Bad Arguments Don’t Change Minds
An astounding amount of arguments that are made for different positions do not follow logical rules. If you want to persuade someone try never to fall into these examples:
“It’s popular so it’s right” or “majority rules”. (Appeal to Populous)
- McDonald’s is a popular restaurant, so it must have the best food.
Popularity does not prove anything but popularity. By itself it does not prove quality.
“They say it’s so” (Appeal to Authority)
- 4 of 5 Dentists Recommend….
- 99% of Climate scientists agree…
Popularity of opinion, of either regular people or even authorities still does not actually prove the point. Many opinions have been popular at times, but that did not make them factually true.
Creating a false choice of only two options (False Dichotomy)
- You either are against gas guzzling SUVs or you love smog.
- I had to move in with the abuser because I did not want to be alone.
I once heard a disabled man say he had to finance a $44,000 brand new truck because he “needed something reliable to go back and forth to the doctor.”
Attacking the person rather than his idea (ad hominem)
- You say life begins at conception but how many unwanted babies have you adopted?
- Smith who claims this is not even a real medical doctor.
- You are only for this resolution because it helps your family.
This is common in politics and law. But if the attack is against the person and not the argument itself, it is not dispositive.
- I have had two used and all used cars are all someone else’s problems.
- Private school kids are all rich like my cousin.
Clearly, painting with too broad a brush does not lead to truth.
Watch for these and see how many you can spot this week.
Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.