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 Critical Thinking Chapter 6 - Logical Fallacies II - Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence

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Emyrukenza Kaneshiro

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PostSubject: Critical Thinking Chapter 6 - Logical Fallacies II - Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence   Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:10 pm

Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence

Mistakes of an argument may come in different forms. But if we fail to provide sufficient evidents or reasoning to support your claim, the fallacy should be named as Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence. Altogether, there are 9 different types of fallacy that relates to insufficient evidence. However, the most prominent here is Inappropriate Appeal to Authority, which is divided to 8 different sub types:

1. Inappropriate Appeal to Authority

- It happens when an arguer cites a witness or authority who, there is good chances that, is unreliable.

It happens when:

a. The source is not a genuine authority on the subject at issue

E.g. My dentist told me that rosemary and thyme can be used to treat cancer. I believe this must be true!

Explanation: A dentist is not a specialized doctor that knows cure for cancer. He is not that competent to declare such statement.

b. The source is biased or has some other reason to lie or mislead

E.g. Halim, the husband of Tina stated that his wife did not steal anyrhing from the Mydin Superstore. Even though the CCTV at the crime scene show that she put something into her purse, I cant believe that a good man like Halim would lie to protect his wife. I think Tina is innocent.

Explanation: Halim have more than one reason to lie: Tina is his wife so he had to lie to save his face. Halim can also be an accomplish to the theft. Needless to say, Halim’s action is clearly biased

c. The accuracy of the source’s observation is questionable

E.g. After snorting 1 gram of heroin all by himself, Thomas swore that he had an hour long conversation with the long dead founder of Malacca state, Parameswara. I’ve never known Thomas to lie. So, I think we should believe him.

Explanation: Enough said. What can possibly a guy tell when he is on heroin high? Downright gibberish! His testimony wont even be accepted in court!

d. The source cited is known to be generally unreliable

E.g. The handout given by the ‘Mestika Syahdu’ cult members stated that the world will end on the 21st August this year. They claim that when the 3 northern stars of Umbala line up in a parallel way, the end of the world is very near. This occurence will happen exactly on that date. We should be prepared for the tragedy.

Explanation: An internet source, a report, an article, or maybe a handout given by the ‘Mestika Syahdu’ cult members can be regarded as highly unreliable and hard to proof. We can always differentiate a reputable source to the other by looking at its past records, consistency and evidents given in facts and figures. Its hard to believe a word from a cult member am I right?

e. The source has not been cited correctly or the cited claim has been taken out of context.

E.g. It states in the Holy Koran that we should practice free #%*#$. Due to this reason, I believe that we should practice free #%*#$.

Explanation: Just for a mental note, there are absolutely no religious book that states free #%*#$ is a good practice. Clearly, this citation is not made accurately. Thus, this claim is fallacious.

f. The source claim conflicts with expert opinion

E.g. Syeikh Jamil, a renowned ulama of Turkmenistan, claims that pig meat can be eaten by Muslims. I believe we should subscribe to his point of view.

Explanation: An overwhelming number evidence, citation and experts of Islam are actually against Syikh Jamil’s claim. Therefore, it is fallacious to accept Syeikh Jamil’s claim simply on his authority.

g. The issue is not one that can be settled by expert opinion.

E.g. The Dalai Lama said that to achieve eternal solitude, one must devote oneself to the universe by meditating deeply. We should take his saying as a truth because The Dalai Lama are worshipped by millions worldwide.

Explanation: Some things just can never be explained objectively. No expert consensus can be reached because of its abstractism. You can have a million definition of the word eternal solitude. Same goes to meaning of life, morality etc. Such issues cant be settled by appeals to authority.

h. The claim is highly improbable on its face

E.g. Uncle Sam claims that his 84 year old friend Buddy can jump across buildings. Uncle Sam is the most trustworthy person that we have come across in this neighborhood. Therefore, if he said that his 84 years old friend Buddy can jump across buildings, I, for one, will totally believe him.

Explanation: Uncle Sam’s claim is highly improbable, that without a strong evidence that proves this ridiculous claim, it is clear, by any degree, is obviously fallacious.

… the rest of the fallacies of insufficient evidence will be elaborated in the next post. Bye!

by ilham suardi
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Critical Thinking Chapter 6 - Logical Fallacies II - Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence
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