Logical Fallacies

Fri, 14/03/2014 - 09:22 -- James Oakley

My friend, Steve Jeffery, has posted an excellent article on logical fallacies.

Of his own admission, little of it is original to him, although it draws things together helpfully.

There are a 5 brief introductory comments, the first of which explains what he's on about. We must, he says, distinguish two issues. When someone argues a point, we must consider whether or not their argument is valid. Quite distinct, we must consider whether or not their conclusion is valid. You can reach the right conclusion by a logically invalid argument. You can reach the wrong conclusion even though you argue well.

Let me give an example: Someone says that they believe any two numbers always add up to 5. Therefore, they say, consider 2 and 3. 2 and 3 add up to 5. Their conclusion if valid. 2 and 3 do, indeed, make 5. But their argument is flawed.

With that preamble out of the way, Steve gives no fewer than 44 different types of logical fallacy. He considers blatant lack of argument, the posing of false dilemmas, straw men, and another 41 categories besides. Each is illustrated with some very helpful examples.

I'm aware that only some of the readers of this blog are Christians, and quite few of Steve's examples are drawn from debates in theology or church life. But there are enough that aren't for his article to be extremely helpful.

So go ahead and read: Staight and Mainly Crooked Thinking.

Oh, and by the way, I hope you liked the opening sentence of this post. Please remember that this article was written by my friend Steve Jeffery. He's a nice chap. So what he writes must be true. It follows ... doesn't it?

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