Friday, February 26, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Appeal to Force!


(argument from the club, appeal to the stick, Argumentum ad Baculum, argument to the cudgel)

A combination of both the appeal to consequences and appeal to emotion, this fallacy occurs when someone uses coercion, intimidation, psychological pressure, force, or threat of force (direct or indirect) as a means of persuasion. It’s fallacious when the threat of force is unrelated to whether or not their position is valid or correct. When the negative consequences are a direct result of the premise, it isn’t fallacious: “If you drive while drunk, you will go to jail.”


Examples:

"Might makes right."

"Gimmee your money, or I'll knock your head off!"

"We have the perfect right to take your land, since we have the guns and you don't."

"Believe in our religion if you don't want to burn in hell forever and ever!" (Simplified form of Pascal’s Wager)

Employee: I do not think the company should invest its money into this project.
Employer: That opinion is sufficiently poor that expressing it will get you fired.

"If you don't agree that this show is the best, I'll hit you!"

“We need a strong military in order to deter our enemies. If you don't support this new spending bill to develop better airplanes, our enemies will think we are weak and, at some point, will attack us - killing millions. Do you want to be responsible for the deaths of millions, Senator?” (This would not be a fallacy if there was actual evidence of a credible threat.)

Chairman of the Board: "All those opposed to my arguments for the opening of a new department, signify by saying, ‘I resign.’"

“The Department of Transportation needs to reconsider the speed limit proposals on interstate highways for the simple reason that if they do not, their departmental budget for Department of Transportation will be cut by 25%.”

“I'm sure you can support the proposal to diversify into the fast food industry because if I receive any opposition on this initiative, I will personally see that you are transferred to the janitorial division of this corporation.”

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) envisioned a multitude of solar systems in limitless space and believed in the astronomical hypothesis of Copernicus. The Medieval Inquisition threatened his life unless he changed his views. Bruno refused to accept the conclusion of the ad baculum as so was burned at the stake.

"On October 10, 1971, Secretary of State William P. Rogers cautioned foreign ministers that Congress might force the United States reduce its financial contributions to the United Nations if Nationalist China is expelled."