(3) Explain with a sentence or two as to whether or not you judge
any of these fallacies to be present.
“In 2016, the U.S. government announced that Harriet Tubman will become
the face of the $20 bill. If you need proof that America can still get it right,
there it is.”
Ignoratio elenchi or non sequitur: The
selection of an image of Harriet Tubman on $20 bill, although pleasing to
many, is not an action which is, strictly speaking, a right or wrong action.
It is a question of attitudinal approval or disapproval.
“It is incredibly simple to gain body fat. In fact, it is so basic
that it commonly happens without intent; even worse, it happens when a person
is trying to avoid fat gain. Surely, if a problem arises so naturally and simply,
the solution must be equally simple and natural.”
Ignoratio elenchi or non sequitur: There is
no necessary correlation between the relative difficulty of the origin of a
problem and relative difficulty of the solution to that problem.
“Secretary of State John Kerry says that there is less violence than
usual in the world right now. Meanwhile the Director of National Intelligence,
James Clapper, says the opposite, that terrorism is more violent and dangerous
than ever. Since Clapper is Director of National Intelligence, maybe Kerry
should have the title Director of National Stupidity.”
Since there is no explicit argument in this passage, there is no fallacy committed.
Name-calling per se is not a fallacy. Implicitly it might be argued that
the argument is an ad hominem attack on Secretary Kerry for his
opinion that there is less violence in the world. There is also equivocation on the
word “intelligence” — “ability to understand” and
“information obtained by surveillance.”
“Five years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) ordered manufacturers of extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids
to offer clinicians training on how to prescribe the drugs for pain to prevent
patients from getting addicted or overdosing.
Now the FDA is proposing an expansion of that educational mandate
for opioid makers — to teach physicians how to manage pain with yoga,
cognitive therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other nonpharmacologic methods.
‘Nobody has overdosed from too much mindfulness,’
said Corey Waller, MD, who chairs the legislative advocacy committee of the
American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), in an interview with Medscape
Ignoratio Elenchi: The fact that one cannot overdose from
mindfulness or yoga is not a reason for using an ineffective control for serious
pain. Although the technique of “mindfulness” or “the practice
of paying attention to our awareness in the present moment without judgment”
can relieve stress and some chronic pain, the technique is not effective for
“You've probably heard the New York mayor has proposed a ban on
selling supersized, sugary drinks. Here's what I want to respectfully say to
Mayor Bloomberg: ‘Really?’ Terrorist cells might be lurking about
and multiplying like bacteria on a dish sponge, homeless people are sleeping
in alleys and Mayor Bloomberg is in a tizzy about Big Gulps being sold at the
Ignoratio Elenchi: The fact that there are problems in New York
more serious than the sale of supersized drinks is not relevant to the contention
that the consumption of supersized, sugary drinks is a problem worth addressing.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has chosen to
appoint women to half the positions in his Cabinet.
Why did he do it? ‘Because it's 2015,’ the new
Ignoratio Elenchi as well as Non Sequitur: The
decision to appoint half of the Canadian cabinet positions to women is based on
other factors than the specific number of the calendar year in which it occurs.
“Now, what else would stamp a murder as being a most atrocious
crime? … It may be that the state's attorney would think that it
was particularly cruel to the victim because he was a boy. Well, my
clients are boys, too, and if it would make more serious the offense to
kill a boy, it should make less serious the offense of the boys who do
Ignoratio Elenchi: The conclusion is irrelevant to the premise.
Although the seriousness of a crime is sometimes mitigated by the youthfulness
of the perpetrator and is sometimes amplified by the youthfulness of the victim,
the truth of one of the relations is not logically dependent on the other.
““My point is that scientists got obsessed with the Mediterranean
diet in large part because it's a great place to go for scientific
Ignoratio Elenchi: the medical evidence for beneficial effects
of the Mediterranean diet is irrelevant to the question of a choice of location
for a scientific conference on the Mediterranean diet.
“The Trump administration is being sued over its plans to include a
question about citizenship in the 2020 Census, which California Attorney
General Xavier Becerra (D) says ‘is not just a bad idea — it is
illegal.’ No, it's not. There is nothing wrong with asking about
citizenship. Canada asks a citizenship question on its census. So do Australia
and many other U.S. allies.”
Ignoratio Elenchi: What is legal in the U.S. is not determined
by what is legal in other countries. The fallacy can also be classified as an
ad populum. The fact that many countries ask a citizenship question
on their census does not provide sufficient evidence that the U.S. should also do
”We request your help in compiling a book which recalls memories from our
parents' first 50 years of marriage. On the enclosed sheet, we ask that you
write one memory or event that you have shared with them, and return it to us by
April 25. We believe that loving memories they have shared with you, their friends,
would be the most treasured gift they could receive; therefore, we request that
no other gift be sent.”
Even though the word “therefore” appears before the request, the
purpose of the passage is not to prove the conclusion that no gifts are sent,
but rather to request that no gifts be sent. Since no argument is present, no
fallacy is present.
“The latest protests in Iran by people angry about the Iranian
military's missile launch that ‘unintentionally’ downed a
Ukrainian jetliner killing many Iranians, Canadian and others, is different
from past protests …
Interviewed on [U.S. TV's] ABC's Last Week last Sunday,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to minimize the significance of the
demonstrations. Host George Stepanopoulos asked her if she supported
the demonstrations and whether it would be good for the regime to collapse.
She replied: ‘The protesters are protesting — as I understand
it, this brand of protesters — about the fact that that plane went
down. And many students were on that plane, and these are largely students
street.’”[verbatim from source]
The answer to a question is not a fallacy in the sense of of logical
rule violation. If a fallacy is defined as deceptive reasoning, then
Nancy Pelosi's response is a red herring since she attempts to divert
attention from the questions asked by George Stepanopoulos.
“A scholar traveyling, and having noe money,
call'd at an alehouse, and ask'd for a penny loafe, then gave his
hostesse it againe, for a pot of ale, and having drunke it of, was
going away. The woman demanded a penny of him.
‘For what?’ saies he.
Shee answers, ‘For ye ale!’
Quoth hee, ‘I gave you ye loafe for
‘Then,’ said shee, ‘pay for
Quoth hee, ‘Had you it not againe?’ which
put ye woman to a non plus, that ye scholar went free
Ignoratio Elenchi (“shifting
ground”): The scholar frames his justification by deceptively
pronouncing that the loaf was his to begin with and so was his to be
(The story is taken from Sir John Harringtons,
Epigrams (1615), published before English spelling was
“If you will follow me while I attempt to analyze the arguments
of my Opponents … about the probability of the United States
having war. This argument reminds me of a baby's colic. It's a little
tedious, somewhat annoying, but not serious. He [my opponent] has
absolutely ignored the three questions I presented to him, and especially
that third question.”
Red Herring: The speaker states he is going to analyze the arguments of
his opponent, but instead he ignores those arguments and diverts attention
with the declaration his opponent has failed to answer questions he put to
“[T]he film community's growing interest in direct political
action is no surprise. … When evaluating whether Hollywood
figures deserve that [political] influence or ‘belong” in
politics, it makes more sense to discuss these basic trends than the
propriety of ill-informed actors mouthing off about issues they do
not understand. … But politicians often do the same thing. The
real problem is that political debate is being reduced to symbols and
sound bites, not that Hollywood figures are increasingly being used to
Ignoratio Elenchi: The author's argument begins as an
evaluation of Hollywood political influence but immediately shifts
attention away from the argument that actors are ill-informed to emphasize
instead the frequent vapid political debate of the politicians themselves.”
“Many of these … arguments are ingenious and
calculated to deceive the causal reader. … The [argument] before me
… is by Hon. J. T. McCleary … Mr. McCleary must be a lawyer;
his argument reminds me of the smart boy, who, standing with his companion
on one side of a river, offered to prove that they stood on the opposite