Friday, April 22, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Non Sequitur!

(derailment, “does not follow,” irrelevant reason, invalid inference, non-support, argument by scenario, false premise, questionable premise)

Literally translating as “does not follow,” this fallacy occurs when the conclusion has no logical connection to the premise. All formal fallacies are a type of non sequitur (including post hoc, hasty generalization, slippery slope, and many others.) It is important to recognize that while the conclusion may be true, it is still a faulty argument if they support it using an irrelevant premise. Non sequiturs are easy to identify when they are absurd (e.g. “If peanut butter is healthy, why don’t horses talk?”), but this is not always the case (e.g. “She drives a BMW, so she must be rich.”)


"Obviously, God sent the earthquake to punish those people for their great wickedness."

“If you loved me, you’d buy me this car.”

“If you loved me, you’d sleep with me.”

“I can’t believe you don’t like Speed; you loved Matrix and Keanu Reaves is in Speed.”

“Mr. Boswell couldn't be the person who poisoned our cat, Truffles, because when I used to take Truffles for walks he always smiled and said "Hello" when we walked by.”

“A fetus has a heartbeat, so abortion is murder.”

“If you do not buy this type of pet food, you are neglecting your dog.”

“Life is life and fun is fun, but it's all so quiet when the goldfish die.” West with the Night, Beryl Markham

Mary: I wonder how Mrs. Knowles' next-door neighbor is doing.

Jim: Did you hear that the convenience store two blocks over got robbed last night? Thieves got away with a small fortune.

“Greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming. Humans contribute to greenhouse gas production. Humans are solely to blame for global warming.”

“She's wearing red shoes. Her favorite color must be red.”

“I read about a pitbull attack. My neighbor owns a pitbull. My life is in danger.”

“Guns have been used to attack and kill people. All guns are used as weapons against innocent individuals.”

“I had a crazy music teacher in elementary school. Music teachers are all pretty crazy.”

“When it is sunny, I see my neighbor walk his dog. He must only walk the dog when it is sunny.”

“I do not make much money and am unhappy. People who are rich are happy. ”

“He went to the same college as Bill Gates. He should be famous too.”

“There is a lot of violent crime in Chicago. You will likely be shot if you move there.”

“My neighbor's cat is aloof and mean. Cats are nasty creatures.”

“I dated a man who was an accountant and all he talked about was work. Accountants are boring people.”

“He was arrested for a DUI ten years ago. He is definitely an alcoholic.”

“The one time I had eggplant at the Italian restaurant I went to, it was disgusting. All eggplant is soggy and bitter.”

“My car made by XYZ manufacturer broke down after 4 years. That manufacturer produces only poor quality vehicles.”

“I got into a car accident on a rainy day. I don't think anyone should drive in the rain.”

“Wood for furniture comes from trees. Trees should not be cut down. Therefore, no new furniture should be produced.”

“Diamonds that come from Africa are often retrieved under dire circumstances in poor working conditions. You should never buy diamonds.”

“My friend had a problem with her computer from ABC company. All of their products are poorly made.”

“The woman my brother married was a heartless woman. She was from New York. New Yorkers are terrible people.”

“I got sick after eating at the sushi restaurant. It is the one sushi restaurant not operated by Asian individuals. You should never eat at a sushi restaurant not run by Asians.”

“The lottery winner hit the jackpot when he bought tickets from three different stores. The strategy for winning is to buy from a variety of locations.”

“I lived in a house without a basement. That house flooded. Houses without basements will definitely flood.”

“We are Americans, so our actions in the Middle East are justified.”

“You will do what I say because you are my wife.”

"We realize that it would be in the best interest of the community and our children to address the issue expeditiously. In order to make this happen, I respectfully request an eight month payment delay calling for payment of the $10 million obligation on August 31, 2015." (Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter in a letter to the city's superintendent of schools; reported in the Savannah Morning News, April 3, 2014)

"Warming was caused by sunspots, or fluctuations in the Earth's orbit, or volcanic eruptions. Therefore it cannot be caused by mankind. The 'therefore' is the giveaway, the delicious non sequitur: just because Earth has warmed for one or another reason in the past is no reason why it cannot warm for a completely different reason in the future." (John Llewellyn, "In a Confusing Climate." The Observer, Sep. 2, 2007)

“People generally like to walk on the beach. Beaches have sand. Therefore, having sand floors in homes would be a great idea!”

“Buddy Burger has the greatest food in town. Buddy Burger was voted #1 by the local paper. Therefore, Phil, the owner of Buddy Burger, should run for President of the United States.”

“If each man had a definite set of rules of conduct by which he regulated his life he would be no better than a machine. However, there are no such rules. Therefore, men cannot be machines. “

“If the Bible is correct, then we must accept Jesus as our personal savior. Jesus is my personal savior. Therefore, the Bible is correct.”

“Religion gives great comfort to people and causes them to do good things. These people are comforted and are good people. Therefore God is real.”

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