Those who can use this information most, won’t

That’s the problem with the enumeration of logical fallacies — the people who respect reason will print out this poster and hang it on their wall, while those babble nonsense in an endless stream will look on it uncomprehendingly and declare that it doesn’t apply to their arguments, ever.


  1. Randomfactor says

    Apologists will hail this poster as a handy memory aid. How many times have they lost a debate by forgetting to use one or another of these valuable techniques?

  2. andusay says

    Ha! Exactly.

    Where can you get a better image of this? Even when you click on it is it not high enough resolution.

  3. says

    Well, see, the true fallacy is not being willing to consider what presuppositionalism brings to the table.

    Because if our prejudices are in fact true, then clearly the world is unlike what you presume via your prejudices (you know, “rules of evidence” accepted by all until their precious beliefs are in jeopardy).

    That’s about as far as you get in enlightening the fallacious.

    Glen Davidson

  4. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    andusay, follow the link in the text as there are higher res pdfs on the main site page.

  5. Brownian says

    I felt a great disturbance in the blogosphere, as if millions of internet logicians suddenly cried out in self-satisfied pleasure and were suddenly post-orgasmically silently hyperlinking. I fear something terrible has happened.

  6. Gregory in Seattle says

    @Andusay #4 – Click on the link that the professor provided: it will take you a page with three vector PDFs of differing sizes. The documents are in European measurements, so you may have to fiddle with them to fit a standard US page size.

  7. baal says

    I’d have more respect for our Xtian friends if they didn’t engage in the fallacies so nicely listed in the poster. I’m not sure they’d have anything left to say, however.

  8. Yuriel says

    @quoderatdemonstrandum #10:

    That one seems to be made by a liberal believer, perhaps, since, ironically, it straw-mans a few atheist positions and claims they’re fallacies. Apparently, only conservatives, creationists and atheists make fallacious arguments.

  9. David Marjanović says

    Note the example for “Appeal to Ridicule”

    Yep. It’s not an argument, it’s a conclusion.

  10. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    those babble nonsense in an endless stream will look on it uncomprehendingly and declare that it doesn’t apply to their arguments, ever.

    Seems like they’d love this one:
    The Fallacy Fallacy
    “Presuming that because a claim has been poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made, that it is necessarily wrong.”

  11. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    Both of these are well done and very useful. I see stuff like this often in manuscripts that I edit. I especially like the “no true Scotsman” one in the original PZ post. But there is a wrong example in the list from “Information Is Beautiful.” As an example of a lie, it uses the hoary old “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” To call this a lie is itself a rhetorical fallacy–read on and bear with me– because the sentence, as always, is shorn of the context that made it true. Clinton actualy answered accurately using *the definition the special prosecutor was using,* but the media all screamed only Clinton’s response.

    The special prosecutor was, of course, trying to nail Clinton in the Lewinsky matter. In asking Clinton if he’d had actual sex with Lewinsky, the *prosecutor* defined sexual relations as vaginal penetration with the penis. Clinton had not, so he correctly answered the now-infamous statement “I did not have . . . ” Of course the right-wing-run media jumped on that, while carefully excluding the prosecutor’s technical def. of sexual relations. Which is why this is a bad example of a lie on the IIB site.

    Something similar happened wth “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” The madding crowd uses this as evidence that BC was an idiot. Not so, again due to deceptive context removal. The special prosecutor was trying to trip BC up with fancy verbal footwork (to justify spending tens of milions on a politically motivated panty-sniffing expedition), and BC knew it. The prosecutor had been playing games with the definition of “is” and BC didn’t want to play ito his hands. It was a long verbal sparring match of which the public was quoted only one sentence. Context removal is one of the most common tricks used today; cherry-picking evidence is runner-up, at least in my reading, along with the ever-popular ad hominem attack.

    Def. printing out the poster.

  12. zmidponk says

    The Fallacy Fallacy
    “Presuming that because a claim has been poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made, that it is necessarily wrong.”

    As I understood it, this is actually along the lines of, ‘assuming that a particular claim is wrong because one argument in favour of it commits a logical fallacy’. If all presented arguments in favour of a claim do this, then it is not a fallacy to reject that claim on the basis it’s unproven. It is, however, fallacious to reject, out of hand, all other arguments in favour of a particular claim simply because one has a logical fallacy in it. This is why it is very interesting on the rare occasion a creationist actually comes up with a new argument, instead of rehashing an old one – all previous ones have already been examined (usually by many different people in many different ways) and found to be riddled with logical fallacies and/or simply wrong.

  13. bistromathlete says

    along the lines of the “fallacy fallacy”: I find it very interesting when an argument that is constructed as logical fallacy happens to still be correct. For example, if someone were to make a claim using “slippery slope” argument which happens to be correct and then the other side dismisses it based on it being a slippery slope argument then one could say they just made a hasty generalization. This is a great way to add red herrings into a conversation as fallacies get piled on fallacies, even if some happen to be correct. always makes for good fun (for me at least).

  14. anbheal says

    It should be noted that not all of these are truly “logical fallacies” — in which the logic itself must be shoddy: e.g., circular, or with licensed premises, conclusion presupposed, etc. Many of these are instead rhetorical ploys, that Aristotle or Aquinas would not recognize as anything other than debating tactics, rather than genuinely fallacious.

    That being said, great list!

  15. says

    It’s nicely done and may be helpful to some in debates. It is however a collection of informal logical fallacies, which as pointed out above, does not necessarily mean that making any argument that commits one of them is invalid or wrong, but rather means that such an argument is weak or open to refutation or attack.
    The fallacy fallacy drives me insane in internet debates. If you want conclusive proof that an argument is invalid, you have to employ formal logic.

  16. Matthew says

    One of my favorites is missing: the red herring. Also there are no kittens anywhere on the poster.

  17. Suido says

    I contributed! Cue feeling wet, slithery and camouflaged, like any good cephalopod.

    At least, I’m pretty sure I linked to this recently, but I can’t remember where.

    /end making it about me

    The posters are brilliant, and that’s the main thing.

  18. marella says

    The site has been suspended, too many atheists going and downloading the poster I suppose. Pity, I would have liked a copy.

  19. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    follow up to my 10, posted at Information is Beautiful

    First Praise: Beautifully done.

    Now criticism: Your example for “Appeal to Ridicule” is incorrect. This has been pointed out above but I do not see that it has been corrected. If an argument is logically sound, the fact that the speaker intended ridicule and/or that a listener felt ridiculed does not make it illogical or fallacious. As has also been pointed out above, this is the same as ending a logical argument with an insult. The gratuitous insult does not make it an ad hominem (2+2=4, you idiot).

    “Faith in God is like believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy” is a perfectly logical claim. Stated differently, faith in one supernatural being is equivalent to faith in other supernatural beings. The fact that a religious person strongly believes in the existence of Yahweh but not Santa or the Tooth fairy (or Odin or Ra, or Mars) and objects to the comparison as offensive to their deeply held beliefs is irrelevant to the logic of the argument.

    Here are 2 proposed examples of Appeal to Ridicule

    “I think it is safe to ignore Alan’s argument since he is the only person at this table to have failed the MENSA test”


    “Young man, I will entertain your criticism of my theory when, like me, you have graduated from an Ivy League University, finished your PhD, won the Lorentz medal for theoretical physics and published over 30 peer reviewed papers”

  20. says

    It’s a pretty cool PDF, very clear and concise and well presented. Though I tend to love as my “go to” for fallacy information because of the taxonomic layout and good explanations. I’m glad that list had the fallacy fallacy.