Used on logical fallacy page
The idea of critical & logical thinking tends to freak people out a bit in my experience; it's only as I've gotten older that they haven't freaked me out a bit either. Perhaps they bring up mental images of propeller hats, taped glasses, socks with sandals or funny looking pants. Perhaps they're not considered of necessity or interest. Perhaps…

For many folks I've encountered though, they are actually practicing at least a basic amount without even realizing it. I've arrived at the same conclusion as many before me and that many further will as time continues it march forward: life is a whole lot easier and far more enjoyable when we cut through the bullshit, stop playing verbal and mental games with each other, no longer allow ourselves to be on the receiving end of a hustle, any hustle, from anyone.

The idea of the fallacy is commonly referenced in the fields of writing and debate but these same ideas have positive impact potential for daily life - huge IMHO.

Exploring critical and logical thinking will actually be easier I think than it sounds on the surface. I wouldn't be one bit surprised to learn that you've recognized many of these fallacies from your own experiences, just not by name other than asshat behaviour.

Touching on the concept of critical thinking for a second, the first part, the passive part, for a firm start on this positive mental habit is as simple is thinking to yourself "prove it" whenever a claim is being made, about anything, from any source. Skepticism, part of the prove-it family, is a power tool that helps keep you and yours safer. Sounds hyperbolic but IMHO it's "dead on balls accurate". Skepticism is the first defence against the proverbial wool over the eyes routine.

In one's day to day life though it's extremely difficult to have a complete show-me-the-proof exchange with so much social interaction and so much information. Choices then need be made. For example: what's truly important? what affects me and my family/friends, directly or indirectly? what are the effects of the affects? who can I trust enough to comfortably forego the need to have explicit proof of every damn thing? This still leaves potentially unmanageable piles of information that the average urbanized human today is subjected to. Here is where another choice point presents itself. Humans tend to fall on the side of acceptance as presented, particularly in the presence of some of the fallacies presented over the next few pages. Not doing anything at all in the face of that which is considered upsetting, false or detrimental/harmful in nature is acceptance as well. The other side of this teeter-totter is to reject but also for the same limited amount of brain cycles given to processing the information. Either case runs a real risk of being inaccurate. There is a third choice though and one that I feel is the better of the three: consciously so I have the best chance of remembering having done so make a mental note that I have no comment, not enough information, neither agree or disagree…in short: “I don't know”, the mental teeter-totter is balanced favouring neither side. This helps prevent one from falling into the snap decision making trap and/or acting on false/incomplete information.

The second part, the active part, involves asking the questions, thinking about the information presented and/or at hand, considering the possibilities, digging for the evidence, the proof of the claim being made or the information being exchanged.

Logical fallacies are nothing new to be sure but over the last year many have taken a prominent position and are in fine display from the grassroots to the bank/corp/govt group and everything in between. Three in particular are getting plenty of overtime these days and they are the Appeals to Fear, Appeals from Authority and Bandwagon (Ad Populum). Understand how these mind trips 'n traps roll and you will have a great leg up on accurately interpreting current events of the day.

Let's start by formally defining what this article is going on about.


ThoughtCo. said:

A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning that renders an argument invalid. It is also called a fallacy, an informal logical fallacy, and an informal fallacy. All logical fallacies are nonsequiturs—arguments in which a conclusion doesn't follow logically from what preceded it.

Clinical psychologist Rian McMullin expands this definition:
Rian McMullin Source: The New Handbook of Cognitive Therapy Techniques Date: 2000
“Logical fallacies are unsubstantiated assertions that are often delivered with a conviction that makes them sound as though they are proven facts. …Whatever their origins, fallacies can take on a special life of their own when they are popularized in the media and become part of a national credo.”
What is a Logical Fallacy?

The following pages offer a closer look at a few of the more common fallacies. Included are videos chosen for their ease of understanding and brevity. Also for ease and brevity all fallacies explored here are lumped into the term 'logical fallacies'.