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JXC

Who the heck came up with the logical fallacy terms

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I have been wondering who made up the terms for logical fallacies such as Straw Man, Red Herring, Cherry Picking, Latin phrases such as Ad Hominem, etc. My brother thinks that they are weird terms used by "neckbeard atheists", but I told him they're not just used by atheists. He then says that nobody uses them. Of course they're not for everyday talk, dummy! I need your help on who came up with them.

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No one person "invented" them, and not at the same time. Those are just terms that describe methods of argument. 50 years from now it'll be a different set of terms that describes the same argument styles.

You're probably thinking of Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit, where he famously makes a list of many of them and shows how they are used to suppress logical thought.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demon-Haunted_World

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Heh, this is a side note, but I love how so many people blame the fact that they don't understand stuff on those mean ol' neckbeard atheists.

Most of them are named by what they are - A 'Straw Man' is not a real man. People will make a 'fake' version of their opponent in an argument, and then argue against it. Meaningless, because they aren't addressing any of the actual points their opponent makes.

'Cherry Picking' - Taking a look at a tree full of cherries, but only a few look nice, so those are the ones you take, leaving the crap behind. Many people do this is many ways on a daily basis. However, if I were to claim John Lennon (as a random example) was a "perfect man", I'd have to cherry pick bits of his history, mentioning only the good while pretending the bad does not exist.

The history and meaning of each of these phrases can usually be found on Wikipedia or elsewhere. Let your brother know these logical fallacies refer to making an error in terms of reasoning, there's a reason they exist regardless of their sometimes odd names. It is important to understand logical fallacies so that they can be identified and avoided when attempting to persuade, or even just have a debate or discussion grounded in logic.

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They are associated with keyboard warrior atheists because religious folks--especially Christians and Muslims--are very good at using these tactics to avoid critical thinking, something the devout tend to be poor at when it comes to their faith.

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Early greeks set the foundations of logical thinking.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophist

A sophist or sophister (Greek: σοφιστής, Latin: sophistes) was a specific kind of teacher in both Ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire. Many sophists specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric#Sophists

In Europe, organized thought about public speaking began in ancient Greece

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I was reading a book called The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama when he had just been elected as Senator of Illinois, and he cites a lot of quotations from famous political leaders, newspapers, etc. that use a lot of terms I've never heard of or understood. He doesn't answer your question directly, but I'd imagine these terms were created as buzzwords or metaphors to explain complicated actions or agendas, probably by public speakers such as lawyers, journalists and political activists.

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JXC said:

My brother thinks that they are weird terms used by "neckbeard atheists"

Perfect illustration of the ad hominem. Instead of coming up with an argument for why these terms are bad or useless, he attacks the supposed users of these terms.

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JXC said:

My brother thinks that they are weird terms used by "neckbeard atheists"


Because they are. You should only need common sense and evidence hold a discussion, not a thesaurus of "I win" scenarios.

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I guess I get where he's coming from with the "neckbeard atheists" thing. I tend to see fallacies like known bugs in human thinking; they're tricks which are known to work against people; they're common in political debate for example. Identifying and naming them helps to take away some of their power, since if you can recognize them you can better spot a faulty argument.

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fraggle said:

I guess I get where he's coming from with the "neckbeard atheists" thing. I tend to see fallacies like known bugs in human thinking; they're tricks which are known to work against people; they're common in political debate for example. Identifying and naming them helps to take away some of their power, since if you can recognize them you can better spot a faulty argument.

The real shame here is how many people flat out deny that their position is filled with logical fallacies, pretending that their particular breed of reasoning is somehow above objective reasoning. They've essentially closed themselves off from learning new things.

I mean, if someone says "I admit there's little to no evidence supporting my position, I believe it because I want to and it works for me" that's totally cool in my book because they're admitting it isn't grounded in logic and are not trying to force whatever their view may be on others.

I find what works for me is not to get too attached to any particular worldview, a thing so few people (relatively) seem to do. 99.99% of worldviews can be "destroyed" with a mere few scientific observations, so firmly attaching yourself to just one of the millions of wordviews/belief systems we've come up with as a species over lest few thousand years just seems like an excuse to stop questioning/learning about those aspects of life. It does not seem to be good for personal development unless you are in particular need of "something bigger" to get you through hard emotional times.

Mind you, I would never persuade someone to drop an "illogical" world view if that's all that was getting them through. It's not logical for me to drink beer daily, but I do as it "helps me through". I'd never want that freedom to be taken away from someone unless they were using it to encroach on another person's rights.

[/rant]

Clonehunter said:

I'll always remember Red Herring as that ginger from a Pup Named Scooby-Doo who was literally a red herring in every episode.

I'm glad its not just me who imagines that literally every time I hear the term..

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Gez said:

Perfect illustration of the ad hominem. Instead of coming up with an argument for why these terms are bad or useless, he attacks the supposed users of these terms.

We were not arguing about terms. During dinner. I told my brother what a cryptid is. I said that it is a term for legendary monsters such as Bigfoot and Loch Ness. He then jokingly says something that has to do with "weird terms" used by neckbeard atheists. This is because I used terms like Straw Man to describe his arguments during an iChat or somethig.

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Kontra Kommando said:

Pretty sure the Romans created the Latin phrases.


Haha, post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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