An assumption is made to take some independent statistics as dependent. If you flip five coins, each flip is independent from each other. The flip before the next flip does not affect the statistics of the next flip. Each coin flip is always 50/50 chance. Same thing with rolling dice. Each roll of the dice is a 1/6 chance. Each flip’s chance cannot be determined by flips before it and every roll’s chance cannot be determined by rolls before it. Unfortunately, there are not many arguments that would commit this fallacy. People have accused the fine-tuning argument of this fallacy, but that will be dwelt with in the article “Dealing with the Top Ten Objections to the Fine-Tuning Argument.” However, this fallacy can be misused in certain situations. You could make predictions of odds or calculations based on final results of all flips and rolls.
Example #1: There have been 9 coin flips, two heads and seven tails. It’s most likely that the next flip will not be heads. Therefore, the next flip will most likely be tails.
This commits the gamblers fallacy because it’s prediction is based on passed results of the last coin flips. Of course, common sense would say to assume it would be tails next, but there is no logical way to make that judgement. It’s based on being accustomed to seeing tail over heads in the previous flips. This commits the gambler’s fallacy.
Example #2: If I choose 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 1, and 7, then I will most likely win the lottery since these numbers have not been used.
This commits the gambler’s fallacy because they assume that specific numbers that have not been chosen will increase their chances of winning the lottery. There is no logical connection between any specific number and the likely hood of winning. However, the more lottery tickets you buy out of the whole will increase your likely hood of winning. There is only one ticket chosen for the first place prize, so the more tickets, the better chances you have winner the grand prize. The number you choose does not affect your likely hood of winning, so this commits the gambler’s fallacy.
Example #3: The number of planets show that it’s inevitable that we get a planet like earth. Therefore, it’s not designed for life.
The first problem with this argument is the fact that it assumes the universe is set up like a lottery, which is not the case. The universe could have been different and could have failed to exist as well. Physical necessity is not the most viable option for the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, if you want see why, then check out my Fine-Tuning Article here:
This would refute the lottery argument right off the bat, but there’s more. The number of planets will not affect the known conditions for life to exist on this planet. Especially, when you take the three types of galaxies within in the universe. Here’s an excerpt from my Fine-Tuning article that talks about these galaxies. “The three types of galaxies are elliptical, irregular, and spiral galaxies. Both elliptical and irregular galaxies cannot support life as we know. Elliptical galaxies lack heavy elements that are needed for life to exist. Irregular galaxies contain to many supernovas (Stars blowing up) for life to exist in them. Spiral galaxies are the only galaxies that can support life, but even then we have to exist in the right spot in the milky way to exist. Mainly due to black holes and radiation in spiral galaxies. Our solar system just happens to exist in the right spiral galaxy at the right time.”
When we have galaxies in which life cannot exist, then the odds go down since there’s a specific galaxy we have to be in. Of course, now you have to push the goal posts to how many galaxies there are and what are the odds specific galaxies existing. This would still commit the same gambler fallacy as well, but even if we accept the faulty premise given before, it’s still a non-sequitur. This is the case because you now have to worry about the number of galaxies, which leads you away from the original claims of planets. Spiral galaxies are the only galaxies that allow for the possibility of life, which is still not a guarantee like the lottery analogies.
For the sake of argument, we will accept that there are billions of planets that would exist in the same galaxy and ignore those conditions needed. Some will argue that each planet will add on to the odds of life existing, but that is not true. You could just have two planets and the probability would be 50/50 according to the logic of the argument. This commits the gambler fallacy because it assumes the number of things will affect the odds of the chances for a specific type of planet. This argument ignores the outside factors for a planet like Earth to exist. You need the specific type of galaxy, sun, other planets, atmosphere, water distribution, etc. To demonstrate my point, let’s replace planets with jumps. The odds of me jumping 1,000 feet in the air would be the equivalent to the odds of earth being here. Impossible without the right conditions. If I jumped a billions of times, then by the logic of the argument, I would have to jump a 1,000 feet during these billions of jumps. Obviously, there are specific factors that are needed in order for me to jump a 1,000 feet in the air like specific gravitational force and so on. This argument seems to ignore the fallacy that it commits and people still promote this argument against the planetary system.
The gambler’s fallacy is a fallacy that gambler’s typically commit in their gambling. Most philosophical arguments do not contain a gambler’s fallacy because it’s easy to avoid. The only arguments that seem to commit this fallacy are those that are not thought out to well. I bet that is the case, but perhaps that is the gamblers fallacy as well.
This is a fallacy that supposedly provides the only two options of a certain situation. These are false “either” and “or” statements that only contain two options. “You’re either with me or your against me." This is a false dichotomy because it leaves out the third option. The third option is the fact that one can be neutral towards you. Sometimes these are hard to spot because of the language used in the scenarios given. One must be aware of all the options to make a rational choice about a situation. Here are some more examples of a False Dichotomy:
Either you study for the test or you will fail the class. This is an obvious false dichotomy because other assignments could boost your grade and you could pass the class that way. If the test is the class, then you are a bit done for. However, most classes are not set up this way.
Either you’re telling the truth or you’re not. This may seem like the only possible situation since you have two contradictory possibilities. The law of non-contradiction would suppose this. Another option is that you were mistaken of what your reporting. You wouldn’t be telling the truth or lying because you were mistaken in what you are being asked about.
Either science is the only way to truth or there is no way to truth. Science is a great methodology that has help the rise in technology, but it is not the only type of methodology. First, we can’t scientifically prove the first statement, so it is a statement that cannot be true. Science can’t prove that we aren’t a brain in a jar being stimulated on. Science presupposes mathematical and logical truths, so to argue to prove these scientifically is to beg the question. Moral and ethical questions cannot be proven scientifically. Science can make a poisonous substance, but cannot tell you to not expose someone to the poisonous substance. Aesthetic truths, like art and beauty can’t be proven scientifically because these are metaphysical questions that philosophy has to answer. Finally, science has its own presuppositions that cannot be justified scientifically. For example, we cannot scientifically prove the uniformity of nature, that the laws will remain a constant tomorrow, the existence of numbers, the honesty of every scientific test conducted, and so on. Science cannot be justified by science because it contains to many presuppositions. Although science is a helpful way of epistemology, it is not the only way to truth. This is a false dichotomy for these reasons.
False Dichotomies can also appear as loaded questions when you think about it. Loaded questions contain many assumptions since it’s a combination of three or more unanswered questions. “Either you’re with me or your against me” There are many unanswered questions in this false dichotomy. What is the context of the question? Who are you asking? Who’s the person asking the questions. Many times with false dichotomies, we must get the context of the situation. Use Greg Koukl’s Columbo tactic to help get the context of any situation presented. These false dilemmas must be avoided. Either you avoid this fallacy or you’re not a logical person.
Fallacy of Equivocation- This fallacy occurs when a conclusion depends on the fact that a word or phrase is used, either explicitly or implicitly, in two different senses in the argument.
A Tree contains bark.
My Dog barks.
Therefore, my dog is a tree.
There have been over 3,000 God’s.
Christians believes in a God.
Therefore, Christians believe in one less God then I(atheist).
Obviously, this argument would commit the fallacy of equivocation about 3,000 times.
You don’t believe in evolution?
Evolution has been proven true!
Evolution is a fact!
What these claims typically will mean will be macro-evolution, but then will be equivocated to mean micro-evolution or change over time when the evidence is provided. (ex: Darwin's finches)
If a meaning of a specific word changes in an argument, then the argument commits the fallacy of equivocation. For example, Lawrence Krauss will define nothing as a quantum vacuum, but then use the word nothing meaning “not anything”. A quantum vacuum is a fluxuation of energy in a vacuum, so it is not nothing in the classical sense at all. His argument commits the fallacy of equivocation.
This is a tricky one to catch because it not explicit in the argument. It’s very implicit and you have to search for the intended meaning that makes sense throughout the argument. One helpful trick can be this, ask theses: What do you mean by that? It will help get the meaning of the word used in both premises and conclusions. Just like Lawrence Krauss defines nothing in two different meanings, people commit equivocation with a specific word.
Use the Columbo tactic to help find this fallacy. What do you mean by …? How did you come to that conclusion? Have you ever considered? The first two questions help distinguish between the possible meaning of the word being used. The second question helps to show how they came to that specific meaning. The third question will help the person consider to stick with one meaning, so their argument will not commit this fallacy. The argument will probably rest upon the fallacy equivocation, so they may not have an argument at all.
Equivocation is committed by even the best of philosophers whether on purpose or by accident. This fallacy should be avoided as much as possible to be as logical as possible. Don’t be like Lawrence Krauss, so stick with one meaning.
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The parts of a whole is assumed to have the same properties of the whole. It is possible that, on a whole, a company is very effective, while some of its departments are not. It would be inappropriate to assume they all are.
If I say that the brick wall is rectangular, therefore the bricks that make up the brick wall are rectangular. This would be the fallacy of division. It’s fairly simple and is not a common fallacy used among theist and atheist debates.
Just like the fallacy of composition, color in some cases seem to defy these two fallacies. If the whole brick wall is red then, logically speaking the parts can’t be red. We know from observation that this is just not true. Parts of a car can be different color, but also could be the same color. Color can be controversial with these two fallacies.
Parts of car would not have the same qualities as the whole car. A Hood cannot drive and an engine is useless by itself.
A building has many rooms, but that doesn’t mean every room is made up of many rooms.
A sandwich contains many different types of foods, but that doesn’t mean that every type of food in the sandwich has a combination of many types of food.
The creation is complex, therefore the creator who created the creation must be complex as well. Your assuming that thing that made the creation would have the whole attributes of the creation. Just because the creation is complex doesn’t mean that the creator would be complex. This commits the fallacy of division.
The fallacy of division is the opposite of the fallacy of composition and should not be used in debate. The fallacy of division can be used inappropriately by all debaters of the spectrum. The point is not to assume that the parts of the whole are the same as the thing that makes it up.
Inferring that Q is false just because if P is true, Q is also true, but P is false.
f P, then Q.
Therefore, not Q.
This fallacy is similar to the fallacy of affirming the consequent. Again the problem is that some alternative explanation or cause might be overlooked. Although P is false, some other condition might be sufficient to make Q true.
Example: If there is a traffic jam, then a colleague may be late for work. But it is not right to argue in the light of a smooth traffic that the colleague will not be late. Again, his alarm clock may have stopped working.
This at first can seem like affirming the consequent, but it’s not. If you one thing is true because of something else, then that is affirming the consequent. If I say something is false because one thing is true, then that would be denying the antecedent. These occur in conditional statements which are if: then statements. Basically if a conditional statement doesn’t logically follow then you would be denying the antecedent or affirming the consequent. If you deny the antecedent, then you can’t deny the consequent.
Example: If john doesn’t have a car, then he can’t get to work.
John doesn’t have a car; therefore, he can’t get to work. John could get to work by someone else or walk if he lives close enough to his work place. This example commits the denying the antecedent fallacy.
Example: If I didn’t have any water, then I didn’t have anything to drink.
I didn’t have any water; therefore, I didn’t have anything to drink. I clearly could have had a soft drink, coffee, milk, orange juice, or anything other drinkable. It’s not false that that I had anything to drink not based on the fact of not having water. On the fact that I didn’t not consume any form of liquid.
Example: If there’s no evidence for God, then he doesn’t exist.
There’s no evidence for God, therefore he doesn’t exist. Evidence of absence is not evidence of absence. If it were the case that there is no evidence for God right now, then it doesn’t follow that he doesn’t exist. There could be evidence in the future that shows the existence of God. Either you have to give a case against the existence of God, or you have to be an agnostic. It’s as simple as that. Of course, I do believe that there is very good evidence for the existence of God.
This is another fallacy that you know from reading the article. If you like this on Facebook, then you will be happy!
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