The Forty Most Common Logical Fallacies
We are not taught to recognize logical fallacies; as a result we accidentally commit them all the time. Some people are aware of them and commit them anyway, intentionally, in order to mislead, confuse, win arguments against the unwary, and persuade millions to a defective way of thinking. Learning and recognizing the following common logical fallacies will help develop your ability to think critically, and will aid you in your recognition of propaganda and defense against it.
The following fallacies come from various sources. If logical fallacies are new to you, we recommend visiting Your Logical Fallacy Is. It presents information on 24 common logical fallacies in a user-friendly format. A list of logical fallacy websites is given at the end of this list.
This document is available on the download page as a PDF file (8 pages).
A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. They are like tricks or illusions of thought, and they’re often very sneakily used to dupe people by politicians, the media and others with an ax to grind. Don’t be fooled!
The entries below are in alphabetical order. Some fallacies go by several names, so if you don’t see what you are looking for, check the alternative names are supplied in brackets. There are many lesser-known or recently discovered fallacies not listed here; check the Internet Enclyclopedia of Philosophy list of 224 fallacies or the UTEP Master List of 143 Logical Fallacies list. All of the entries below include examples. Some examples were supplied, perhaps unwittingly, by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Some readers may feel statements from current and controversial politicians inject bias. We disagree. As a class, politicians have historically been among the greatest sources of logical fallacies. Who better to mine for recent real-world examples?
AMPHIBOLY (Greek for “indeterminate”) (Informal Fallacy > Ambiguity): Similar to equivocation but the ambiguity results from grammatical construction. A statement may be true according to one interpretation of how each word functions in a sentence and false according to another. When a premise works with an interpretation that is true, but the conclusion uses the secondary “false” interpretation, we have the fallacy of amphiboly on our hands.
Example: In the command, “Save soap and waste paper,” the amphibolous use of “waste” results in the problem of determining whether “waste” functions as a verb or as an adjective.
ANECDOTAL (Informal Fallacy > Weak Analogy > Biased Sample): You use a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence. It’s often much easier for people to believe someone’s testimony as opposed to understanding complex data and variation across a continuum. Quantitative scientific measures are almost always more accurate than personal perceptions and experiences, but our inclination is to believe that which is tangible to us, and/or the word of someone we trust over a more ‘abstract’ statistical reality.
Example: Jason said that that was all cool and everything, but his grandfather smoked, like, 30 cigarettes a day and lived until 97 – so don’t believe everything you read about meta-analyses of methodologically sound studies showing proven causal relationships.
Trump Example: After Trump feuded with FoxNews’ Megyn Kelly and was criticized for past sexist remarks about women, he used his daughter, Ivanka, as anecdotal evidence that he is pro-women empowerment, although helping your only daughter is a far cry from “empowering women.” Afterwards, Ivanka went on record saying that she wouldn’t be where she is today if her father didn’t “deeply believe in opportunities for women”. Trump used his daughter’s success as anecdotal evidence that he is pro-women, including his June 19, 2016 Tweet featuring a photo of Ivanka and the quote: “Watch out Hillary: my father empowers women…He’s given me the confidence to do anything I set my mind to do!” – Ivanka
APPEAL TO AUTHORITY argumentum ad verecundiam (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring > Genetic): You say that because an authority thinks something, it must therefore be true. It’s important to note that this fallacy should not be used to dismiss the claims of experts, or scientific consensus. Appeals to authority are not valid arguments, but nor is it reasonable to disregard the claims of experts who have a demonstrated depth of knowledge unless one has a similar level of understanding and/or access to empirical evidence. However it is, entirely possible that the opinion of a person or institution of authority is wrong; therefore the authority that such a person or institution holds does not have any intrinsic bearing upon whether their claims are true or not.
Example: Not able to defend his position that evolution ‘isn’t true’ Bob says that he knows a scientist who also questions evolution (and presumably isn’t a primate). John adds that it’s not in the Bible so it can’t be true.
APPEAL TO EMOTION Argumentum ad misericordiam (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring): You attempt to manipulate an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument. Appeals to emotion include appeals to fear, envy, hatred, pity, pride, and more. It’s important to note that sometimes a logically coherent argument may inspire emotion or have an emotional aspect, but the problem and fallacy occurs when emotion is used instead of a logical argument, or to obscure the fact that no compelling rational reason exists for one’s position. Everyone, bar psychopaths, is affected by emotion, and so appeals to emotion are a very common and effective argument tactic, but they’re ultimately flawed, dishonest, and tend to make one’s opponents justifiably emotional.
Example: Luke wouldn’t eat raw sheep’s brains with brussel sprouts, but his father told him to think about the poor, starving children in a third-world country who had no food at all.
Clinton Example: In a 2016 campaign ad titled “Role Models”, she uses sentimentality to sway viewers. Soft piano music, close-ups of cute kids – she is clearly using an appeal to emotion as her message.
Trump Example: The Appeal to Fear is fundamental to Trump’s campaign. A typical example was in Trump’s 6-16-16 speech on the Orlando shooting. He said: “If we don’t get tough, and if we don’t get smart, and fast, we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing, left. The killer, whose name I will not use, or ever say, was born in Afghan, of Afghan parents, who immigrated to the United States.” He added: “We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer.”
APPEAL TO FORCE argumentum ad baculum “Might makes right” (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring > Appeal to Consequences): Using force, threats of force, or another unpleasant backlash to make the audience accept a conclusion. Often used when evidence or rational arguments have already failed.
Examples: “We’ll withdraw your funding.” “We’ll run a recall campaign.” “Give me the money or I’ll shut the government down.” “We know about your mistresses.” “My way or the highway.” “If I don’t win this election, my supporters will start a revolution.”
APPEAL TO IGNORANCE argumentum ad ignorantium (Informal Fallacy): The claim that something must be true because there is no proof to the contrary.
Example: Extraterrestrials must exist because no one has been able to prove that they don’t.
APPEAL TO NATURE argumentum ad naturam (Informal Fallacy > Begging the Question > Loaded Words): You argue that because something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good or ideal. Many ‘natural’ things are automatically considered ‘good’, and this can bias our thinking; but naturalness itself doesn’t make something good or bad. For instance murder could be seen as natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s good or justifiable. “If it’s natural, it’s healthy.” Arsenic, radiation and rats in your walls are all natural.
Example: The medicine man comes to town hawking various natural remedies, such as his very special plain water. He said that it was only natural that people should be wary of ‘artificial’ medicines such as antibiotics.
ATTACK THE PERSON ad hominem “To the man” (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring > Genetic): You attack your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hominem attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.
Example: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, and smells weird.
Trump Example: Trump’s most consistent logical fallacy is the ad hominem attack. His 8/2/16 tweet: “The Washington Post calls out #CrookedHillary for what she REALLY is. A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR! Watch that nose grow!” and “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton! Reading poorly from the telepromter! She doesn’t even look presidential!” Other frequent Trump ad hominems: “Lying Ted Cruz!,” “Little Marco Rubio!,” “Ugly Carly Fiorina!”
BANDWAGON argumentum ad populum (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring): You appeal to popularity – the fact that many people do something – as an attempted form of validation. The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity.
If it did, then the Earth would have made itself flat for most of history to accommodate this popular belief.
Example: “If leprechauns are just a superstition, why does everyone believe in them?” said Colin just before he passed out from too much whisky.
BEGGING THE QUESTION argumentum petitio principia (Informal Fallacy): You present a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise. This logically incoherent argument often arises in situations where people have an assumption that is very ingrained, and therefore taken in their minds as a given. Circular reasoning is bad mostly because it’s not very good.
Example: The word of Zorbo the Great is flawless and perfect. We know this because it says so in The Great Infallible Book of Zorbo’s Best and Truest Things that are Definitely True and Should Never Be Questioned.
BLACK-OR-WHITE (Either/Or, False dilemma, Bifurcation from the Latin bifurcus, meaning, “two pronged”) (Informal Fallacy): You present two alternative states as the only possibilities, when in fact more possibilities exist.
This insidious tactic appears to be a logical argument, but under closer scrutiny it becomes evident that there are more possibilities than the either/or choice that is presented. Binary or black-or-white thinking doesn’t allow for the many different variables, conditions, and contexts in which there exists more than just the two possibilities put forth. It frames the argument in misleading terms and obscures rational, honest debate.
Example: While rallying popular support for his plan to eliminate citizens’ rights, Beloved Supreme Leader told the people “You’re either with me or against me.”
Clinton Example: In her speech in San Diego on 6-2-16 national security, Clinton says a vote for her is as president is a vote for the best America. “It’s a choice between a fearful America that’s less secure and less engaged with the world, and a strong, confident America that leads to keep our country safe and our economy growing.” She concludes with: “This election is a choice between two very different visions of America. One that’s angry, afraid, and based on the idea that America is fundamentally weak and in decline. The other is hopeful, generous, and confident in the knowledge that America is great – just like we always have been.”
BURDEN OF PROOF argumentum ad ignorantiam (Informal Fallacy > Appeal to Ignorance): You say that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove. The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim, and is not upon anyone else to disprove. The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever. However it is important to note that we can never be certain of anything, and so we must assign value to any claim based on the available evidence, and to dismiss something on the basis that it hasn’t been proven beyond all doubt is also fallacious reasoning.
Example: Bertrand declares that a teapot is, at this very moment, in orbit around the Sun between the orbits of Earth and Mars, and that because no one can prove him wrong, his claim is therefore valid.
CHERRY-PICKING THE DATA (Card-Stacking, Controlling the Microphone, Ignoring Counterevidence, One-sided Assessment, Quoting out of Context, Proof-Texting, Slanting, Suppressed Evidence)(Informal Fallacy > One-Sidedness > Quoting Out of Context): Selecting only data which suits your argument, or finding a pattern which fits your presumption, while ignoring contradictory data or patterns. When you know your goal or the numbers you have, it’s easy to concoct agreeable explanations for them.
Example: In his review of cigarettes and lung cancer studies, tobacco company employee John left out all studies that supported the cigarette-cancer link and used only studies that found no link.
COINCIDENTAL CORRELATION post hoc ergo propter hoc “After this, therefore because of this”) (Informal Fallacy > non causa pro causa “False Cause”): An error in casual relationships. Just because one event chronologically follows the other, doesn’t necessarily mean that a cause and effect relationship exists—it’s just mere coincidence.
Example: “It rained because I washed my car.”
COMMON SENSE (Informal Fallacy > Begging the Question ): An argument is held to be true because of practical truths and common sense. Common sense is sometimes correct, sometimes not. Sometimes what “everybody knows” to be true is quite false.
Example: “Everyone knows the world is flat. Just look at it. It’s obviously not round.”
COMPOSITION/DIVISION (Informal Fallacy): You assume that one part of something has to be applied to all, or other, parts of it; or that the whole must apply to its parts. Often when something is true for the part it does also apply to the whole, or vice versa, but the crucial difference is whether there exists good evidence to show that this is the case. Because we observe consistencies in things, our thinking can become biased so that we presume consistency to exist where it does not.
Example: Daniel was a precocious child liked logic. He reasoned that because atoms are invisible, and because he was made of atoms, he was therefore invisible too. Unfortunately he still lost the game of hide and go seek.
DOES NOT FOLLOW non sequitur (Not a fallacy but an obviously invalid argument): A conclusion that does not necessarily follow from the premises upon which it is based. Watch to see if the conclusion matches up with the introduction or the “body” evidence.
Example: “Patriotic politicians do not question the President.”
EQUIVOCATION (Informal Fallacy > Ambiguity): Equivocation is a type of ambiguity in which a single word or phrase has two or more distinct meanings, which contrasts with amphiboly, which is grammatical ambiguity. The reason that it qualifies as a fallacy is that it is intrinsically misleading.
Example: The defendant told the judge that he shouldn’t have to pay the parking fine because the sign said ‘Fine for parking here’ and so he naturally presumed that it would be fine to park there.
Example: “Evolution is just a theory!” In science, “theory” means a coherent group of propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena; a theory is an overarching framework which provides an explanation for observations and a guide for hypothesis-testing. Colloquially, it can mean any wild idea that pops into your head. “I have this theory about why space aliens built the pyramids.” In both cases, the speaker is twisting the original meaning of the word.
FALLACY FALLACY (Formal Fallacy > Bad Reasons): You presume that because a claim was poorly argued, or a fallacy was made, that the claim itself must be wrong. It is entirely possible to make a claim that is false yet argue with logical coherency for that claim, just as is possible to make a claim that is true and justify it with various fallacies and poor arguments.
Example: Recognizing that Amanda committed a fallacy when arguing that we should eat healthy food because a nutritionist said it was popular, Susan said we should therefore eat bacon double cheeseburgers every day.
FALSE ANALOGY (False Metaphor) (Informal Fallacy > Weak Analogy): An ambiguous comparison with more dissimilarities than similarities that are not acknowledged or even clearly explained.
Example: “He’s Al Capone all over again, down to the scar.”
FALSE EQUIVALENCE (Informal Fallacy > Ambiguity > Equivocation): Two competing sides appear to be equal or balanced, but in fact are not. Journalists often commit this fallacy when they compare two sides of a scientific debate in an attempt to provide a balance between a scientific and denialist point of view. However, there is no equivalence between the two sides, when one is supported by evidence and by many scientists in the field of concern, and the other side with little or no evidence, of which most is of low quality, and few or no experts in the field.
Example: “And now, to present the opposing view to our lunar experts from NASA, we present the president and sole member of The Green Cheese Moon Association.”
FALSE CAUSE Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc “With this therefore because of this” (Informal Fallacy > non causa pro causa “False Cause”): You presumed that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other. Many people confuse correlation (things happening together or in sequence) for causation (that one thing actually causes the other to happen). Sometimes correlation is coincidental, or it may be attributable to a common cause.
Example: Pointing to his chart, Roger shows how temperatures have risen over the past few centuries, while at the same time the numbers of pirates have decreased; thus pirates cool the world and global warming is a hoax.
Trump Example: On 8-15-16 in Ohio, Trump spoke about immigration and terrorism and directly linked the Obama-Clinton administration as the reason for every unrest in the Middle East. He said, “Fast-forward to today. What have the decisions of Obama-Clinton produced? Libya is in ruins, our ambassador and three other brave Americans are dead, and ISIS has gained a new base of operations. Syria is in the midst of a disastrous civil war. ISIS controls large portions of territory. A refugee crisis now threatens Europe and the United States. In Egypt, terrorists have gained a foothold in the Sinai desert, near the Suez Canal, one of the most essential waterways in the world. Iraq is in chaos, and ISIS is on the loose.” Whether or not the Obama-Clinton administration contributed or detracted from those events, it is a False Cause Logical Fallacy to blame two people for the complex and intractable problems of the Middle East.
GAMBLER’S FALLACY (Informal Fallacy > Probabilistic): You say that ‘runs’ occur to statistically independent phenomena such as roulette wheel spins. This commonly believed fallacy helped create Las Vegas, Nevada. The overall odds of a ‘big run’ happening are low, but each spin of the wheel is itself entirely independent from the last. So while there is a very small chance that heads will come up 20 times in a row when you flip a coin, the chances of heads coming up on each individual flip remain 50/50, and are not influenced by what happened before.
Example: After black came up six times in a row on the roulette wheel, Greg knew the odds of Red coming up next were close to certain. Unfortunately…
GENETIC (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring): You judge something as either good or bad depending on from whom or from where it came.
This fallacy avoids the argument by shifting focus onto something’s or someone’s origins. It’s similar to an ad hominem fallacy in that it leverages existing negative perceptions to make someone’s argument look bad, without actually presenting a case for why the argument itself lacks merit.
Example: Accused on the 6 o’clock news of corruption and taking bribes, the senator said that we should all be very wary of the things we hear in the media, because we all know how very unreliable the media can be.
HASTY GENERALIZATION (Informal Fallacy > Weak Analogy > Biased Sample): Drawing conclusions from too little evidence and often relying on stereotypes.
Example: “You can’t trust anyone from Europe.”
LOADED QUESTION (Not classified, possibly a form of Begging the Question): You ask a question that had a built-in presumption so that it couldn’t be answered without appearing guilty. Loaded question fallacies are particularly effective at derailing rational debates because of their inflammatory nature – the recipient of the loaded question is compelled to defend themselves and may appear flustered.
Example: Sue wants to steal Bob away from Jane. With Bob sitting unseen nearby, she asks Jane, “How’s that problem you were having with sedatives?” The prosecutor asks the defendant, “Do you still beat your wife?”
Clinton Example: Clinton tweeted a Twitter poll on 8-12-16, saying: “Many people are saying Trump won’t release his tax returns because he’s hiding something. What do you think it is?” Her Twitter Poll results showed: 32% – He doesn’t pay any taxes. 23% – He parks money overseas. 34% – He inflates his wealth. 11% – He’s not very charitable. Not only is the question leading with its verbiage (“hiding”), but Clinton takes it a step further with only offering negative options for pollers to answer.
MIDDLE GROUND argument ad temperantiam (not classified, probably Informal Fallacy > Red Herring): You claim that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes must be the truth.
Often the truth does indeed lie between two extreme points, but this can bias our thinking: sometimes a thing is simply untrue and a compromise of it is also untrue. Halfway between truth and a lie, is still a lie.
Example: Holly said that vaccinations caused autism in children, but her scientifically well-read friend Caleb said that this claim had been debunked and proven false. Their friend Alice offered a compromise that vaccinations must cause some autism, just not all autism.
MOVING THE GOALPOSTS (Informal Fallacy > Special Pleading): An informal fallacy in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded. When a team is about to score or has actually scored, it is very unfair to then claim the goalposts are actually further away and no score was made.
Example: “Give me one example of why you’re right.” The example is given. “That’s not good enough. Give me another.”
NO TRUE SCOTSMAN (Informal Fallacy > Ambiguity): You make what could be called an appeal to purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flaws of your argument.
In this form of faulty reasoning one’s belief is rendered unfalsifiable because no matter how compelling the evidence is, one simply shifts the goalposts so that it wouldn’t apply to a supposedly ‘true’ example. This kind of post-rationalization is a way of avoiding valid criticisms of one’s argument.
Example: Angus declares that Scotsmen do not sugar their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a Scotsman and sugars his porridge. Furious, Angus shouts that no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.
NOVELTY (Not classified, possibly: Informal Fallacy > Red Herring > Emotional Appeal): Arguing that something is good (and better) just because it is new and different.
Example: “It’s new!” “It’s new and improved!” “Be the first one on your block to get the new Bass-o-matic.”
PERSONAL INCONSISTENCY ad hominem tu quoque “And you too!” or “What about you?” (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring> Two Wrongs Make a Right): You avoid engaging with criticism by turning it back on the accuser – you answered criticism with criticism.
Tu quoque is also known as the appeal to hypocrisy. It is commonly employed as an effective red herring because it takes the heat off someone having to defend their argument, and instead shifts the focus back on to the person making the criticism.
Example: Nicole identified that Hannah had committed a logical fallacy, but instead of addressing the substance of her claim, Hannah accused Nicole of committing a fallacy earlier on in the conversation.
Clinton Example: In her 6-21-16 speech on the economy, Clinton says: “You might think that because he has spent his life as a businessman, he might be better prepared to handle the economy. It turns out, he’s dangerous there, too.”
Trump Example: In response, Trump produced a tu quoque logical fallacy by tweeting: “How can Hillary run the economy when she can’t even send emails without putting entire nation at risk?”
PERSONAL INCREDULITY (Informal Fallacy > Appeal to Ignorance): Because you found something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, you claim it’s probably not true. Complex subjects like biological evolution through natural selection require some amount of understanding before one is able to make an informed judgement about the subject at hand; this fallacy is usually used in place of that understanding.
Example: Kirk drew a picture of a fish and a human and with disdain asked Richard if he really thought we were stupid enough to believe that a fish turned into a human through random things happening over time.
RED HERRING ignorantio elenchi (Informal Fallacy): A deliberate attempt to avoid the main argument by diversionary tactics such as following tangents.
Example: “I flunked my class, but I washed your car for you.”
REIFICATION (Misplaced Concreteness) (Informal Fallacy > Ambiguity > Equivocation): Treating a word or an idea as equivalent to the actual thing represented by that word or idea, or treating an abstraction or process as equivalent to a concrete object or thing. That there is a word “unicorn” doesn’t mean unicorns actually exist. We can’t eliminate murder by simply banning the word “murder.” Similarly a “war on poverty” or “war on terror” can’t work. Wars imply a concrete struggle with a concrete enemy, but “poverty” is an abstraction and “terror” is an emotion. You can’t bomb or shoot or sign peace treaties with them.
Example: “Spirit is infinite and eternal.” “Presuming that there are unicorns, let’s move on to discussing the structure of their horns.”
RHETORICAL QUESTION (Loaded Question) (Not classified): Not really presented as a question, but where there is an expected answer.
Example: “Why should we pay taxes to an industry that is polluting the Mediterranean ocean?”
SINCERITY (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring > Appeal to Emotion): Just because somebody sincerely believes something doesn’t make that belief or that person correct.
Example: “I’m voting for President Bush because he is a man of conviction.”
SLIPPERY SLOPE (Informal Fallacy > non causa pro causa “False Cause”): You said that if we allow A to happen, then Z will eventually happen too, therefore A should not happen. The problem with this reasoning is that it avoids engaging with the issue at hand, and instead shifts attention to extreme hypotheticals. Because no proof is given to show that such extreme hypotheticals will in fact occur, this fallacy has the form of an appeal to emotion fallacy by leveraging fear. In effect the argument at hand is unfairly tainted by unsubstantiated conjecture.
Example: “If we allow same-sex couples to marry, then the next thing we know we’ll be allowing people to marry their parents, their cars and even shrubs.”
Clinton Example: Clinton remains steadfast that if Trump is elected as POTUS, he will only benefit the wealthiest Americans.
Trump Example: Trump continues to make the connection that if Clinton becomes president, than ISIS will increase their power and reign of terror.
SPECIAL PLEADING (Informal Fallacy): You moved the goalposts or made up an exception when your claim was shown to be false. Humans hate being wrong. Rather than appreciate the benefits of being able to change one’s mind through better understanding, many will invent ways to cling to old beliefs. A common way to do this is to post-rationalize a reason why what they thought to be true must remain to be true. It’s easy to find a reason to believe something that suits us, and it requires integrity and genuine honesty with oneself to examine one’s own beliefs and motivations without justifying our existing ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us.
Example: Tom claims to be psychic, but when his ‘abilities’ are tested under proper scientific conditions, they magically disappear. Edward explains this by saying that one must have faith in his abilities for them to work.
STRAW MAN argumentum ad logicam (Informal Fallacy > Red Herring): You misrepresent someone’s argument to make it easier to attack, as a boxer might make a figure out of straw, punches it to pieces, then declare glorious victory over the actual human foe. By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty undermines honest rational debate.
Example: After Bob says that we should put more money into health and education, Tom responds by saying that he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenseless by cutting military spending.
Clinton Example: In Clinton’s speech in San Diego on 6-2-16 about national security, she said about Trump, “He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008.” Clinton twisted Trump’s words to make it seem like he sees the U.S. economy equal to a casino was unfair.
THE TEXAS SHARPSHOOTER (Informal Fallacy > non causa pro causa “False Cause”): The Texas sharpshooter is a fabled marksman who fires his gun randomly at the side of a barn, then paints a bullseye around the spot where the most bullet holes cluster. The story of this Lone Star state shooter has given its name to a fallacy apparently first described in the field of epidemiology, which studies how disease spreads in a population.
Example: Of the five countries where SugarAyd sell the most units, three of them are among the world’s top ten healthiest countries, so the makers claim SugarAyd is healthy.
Trump Example: Within the first 5 minutes of his 8/7/16 Windham, NH speech, Trump declared, “And then the President lies, which is a perfect lie, just like he lied on ObamaCare. Remember? You keep your plan, you keep your doctor, you keep your doctor, you keep your plan, I think 24 times, right? And ObamaCare is a disaster, you know ObamaCare is imploding. Do you see what’s going on with ObamaCare? 28% increases, 37%, in Texas almost 60% increase.” Here, Trump offers a variety of percentages without explaining what the percentages mean, but also without referencing any of the other data that contradicts his view.
The above was drawn from the following sources, reorganized and blended.
 Spotting Logical Fallacies this Election Season (8-19-16) Hey Girl Communique,com. One of two initial sources and the source for the Clinton & Trump examples.
Your Logical Fallacy is – The School of Thought. The other of two initial sources. The source for much of the text. They have a great poster of their 24 most important logical fallacies, and their website is very user-friendly. They also have a page and poster on 24 Cognitive Biases at https://yourbias.is/ which includes: anchoring, confirmation, belief, self-serving and 20 other biases.
Fallacy Files – Fallacy Files.org, Gary N. Curtis. Source of the fallacy categorizations (e.g. Informal Fallacy > Red Herring > Emotional Appeal), also text, examples, Latin names.
Fallacies in Latin – TopWord.net. Latin names not found elsewhere.
List of Fallacies – Wikipedia. Some fallacies and text.
Logical Fallacies – Lexiconic.com . Some fallacies and text.
Logical Fallacies Handlist – Kip Wheeler at Carson-Newman University. Some fallacies, text, Latin names and inspiration for visual presentation appearance.
Some Additional Sources on Fallacies
Fallacies – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Dowden, Bradley – CSU Sacramento.
Alphabetical list of 224 fallacies includes duplicates under alternate names, plus a lengthy discussion.
Fallacies in Latin – Changing Minds.org. 26 fallacies.
Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate – (Jan. 2001). California State University at Northridge. Short discussion and 21 fallacies.
Master List of Logical Fallacies – (Jan. 2018). 143 fallacies from University of Texas at El Paso
Information collected, assembled and presented by the Anti-Propaganda Education Coalition.
Updated February 3, 2019.