HOW TO WIN EVERY ARGUMENT

The main subject we should've had in school. We would've caught on the reading and writing at some point anyway. Absolutely hilarous too. Wishing I was friends with the author. (the mitochondrion is the powerhoure of the cell)


Affirming the consequent

When cats are bitten by rabid hedgehogs they die. Here is a dead cat, so obviously there is a rabid hedgehog about.


Amphiboly

I met the ambassador riding his horse. He was snorting and steaming, so I gave him a lump of sugar.


The analogical fallacy

She had skin like a million dollars.


Antiquitam, argumentant ad

You are not having a car. I never had a car, my father never had on and nor did his father before.


Apriorism

Beliefs have little to do with reality

We don't need to look through your telescope, Mr Galileo. We know there cannot be more than seven heavenly.

All doctors are in it for themselves. If yours really did give up all that t for no payment, then all I can say is that there must have been some hidden gain we don't know about.


Baculum, argumentum ad

Unpleasant consequences are promised for failing to comply with the speaker's wishes.

It would be better if you told us what we want to know. After all, we wouldn't want your aged mother or your crippled sister to suffer, would we?


Bifurcation

Present only two alternatives when there are many.

If you are not with us, you are against us.

There are two types of people in this world: the rich and the suckers. Do you want to get rich, or are you happy to remain a sucker?


Blinding with science

The amotivational syndrome issustained by peer group pressure except where achievement orientation forms a dominant aspect of the ed tional and social milieu.


The bogus dilemma

Don't do it. If you tell the truth men will hate you, and if you tell lies gods will hate you. Since you must either tell the truth or tell lies, must be hated either by men or by the gods.

I shall do it, mother. For if I tell lies, men will love me for it; and if I tell truth the gods will love me. Since I must tell truth or lies, I shall be beloved of men or gods.


Cireulus in probando

It consists of using as evidence a fact which is authenticated by the very conclusion it supports.

I didn't do it, sir. Smith minor will vouch for my honesty.' 'Why should I trust Smith minor?' 'Oh, I can guarantee his honesty, sir.'


The complex question (plurium interrogationum)

Have you stopped beating your wife?

Is your stupidity inborn?


Composition

This must be a good orchestra because each of its members is a tale musician.

If everyone in society looks after themselves, then our society will be one that looks after itself.


Concealed quantification

Garage mechanics are crooks.

Have you ever noticed that bishops are fat? I suppose now that Joh has been raised to a bishopric he'll expand a bit himself.


Conclusion which denies premises

'Son, because nothing is certain in this world we have to hold on to w experience tells us. ' 'Are you sure, Dad?' 'Yes, son. I'm certain.'

Everything must have a cause. That, in turn, must result from a previ cause. Since it cannot go back for ever, we know that there must be uncaused causer to start the process.


Contradictory premises

Everything is mortal, and God is not mortal, so God is not everything.

He's a real professional, but a bit of an amateur at times.


Crumenam, argumentum ad

Assumes that money is a measure of Tightness, and that those with money are more likely to be correct.

I note that those earning in excess of £100,000 per year tend to agr with me.

Surely a man who can make £60 million in a year by recording four songs cannot be all wrong.


Cum hoc ergo propter hoc

Assumes that events which occur together are causally connected, and leaves no room either for coincidence, or for the operation of an outside factor which separately influences these events.

A tourist met a Spanish peasant and his wife on a train. They had never seen bananas before, so he offered one to each of them. As the farmer bit into his, the train entered a tunnel. 'Don't eat it, Carmen,' he shouted, 'They make you blind.'


Damning the alternatives

Hawkins' theory has to be the right answer. All the others have bee proved hopelessly wrong.

Chelsea isa really great team. Look at Liverpool and Manchester Unit they are both useless.


Definitional retreat

Someone changes the meaning of the words in order to deal with an objection raised against the original wording.

'He's never once been abroad.' 'As a matter of fact, he has been to Boulogne. ' 'You cannot call visiting Boulogne going abroad!'

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'


Denying the antecedent

If I eat too much, I'll be ill. Since I have not eaten too much, I will not be ill.

If I smoke, drink or have sex, it will shorten my life-span. I shall give cigars, booze and women and live another hundred years.


Dicto simpliciter

Sweeping generalisation applying to an individual case.

Of course you voted for the resolution. You're a dock-worker, and your union cast 120,000 votes in favour.

Everyone knows that hooded teenagers are criminals. Since this ho one isn't breaking any laws, he must be older than he looks.


Division

The Icelanders are the oldest nation on earth. This means that Bjo must be older than other pop stars.

California is a very wealthy state, so if he comes from there he must worth quite a bit.


Emotional appeals

Let's be reasonable about this.

(a strong emotional appeal for the quiet life)


Equivocation

Using words ambiguously.

Happiness is the end of life. The end of life is death; So happiness is death.

You can rest assured that your letter will receive the attention it fully deserves. (in the bin)


Every schoolboy knows

'Everyone can see that...'

We hold these truths to be self-evident.


The exception that proves the rule

Medical advances are made by painstaking research, not by chance. I know there was penicillin, but everyone knows that was a chance in million.

'Lend us a fiver. I've always paid you back before.' 'What about last week?' 'That was the exception that proves the rule. You know you'll get it back in the long run.'


Exclusive premises

Some brewers are not idiots, and some idiots are not rich, so some brewers are not rich.


The existential fallacy

Statements that refer to a whole of a class do not actually tell us if there are any members of that class (all cats are selfish)while statements which tell us about some of a class, do imply the existence of members of the class (some cats are selfish).

If you just move to saying 'some' rather than 'all' you are much more likely to be convincing.


Ex-post-facto statistics

A mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.

I drew the ace of spades. It was only a 1 in 52 chance, but it came up.

(it was 1/52 for every other card)

I met my aunt in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday. Think of the hund of thousands going through the square that day, and you'll realize h unlikely it was that we should meet there. Maybe we are telepathic.

(the same applies to the thousands of other people you met)


Extensional pruning

All we said was that we'd install a switchboard. We didn't say it would work.

I said I'd get you another drink if I was wrong: water is another drink.


False conversion

All rats are four-legged animals, so obviously all four-legged animals are rats.

We can make statements about:

  1. All are

  2. Some are

  3. None are

  4. Some are not

You can only swap 2 and 3 and not 1 and 4.

So you can say: Some As are Bs - Some Bs are As No As are Bs - No Bs are As

But you can't say: All As are Bs - All Bs are As Some As are not Bs - Some Bs are not As

Since we know that some Marxists are not school-teachers, it follows it some school-teachers are not Marxists.