Short Answer Questions: Fallacy Identification Questions
Identify the fallacies (if any) in the following sentences. Explain your answers.
1. Horoscopes do predict the future. Millions of people read them every day.
2. It is immoral to eat meat because it is unethical to use animals for food.
3. The existence of ghosts has never been disproved. Therefore ghosts do exist.
4. Astudent group has formed to lobby for more vegetarian choices in the college cafeteria.
This group will never succeed because they’ll never get other students to become vegans.
5. The sports section of the Globe and Mail is terrible. Those reporters don’t know what
they’re talking about. The statistics are out of date and they don’t even cover major
events. That newspaper sucks!
6. I am either the best or the worst tennis player.
7. You really shouldn’t eat that chip. You will just want another and another, and you
will end up eating the whole bag. Then you will want a bag every day. Your arteries
will clog, and you will have a heart attack within months.
8. Criminals cannot be rehabilitated, because no true criminal can ever be reformed.
Once a criminal, always a criminal.
9. Violence among schoolchildren on the playground is on the rise. This must mean that
society in general is becoming more violent. 10. Make no mistake about it: If you don’t support anAmerican military presence in
Afghanistan and Iraq, then you support terrorism. Jack here doesn’t support an
American military presence inAfghanistan and Iraq. Therefore, Jack supports
11. Hegel said ‘God is dead,’and Hegel was a philosophical genius. Nietzsche said ‘God
is dead,’and Nietzsche was a philosophical genius. Trent Reznor said ‘God is dead.’
Therefore, Trent Reznor is a philosophical genius.
12. The average Canadian voter will never support a universal childcare proposal. This is
a policy promoted by extreme feminists who would like to bring about the downfall
of the traditional family.
13. The animal rights people should not protest against the zoo. They should come out
and see how much fun all the little kids are having. Everyone loves going to the zoo.
14. The notion of global warming is ridiculous.Ask anybody and they’ll agree that in the
last ten years winters have gotten colder and colder.
15. Jeffrey was not allowed into the club because he did not have his ID with him.
16. Alex argued forcefully again the expansion of the highway, but you shouldn’t listen to
her; after all, she had her license suspended for speeding.
17. Recent studies have shown that Canadian society is becoming increasingly liberal in
its sexual practices. Asma must be sexually liberated then.
18. RosalieAbela is one of Canada’s most important judges, but Simon Cowell is one of
North America’s most important judges. So Simon Cowell’s views on the Conrad
Black trial are more important than RosalieAbela’s.
2 19. Either science can explain how she was cured, or it must be a miracle. Science can’t
explain it, so it must be a miracle.
20. Using animals in medical experiments is a horrific practice! The poor creatures are
tortured, maimed, and killed all in the name of science. What did those cute little
mice, or funny monkeys ever do to us? It is an outrage!
21. In Iran, women who are accused of adultery are stoned. We can’t be against a
tradition that is at least a thousand years old.
22. Every daycare centre should have a policy requiring the children to wear hats and
sunscreen with a high SPF when they play outside in the sun. Dr. Sun, a leading
dermatologist, has informed us that the young are especially vulnerable to the sun’s
harmful rays, and she expects an increase of skin cancers on the tips of ears because
children are not being protected.
23. If you break the law then you should go to jail.Anyone committing adultery violates
God’s law. Therefore, anyone committing adultery should go to jail.
24. My opponent has accused me of mishandling of campaign funds. But this
administration has improved the lives of ordinary citizens. We have reduced the crime
rate, built ten new childcare centres, three new parks, improved the public transit
system, all while keeping taxes at the same level they were at ten years ago.
25. My last two boyfriends both cheated on me. No men are capable of being faithful.
26. “[Dr. Heinz] Klatt is well known on campus for his insistence (in articles in Western
News and elsewhere) that Islam is an inherently violent religion. He generally backs
up these claims by citing passages from the Quran. It’s therefore not surprising that he
would object to a translation that interprets some verses less violently.”—Dr. Jamie Andrews' letter to the UWO Gazette "Heinz Klatt looking for reasons to decry the
Quran" Oct.30, 2007.
27. “Everyone is selfish; everyone is doing what he believes will make himself happier.
The recognition of that can take most of the sting out of accusations that you're being
'selfish.' Why should you feel guilty for seeking your own happiness when that's what
everyone else is doing, too?”—Harry Browne, from "How I Found Freedom in an
Unfree World" (1973).
28. “To cast abortion as a solely private moral question,…is to lose touch with common
sense: How human beings treat one another is practically the definition of a public
moral matter. Of course, there are many private aspects of human relations, but the
question whether one human being should be allowed fatally to harm another is not
one of them. Abortion is an inescapably public matter.”—Helen M.Alvaré, The
Abortion Controversy, 1995, p. 23.
29. “If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the
public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools,
and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church.
At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set
Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own
religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance
and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for
more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the
preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers.After [a]while,
your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with
flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of
the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring
any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.”—Clarence
Darrow, The Scopes Trial, Day 2
4 30. “It is a sad commentary on our society when the protection of buildings is more
important than the protection of people. Suggestions that homeless people are to
‘blame’for break-ins and the destruction of buildings, heritage or not, in a country
that has sub-zero temperatures for several months, is disturbing.
“Put yourself in their shoes and consider what any reasonable human might do when
faced with overflowing emergency shelters and nowhere to go. Starting a fire in an
abandoned building is unsafe but is not a