Популярни логически заблуди (Недовършен превод)

В логиката и реториката логическа грешка или логическа заблуда (още „софизъм“, „логическа уловка“) е грешка в разсъждението, която води до неправилно аргументиране, а от там — до погрешно схващане или предположение. Логическите грешки често звучат риторично убедително, защото разчитат на емоционалните импулси в слушателя или опонента (напр. позоваване на чувства), или на евристиките, създадени от социалните взаимоотношения между хората (напр. позоваване на авторитет).

Когато един аргумент е „логически невалиден“, това не означава непременно, че заключението му е погрешно; означава единствено, че заключението не би могло да бъде правилно достигнато чрез този аргумент. Логическите грешки най-често се ползват неумишлено, но те също така може да бъдат използвани умишлено с цел победа в спор, без истината да е от значение.

Логическите заблуди обикновено се класифицират като неформални (предпоставката не подкрепя представеното заключение, т.е. съдържанието е неправилно, но аргументът е структуриран правилно), или формални (при тях самата логическа структура е неправилна).

Wikipedia

По-долу представям списък с популярните логически заблуди (заимстван от сайта yourlogicalfallacyis.com; умишлено съм запазил оригиналните им названия на английски и латински, тъй като е по-вероятно да ги срещнете така в интернет-форуми и литературата, която борави с тези понятия). Отчитането на тези пропуски в способността ни да разсъждаваме и да взимаме решения е важен фактор за извличане на оптимални ползи от всеки дебат по всяка тема.

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Straw man (чучело, сламен човек)

Нечий аргумент се представя неточно, за да се отслаби неговата валидност.

Чрез преувеличаване, невярно представяне, или просто измисляне на нечий аргумент, е много по-лесно да представите собствената си позиция като разумна, но този тип непочтеност служи за подкопаване на честния рационален дебат.

Пример: След като Иван каза, че трябва да вложим повече пари в здравеопазването и образованието, Петър отговори, че е изненадан от това колко много Иван мрази страната ни, тъй като е готов да я остави беззащитна, като ореже военния бюджет.

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False cause / questionable cause / non causa pro causa (спорна първопричина)

Заключението, че дадена взаимовръзка между две неща означава, че едното е причина за другото.

Много хора бъркат взаимовръзка (корелация: когато нещата се случват заедно или последователно) с причинно-следствена връзка (каузалност: когато нещо е причина за появата на нещо друго). Понякога взаимовръзката е коинцидентна, или пък е следствие на общовалидна причина.

Пример: Като сочи към сложната графика, Ганчо показва как температурата на въздуха се е покачила през последните векове, като в същото време броят на пиратите се е понижил; следователно пиратите охлаждат света, а глобалното затопляне е измама.

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Appeal to emotion / argumentum ad passiones (позоваване на емоция)

Опит да бъде предизвикан емоционален отклик на мястото на валиден или неоспорим аргумент.

Позоваването на емоция включва позоваване на страх, завист, омраза, съжаление, гордост, и други. Важно е да отбележим, че понякога един логически съгласуван аргумент би могъл да предизвика емоция или да крие емоционален аспект. Проблемът и заблудата следват когато емоцията бива използвана вместо логичен аргумент, или за да прикрие липсата на здрав рационален довод в подкрепа на нечия позиция. Всеки, освен социопатите, бива повлиян от емоции, и затова позоваването на емоция е често срещана и ефективна тактика при воденето на спор, но подобен тип аргументация води до погрешни съждения, а също е и некоректна в стремежа си да омаломощи емоционално опонента.

Пример: Васко не искаше да яде агнешкия мозък с накълцан черен дроб и брюкселско зеле, но баща му му каза да помисли за бедните, гладуващи деца в страните от третия свят, които не са имали късмета да консумират каквато и да било храна изобщо.

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The fallacy fallacy (заблуда за заблуда)

Предположили сте, че понеже дадено твърдение е слабо аргументирано или понеже налице присъства логическа заблуда, то тогава твърдението само по себе си трябва да е грешно.

Напълно възможно е да твърдите нещо, което е погрешно и все пак да го защитите логически, също както е възможно да твърдите нещо вярно, в чиято подкрепа да представите слаби аргументи или логически заблуди.

Пример: Като установила, че Аманда извършва логическа заблуда, спорейки че трябва да ядем здравословна храна, защото един диетолог казал, че е популярно, Алис заключила, че по същата логика трябва да ядем двоен чийзбургер с бекон всеки ден.

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Slippery slope (хлъзгав склон)

Казвате, че ако позволим А да се случи, то евентуално ще се случи и Я, следователно не трябва да позволяваме А да се случи.

Проблемът с този начин на разсъждаване е, че се избягва належащият въпрос и вместо това вниманието се насочва към крайно хипотетични развръзки. Тъй като не се представя доказателство в подкрепа на това, че тези развръзки действително биха могли да се случат, този тип заблуда наподобява позоваване на емоция чрез насърчаване на страха. В следствие на това конкретният въпрос бива пренебрегнат за сметка на необосновани догадки.

Пример: Волен твърди, че ако позволим брака за еднополовите двойки, то следващата стъпка в тази насока, без да се усетим, ще е да позволим на хората да се женят за собствените си родители, автомобили или дори за маймуни.

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Ad hominem (към/срещу човека/личността)

Когато атакувате характера на своите опоненти или лични черти в опит да подкопаете тяхната аргументация.

Нападката тип аd hominem може да бъде разпозната като открито атакуване на някого, или намек, който да предизвика съмнение в целостта на нечий характер или личните особености на човека, като начин за подронване на неговия аргумент. Резултатът от подобна нападка е пренебрегване на нечие твърдение без изобщо да се ангажирате с него.

Пример: След като Ан красноречиво и убедително представя своята аргументация за по-справедлива данъчна система, Сам пита публиката дали трябва да вярваме на жената, която не е омъжена, била е арестувана, и мирише малко странно.

Tu quoque (ти също)

Отказвате да приемете нечия критика като я отправяте обратно към обвинителя – отговаряте на критицизма с критицизъм.

Произнася се ту-куо-куий. Буквално се превежда „ти също“ и тази заблуда обикновено може да бъде припозната като обвинение в лицемерие. Често се използва за отвличане на вниманието от главния въпрос, защото сваля тежестта от плещите на някой, който трябва да защити своя аргумент, и вместо това измества фокуса обратно към човека, който отправя критиката.

Пример: Никол установява, че Хана е направила логическа грешка, но вместо да се насочи към същността на своето твърдение, Хана обвинява Никол, че тя самата е направила грешка по-рано в разговора.

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Personal incredulity

You avoided having to engage with criticism by turning it back on the accuser – you answered criticism with criticism.

Pronounced too-kwo-kwee. Literally translating as ‘you too’ this fallacy is also known as the appeal to hypocrisy. It is commonly employed as an effective red herring because it takes the heat off someone having to defend their argument, and instead shifts the focus back on to the person making the criticism.

Example: Nicole identified that Hannah had committed a logical fallacy, but instead of addressing the substance of her claim, Hannah accused Nicole of committing a fallacy earlier on in the conversation.

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Special pleading

You moved the goalposts or made up an exception when your claim was shown to be false.

Humans are funny creatures and have a foolish aversion to being wrong. Rather than appreciate the benefits of being able to change one’s mind through better understanding, many will invent ways to cling to old beliefs. One of the most common ways that people do this is to post-rationalize a reason why what they thought to be true must remain to be true. It’s usually very easy to find a reason to believe something that suits us, and it requires integrity and genuine honesty with oneself to examine one’s own beliefs and motivations without falling into the trap of justifying our existing ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us.

Example: Edward Johns claimed to be psychic, but when his ‘abilities’ were tested under proper scientific conditions, they magically disappeared. Edward explained this saying that one had to have faith in his abilities for them to work.

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Loaded question

You asked a question that had a presumption built into it so that it couldn’t be answered without appearing guilty.

Loaded question fallacies are particularly effective at derailing rational debates because of their inflammatory nature – the recipient of the loaded question is compelled to defend themselves and may appear flustered or on the back foot.

Example: Grace and Helen were both romantically interested in Brad. One day, with Brad sitting within earshot, Grace asked in an inquisitive tone whether Helen was having any problems with a drug habit.

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Burden of proof

You said that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove.

The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim, and is not upon anyone else to disprove. The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever. However it is important to note that we can never be certain of anything, and so we must assign value to any claim based on the available evidence, and to dismiss something on the basis that it hasn’t been proven beyond all doubt is also fallacious reasoning.

Example: Bertrand declares that a teapot is, at this very moment, in orbit around the Sun between the Earth and Mars, and that because no one can prove him wrong, his claim is therefore a valid one.

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Ambiguity

You used a double meaning or ambiguity of language to mislead or misrepresent the truth.

Politicians are often guilty of using ambiguity to mislead and will later point to how they were technically not outright lying if they come under scrutiny. The reason that it qualifies as a fallacy is that it is intrinsically misleading.

Example: When the judge asked the defendant why he hadn’t paid his parking fines, he said that he shouldn’t have to pay them because the sign said ‘Fine for parking here’ and so he naturally presumed that it would be fine to park there.

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The gambler’s fallacy

You said that ‘runs’ occur to statistically independent phenomena such as roulette wheel spins.

This commonly believed fallacy can be said to have helped create an entire city in the desert of Nevada USA. Though the overall odds of a ‘big run’ happening may be low, each spin of the wheel is itself entirely independent from the last. So whilst there may be a very small chance that heads will come up 20 times in a row if you flip a coin, the chances of heads coming up on each individual flip remain 50/50, and aren’t influenced by what happened before.

Example: Red had come up six times in a row on the roulette wheel, so Greg knew that it was close to certain that black would be next up. Suffering an economic form of natural selection with this thinking, he soon lost all of his savings.

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Bandwagon

You appealed to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation.

The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity. If it did, then the Earth would have made itself flat for most of history to accommodate this popular belief.

Example: Shamus pointed a drunken finger at Sean and asked him to explain how so many people could believe in leprechauns if they’re only a silly old superstition. Sean, however, had had a few too many Guinness himself and fell off his chair.

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Appeal to authority

You said that because an authority thinks something, it must therefore be true.

It’s important to note that this fallacy should not be used to dismiss the claims of experts, or scientific consensus. Appeals to authority are not valid arguments, but nor is it reasonable to disregard the claims of experts who have a demonstrated depth of knowledge unless one has a similar level of understanding and/or access to empirical evidence. However it is, entirely possible that the opinion of a person or institution of authority is wrong; therefore the authority that such a person or institution holds does not have any intrinsic bearing upon whether their claims are true or not.

Example: Not able to defend his position that evolution ‘isn’t true’ Bob says that he knows a scientist who also questions evolution (and presumably isn’t a primate).

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Composition/division

You assumed that one part of something has to be applied to all, or other, parts of it; or that the whole must apply to its parts.

Often when something is true for the part it does also apply to the whole, or vice versa, but the crucial difference is whether there exists good evidence to show that this is the case. Because we observe consistencies in things, our thinking can become biased so that we presume consistency to exist where it does not.

Example: Daniel was a precocious child and had a liking for logic. He reasoned that atoms are invisible, and that he was made of atoms and therefore invisible too. Unfortunately, despite his thinky skills, he lost the game of hide and go seek.

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No true Scotsman

You made what could be called an appeal to purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flaws of your argument.

In this form of faulty reasoning one’s belief is rendered unfalsifiable because no matter how compelling the evidence is, one simply shifts the goalposts so that it wouldn’t apply to a supposedly ‘true’ example. This kind of post-rationalization is a way of avoiding valid criticisms of one’s argument.

Example: Angus declares that Scotsmen do not put sugar on their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a Scotsman and puts sugar on his porridge. Furious, like a true Scot, Angus yells that no true Scotsman sugars his porridge.

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Genetic

You judged something as either good or bad on the basis of where it comes from, or from whom it came.

This fallacy avoids the argument by shifting focus onto something’s or someone’s origins. It’s similar to an ad hominem fallacy in that it leverages existing negative perceptions to make someone’s argument look bad, without actually presenting a case for why the argument itself lacks merit.

Example: Accused on the 6 o’clock news of corruption and taking bribes, the senator said that we should all be very wary of the things we hear in the media, because we all know how very unreliable the media can be.

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Black or white

You presented two alternative states as the only possibilities, when in fact more possibilities exist.

Also known as the false dilemma, this insidious tactic has the appearance of forming a logical argument, but under closer scrutiny it becomes evident that there are more possibilities than the either/or choice that is presented. Binary, black-or-white thinking doesn’t allow for the many different variables, conditions, and contexts in which there would exist more than just the two possibilities put forth. It frames the argument misleadingly and obscures rational, honest debate.

Example: Whilst rallying support for his plan to fundamentally undermine citizens’ rights, the Supreme Leader told the people they were either on his side, or they were on the side of the enemy.

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Begging the question

You presented a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise.

This logically incoherent argument often arises in situations where people have an assumption that is very ingrained, and therefore taken in their minds as a given. Circular reasoning is bad mostly because it’s not very good.

Example: The word of Zorbo the Great is flawless and perfect. We know this because it says so in The Great and Infallible Book of Zorbo’s Best and Most Truest Things that are Definitely True and Should Not Ever Be Questioned.

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Appeal to nature

You argued that because something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good or ideal.

Many ‘natural’ things are also considered ‘good’, and this can bias our thinking; but naturalness itself doesn’t make something good or bad. For instance murder could be seen as very natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s good or justifiable.

Example: The medicine man rolled into town on his bandwagon offering various natural remedies, such as very special plain water. He said that it was only natural that people should be wary of ‘artificial’ medicines such as antibiotics.

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Anecdotal

You used a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence.

It’s often much easier for people to believe someone’s testimony as opposed to understanding complex data and variation across a continuum. Quantitative scientific measures are almost always more accurate than personal perceptions and experiences, but our inclination is to believe that which is tangible to us, and/or the word of someone we trust over a more ‘abstract’ statistical reality.

Example: Jason said that that was all cool and everything, but his grandfather smoked, like, 30 cigarettes a day and lived until 97 – so don’t believe everything you read about meta analyses of methodologically sound studies showing proven causal relationships.

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The Texas sharpshooter

You cherry-picked a data cluster to suit your argument, or found a pattern to fit a presumption.

This ‘false cause’ fallacy is coined after a marksman shooting randomly at barns and then painting bullseye targets around the spot where the most bullet holes appear, making it appear as if he’s a really good shot. Clusters naturally appear by chance, but don’t necessarily indicate that there is a causal relationship.

Example: The makers of Sugarette Candy Drinks point to research showing that of the five countries where Sugarette drinks sell the most units, three of them are in the top ten healthiest countries on Earth, therefore Sugarette drinks are healthy.

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Middle ground

You claimed that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes must be the truth.

Much of the time the truth does indeed lie between two extreme points, but this can bias our thinking: sometimes a thing is simply untrue and a compromise of it is also untrue. Half way between truth and a lie, is still a lie.

Example: Holly said that vaccinations caused autism in children, but her scientifically well-read friend Caleb said that this claim had been debunked and proven false. Their friend Alice offered a compromise that vaccinations must cause some autism, just not all autism.

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