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Arguments and Fallacies

For each of the following arguments identify the fallacy that occurs. If no fallacy is committed write "no fallacy." for example... Fallacies of Relevance, Fallacies of Weak Induction, Fallacies of Presumption, Ambiguity, & Grammatical Analogy, etc.

1. It rains a lot in San Diego during the summer. I know because I spent two weekends in San Diego last summer and both times it rained like cats and dogs.

2. No one has proved that the lost continent of Atlantis doesn't exist. Therefore, the lost continent of Atlantis probably does exist.

3. Ricky Henderson, the Hall of Fame baseball player, stole many bases. Stealing is a crime. So, Ricky Henderson committed many crimes.

4. We can never be justified in believing a miracle has occurred, for proof of a miracle requires very strong evidence. But the only evidence we have is the testimony of witnesses; and their testimony is worthless because they believe in such preposterous things as miracles.

5. It would be a mistake to appoint Pete Dobson as Superintendent of Schools. Mr. Dobson has twice been convicted of child endangerment and he was recently charged with embezzlement.

6. Either you favor unrestricted abortion on demand or you favor a constitutional amendment banning all abortions. I know you don't favor unrestricted abortion on demand. Therefore, you favor a constitutional amendment banning all abortions.

7. Senator Trenton has argued strenuously against weaking provisions of the Clean Water Act, claiming that many of our lakes and streams are becoming dangerously polluted. But the Senator is obviously wrong about that. Water is one of the most common substances on Earth. Upwards of 80% of the surface of our planet is covered with water, and massive ammounts of frozen water cover both poles. If these ice caps were ever to melt, ocean levels would rise several feet and coastal areas all over the world would be flooded.

8. Diana's mother called the other day and complained about the three hours of homework Diana is required to do each night. Apparently, Diana's mother believes that schoolchildren should spend all their time talking on the phone, surfing the internet, and hanging out at the mall. Some parents can be so unreasonable.

9. Sandy Beach has argued for bilingual education. But who is Sandy Beach? Is she a trained educator? No, she's a high-school dropout who once served time for drug possession. Her argument, therefore, is worthless.

10. Green tea is leafy, green, aromatic, and tastes great as an iced or hot beverage. Marijuana is also leafy, green, and aromatic. Therefore, marijuana tastes great as an iced or hot beverage, too.

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Logic:

For each of the following arguments identify the fallacy that occurs. If no fallacy is committed write "no fallacy." For example, Fallacies of Relevance, Fallacies of Weak Induction, Fallacies of Presumption, Ambiguity, & Grammatical Analogy, etc…

1. It rains a lot in San Diego during the summer. I know because I spent two weekends in San Diego last summer and both times it rained like cats and dogs.

This is an inductive generalisation. However, since the sample size is ludicrously small-two weekends-it commits the fallacy of hasty generalisation.

2. No one has proved that the lost continent of Atlantis doesn't exist. Therefore, the lost continent of Atlantis probably does exist.

This argument moves from a claim about what hasn't been established-no one has shown that Atlantis is a myth-to the conclusion that is probably does exist. This commits the fallacy of appeal to ignorance. A lack of evidence against something's being true doesn't (normally) imply or suggest that it is likely.

3. Ricky Henderson, the Hall of Fame baseball player, stole many bases. Stealing is a crime. So, Ricky Henderson committed many crimes.

This argument commits a fallacy of ambiguity (equivocation). The word 'stealing' and its correlate, 'stole', is ambiguous. "Stealing" bases is not a crime; or alternatively, the sense in which stealing is a crime doesn't include "stealing" bases.

4.We can never be justified in believing a miracle has occurred, for proof of a miracle requires very strong evidence. But the only evidence we have is the testimony of witnesses; and their testimony is ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a paragraph answer for each question to explain why or why not each argument is a fallacy as well as what kind of fallacy it is.

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