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Fallacies, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1711

Essay

A1. I was once having a discussion with a friend in which I argued that scientific explanations of the universe and origins of life are more credible than religious explanations because scientific claims are based on investigation and proofs and are always open to challenge unlike religious explanations. My friend argued that science cannot explain how life came into existence and moreover, most of the people in the world believe in religious views on the universe, thus, there must be some truth to it. My friend also argued that many scientists do not believe in god, thus, one can expect such theories from them.

In making his arguments, my friend engaged in several fallacies. The first fallacy in his argument was appeals to mob that since most people believe in the religious explanations of the universe and the origins of life, the religious explanations must be right. My friend also engaged in the fallacy of Ad Hominem attacks that just because some scientists are not religious, their theories must be inspired by their beliefs rather than research and investigation. Instead of looking at the merits of the scientific theories, my friend attacked their credibility on the basis of lack of faith among some scientists. My friend also engaged in the fallacy of appealing to ignorance since he assumed that the failure of science to explain how life came into existence was an evidence that god created life.

A2. In an episode of his program on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly made a claim that the freedom of press was being violated at Senator Obama’s New Hampshire rally. Bill O’ Reilly argues that the tall guy tried to stand in front of the Factor’s camera (McKee). Bill O’ Reilly doesn’t give any evidence whether he was prevented from covering the rally which might have constituted a violation of the freedom of the press or prevented from expressing himself. In addition, there is also no evidence that even if a guy tried to block the camera, his actions were guided by instructions from Obama or other public officials. It seems more like a personal confrontation that Bill O’Reilly presented as an attack on the freedom of the press.

O’Reilly’s claim fails the test of truthfulness because for an individual to come in front of a press camera doesn’t constitute a violation of the freedom of the press. The incident also fails the test of relevance because a guy standing in front of the camera did not stop O’Reilly from expressing himself.

As far as fallacies are concerned, Bill O’Reilly engaged in the fallacy of appeals to emotions because Fox News viewers are often right-wing conservatives and anti-Obama, thus, they are likely to believe O’Reilly’s claims due to their personal bias. Bill O’Reilly also engaged in the fallacy of straw man that the guy was part of Obama’s protocol so he must have wanted to prevent Bill O’Reilly’s freedom of speech when in fact the guy may just be doing his job as a security officer.

A3. I was talking to a cousin about a week ago and suddenly he claimed that African Americans are inferior to Caucasians in intelligence. He argued that whether we look at the financial industry or the scientific community or even the Silicon Valley, we find fewer African American leaders and entrepreneurs than what should have been, given the number of African Americans as a proportion of the overall U.S. population. My friend argued that even though it is not politically correct to claim Caucasians are superior in intelligence to African Americans, the facts do indicate that.

My friend made the mistake of looking at only one side of the picture which is why his deductive arguments were wrong. I explained to my friend that it is misleading to rely only on statistics to conclude that Caucasians are superior to African Americans in intelligence because intelligence alone doesn’t determine access to leadership positions or resources required for entrepreneurial ventures. I reasoned that there are far more men in leadership positions and men continue to earn higher salaries than women for similar positions yet more women now graduate from college than men (Jeffrey). I also explained that Caucasian Americans had a head start over African Americans who only gained equal rights after the Civil Movement and it usually takes time for the society to change its values even after laws have been passed. I pointed out the fact that even though African Americans continued to be represented, they have made significant progress in the last few decades while we would hardly see any African American leaders at leading U.S. organizations before 1960s.

I also pointed out the fact that often the most intelligent people in an organization do not become the leaders, thus, better networking opportunities and social skills also make a difference. It may be that African Americans still face glass ceilings that women also face, thus, they have limited opportunities to advance to leadership positions.

A4. The first thing I noticed in the game “Everyday The Same Dream” (Armor Games) was that the guy didn’t have any particular look but looked exactly like his coworkers in the office. It’s as if the game author was implying that humans have become just a factor of production like machinery and have lost their unique identity. The music stayed the same throughout all of the levels which themselves were same and involved performing the same tasks over and over. The designer might have wanted to hint at the monotony of our daily routine which involves same tasks over and over without any end, just like the game didn’t have any end for as long as the character kept repeating the same tasks.

The games rules were simple that the character had to repeat the same tasks every day with no variety. In addition, he would perform the tasks in almost the same sequence every day. The game sends the message that we have lost ourselves in the pursuit of our dreams and have become just like machines. When the character didn’t dress up, his wife reminded him and when he went to office without dressing up, his boss fired him. In other words, our life has become a set of rules and as soon as we try to break them, we have to pay a dear price.

The central argument of the game is that we have forgotten to enjoy our lives and our uniqueness and have become just like each other. We all perform the same tasks over and over in pursuit of our dreams but forget to enjoy the present in the process.

The game does make a valid deductive argument that our life has become a set of rules which we follow every day. As long as the character kept following the rules, the game didn’t end but as soon as he went to work without proper dress, his boss fired him even though the dress doesn’t determine the job performance.

A5. I was sitting with a friend watching the Olympics Basketball final match between U.S. and Spain and one of our friends suddenly initiated the argument that there are mostly black players in NBA and NFL. Even athletics in America is dominated by African Americans. Thus, blacks are better than whites in sports.

It’s true that basketball and American football are two of the most popular sports in America and are primarily dominated by African Americans but that alone doesn’t indicate that blacks are better than whites in sports. One can test the accuracy of this argument in numerous ways. First of all, one should ask whether basketball, America football, and athletics are the only sports in existence. If the answer is yes, my friend was right in claiming that blacks are better than whites in sports but the reality is that there are many other sports including ice hockey, baseball, golf, soccer, cricket, and skiing. In addition, many other sports are dominated by non-black players including baseball, soccer, and ice hockey. Thus, my friend engaged in inductive fallacy by making a general claim on the basis of few sports.

One could also investigate social and economic factors that could explain why there are mostly black players in NBA and NFL. It may be that most black kids enjoy these sports more than the other sports which is why we rarely see black players in ice hockey and tennis. It is also possible that many black kids see these two sports as one of the major means to wealth and fame since they often read or hear about NFL and NBA superstars.

A6. A cartoon in memory of the tragic event of 9/11 asks the readers about their favorite superhero among batman, superman, and fireman who is wearing an FDNY helmet (Postroad). The cartoon is implying that the actions of the FDNY firefighters on the occasion of 9/11 were worthy of a superhero.

The cartoon is utilizing the cause/effect relationship to define superhero. Any individual who fights evil and benefits mankind is a superhero whether fictional or real. Since firefighters fought to serve the victims of 9/11, their actions have exalted them to the status of a superhero, in the same league as superman and batman.

I find the text and image pairing quite effective because the cartoon sends the message that while superheroes can be both fictional and real, they do not necessarily have to possess superhuman strength only. What makes them hero is courage, bravery, and the willingness to help those in need. FDNY firemen displayed remarkable bravery on the eve of 9/11 without worrying about themselves and many brave men lost lives. Thus, there is no contradiction between the text and the image because both text and image place FDNY firemen in the same category as superheroes like superman and batman.

Thus, the text is a good example of inductive reasoning because it implies that the actions of the FDNY firemen on the eve of 9-11 were worthy of superheroes since firemen displayed bravery, courage, sacrifice, and selfless service to the nation.

References

Armor Games. Everyday The Same Dream. 30 August 2012 <http://armorgames.com/play/6244/every-day-the-same-dream>.

Jeffrey, Terence. P. 25% Fewer Men Than Women Graduate College; Obama: It’s ‘A Great Accomplishment … For America’. 24 June 2012. 30 August 2012 <http://cnsnews.com/news/article/25-fewer-men-women-graduate-college-obama-its-great-accomplishment-america>.

McKee, Ryan. Top 10: Crazy Political Commentators. 30 August 2012 <http://www.askmen.com/top_10/celebrity/top-10-crazy-political-commentators_1.html>.

Postroad. 9-11 Cartoons. 30 August 2012 <http://postroad.com/9-11/>.

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