11 logical fallacies to avoid

These reasoning errors can weaken your arguments—and your credibility.

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Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning that weaken arguments. Once you start looking for them, they’re shockingly obvious.

How many of the following logical fallacies can you spot in one day?

1. Ad populum —arguing that because “everyone,” “Americans” or “the majority” thinks or does something, it must be true and right.

Example: Whether Earth is flat or not, most people think it is. And that makes it true.

2. Ad hominem —attacking the person making the argument and not the argument itself.

Example: Those so-called scientists don’t know anything about climate change.

3. Appeal to authority —attempting to strengthen an argument by “name dropping” or appealing to a supposed authority instead of relying on respected and credible sources or authorities.

Example: Many respected people—including television singing star Gale Lovely—think exclamation points are overused.

4. Appeal to ignorance —using the lack of evidence on a topic as support for your conclusion.

Example: You can’t prove that aliens have never visited Earth, so it’s reasonable for me to believe that they have.

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