Gå til innhold

Fallacies IV: red herring fallacies



fallacy is incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric resulting in a lack of validity, or more generally, a lack of soundness.

This is part of a series on fallacies related to my situation these days. I am cherry-picking the ones I struggle with and feel are being used «against» me by those professionals in the psychiatric fields that claim to help. I am doing this to possibly help myself structure, express and understand why I am uncomfortable with a lot of the things that goes on in «therapy».

Of course, this series will confirm to my therapists that I am way too dependent on logic. Something I am accused of on a weekly basis. I bet I can find a fallacy for that too. Yes, I am caught in a web; not entirely of my own creation. In that sense I am, by doing this, digging my own grave in their eyes. Fuck it, I´ll do it anyway.

A red herring fallacy is an error in logic where a proposition is, or is intended to be, misleading.

Red herring – argument given in response to another argument, which is irrelevant and draws attention away from the subject of argument.

Ad hominemattacking the arguer instead of the argument.

Poisoning the well – a type of ad hominem where adverse information about a target is presented with the intention of discrediting everything that the target person says.

Argumentum ad baculum (appeal to the stick, appeal to force, appeal to threat) – an argument made through coercion or threats of force to support position.

Argumentum ad populum (appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) – where a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because many people believe it to be so.

Appeal to equality – where an assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality.

Association fallacy (guilt by association) – arguing that because two things share a property they are the same

Appeal to authority – where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting it.

Appeal to accomplishment – where an assertion is deemed true or false based on the accomplishments of the proposer.

Appeal to consequences (argumentum ad consequentiam) – the conclusion is supported by a premise that asserts positive or negative consequences from some course of action in an attempt to distract from the initial discussion.

Appeal to emotion – where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning.

Appeal to fear – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing side.

Wishful thinking – a specific type of appeal to emotion where a decision is made according to what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than according to evidence or reason.

Appeal to tradition (argumentum ad antiquitam) – a conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true.

Appeal to nature – wherein judgement is based solely on whether the subject of judgement is ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’. For example (hypothetical): «Cannabis is healthy because it is natural».

Appeal to worse problems – dismissing an argument due to the existence of more important, but unrelated, problems in the world.

Argument from silence (argumentum ex silentio)a conclusion based on silence or lack of contrary evidence.

Bulverism (Psychogenetic Fallacy) – inferring why an argument is being used, associating it to some psychological reason, then assuming it is invalid as a result. It is wrong to assume that if the origin of an idea comes from a biased mind, then the idea itself must also be a false.

Chronological snobbery – where a thesis is deemed incorrect because it was commonly held when something else, clearly false, was also commonly held.

Genetic fallacy – where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context.

Naturalistic fallacy (is–ought fallacy, naturalistic fallacy) – claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is.

Tu quoque («you too», appeal to hypocrisy) – the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.

Two wrongs make a right – occurs when it is assumed that if one wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out.

Naturalistic fallacy – attempts to prove a claim about ethics by appealing to a definition of the term «good» in terms of either one or more claims about natural properties (sometimes also taken to mean the appeal to nature) or God’s will.

Fallacies I: formal fallacies
Fallacies II: informal fallacies
Fallacies III: faulty generalizations
Fallacies IV: red herring fallacies

All four in list view

6 kommentarer
  1. Bonivard permalink

    A pet peeve of mine which I couldn’t really find covered here: The etymological fallacy, where one person uses some term in its established, commonly accepted meaning, and the opponent attempts to invalidate, twist or defeat the argument by invoking an ancient meaning of the term, or the literal meaning of its components.
    (As opposed to the perfectly valid objection of “I don’t think that word means what you think it means – if you actually mean X you ought to rather say ‘____’”)

  2. cuculus canorus permalink

    Greetings Bonivard – this one is found under informal fallacies

    Etymological fallacy – which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning.

    But if you are suggesting twisting definitions deliberately? Then yes, it should be under red herrings.

    • Bonivard permalink

      Whoops. <:-(

      But, yes, I guess you could make that distinction between genuine misinterpretation and deliberate attempts to dodge the opponent's argument.

      At least if you wanted to put a charitable spin on my post…

      • cuculus canorus permalink

        Hehe – there is definitely a distinction between deliberate and accidental/ignorance. That the Etymological fallacy is not listed here does not mean it does not occur as a truly deliberate attempt at confusing & camouflaging.

        Admittedly, I am probably guilty of every single fallacy; I am sure I have committed them all. Some deliberately, some accidentally, some out of annoyance, impatience, irritation, curiosity (-what do you say to THAT one, Silly Opponent!), humour.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Logical Fallacies — the Argument from Authority | The Call of Troythulu
  2. Logical Fallacies — the Ad Hominem Argument | The Call of Troythulu

Legg igjen en kommentar til Bonivard Avbryt svar

Fyll inn i feltene under, eller klikk på et ikon for å logge inn:


Du kommenterer med bruk av din WordPress.com konto. Logg ut /  Endre )


Du kommenterer med bruk av din Google konto. Logg ut /  Endre )


Du kommenterer med bruk av din Twitter konto. Logg ut /  Endre )


Du kommenterer med bruk av din Facebook konto. Logg ut /  Endre )

Kobler til %s


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


- en historie om dårlig billedbruk i media


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Meretes metode

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Langust og korsnebb

Usorterte tanker om assorterte temaer. Eller omvendt.


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Från ett annat perspektiv

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Toner av tanker

Tanker. Mine tanker! Helt ærlig og helt usensurert.

Ida Jackson

Hjelper deg å forandre verden en tekst av gangen

Virrvarrs roteloft

Virrvarr vimser, vrir, vrenger og vet best.


- om hvordan det er å leve med ME


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Fred Heggen

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Fremad i alle retninger

Litt her, litt der. Noen ganger helt tilstede, andre ganger ganske fjern.


backstage naturvitenskap

Tenkestedet mitt.

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

gamle ugle

Her vil du finne dikt om livet og sånt


Nettstedet for de med interesse for psykologi


This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Bak fasaden - Rønnaug

Litt om livet med PTSD og hovedgjøremål behandling


skriblerier som sprudler over

Ting jeg er interessert i

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


~ ME betyr ikke meg, jeg er mer enn mine begrensninger


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


En lærerblogg om barn med stort læringspotensial (evnerike barn).

psykolog Jan-Ole Hesselberg

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor

Ut av depresjonen

Sitater, tips og råd.

Sigruns blogg

om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


om det som er inni hodet og det som er utenfor


Sint og blid på samme tid.


Just another WordPress.com site

Din Psykolog Online

Si din mening og bli med på å skape debatt om tema relatert til psykisk helse


Min vei mot indre trygghet

%d bloggere like this: