Group One: 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. 

    1. 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.

      Appeal to Authority

    • B.

      Equivocation

    • C.

      Red-Herring

    • D.

      Straw Man

    • E.

      Undistibutable Middle

    Correct Answer
    B. Equivocation
    Explanation
    The passage from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass demonstrates equivocation. The Queen's statement that "It's jam every other day: today isn't any other day" relies on the ambiguous meaning of "any other day." The Queen is equivocating by using the phrase to mean "every day except today," when Alice is interpreting it to mean "any day other than today." This creates a misunderstanding and confusion in the conversation.

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  • 2. 

    2. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, look at the bloody clothes, the murder weapon. Imagine the helpless screams of the victim. Such a crime deserves no verdict except guilty, guilty!

    • A.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    • B.

      False Cause

    • C.

      Red-Herring

    • D.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • E.

      False Cause

    Correct Answer
    C. Red-Herring
    Explanation
    The given statement is an example of a red herring fallacy. A red herring is a tactic used to divert attention from the main issue by introducing irrelevant information or arguments. In this case, the speaker is trying to manipulate the emotions of the jury by focusing on the gruesome details of the crime, such as the bloody clothes and the helpless screams, instead of presenting relevant evidence or logical arguments. This diversionary tactic is meant to distract the jury from the actual facts of the case and bias their judgment towards a guilty verdict.

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  • 3. 

    3. 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.

      Vagueness

    • B.

      Equivocation

    • C.

      Supressed Evidence

    • D.

      Appeal to Authority

    • E.

      Straw Man

    Correct Answer
    D. Appeal to Authority
    Explanation
    The given statement is an example of an appeal to authority. The speaker is using their role as a doctor on TV to endorse the use of Tylenol for headaches. However, being an actor or playing a doctor on TV does not necessarily make the speaker an expert or authority on medical matters. Therefore, their endorsement should not be taken as a valid reason to believe that Tylenol is the best option for headaches.

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  • 4. 

    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.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    • B.

      Undistributed Middle

    • C.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • D.

      Equivocation

    • E.

      Vagueness

    Correct Answer
    C. Genetic Fallacy
    Explanation
    The given explanation for the correct answer is that the argument is committing the genetic fallacy. The genetic fallacy occurs when someone attempts to invalidate a belief or argument based on its origin or history rather than its actual merits. In this case, the argument suggests that because a belief in God stems from a psychological need, it is therefore silly to continue believing in God. However, the origin of a belief does not determine its truth or validity. Therefore, the argument is committing the genetic fallacy by dismissing the belief based on its origin rather than engaging with the actual arguments or evidence supporting it.

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  • 5. 

    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.

      Genetic Fallacy

    • B.

      Vagueness

    • C.

      False Cause

    • D.

      Straw Man

    • E.

      Suppressed Evidence

    Correct Answer
    D. Straw Man
    Explanation
    The given answer is "Straw Man." This is because the argument presented in the question misrepresents the concept of evolution by stating that it means believing an elephant evolved from a mouse, which is an exaggerated and distorted version of the actual theory. The straw man fallacy occurs when someone misrepresents their opponent's argument in order to make it easier to attack or refute. In this case, the question presents a distorted version of evolution to make it seem ridiculous and easily dismissible.

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  • 6. 

    The nuthatch was discovered by Tilly Turnow in the woods, while hopping from branch to branch of an elm tree, singing happily.

    • A.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    • B.

      False Cause

    • C.

      Suppressed Evidence

    • D.

      Vagueness

    • E.

      Genetic Fallacy

    Correct Answer
    D. Vagueness
    Explanation
    The given passage describes the discovery of the nuthatch by Tilly Turnow in the woods. However, the passage lacks specific details about the nuthatch, such as its characteristics, behavior, or any relevant information. The vagueness in the passage makes it difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions or make logical connections. Therefore, the correct answer is "Vagueness."

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  • 7. 

    You can hardly blame President Clinton for having extramarital affairs. Many presidents, when faced with similar situations, have yielded to the same temptations.

    • A.

      Equivocation

    • B.

      Appeal to Authority

    • C.

      Undistributed Middle

    • D.

      Straw Man

    • E.

      Red Herring

    Correct Answer
    E. Red Herring
    Explanation
    The given explanation can be inferred from the statement provided. The argument is diverting attention from the issue of blaming President Clinton for his extramarital affairs by stating that many other presidents have also succumbed to similar temptations. This diversion is a classic example of a red herring, as it is not directly addressing the issue at hand but instead introducing a different topic to distract from the original argument.

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  • 8. 

    There are more laws on the books than ever before, and more crimes are being committed than ever before. Therefore, to reduce crime, we must eliminate the laws.

    • A.

      False Cause

    • B.

      Vagueness

    • C.

      Red Herring

    • D.

      Appeal to Authority

    • E.

      Questionable Use of Statistics

    Correct Answer
    A. False Cause
    Explanation
    This statement is an example of a false cause fallacy. It assumes that the increase in the number of laws and the increase in crimes are directly related, suggesting that eliminating laws would reduce crime. However, this correlation does not imply causation. There could be numerous other factors contributing to the increase in crime rates, such as socioeconomic factors, education, or changes in societal norms. Simply eliminating laws without considering these factors would not necessarily lead to a reduction in crime.

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  • 9. 

    We should pass a constitutional amendment making it illegal to burn the American flag. Anyone who thinks otherwise just hates America.

    • A.

      Suppressed Evidence

    • B.

      Vagueness

    • C.

      Undistributed Middle

    • D.

      Straw Man

    • E.

      Red Herring

    Correct Answer
    D. Straw Man
    Explanation
    The given statement presents a straw man fallacy. It misrepresents the opposing argument by suggesting that anyone who disagrees with passing a constitutional amendment against burning the American flag hates America. This is a diversionary tactic that distracts from the actual argument and creates a false dichotomy. The opposing argument may have valid reasons for not supporting the amendment, but the statement dismisses them by attributing hatred towards America.

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  • 10. 

    Radio talk show host, on learning that an association of critical thinking professors had suggested his show as a source of fallacious reasoning: “Who are these people? They talk to maybe 30 people at a time. I talk to 5 million people every day. They could not begin to do what I do. They are just gnats flying around getting in the way.” 11.

    • A.

      Appeal to Authority

    • B.

      Suppressed Evidence

    • C.

      Red Herring

    • D.

      Vagueness

    • E.

      Equivocation

    Correct Answer
    C. Red Herring
    Explanation
    The talk show host's response is a red herring because he diverts attention from the original criticism by attacking the credibility and influence of the critical thinking professors. Instead of addressing the issue of fallacious reasoning, he focuses on the number of people he reaches and belittles the professors. This is a tactic to distract from the actual argument and avoid addressing the criticism.

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 21, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Oct 20, 2009
    Quiz Created by
    Shawanba
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