Common Logical Fallacies and Examples from Social Media
by SJ Thomason
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
I was invited to have a chat with an atheist named Tony Murphy on social media who calls himself Hackenslash. When I asked him for the topic that he was interested in discussing, he sent me a meme that indicated he wanted to discuss (my) logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. The intention of this blog is to define some of the most common fallacies and to offer examples in an attempt to reduce their prevalence.
The ad hominem means “to the man” and refers to any attacks on the person advancing an argument rather than on the validity or logic of the argument itself. The reason a person rejects the conclusion is because of the characteristics of another person (unrelated to the argument) and not because of the content of the argument itself.
This video by William Lane Craig explains the ad hominem fallacy well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrVGuUsL2PM
The anecdotal fallacy occurs when someone attempts to generalize a person’s individual experience to a larger population. For example, an atheist may indicate that he does not believe in God because when he prayed, he felt that God did not answer. Therefore, he determines that God must not answer prayers for anyone.
Appeal to Emotion
Appeals to emotion include appeals to fear, envy, hatred, pity, pride, selfishness, or another emotion to manipulate an emotional response rather than offering a logical argument. This particular fallacy is commonly applied by atheists when they post pictures of injured or dead babies to generate emotion and animosity against God.
Argument from Authority
This is the opposite of the ad hominem. In this case, the argument is put forth based on the authority of the person who is advancing the argument. The authority may refer to authority via power or knowledge. For example, atheists may state that Richard Dawkins believes that evolution eliminates the “need” for God and there are no objective moral values. Because Richard Dawkins is an authority with a Ph.D. in biology, atheists may assert that his beliefs are true based on his authority…
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