Group Five: Sample Fallacies And Booby Traps

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Shawanba
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Understanding Fallacies and Booby Traps in Argument and Persuasive Writing


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    According to Freud, your belief in God stems from your need for a strong father figure. So don’t you see that it’s silly to continue believing in God?

    • A.

      Appeal to Authority

    • B.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • C.

      Straw Man

    • D.

      Equivocation

    • E.

      Suppressed Evidence

    Correct Answer
    B. Genetic Fallacy
    Explanation
    The given answer, Genetic Fallacy, is the most appropriate explanation for the statement. The argument suggests that belief in God is silly because it stems from a need for a strong father figure, which is a genetic fallacy. The genetic fallacy occurs when someone dismisses an idea or belief based on its origin or history, rather than evaluating it on its own merits. In this case, the argument ignores the possibility that belief in God may have other valid reasons or evidence supporting it, and instead focuses on the perceived psychological origin of the belief.

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  • 2. 

    Lewis Carroll, in Through the Looking Glass: “ ‘You couldn’t have [jam] if you did want it,’ the Queen said. ‘The rule is jam tomorrow and jam yesterday — but never jam today.’ ‘It must sometimes come to jam today,’ Alice objected. ‘No it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every other day: today isn’t any other day, you know.’ ”

    • A.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • B.

      Red Herring

    • C.

      Equivocation

    • D.

      False Cause

    • E.

      Undistributed Middle

    Correct Answer
    C. Equivocation
    Explanation
    The passage from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass demonstrates the fallacy of equivocation. The Queen uses the word "jam" in two different senses, causing confusion in the conversation. In the first sense, "jam" refers to a sweet spread, while in the second sense, it refers to a future event or promise. The Queen's argument relies on this equivocation, as she uses the different meanings of "jam" to support her claim that it can never be had today. This fallacy occurs when a word or phrase is used ambiguously or with multiple meanings, leading to faulty reasoning.

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  • 3. 

    Do most Americans believe in God? To find out, we asked over 10,000 scientists at colleges and universities throughout America. Less than 40 percent said they believed in God. The conclusion is obvious: Most Americans no longer believe in God.

    • A.

      Straw Man

    • B.

      Equivocation

    • C.

      Appeal to Authority

    • D.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    • E.

      False Cause

    Correct Answer
    D. Questionable Use of Statistics
    Explanation
    The given argument uses a questionable use of statistics. The conclusion that "most Americans no longer believe in God" is based on the response of only a specific group of people - scientists at colleges and universities. This group may not be representative of the entire American population. Therefore, it is not valid to generalize their beliefs to the entire population. The argument fails to consider other factors and demographics that may influence the belief in God among Americans.

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  • 4. 

    Most heroin users started out smoking pot. If you start smoking pot, you’ll end up a heroin user, too.

    • A.

      Undistributed Middle

    • B.

      Red Herring

    • C.

      Vagueness

    • D.

      False Cause

    • E.

      Appeal to Authority

    Correct Answer
    A. Undistributed Middle
    Explanation
    The correct answer is Undistributed Middle. This fallacy occurs when a middle term in a categorical syllogism is not distributed, meaning that it does not refer to all members of its class. In this case, the middle term is "smoking pot," and the argument assumes that all individuals who smoke pot will become heroin users. However, this is a hasty generalization as it does not consider other factors or individual differences that may influence drug use. Therefore, the argument commits the fallacy of undistributed middle.

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  • 5. 

    Really exciting novels are very rare. And since rare books are expensive, I can’t afford to buy any really exciting novels.

    • A.

      Straw Man

    • B.

      Equivocation

    • C.

      Appeal to Authority

    • D.

      Undistributed Middle

    • E.

      Genetic Fallacy

    Correct Answer
    B. Equivocation
    Explanation
    The given statement presents a logical fallacy known as equivocation. It occurs when a word or phrase is used in multiple senses, leading to a misleading or false conclusion. In this case, the word "rare" is used in two different ways - to describe both really exciting novels and expensive books. By equating rarity with expense, the statement falsely assumes that all really exciting novels are expensive and therefore unaffordable. This is a logical error as rarity and price are not necessarily correlated.

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  • 6. 

    The war in Iraq has been a complete success. After all, Saddam Hussein is dead, and the Iraqis had their first free election in years.

    • A.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    • B.

      Appeal to Authority

    • C.

      Vagueness

    • D.

      Red Herring

    • E.

      Suppressed Evidence

    Correct Answer
    E. Suppressed Evidence
    Explanation
    The given answer, "Suppressed Evidence," is the correct choice because the statement only focuses on two positive outcomes of the war in Iraq - the death of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis' first free election in years. However, it fails to mention or acknowledge any negative consequences or aspects of the war. By omitting important information, such as the overall impact on the Iraqi population, the answer suppresses evidence that could provide a more balanced and comprehensive assessment of the war's success.

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  • 7. 

    Before he died, poet Allen Ginsberg argued in favor of legalizing pornography. But Ginsberg's arguments are nothing but trash. Ginsberg was a pot-smoking homosexual and a thoroughgoing advocate of the drug culture.

    • A.

      Red Herring

    • B.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • C.

      Equivocation

    • D.

      False Cause

    • E.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    Correct Answer
    B. Genetic Fallacy
    Explanation
    The given answer, Genetic Fallacy, is correct. The explanation is that the argument attacks the person (Allen Ginsberg) rather than addressing the merits of his arguments. The fact that Ginsberg was a pot-smoking homosexual and advocate of the drug culture is irrelevant to the discussion of legalizing pornography. The argument attempts to discredit Ginsberg based on his personal characteristics rather than engaging with the substance of his arguments, making it a genetic fallacy.

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  • 8. 

    Many people criticize Thomas Jefferson for being an owner of slaves. But Jefferson was one of our greatest presidents, and his Declaration of Independence is one of the most eloquent pleas for freedom and democracy ever written. Clearly these criticisms are unwarranted.

    • A.

      Appeal to Authority

    • B.

      Suppressed Evidence

    • C.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • D.

      Straw Man

    • E.

      Red Herring

    Correct Answer
    E. Red Herring
    Explanation
    The explanation for the correct answer, Red Herring, is that the statement diverts attention from the criticism of Thomas Jefferson being a slave owner by highlighting his accomplishments as a president and the eloquence of his Declaration of Independence. This is a tactic to distract from the main issue and shift the focus to other positive aspects, which is unrelated to the criticism at hand.

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  • 9. 

    How can you possibly believe in evolution? That would mean that you believe that an elephant evolved from a mouse, and that’s just ridiculous.

    • A.

      Red Herring

    • B.

      Undistributed Middle

    • C.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • D.

      Straw Man

    • E.

      False Cause

    Correct Answer
    D. Straw Man
    Explanation
    The given statement presents a distorted and exaggerated version of the belief in evolution by suggesting that it claims an elephant evolved directly from a mouse. This misrepresentation creates a straw man fallacy, as it attacks a distorted version of the argument rather than addressing the actual belief in evolution. The correct answer is Straw Man.

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  • 10. 

    I’m not a doctor, but I play a doctor on TV, and I wouldn’t dream of using anything but Tylenol for my toughest headaches.

    • A.

      Equivocation

    • B.

      Appeal to Authority

    • C.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • D.

      False Cause

    • E.

      Vagueness

    Correct Answer
    B. Appeal to Authority
    Explanation
    The given statement is an example of an Appeal to Authority fallacy. The speaker, who is an actor playing a doctor on TV, is using their position as an authority figure to endorse Tylenol for headaches. However, being an actor does not make them a medical expert, so their endorsement is not based on genuine expertise or evidence. This fallacy occurs when someone relies on the opinion of an authority figure, rather than providing logical reasoning or evidence to support their claim.

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 19, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Oct 31, 2009
    Quiz Created by
    Shawanba
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