159 votes

Why do they say I am committing a fallacy when I am just insulting someone?

Because they expect arguments, not inflammatory noise No, I am calling them an idiot because that's ... just my bloody opinion. Exactly that: just your opinion. An opinion is not an argument; it ...
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  • 4,816
77 votes

Why do they say I am committing a fallacy when I am just insulting someone?

If an opinion isn't intended as an argument, it is noise Frankly, nobody wants to hear your opinion unless you have some point to make about it. You can have the opinion that a person is an idiot, ...
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  • 1,131
74 votes
Accepted

Logical fallacy: X is bad, Y is worse, thus X is not bad

This is (at least a subset of) the fallacy of relative privation. From Wikipedia >> List of Fallacies >> Red herring fallacies Fallacy of relative privation ("not as bad as") – dismissing an ...
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73 votes
Accepted

If the Bible contains circular reasoning, does it discredit it?

Circular reasoning doesn't "discredit" any point of view --if anything, it demonstrates internal consistency. However, it also doesn't provide any external support for a point of view. It has no ...
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68 votes

If a person claims to know anything could it be disproven by saying 'prove that we are not in a simulation'?

The issue here, as it often is, is that colloquial English is horribly ambiguous, which makes any sort of precise and rigorous discussion difficult. But with sufficient effort, it is possible to make ...
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  • 1,173
67 votes
Accepted

Which fallacy: "If white privilege exists, why did Elizabeth Warren pretend to be an Indian?"

If you are so smart why aren't you rich? If this country is so bad why don't you leave? If it is so easy why aren't you doing it? These types of rhetorical barbs rely on what is called an enthymeme, ...
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  • 40.7k
67 votes

Is Yoda committing a fallacy?

The argument you're trying to formulate (as a rebuttal to Yoda) is this: do successfully IMPLIES try fail to do IMPLIES try THEREFORE (do successfully OR fail to do) IMPLIES try However, this ...
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56 votes
Accepted

Is circular reasoning always a fallacy?

Geoffrey refers to feedback loops as a valid example of circular reasoning. This is not correct: they can be valid but they are not circular. Instead they are an example of reasoning by induction. ...
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  • 1,204
55 votes

Fallacy by Sherlock Holmes 'Eliminate the impossible, and what remains must be the truth'

There's a fallacy called Holmesian fallacy. A Holmesian fallacy (also Sherlock Holmes fallacy or process of elimination fallacy) is a logical fallacy that occurs when some explanation is believed to ...
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  • 3,945
50 votes

Does the no true Scotsman fallacy apply to anti Stalinist etc. communism?

Marx, socialism and communism Neither Marx nor Engels provided a blueprint for the socialist state. There could in their view be no such thing as a communist state since under communism, with no ...
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  • 34.6k
50 votes

Is it a fallacy if someone claims they need an explanation for every word of your argument to the point where they don't understand common terms?

A fallacy in an argument requires that there be an argument at all. What you're describing: Then someone counters, "What do you mean by 'bites'? Define 'biting people'. Define 'dog'." is not even ...
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  • 601
49 votes

I have trouble understanding this fallacy: "If A, then B. Therefore if not-B, then not-A."

There are multiple good answers here, including references to modus tollens and the contrapositive (both of which are correct). What helps me understand this concept is a more intuitive/layman's ...
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  • 599
42 votes

Isn't the notion that everything will occur in an infinite timeline an example of the gambler's fallacy?

It looks like you've hit upon the concept of almost surely in probability theory. Something occurs "almost surely" if it happens with probability 1, but there still exist situations where that thing ...
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41 votes

Fallacy by Sherlock Holmes 'Eliminate the impossible, and what remains must be the truth'

Holmes' advice is correct if and only if you assume a complete search was done to list all possibilities before starting the elimination process. Note that Sherlock Holmes is both incredibly observant,...
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  • 1,188
38 votes

Is there a name for the fallacy whereby the other party to the debate only suggests, does not articulate, what their point is?

First, my standard observation that the term 'fallacy' is often misused. A fallacy, properly put, is a mistake in the structure of an argument that makes a claim invalid without considering the sense ...
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  • 13.5k
38 votes

What is this logical fallacy? (Nothing new under the sun?)

Its a funny thing. Like David Blomstrom, I don't think this is actually a fallacy. The trick is that, in order to have a logical fallacy, one must have a logical argument. This consists of premises ...
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  • 17.2k
36 votes

Is reductio ad absurdum a fallacy?

Reductio ad absurdum is not a fallacy. Rather, RAA is correct reasoning that exposes a fallacy. From the Logically Fallacious page for it: [RAA is a] mode of argumentation or a form of argument in ...
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  • 4,658
35 votes

Is there a fallacy about "appeal to 'big words'"?

One fallacy that might fit is proof by intimidation. Here is Bo Bennett's description: Making an argument purposely difficult to understand in an attempt to intimidate your audience into accepting ...
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35 votes

Is reductio ad absurdum a fallacy?

Your example is not a valid case of Reductio ad Absurdum. It's just an example of an absurd argument. A real example would be: Miles: "Copying a DVD is stealing" Frank: "Why?" Miles: "If ...
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  • 502
34 votes

What fallacy is assuming something is the case because of past events

This is not a fallacy, just the old problem of induction. A case of hasty generalisation would be to conclude that the witness tends to lie, if you have observed it two times in a row.
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  • 1,007
34 votes

What type of rhetorical device is the offering of a source which is really long and not specifying what part of the source is relevant?

In general, if your opponent insists on claiming that her source provides substantiation in a way it clearly does not, that is false attribution, however, it should be noted that such a counterclaim ...
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  • 9,926
33 votes

What fallacy is assuming something is the case because of past events

All informal fallacies take their force from their similarity to strong arguments. In this case, if you say "This boy lied 19 days in a row, therefore we have good reason to disbelieve him on Day 20,"...
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33 votes
Accepted

Where is the fallacy here?

When you say "the phenomenon of cats being born into this world is natural," what that means is, "the phenomenon of cats being born into this world is part of the set of natural phenomena." In other ...
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33 votes
Accepted

What is the name of this fallacy: 101 is either binary or decimal?

EDITED 9/11/2020 What is the name of this fallacy: Is 101 binary or decimal? I prefer to call it the either-or fallacy, but it is also known as false dilemma among others. The idea is that a choice ...
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  • 9,926
33 votes

What is the name of the fallacy where people assume that complex ideas are automatically better?

If somebody said "your argument is simple, therefore it is wrong", that would definitely be a fallacy. But that is not what "your argument is too simplistic" is supposed to mean. ...
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  • 508
31 votes

Is it fallacious to argue that something is correct, of good quality, or acceptable because a community of experts has established it as such?

Well, if I asked a community of non-experts how to perform key-hole surgery and I also asked a community of doctors, I am more likely to get a better answer from the second group. But of course, these ...
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30 votes

Is it a fallacy if someone claims they need an explanation for every word of your argument to the point where they don't understand common terms?

Generally speaking, in philosophical discussions, it is often required to provide definitions for words that seem obvious otherwise, let me give you an example: When you say : The King of France is ...
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  • 2,349
30 votes
Accepted

What do you call the fallacy of thinking that some action A will guarantee some outcome B, when in reality B depends on multiple other conditions?

What do you call the fallacy of thinking that if A statistically causes B, then A implies B? For the original title quoted above, the closest is probably correlation implies causation, deducing a ...
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  • 40.7k
29 votes

Is "I cannot imagine a mechanism for X to happen, so X can never happen" a named logical fallacy?

This fallacy is generally called argument from incredulity, or argument from failure of imagination. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_incredulity It also is a subset of the argument from ...
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  • 4,330
29 votes

Where is the fallacy here?

Here is the argument: No N is not-N. No not-N is N. All C are N. No R are C. Thus: No R are N. The syllogism is invalid for two reasons. First, the third premise denies the antecedent (cats) of the ...
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  • 4,658

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