chapter 13

For this written assignment, you need to first review Chapter 13 from Practically Speaking, the Chapter 13 slides, and the fallacies handout posted under Course Documents. Then, do the following:


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Instructions: Identify the fallacy or fallacies in each item. Be specific (i.e., ad populum). Don’t put “logical fallacy” or “statistical fallacy.” . There may be more than one fallacy for each item.

1. Most clinical psychologists recommend therapy for marital problems. It’s obviously the preferred treatment.
2. When people in the tropics go out in the evening air, they are more likely to get malaria. The evening air is causing people to get this disease.
3. Why should we seriously consider Doris Grey for a position on the County Council? Have you seen the way she dresses and how she appears to put her makeup on with a trowel?
4. I studied for three weeks before I took that exam! I deserved an “A.”
5. Noted physicist Donald Carrington has argued that the theory of evolution is strongly grounded in an abundance of evidence and should be accepted by any reasonable person.
6. I read in Vogue magazine that 96% of survey respondents reported being sexually harassed at their workplace. It’s clearly a huge problem.
7. Sharon was coming down with a cold, but she took a bunch of Chinese herbs and it went away. I think I should start taking these herbs to prevent future colds.
8. Putting a gun loaded with a single bullet to your head and then pulling the trigger would be stupid. Likewise, smoking cigarettes is just another form of Russian Roulette.
9. The majority of Americans believe in horoscopes. I guess there must be some validity to them after all.
10. College teachers grade too hard. In my class, 90% of the students received a “C” or lower.
11. Bulb and Seed magazine says gophers cause $5 million worth of damage to gardens annually. This obviously is a serious problem.
12. Who says women have a difficult time becoming CEOs of major corporations? Look at Marissa Mayer of Yahoo.
13. The national single-payer health initiative is nothing more than the usual liberal bleeding-heart do-gooders’ scheme for socializing medical care and making all physicians doormats for the jackboots of governmental bureaucrats.
14. When Florida re-instituted capital punishment, crimes of violence in the state dropped 17%, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office. Capital punishment is obviously an effective deterrent to violent crime.
15. The highly respected scientist Milton Clayborne, in an interview posted on The Daily Beast blogging site on March 21, 2008, argues that research on resveratrol shows real promise in stemming the tide of the aging process in humans.

Now, write one paragraph reflecting on your work with fallacies. Some questions to consider:

What fallacies did you find easiest/hardest to identify?
What sorts of fallacies do you think are most common in everyday life – in new articles, political discussions, casual conversations, etc.?
Thinking ahead to topics you’re considering for your first persuasive speech, are there any particular fallacies that you think you’ll need to pay special attention to? Maybe fallacies that tend to crop up in discussions about your topic, or fallacies that people tend to rely on when resisting those with your point of view on the subject?

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