We are in high fallacy times. Election years tend to do that.
Fallacies are easy forms of mind control to trick us to believe we are reasoning when we are relying on emotion.
They keep you from thinking and act as defensive barriers for your worldview when it is under attack from information that might not agree with it.
It’s easy for all of us to resort to them and easy for them to be used on us without recognizing it.
I recommend brushing up on the common fallacies below so you can spot when you are using them and when others are trying to use them on you. Though, be warned. People do not react kindly to
Common fallacies I’ve seen in bountiful supply on media and social media, from both sides over the past 3 months:
- False dilemma/Us v Them – e.g. “You’re either for us or against us.”
- Ad hominem (i.e. name calling)
- Cherry picking/confirmation bias (i.e. ignoring information that disagrees with what you believe)
- Straw man (i.e. misrepresenting the other side’s position into something that sounds bad. Similar in nature to ad hominem.)
- Circular reasoning (i.e. word salad)
- Faulty generalization (often used in conjunction with cherry picking)
- Red herring (i.e. changing the subject when the person doesn’t have a good response)
- Appeal to authority (especially common during Covid)
- New one: F*ck Off/F*ck You Fallacy — Telling someone to do this does not change the validity of their point.
My rough guess, is that well over 70% of the discourse I see on social media are these.
The media uses these fallacies, too, but they are more clever about it. Often, instead of creating the fallacies themselves, they let others do the dirty work of creating the fallacies they would like propogate and then they just cherry pick their quotes.