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S12 E8: The One About Fallacies In Arguments

I think one of the trump cards of RE is our ability to teach critical thinking.  In the wake of a general election, with the diverse voices and opinions our young people are exposed to, and as they embark on relationships, it feels that an ability to spot flaws in people's arguments is vital.  In this episode, I explain what I mean by 'flaw' or 'fallacy and break down into easily accessible chunks a few of the most common fallacies;

  • Post hoc ergo proctor hoc - after this, therefore because of this

  • Reductio ad absurdum - reducing something to it's most ridiculous extreme to try and prove an opinion is wrong

  • Slippery slope - arguing that one event will evetually lead to something catestrophic

  • Ad hominem - when you can't find anything wrong with someone's argument so start attacking the person

  • False dichotomy - when someone assumes there are only two options

  • Straw man fallacy where you slightly misrepresent someone's argument to make it look like it is flawed

  • Circular arguments where your premise is assumed to be true and therefore is used to prove your conclusion is

  • Non-sequiter so where a conclusion doesn't logically follow a premise

  • Fallacy of composition where you assume that something that is true for an individual is also true for the whole

  • False authority - where you use an authority figure who isn't an expert to prove a point

  • Confirmation bias - where you look for evidence to support what you already believe.

I apply these fallacies to philosophical arguments and modern day dilemmas and talk about how to overcome them.I really hope this is a helpful episode that will help you equip your students for life in the 21st century.



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