# What are your best examples to easily identify errors of logic and faulty reason

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years ago

What are your best examples to easily identify errors of logic and faulty reasoning?

Whether it's false cause, circular reasoning, faulty analogies, etc., logic seems to elude all of us in our discussions. We can often recognize that an argument doesn't make sense, but often we aren't able to explain exactly why. We might have studied logic in high school or college, but the subject is difficult to grasp.  Unfortunately, tricks of logic used by political radio and TV hosts have mastered and use to confuse people to create a large audience and convince them of their views. It seems critical that society needs to be able to identify flaws of logic much better than we do.

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What an interesting topic.Logic is fascinating to me. I've spent quite a few years ( about 15) on political forums and found that it was necessary to have a good grasp of logic in order to tell a good argument from a bad one and argue a point effectively, Eventually all that time was turned into a book called "Political Logic". Generally, I knew when somebody was blowing smoke with something that didn't make sense, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was. Actually I was getting examples of logical fallacies that I just didn't know had names in informal logic.

What I did, was locate logic websites. There are a number of really good ones:
1. The logical fallacies handlist: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/fallacies_list.html
2.The Fallacy Files. http://fallacyfiles.org/
3. logical fallacies. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/
4.Nizkor project http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
These are enough to cover just about anything you'll encounter

Logic is the study of arguments. It’s what we use to evaluate correct reasoning from poor reasoning. Without logic, we have no way of evaluating truth from garbage. Logic is not opinion. When we evaluate arguments, we are using specific principles and criteria in much the same way we would use a math formula. If we use those principles and criteria, we are using logic; if we aren’t using those principles and criteria, we are not justified in claiming to use logic or be logical.

One of the most common fallacies is called "begging the question" which is a form of circular reasoning.

Begging the question is a fallacious form of argument. Therefore, to beg the question is to argue fallaciously. It takes the form of argument in which the conclusion occurs as one of the premises. More generally, it’s a chain of arguments in which the final conclusion is a premiss of one of the earlier arguments in the chain. Still more generally, an argument begs the question when it assumes any controversial point not conceded by the other side. He offers circular reasoning to make his case. An argument is circular if its conclusion is among its premises, if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. Such arguments are said to beg the question. A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion.

A more complex but equally fallacious type of circular reasoning is to create a circular chain of reasoning like this one: “God exists.” “How do you know that God exists?” “The Bible says so.” “Why should I believe the Bible?” “Because it’s the inspired word of God.” According to who? “According to the Bible.”

The so-called “final proof” relies on unproven evidence set forth initially as the subject of debate. Basically, the argument goes in an endless circle, with each step of the argument relying on a previous one, which in turn relies on the first argument yet to be proven. Surely, God deserves a more intelligible argument than the circular reasoning proposed in this example!

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Austinstarposted 9 years agoin reply to this

"Logic is not opinion"! Perfect! Everyone assumes that their opinion is valid even without proof.

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

adagio4639 - EXACTLY what I was looking for in terms of references to examples.This is EXCELLENT!  tried to find your book. Where ? Can (Did) you make a hub of this?  A hub with multiple choice ques. to identify flaws in examples wld be STELLAR!

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cam8510posted 9 years agoin reply to this

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Thanks for all the nice responses. I just went to my Hub Central which I haven't visited in quite a while and it's loaded with chapters and more information that might be of interest. http://hubpages.com/my/hubs/stats

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promisemposted 9 years ago

Many people follow a warped version of inductive logic in politics -- I have a belief based on my political party, therefore I choose the following facts to support that belief and ignore other facts that undermine it.

They often take it a step further and passionately follow cable news channels with a strong political bias, especially Fox News and MSNBC, to validate those beliefs based on cherry-picked information.

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I agree Scott. Their idea seems to be to look for as many things to verify or validate their already held conviction, rather then look for the things that would falsify it. Unfortunately that won't make their belief true.

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

So TRUE, Scott. We're all guilty, I suppose, but just as we try to eat healthy and exercise, it's critical that we do the same "mentally heathy" logic exercise w/ the news we follow. It's a discipline of reasoning that can only make society better.

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tsmogposted 9 years ago

1 + 1 = 2 and there is a single line of two points until we consider next. And, that is another discussion all together that may present a need for another and then we have 3. Seems now there is an apex and with a little imagination there is a circle. Perplexed realization prompts they are likened to pedals upon a stalwart stalk reaching higher and higher. Simply beauty shared needing not explanation, only a moment, a vision, and a moment of thanks giving. Without oddity a familiar friend arrives seeking to make that discovery all explore without oddity is really kinda' familiar . . . next . . .

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

so, hmmm...Tim,
Your comment triggered the memory of Keat's "Ode to a Grecian Urn" in my mind
"'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'"

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tsmogposted 9 years agoin reply to this

Hello Billie :-) "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard" struck a chord. Having first read a moment now passed I thank you for the gift. We both & more may have such a companion as with the quote shared. Alas, I like Language Rocks. Thank y

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Austinstarposted 9 years ago

Errors of logic are related to opinions. If one starts with the assumption that their opinion is the correct one, everything that one argues using their opinions thinks they are correct. They assume things that have no basis in facts.
Unfortunately, too many people have unfounded opinions on things. These opinions were repeated to them often enough and at an early age. Therefore, they learn NOT to question things.
It's sad and it's difficult to overcome.

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

You've got that right, Austinstar! Funny story. 99% of my friends LOVED Lady Gaga's performance.I told my friend I might have to revisit my opinion and change my negative view.She said, "Oh, no, never give up your opinions"! (Not a good philosophy)

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One of the most prominent one here at Hubpages is name calling. Following a close second is insults to the other person. which makes the one that spewed it forth look ignorant and immature.  If that is all they can come uip with, it shows that they are unable to think of a good answer.

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

Debra, namecalling is horrendous and a terrible discussion tactic.  I couldn't agree with you more.  That and insulting a person immediately closes down all conversation and any hope for mutual growth and learning.  Thanks!

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cam8510posted 9 years ago

This is the best solution I have found up to this point.
Honesty-with myself first. Are my beliefs really my own or is someone else thinking for me?  If my beliefs are truly my own, I will thoroughly understand them.  If they are largely borrowed,  I will have trouble defending my position and will quickly resort to anger in discussions. Honesty means that I am willing to change my position when proven wrong.  Logic is not an issue if i hold to particular positions with honesty, seeking truth,  not merely to win arguments.

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Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

Chris,  Excellent point.  It seems to be at the core of logic, right? I heard what you're speaking of called "intellectural honesty".

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cam8510posted 9 years agoin reply to this

Thanks, I've used this on one particular political issue on which I held strong beliefs for years.  I finally admitted those weren't my thoughts, but someone else's.  I am amazed at how I've changed my view on the topic since admitting that.

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