Logical Fallacies

Ad Hominem: An attack, or an insult, on the person, rather than directly addressing the person's reasons. Name calling is a form of this fallacy.

A fan argued that Coach did not have a winning season because he was stupid.

Slippery Slope: Making the assumption that a proposed step will set off an uncontrollable chain of undesirable events, when procedures exist to prevent such a chain of events.

Coach was afraid that if he did not discipline one player for breaking curfew that the whole team would break so many rules that the team would be disqualified from competing.

Searching for Perfect Solutions: Falsely assuming that because part of a problem would remain after a solution is tried, the solution should not be adopted.

Coach did not try to enforce the curfew because he knew that some players would not honor it.

Equivocation: A key word is used with two or more meanings in an argument such that the argument fails to make sense once the shifts in meaning are recognized.

In talking about what makes a successful team, Coach talked about the necessity that players receive proper medicine from doctors when needed. Then he went on to say that he also found it necessary to dispense medicine when needed. However, he was referring to additional practices.

Appeal to Popularity (Ad populum): An attempt to justify a claim by appealing to sentiments that large groups of people have in common; falsely assumes that anything favored by a large group is desirable.

Coach decided to use a certain strategy in games because he thought most coaches were using and favored this strategy.

Appeal to Questionable Authority: Supporting a conclusion by citing an authority who lacks special expertise on the issue at hand.

When questioned about the type of physical training he was using for his players, Coach said that this type of physical training was recommended by Oprah Winfrey on her talk show.

Straw Person (Extension): Distorting the opponent's point of view so that it is easy to attack; thus what is attacked is a point of view that does not truly exist.

In explaining to the athletic director why his coaching techniques were excellent, Coach brought up the example of another coach and what methods this coach was using. He pointed out how much better his coaching methods were than the other coach. However Coach failed to mention all of the coaching techniques the other coach was using.

Either-Or (False Dilemma): Assuming only two alternatives exist when it is possible that there are more than two.

Coach tells his players that if they do not learn the plays that this means that they have no respect for him.

Wishful Thinking: Making the faulty assumption that because we wish X were true or false, then X is indeed true or false.

Coach says that a curfew is not needed since his players should know how to take care of themselves physically.

Explaining by Naming: Falsely assuming that because you have provided a name for some event or behavior that you have also adequately explained the event or behavior.

Coach claimed that he did not remember what the athletic director had just said because he had a "senior moment."

Glittering Generality: The use of vague, emotionally appealing virtue words that dispose us to approve something without closely examining the reasons.

Coach said to possible supporters, "We have the greatest team ever and it deserves your support."

Red Herring (Divert Attention from the Issue): An irrelevant topic is presented to divert attention from the original issue and help "win" an argument by shifting attention away from the argument and to another issue. The fallacy sequence in tis instance is as follows: (a) Topic A is being discussed; (b) Topic B is introduced as though it is relevant to Topic A, but it is not; (c) Topic A is abandoned.

The athletic director asked Coach to explain why his team was losing so many games and Coach points out that there are three teams in the league below his team in the standings.

Begging the Question (Circular Reasoning): An argument in which the conclusion is assumed in the reasoning.

Coach says about a player on the team that "He is the most valuable player on our team because he is the best player."

Hasty Generalization (Oversimplification): A person draws a conclusion about a large group based on experiences with only a few members of the group.

A fan says, "I had a chance to chat with Coach after the game and he seemed very nice. It is wonderful how athletic coaches are so approachable."

Post Hoc Fallacy: Assuming that a particular event B, is caused by another event A, simply because B follows A in time.

The team has been winning more games since Coach was hired.

Faulty Analogy: Occurs when an analogy is proposed in which there are important relevant dissimilarities.

Coach treats his players like a mother bear with her cubs.

Causal Oversimplification: Explaining an event by relying on causal factors that are insufficient to account for the event or by overemphasizing the role of one or more of these factors.

Coach says that the reason his team won their last game is because the team had a high carbohydrate meal before the game.

Confusing of Cause and Effect: Confusing the cause with the effect of an event or failing to recognize that two events may be influencing each other.

Coach believes that his coaching style affects his players' performance. However, although this is true, his players' performance also affects the coaching style Coach chooses to use.

Neglect of a Common Cause: Failure to recognize that two events may be related because of a common third factor.

Coach notices that those players with higher grade points perform better as players. He concludes that intellectual ability is related to athletic performance. However, in reality self-discipline is the primary cause that leads to better performance in intellectual pursuits and in athletic performance.