Logical Fallacies (Bad Arguments) Explained with Funny Illustrations

Programmer Ali Almossawi and illustrator Alejandro Giraldo teamed up to create An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, with “the hope is that the reader will learn from these pages some of the most common pitfalls in arguments and be able to identify and avoid them in practice”.

You can read the whole book online.

Slippery Slope

A slippery slope attempts to discredit a proposition by arguing that its acceptance will undoubtedly lead to a sequence of events, one or more of which are undesirable.

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Not a Cause for a Cause

Two events may occur one after the other or together because they are correlated, by accident or due to some other unknown event; one cannot conclude that they are causally connected without evidence.

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No True Scotsman

A general claim may sometimes be made about a category of things. When faced with evidence challenging that claim, rather than accepting or rejecting the evidence, such an argument counters the challenge by arbitrarily redefining the criteria for membership into that category.

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Guilty by Association

Guilt by association is discrediting an argument for proposing an idea that is shared by some socially demonized individual or group.

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Genetic Fallacy

An argument’s origins or the origins of the person making it have no effect whatsoever on the argument’s validity. A genetic fallacy is committed when an argument is either devalued or defended solely because of its history.

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Equivocation

Equivocation exploits the ambiguity of language by changing the meaning of a word during the course of an argument and using the different meanings to support some conclusion.

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Circular Reasoning

Circular reasoning is one of four types of arguments known as begging the question, where one implicitly or explicitly assumes the conclusion in one or more of the premises. In circular reasoning, a conclusion is either blatantly used as a premise, or more often, it is reworded to appear as though it is a different proposition when in fact it is not.

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Argument from Consequences

Arguing from consequences is speaking for or against the validity of a proposition by appealing to the consequences of accepting or rejecting it. Just because a proposition leads to some unfavorable result does not mean that it is false.

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Appeal to Irrelevant Authority

One may reasonably appeal to pertinent authority, as scientists and academics typically do. An argument becomes fallacious when the appeal is to an authority who is not an expert on the issue at hand.

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Appeal to Ignorance

Such an argument assumes a proposition to be true simply because there is no evidence proving that it is not.

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Appeal to Hypocrisy

[This] fallacy involves countering a charge with a charge, rather than addressing the issue being raised, with the intention of diverting attention away from the original argument.

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Appeal to Fear

The fallacy plays on the fears of an audience by imagining a scary future that would be of their making if some proposition were accepted. Rather than provide evidence to show that a conclusion follows from a set of premises, which may provide a legitimate cause for fear, such arguments rely on rhetoric, threats or outright lies

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