The Age of Logical Fallacies
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The Age of Logical Fallacies

Strawmen, ad hominems, and loaded questions, oh my!!

The Age of Logical Fallacies

The formula is the same–you open up your Facebook feed and see something of controversy, and you take a look at the comments section to see what people are saying. Whether it is in regards to politics, social issues, economics, or whatever the issue may be, nine out of ten times, there will be an argument; if there isn’t that’s because not enough time has passed. The arguments may have some factual information, but that’s not how it is always presented. Often times, there is name-calling, overgeneralization, exaggerations, and other times–flat out false information. Arguments of these kinds are not only confined to social media outlets, they are officially a form of communication nowadays.

Our society, as well as the world for that matter, is rife with logical fallacies to the point of where no true, large-scale debate can be trusted anymore. Whether we attack a person’s character instead of the argument (Ad Hominem) or misrepresent the other side’s argument (Strawman), the art of logical debate and argument is a lost art. People no longer argue anymore to come to a solution that all can agree on. Arguments are now about fighting the other side to prove to themselves and others that they are correct. Most commonly, this is seen in the politics and in the media, where arguments are manipulated and shifted around so much that instead of appealing to rationality, people respond to those who share the same views as them.

None has this been more the case than with the 2016 election. It goes without saying that this election was catering to little in the way of logic and rationality, and more along the lines of choosing one side or the other (False Dichotomy). Trump and Clinton’s needless barraging of the other’s opponents is a spectacular case of Ad Hominem and the way they picked and chose data that would fit their arguments is a fine example of The Texas Sharpshooter. Or in instances when a controversial moment happened at times during the campaign such as Donald Trump’s “locker room talk,” instead of holding up to it, he flipped it around in his favor to criticize Hillary’s husband for being the same way (Tu Quoque). All around the world of politics can be found pointless arguments, no further advancements, and logical fallacies galore… but that doesn’t mean the common person is exempt.

If anything, the common person uses logical fallacies even more than politicians, granted they don’t mean to use it, but like politicians, we don’t want to be wrong, and often surpass our own rationality in order to remain right. More often than not, we forgo logic in order to fit in with the rest of the crowd and not oust ourselves as any kind of social outcast; after all, who wants to be stuck labeled as a misogynist, a racist, or a xenophobe? Often times, it’s either our own stubbornness or our fear of isolation that drives our fallacies, sometimes it’s not enough that a person doesn’t know they’re wrong, but they sacrifice logic in their own self-interest. Following the crowd is a fallacy known as the bandwagon fallacy and it is what drives this herd mentality amongst groups to the point of blind devotion. This is what resists any social fluency between people of different groups, leads to the “us against them” mindset, and is among one of the more dangerous fallacies.

All these kinds of fallacies, plus more, serve to divert any productive or constructive argument or conversation; if anything, these are nothing more than roadblocks of stubbornness. The truth does hurt, but what hurts even more is not coming to any closer an answer and knowing that these have been used all throughout history. Although we have new methods of science and discussion, we still use these fallacies on a day-to-day basis and are constantly being duped by them in every way conceivable. We are all victims, and we have been lied to from the highest of officials to our closest companions.

Try as we might, there is no escaping these fallacies no matter the means, even if we do pick them up, there is no telling how long we can hold off the onslaught of ignorance. Even if an argument sounds like logic and rationality, there are people who will deny that logic so long as it suits their point of view and helps them win the argument. So keep in mind that although you may be able to point out logical fallacies that are being dropped on a daily basis, the people who do so may not know, or they just don’t care. This is not an issue that comes from the left, right or, center, this is an issue we are all guilty of, and it has been manipulated to the point of where we cannot discern fallacies from the truth.

So dear reader, keep in mind that those Facebook rants and comment arguments you have seen before just may be the way we communicate now. This is the penance we pay for our ignorance and stubbornness.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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