Identify any examples of fallacies in the following passages. Tell why you
think these are fallacies, and identify which category they belong in, if they
fit any category we've described.
1. Letter to the editor: "I would like to express my feelings on the recent
conflict between county supervisor Blanche Wilder and Murdock County
Sheriff Al Peters over the county budget.
"I have listened to sheriffs' radio broadcasts. Many times there have
been dangerous and life-threatening situations when the sheriff's deputies'
quickest possible arrival time is 20 to 30 minutes. This is to me
"Now supervisor Wilder wants to cut two officers from the Sheriff's
Department. This proposal I find ridiculous. Does she really think that
Sheriff Peters can run his department with no officers? How anyone can
think that a county as large as Murdock can get by with no police is beyond
me. I feel this proposal would be very detrimental to the safety and
protection of this county's residents."
2. Letter to the editor: "Andrea Keene's selective morality is once again
showing through in her July 15 letter. This time she expresses her abhorrence
of abortion. But how we see only what we choose to see! I wonder
if any of the anti-abortionists have considered the widespread use of
fertility drugs as the moral equivalent of abortion, and, if they have,
why they haven't come out against them, too. The use of these drugs
frequently results in multiple births, which leads to the death of one
of the infants, often after an agonizing struggle for survival. According
to the rules of the pro-lifers, isn't this murder?"
? North-State Record
3. In one of her columns, Abigail Van Buren printed the letter of "I'd rather
be a widow." The letter writer, a divorcée, complained about widows
who said they had a hard time coping. Far better, she wrote, to be a
widow than to be a divorcée, who are all "rejects" who have been "publicly
dumped" and are avoided "like they have leprosy." Abby recognized
the pseudoreasoning for what it was, though she did not call it by our
name. What is our name for it?
4. Overheard: "Should school kids say the Pledge of Allegiance before class?
Certainly. Why shouldn't they?"
5. Letter to the editor: "Once again the Park Commission is considering
closing North Park Drive for the sake of a few joggers and bicyclists.
These so-called fitness enthusiasts would evidently have us give up to
them for their own private use every last square inch of Walnut Grove.
Then anytime anyone wanted a picnic, he would have to park at the
edge of the park and carry everything in?ice chests, chairs, maybe even
grandma. I certainly hope the Commission keeps the entire park open
for everyone to use."
6. "Some Christian?and other?groups are protesting against the placing,
on federal property near the White House, of a set of plastic figurines representing
a devout Jewish family in ancient Judaea. The protestors would
of course deny that they are driven by any anti-Semitic motivation. Still,
we wonder: Would they raise the same objections (of unconstitutionality,
etc.) if the scene depicted a modern, secularized Gentile family?"
? National Review
7. "It's stupid to keep on talking about rich people not paying their fair
share of taxes while the budget is so far out of balance. Why, if we raised
the tax rates on the wealthy all the way back to where they were in 1980,
it would not balance the federal budget."
8. From a letter to the editor: "The counties of Michigan clearly need the
ability to raise additional sources of revenue, not only to meet the
demands of growth but also to maintain existing levels of service. For
without these sources those demands will not be met, and it will be impossible
to maintain services even at present levels."
9. In February 1992, a representative of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico
gave a radio interview (broadcast on National Public Radio) in which he
said that the Church was against the use of condoms. Even though the
rate of AIDS infection in Puerto Rico is much higher than on the U.S.
mainland, the spokesman said that the Church could not support the use
of condoms because they are not absolutely reliable in preventing the
spread of the disease. "If you could prove that condoms were absolutely
dependable in preventing a person from contracting AIDS, then the
Church could support their use."
10. A 1991 book by a former member of the National Security Council indicated
that supporters of Ronald Reagan may have made a deal with the
Iranians who had been holding American hostages for months. The Iranians
agreed not to release the hostages until after the 1980 election (in
which Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter), and, it was alleged, the new
administration promised to make weapons available to Iran. Here's one
reaction to the announcement of the deal:
"I'm not surprised about Reagan's using trickery to get himself elected
president. After all, he was nothing but an old actor, and he was used to
using Hollywood trickery to fool people during his first career."
1. Straw man fallacy.
2. Red herring- fertility drugs are a different issue than abortion.
3. 'Grass is always greener'- can be a type of Wishful Thinking. Also ...