams win.

This commercial takes advantage of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, which falsely attributes a result to an action after the fact. Many superstitions are created by this fallacy, as it is easy to forget the times that a superstition did not work. Just because something occurred before a team won the game, does not mean that the action in any way influenced the outcome of the game.

Bud Light ends their commercial with the line, "It's only weird if it doesn't work". This sentence is a strong example of the post hoc fallacy: just because you did something crazy does not indicate a correlation with the outcome of an unrelated sports event. Bud Light tries to convince viewers that Bud Light will help their team win because their team won after they drank Bud Light. Many of the scenes in the commercial show people using beer cans as part of their superstitions, and drinking beer both before and after their favorite teams score or win, appealing to positive feelings.

Bud Light tries to associate the feeling of victory with Bud Light, and applies the ad populum fallacy to convey the message that everyone is supporting their team by drinking Bud Light. By showing so many people as successful when they use superstitions, Bud Light makes the claim that superstitions must help a team win.

Even though the commercial employs fallacy to convince viewers that they should drink Bud Light beer, the commercial still succeeds because it is persuasive. It uses energetic recognizable music and displays sports logos, which create emotion and passion in viewers. I think that this ad, like many advertisements, takes advantage of the viewer's emotion and exploits the fact that the viewer is not paying close attention to the logic behind the ad. Whether this is a good practice or not remains to be seen.


Misleading the Herd

New York Times Article published today announces the new rules that the Food and Drug Administration are making mandatory in the United States. The new rules require chain restaurants, movie theaters and pizza parlors to post the calories in each item on their menus. Health "experts" say this new rule will help combat America's increasing obesity epidemic by making people more aware of the amount of calories they are consuming.

I believe this article and these so-called experts use post hoc, a logical fallacy in which the cause for something is false. The cause of the obesity epidemic in our country is not the amount of calories people are consuming per say, but the literal "food" that the majority of our country consumes. People eat so many calories at these fast food restaurants because the food is unwholesome and doesn't fill them up unless they eat a ton of it, and wholesome food is rather expensive. 

Instead of avoiding the real issue, "experts" should not be trying to control the obesity rates in America by making people aware of the amount of calories they are eating, but more so what people are eating, the actual "nutrition" in it, and what it is doing to their bodies. 

Logical Fallacy

“The case of the ecologist who linked the cycles of the Canadian lynx and its prey, the snowshoe rabbit, with the sunspot cycle is instructive. The ecologist analyzed records of the Hudson Bay Company, which had been collecting pelts of the two species since 1735; he found that the two populations fluctuated up and down, displaying a periodicity of approximately ten years. Not surprisingly, the variations in the predatory lynx population tended to follow the ups and downs in the rabbit population with a time lag of a couple of years. Then the ecologist superimposed the two curves atop a similar graph representing the concurrent sunspot activity: voilĂ ! The three cycles approximately coincided over a good portion of their range. The ecologist leaped to the conclusion that the annual fluctuations of the lynx and rabbit populations were controlled by the eleven-year sunspot cycle….” (57)

This is an excerpt from Lawrence E. Jerome’s Objections to Astrology. The logical fallacy here is post hoc ergo propter hoc, or faulty cause-effect. The ecologist jumped to the conclusion that the correlation between the populations and the sunspot cycle meant that one caused the other. Correlation is not causation. One did not necessarily cause the other; rather, the two showed similarities that may or may not have been due to coincidence. Just because the populations changed after the sunspot cycle doesn’t mean the cycle caused the changes.

Ad Hominem in Political Ads

Political parties are constantly using attack ads to shed negative light on opposing candidates. In many of those ads you can find a black and white filter, an ugly picture of the other candidate, and aggressive music playing in the background. These effects are added to sub-consciously give viewers the idea that this person represents only bad things and is clearly not the one they should be voting for. Another way they may convince you of this is by using logical fallacies in their argument.  One very common fallacy used in attack ads is Ad Hominem which is essentially attacking someones character rather than the argument the person is advancing (or rather, their ability to fulfill the duties their elected position would require them to do). An example of Ad Hominem in an attack ad is one created by Taxpayers for Quinn, who are attempting to persuade Illinoisans that Bruce Rauner is a billionaire that isn't realtable to the average man and, therefore, a poor choice for Illinois governor. They do so by attacking his character rather than directly stating why he lacks the ability to govern.

The ad states that Rauner outsourced jobs to China which is actually an important piece of information for an informed voter however, it also attacks his character by mentioning that he stashed his own money to avoid paying higher taxes.  What he does with his own money has little to do with his actual ability to govern Illinois. Instead, it gives the audience a clear and simple idea of what Rauner's moral are. The ad also shows its audience that Rauner isn't a normal guy and isn't for the normal guy by stating that he joined an elite wine club for 140,000 dollars. Although the audience may look poorly on him, that fact gave them no information on how he plans to lead a state full of middle class citizens when he himself is a billionare. The commercial used Ad Hominem fairly effectively because it would be difficult to watch this attack ad and them think fondly of Rauner.


Proactive Commercial Appeal to Authority

Many of us watch television when we have spare time, turning on the TV and watching some shows. While we watch these shows many of us do not actually may attention to the inaccurate arguments being posed to us in the form of commercials. For example the Proactive commercials, famous for saving you from black heads and breaks outs, just how it's helped Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Emma Roberts, and many average people just like you! The fallacy in these celebrity endorsed commercials is the appeal to authority. Appeal to authority is the appeal to by someone that is recognized and respected. The Proactive commercials have celebrities that are well known in our society and they tell us "Proactive really works!" "My skin has never looked better" "Proactive is the best", not necessarily telling you why it works or how it works, the commercials just feature a well known nae that appeals to the audience. The audience tends to not notice the fallacy being advertised on their television screen, but that doesn't mean it's not there. Proactive is not the only company to advertise with logical fallacies but their appeal to authority fallacy is most prominent in the majority of their commercials.


Logical Fallacies in DirecTV

A series of rather humorous DirecTV commercials intentionally use extensive logical fallacies to persuade the viewer into ridding themselves of cable and buying DirecTV. The commercials each follow the same general formula: someone who has cable is unsatisfied with some particular aspect of owning cable (such as price or speed). Because they are unsatisfied with owning cable, event X happens, and because event X happened, event Y happens, and so on. The events become less desirable with each one, until the conclusion, which is some strange occurrence that one would usually not associate with the ownership of cable. For instance, one commercial goes from the person in question "feeling powerless from paying too much for cable" to the same person falling into a dinner party. The exact sequence occurs as follows:

1. The person feels powerless from paying too much for cable.
2. Because the person feels powerless, they want to take the power back.
3. When the person wants to take the power back, they take karate.
4. When the person takes karate, they want to use their karate.
5. When the person wants to use their karate, they become the Fist of Goodness.
6. When the person becomes the Fist of Goodness, they run along rooftops.
7. When the person runs along rooftops, they fall into a dinner party.

The commercial uses the slippery slope fallacy to portray how cable frustrations can snowball into larger problems as well as post hoc, which assumes correlation and causation are the same (event X happened before event Y; therefore, Y was caused by X). The combination of the two leads to a fairly ludicrous (and hilarious, to be honest) commercial. I am not sure how effective these commercials would be at convincing their audience to switch to DirecTV, but they are sure fun to watch. 

Ham and Mayonnaise!

The show Parks and Recreations, is a satire on government. One of the best parts of the show are the town hall meetings that make fun of how stupid the overall government is. The citizens often oppose what ever good Leslie Knope is trying to impose on Pawnee. The citizens in arguing to get their way they use a plethora of logical fallacies.

In a town hall meeting about health and trying to prevent the selling of a candy company's energy bars the citizens oppose and one man in particular speaks up. He uses the fallacies straw man, hasty generalization, and a bandwagon appeal. The presenter Anne says that the bars contain a lot of corn syrup and that it is unhealthy for you. The man then goes into his rant saying "What's so bad about corn syrup? It's natural! Corn's a fruit! Syrup comes from a bush! I think we ought to throw those bars out and eat ham and mayonnaise sandwiches!" He then begins to chant "Ham and Mayonnaise!" and the rest of the people in the meeting join him.

The speaker hastily generalizes in his argument for corn syrup being healthy because he has no evidence and his statements about corn being a fruit and syrup coming from a bush are false. The argument is straw man because the argument goes from being about whether or not corn syrup is good for you to if people should eat ham and mayonnaise sandwiches everyday. By rousing the "Ham and Mayonnaise" chant at the end of his rant the speaker has gotten the other citizens in the town hall meeting on his bandwagon.

Logical Fallacies in State Farm Commercial



State Farm commercials are famous for having an instantaneous service reply. They boast customer service that not after hours on hold, but is rather available at the ring of a jingle. 

This is a logical fallacy that can be attributed to both ad hominem and ad populum, or perhaps a combination from the two. 
The ad hominem aspects of the advertisement are shown in bashing other insurance companies, showing how they do not matchup to State Farm's superior cashback program. The first woman gets the money she needs to buy the hot item, while the second has to "catch" a dollar to save on the item that she wants. This is also an example of ad populum, because it shows how one person sticks out because they do not have the special powers of State Farm insurance. 

Ultimately logical fallacies appear in a wide variety of commercials, but ad hominems are popular because companies are trying to bring down the reputation of their competitors. 

Logical Fallicies in the Ferguson Dilemma

The Ferguson situation currently hold a lot of logical fallacies on both opposing sides. This is extremely topical because the jury's verdict will be announced tonight and there is military presence in St. Louis area in anticipation of the results. The argument contains composition/division which is basically assuming that what is true about one part of something, is true for the whole thing. Also the controversy around military presence contains the fallacy of slippery slope.

Composition/Division: In the two overall sides of the argument we have overgeneralizing of black people being criminals/dangerous and all white police officers being racist. Although there are black criminals, there are also many many white criminals and the assumption that all black people mean harm is a dangerous generalization. Same goes for the opposing side, some police officers many abuse their power and let racist tendencies make decisions instead of unbiased reason-- but not all white officers work like this. 

Slippery Slope: When the military got involved it suggested that since there was a protest (a mostly peaceful one) it would turn violent. Having such a strong military presence suggested that there shouldn't be protesters because if they allow A to happen (protesting) then B would happen (violence) and there fore A should not be happening. 

Logical fallicies in Friends

There are probably a million examples of logical fallacies in hit shows like Friends. I love Friends. It is just one of those classic shows that you can watch over and over again. But that's not why I'm writing this post.

In the episode I chose, Joey's very old fridge breaks. And the first person he sees, which is Rachel, is now his first target. Joey wants to avoid paying for a new fridge so he initiates his first logical fallciy. Non Sequitor. Although it was a flimpsy attempt, it still was an attempt. Joey starts off by saying that his parent's bought this fridge when he was born, and it was always working. But the minute Rachel moves in it breaks. So, Rachel moves in, and the fridge breaks. Therefore Rachel broke the fridge.

His next victim is Chandler. Chandler used to live with Joey, so Joey feels that Chandler has some due to pay for the refridgerator. Joey's logical fallicy this time is faulty analogy. His analogy is that Chandler and Joey are married and they have a kid together, but the kid dies, so Joey has to buy a new one, and he wants Chandler to give him the money to pay for it. To someone that might be a good analogy, but to me, a child and a refridgerator really shouldn't be compared.

If you continue on in the episode, you will defintely find more of these logical fallicies, but non sequitor, and faulty analogy are the ones I chose to focus on. If Joey doesn't win the award for most convincing arguement, then I don't know what should.

Logical Fallacies in The O'Reilly Factor

One show on television that many people have either grown to be avid supporters or simply aggravated with it is The O'Reilly Factor.  Bill O'Reilly has gained a rather infamous reputation for his strong conservative views on his show of almost two decades.  In addition to these views, O'Reilly quite frequently uses the hasty generalizations to attempt to prove his assertions.  Most notably, this could be seen when O'Reilly had a segment commentating on the former Republican congressman, Ron Paul.  When commenting on Paul's thoughts about drug laws, O'Reilly states that the act of dealing narcotics is a, "violent crime..."  Although I understand what is meant by this statement, the maker of the video below compares the previous statement with dealing cars, stating that cars kill people all of the time.
The publisher of the channel also includes fear mongering as another tactic used by O'Reilly to support his side of the argument.  This is just one example of how logical fallacies are used in the media today and how it impacts the way that society thinks.

Logical Fallacy

"The acceptance of abortion does not end with the killing of unborn human life. It continues on to affect our attitude toward all aspects of human life. This is most obvious in how quickly, following the acceptance of abortion, comes the acceptance of infanticide―the killing of babies who after birth do not come up to someone's standard of life worthy to be lived―and then on to euthanasia of the aged. If human life can be taken before birth, there is no logical reason why human life cannot be taken after birth. If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once begin upon this downward path, you never know where you are to stop. Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at the time" (39).

This is a small exerpt from Who is for Life? by Francis A. Schaeffer. We can see clearly from this that Schaeffer employs a 'slippery-slope' fallacy. In this example, he draws the conclusion that to be a proponent of abortion is also to be a proponent of countless, less controversial, and clearly morally impermissible actions(i.e. infanticide, murder, etc). A slipper slope argument operates by drawing the deduction that because A, then B... and because Y, Z so because A is true, Z(which is clearly wrong) must also be true. The fallacy in Schaeffer's argument is in the inconsistent, and generally invalid method with which he attempts to display a causation between each of the steps on his slope. 

Logical Fallacies in The Office

Throughout the duration of the American Television series “ The Office”, Michael Scott, the show’s main character, develops a personal hatred of Toby Flenderson, the office’s human resources representative. Michael, as the regional manager of the office, is in charge of the people who work there, despite his obvious lack of intelligence. He is always trying to involve his coworkers in ridiculous, pointless, and sometimes dangerous projects. Nobody stands up to Michael because they are all his subordinates who do not want to get fired or be punished for criticizing the boss. However, because Toby works in human resources, it is his job to shoot down Michael’s policies if they are irrational and ridiculous. Because he is frequently the one to kill Michael’s enthusiasm about a particular whim, Toby is abhorred by Michael. Frequently, Michael discounts Toby’s contribution to a conversation solely because Toby is speaking and he hates Toby’s tendency to ruin his ideas. When he does this, Michael is attacking Toby through Ad hominem responses. Though Michael has dozens of ad hominem interactions with Toby, one of my favorites occurs in season 5 episode 9, “ The Surplus”.

In this episode, one of the office accountants discovers a $4300 surplus in the company budget. He points it out to Michael, and explains that the office has to spend the money at the end of the workday, or it will be deducted from next year’s budget. Michael is clueless about how to spend the money, so he looks for suggestions from his coworkers. Toby stands up and offers his ideas for how to spend the money:

“We should really have the office’s air quality tested. We have radon coming from below. we have asbestos in the ceilings. these are silent killers.”

Obviously, this is a reasonable claim, and an understandable argument for how to spend the money. However, Michael counters by saying:

“You are the silent killer. Go back to the annex.”

Michael completely ignores Toby’s plan and shoots down his argument not because toby’s evidence was weak, but because Michael hates Toby’s character. Michael does not address the legitimacy of any of Toby’s claims. Instead, he pushes him aside by saying that Toby is “The Silent Killer". Since Michael uses Toby’s character to refute Toby’s argument, Michael is using ad hominem evidence.

Ad Hominem in the Media



One of the most prevalent logical fallacies in modern day political debating and reporting is a technique called ad hominem. Its a phrase that translates to, attacks against the man. This fallacy takes aim at not the claim a person is trying to make, but rather the speaker of that claim. And its most effective use is in the way that when this fallacy is used it draws the attention away from the substance of the argument and focuses on things irrelevant to the topic. What this means is that if you have an opposing arguer who has some arguable flawed character trait, it doesn't matter if your argument is right or not; as long as you can show why your opponent is a bad person, you can obtain the support of your audience.

One excellent example of the use of this fallacy is those criticizing Obama’s foreign policy. More often than not, those who don't agree with Obama’s reactions to foreign crisis around the world don't have any substantiated claims on why his plan of action would be ineffective. They instead try to minimize Obama’s leadership, describing him as weak or a pushover. Often in debates of this topic, arguers simply claim that the fault in Obama’s foreign policy is not the strategies he uses to solve world problems, but in fact the weakness in character Obama possesses. It is the avoidance of the substance of the argument that places this type of criticism in the category of a logical fallacy, specifically ad hominem.

Pitbulls: Hasty Generalization

When famileies are searching to find the perfect puppy for their young children, a pitbull would probably not come to mind. Most people automatically assume that all pitbulls are vicous dogs that are easily set off. Every type of dog has issues. No dog comes out of the box perfectly ready to live side by side with people. They all need some training to live with human beings. Some owners have been selectively bred so they have certain genes that would give them an advantage to fighting. 

One hundred years ago, when dog fighting was common, pure breed dogs like the Bull Terrier, and American Staffordsshire Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier were bred to be extremly friendly and gentle with people. Handlers wanted the dogs to be friendly because they wanted to be able to control the dogs without being bitten. Not all pitbulls are naturally dangerous, it just depends on how they are trained and raised. 






Interstellar

This post is not about fallacies, but I am doing it as a makeup. I saw Interstellar a while ago and was blown away. Those who have not seen it or 2001: A Space Odyssey should not read this post.

I want to compare Interstellar with 2001: A Space Odyssey, as Interstellar is clearly an homage to 2001. Christopher Nolan touches on many of the same themes, but approaches them completely differently. 2001 is very emotionally distant. Much of the dialogue is monotone and there is not much character development. As a result, we don't "feel" anything for the few main characters. Interstellar on the other hand, spends almost the entire first half of the movie developing Matthew McConaughey's character's relationship with his family. When he finally leaves, viewers know that he is doing it all to save his family, but mostly his daughter.

The second aspect, is each film's views about computers/robots. 2001 famously ends with the evil robot, HAL, taking control of the ship, having killed off all of its crew members. HAL is an indifferent, calculating, scheming computer. Interstellar is quite the opposite. Computers' ability to calculate and act with lightning-quick precision and efficiency sets them apart from humans. Computers are capable of more than we could ever hope to do on our own. The computer saves the ship multiple times, most dramatically when it docks itself with the spinning space station that was reeling after an explosion. Interstellar says that the only reason humans are needed is for their emotion, which gives them a sense of desperation. It was McConaughey's desperation that gave him the idea to match the space station's spin. Only a combination of human desperation/emotion and computer accuracy will lead to success.

Hasty generalizations in commercials

I was recently watching a football game with my brother over the weekend and ran across this particular commercial that stood out to me. It was a Taco Bell commercial that depicted two women hoping to meet some cute guys at the bar.

All seems normal until one of the women notices it smells a lot like bacon in the bar. As soon as the woman finished talking, the other woman pulled out a taco filled with bacon and explained to her friend that, "all men love bacon". It wasn't to my surprise that within 5 seconds after she secretly puts back the taco in her purse, three men seem to have sprinted over to her side and start flirting with her commenting, "what is that you're wearing (perfume)... it smells so.... intoxicating".

Hasty generalizations about how all men love bacon is a perfect example. Not all men like bacon! My brother doesn't like bacon, in fact, he hates the greasy smell of it and refuses to eat it. Taco Bell's generalization that not only that all guys are obsessed with bacon but for women that want to meet attractive guys should smell like bacon.

This commercial is ridiculous and completely false

Obama's Immigration Speech and Fallacies

During president Barack Obama's address to the nation over immigration policy, he employs a number of logical fallacies which he tries to use to appear more persuasive, although they do not always work. Within the first three minutes of his speech, Obama used Ad Hominem and oversimplification as logical fallacies to convince his audience of his point. When he discussed what he thought the nation should do regarding the problem of immigration in the United States, he talked of a piece of legislation he supported, which was not passed by Congress. He instantly placed all of the blame upon the Republican leaders in the legislative branch, and attacked them for their party position rather than for their argument. He also oversimplified the situation, by saying that if they had only agreed with him, then everything would be better today, which is complete speculation. He used these techniques to justify creating an executive order in an area of policy which belongs the the legislative branch. I think that he used these fallacies in a convincing way, however, I also think that they are unfairly misleading to the general population.


Logical Fallacy - Racism Style

A former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, recently complained that people only speak up about white people killing black people, and never about blacks killing blacks. He allegedly stated, "Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks... I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this."

This is an example of "false equivalence" - when you equate two separate concepts that really aren't equal by ignoring important facts. Giuliani equates white-on-black killing to black-on-black killing, when really, the two are treated very differently in our society. Michael Eric Dyson, who debated with him, eloquently illustrated this difference:

“Black people who kill black people go to jail,” Dyson said. “White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.”

The Hasty Generalization of Irresistibility

Three commercials, all dealing with the logical fallacy of the hasty generalization, claim to know what men and women cant resist.

In one for Taco Bell, two women go to a bar hoping to meet men. One of them hides a bacon taco in her purse, thinking that men will me attracted to the smell, and the other questions whether it will work. Sure enough, three guys come flocking to their table, informing her that she smells great. This commercial makes the generalization that all men are crazy about bacon, and the smell of it will attract them.

Another commercial for axe body spray shows a guy spraying himself with chocolate scented spray and then literally turning into a chocolate man. As he walks around town, women are mesmerized by him, staring as he goes by, pushing against windows to get to him, and even stealing his arm. This commercial makes the generalization that women can't resist chocolate, and if you wear this scent, they won't be able to resist you either.

The third commercial, also for axe body spray, tells the story of a heroic firefighter saving a damsel in distress from a burning building. He preforms amazing feats to get to her like climbing up crumbling stairs and lifting heavy pieces of the building. Once he has her thrown over his shoulder, he zip lines out to the street. When they're on solid ground, they gaze into each other's eyes as if they are falling in love. But then she spots an astronaut walking towards her and she immediately forgets about the man who just saved her and runs to the new guy. This commercial makes the generalization that when it comes to lovability, firemen are great but astronauts are better and women will not be able to resist them.

Logical Fallacies on the Issue of GunControl

The controversy of gun control has been a topic of discussion for a long time, especially in the wake of school shootings, but people have recently been taking extreme stances on the issue. I have noticed that the news can portray false information on gun control and they use many different tactics to try and support their side of the argument. Ad Populum is one fallacy that reporters use by giving statistics and showing polls that support their argument. When people see that more people support gun control, many will believe that gun control has to be the better option. If a reporter is biased toward not having gun control, then he or she would not show viewers any reason to believe that their should be any type of control. This fallacy twists peoples views, which can lead to people switching opinions based on the opinions of others. While the News should report strict facts without bias, that is not the case and more people should realize that.

Another example of a fallacy in the topic of gun control is called "Slippery Slope." This is when people jump from one event to what they believe to be an inevitable consequence. Many that believe in not having gun control argue that having regulations on guns will then lead to a removal of second amendment rights, or the right to bear arms. This argument jumps to an illogical conclusion that does not have anything backing it up. Even though there is a possibility of totally outlawing guns, this most likely won't be the case.

Logical Fallacies in the Gun Control Debate

The debate over gun control is one of the most fiercely contested issues that politicians face today. The gun control debate is even more fraught with fallacies than most other issues. In this post, I will focus on fallacies committed by the liberal side, because most other posts will point out conservative fallacies. I want to show that logical fallacies are not exclusive to one party or another.

False Dichotomy - "If we don't change gun laws, our people will die."
There are many ways to stop violent crime, and most of them don't infringe on law abiding citizens' right to defend their homes. These include: increased mental health awareness, better education in violence-ridden neighborhoods, and stricter sale laws. We don't have to choose between our safety and our rights, we can have both.

Appeal to Emotion - "If we don't ban guns, our kids will continue to be gruesomely murdered."
This fallacy is often combined with the first one. Liberals incite the heinous crimes that have been committed, most notably the Newtown tragedy, to appeal to our emotions. This logic puts listeners in a dangerous place. They feel that if they don't agree with the speaker, they are supporting the psychotic murderers. Furthermore, emotion often conceals facts. Murder and violent crime in general have declined by almost 50% since 1990 (source), but the horrific-ness of the crime that does occur often distracts us from this fact.

Misconstruction of Facts - This may not technically be a fallacy, but I thought it might be worth mentioning, considering that even President Barack Obama was guilty of this(source). Contrary to popular belief, neither the Newtown killer(source), nor the Colorado shooter (source), used automatic weapons. Both used semi-automatic reproductions of automatic rifles.


Sesame Street Logical Fallacy

In this short skit (Part 2) from the popular children's TV show, Sesame Street, Ernie is seen holding a banana in his left ear. Because something like this is out of the ordinary, Bert asks Ernie why he's doing it. He replies that it keeps the alligators away from him and out of Sesame Street. Of course we know this isn't true, but when Bert brings up that it there aren't any alligators on Sesame Street anyway, Ernie says "Right! It's doing a good job then isn't it, Bert?" In this situation, Ernie is assuming illogically that holding a banana in his ear will protect him from any alligators that may be near him.

This is an example of a post hoc fallacy. A post hoc fallacy occurs when Event X follows Event Y, and can therefore be assumed that Event X was caused by Event Y. In this case, Event X would be the prevention of alligators from Sesame Street and Event Y would be the banana in Ernie's ear. This is illogical because clearly holding a banana in your ear or anywhere near your head will do nothing to stop an alligator and furthermore, makes Ernie's claim illogical and false.