Tag Archive: fallacy

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Exclusivity Fallacies: Either You Read This Post or You Flunk the LSAT

You might’ve been here before: you’re trying to explain to your deluded Bay Area friends that Colin Kaepernick is not – and will never be – an elite quarterback.

“He throws when he should run. He runs when he should throw. He’s just plain dumb…”

Your friends are aghast, and they pull their trump card: Kaepernick had a 4.0 GPA in college, and scored phenomenally high on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test before the NFL draft. Thus, they think they’ve established that you’re unequivocally wrong. And of course, they proclaim, that means they are right.

Nah.

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Learn to Identify the Ad Hominem Fallacy, You Jerk

Everyone knows you should never take health instructions from an overweight doctor. Don’t go see the new Tom Cruise film — he’s a Scientologist. And never, but never, take lawn-upkeep advice from one of them Libertarians.

Each of these arguments rely on the same logical fallacy: Ad Hominem. They’re common, and if you’ve ever watched Glenn Beck you probably appreciate the need for their dismissal.

We have something of a tendency to allow these fallacies to corrupt our thinking in standard discourse — we may look less favorably on New York’s financial regulation after learning of Elliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal, for example. Ultimately, however, arguments on the LSAT should be judged on their merit, not on the alleged character of the arguer.

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Common LSAT Logical Fallacies: Composition

Have you ever heard that inane little riddle, “Which weighs more, a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?” It’s gotta be bricks, they’re way heavier. Right?

The crux of this pissant’s play is the “ton,” of course; we’ve already established that their weights are equivalent. Thus, neither weighs more than the other. So why does anybody ever fall for something so silly?

We fall for it because we’re seduced by the Composition Fallacy. We believe, erroneously, that the things the ton is composed of has bearing on the weight of the whole. Such part-to-whole reasoning is not justified, for the same reason that you can’t make assumptions about a whole population based on the small subsection of people you’ve met.