Identifying Logical Fallacies (Becker)

Determine the potential persuasiveness of each argument. If the arguments are not persuasive because of one or more logical fallacies, identify the fallacies and explain how they render the argument nonpersuasive.

  1. All wars are not wrong. The people who say so are cowards.
  2. Either we legalize marijuana or we watch a steady increase in the number of our citizens who break the law.
  3. Abortion is murder because it is the intentional taking of a human life.
  4. We don't dare send weapons to guerrillas in Central America. If we do so, we will next send in military advisers, then a special forces battalion, and then a large number of trOops. Finally, we will be in all-out war.
  5. All those tornadoes started happening right after they tested the A-bombs. The A-bomb testing has changed our weather.
  6. Politicians can't be trusted because they lack integrity.
  7. Closing the gay baths to prevent the spread of AIDS is like closing bars to prevent the spread of alcoholism.
  8. Arnold Palmer says Gooey Oil keeps his old tractor running sharp; therefore, Gooey oil is good oil.
  9. NASA's safety program is obviously unsatisfactory. The explosion of the Challenger space shuttle makes this clear.
  10. I wouldn't consider reading William Safire's weekly, language columns. How can you possibly respect him when you know that he wrote speeches for Nixon?
  11. How could Thomas Jefferson have written that "all men are created equal"? People are obviously born with differing abilities and differing needs. It would clearly be wrong to treat everyone the same.

(Examples from Rottenberg, Cooper and Patton, Bean and Ramage.)