Minor corrections:

- Fallacy #2 is also known as the "slippery slope" argument.

- The Earth was actually not believed to be flat!

View transcript Hide transcript

Speaker: I don't know about you guys but whenever I'm watching a YouTube video I find it hard to ignore the amount of hate and arguing that's going on in the comment section below. And that would be fine if the comments themselves weren't completely illogical. So I decided to make this video to show you guys when peoples' arguments just don't make sense. So here it is the six far too common argumentative fallacies that just don't make sense and yet people use all the time. To begin let's talk about ad hominem probably one of the ones that most people are familiar with. Ad hominem is when you attack a person's integrity instead of their actual argument. A good example of this would be something like, "It figures a drunk like you would say that." Calling someone a drunk doesn't actually have anything to do with the argument but by attacking them, people think that their claim is less valid. While there are some instances where a person's moral character can be important in the argument, most of the time it isn't so bringing it up can get pretty frustrating.

Another common fallacy is reduction to the absurd. Here the speaker attacks the argument by extending it to such extreme circumstances that the argument ends up looking ridiculous. An example of this might be like, "If we allow Universities to raise tuition this year soon they will be raising it every year and only the rich will be able to afford going to this school." Again this doesn't really make sense. Just because you raise tuition one year doesn't mean you're going to raise it every year. And even if raising tuition may be annoying it doesn't make that claim any more valid.

Another frustrating one is the either or fallacy. An either or fallacy involves a situation where there limited alternatives available because the speaker fails to acknowledge them. The person disregarding other alternatives may be doing it on purpose or they might not even know that they're doing it. Either way it makes it an annoying argument. An example might be something like, "Either we outlaw drinking or we'll have no other way to get rid of crime in the city." This kind of thinking overlooks the idea that there might be other ways to remove crime and that banning drinking isn't the only possible solution.

The next one up is the fallacy of false cause. Here the speaker mistakenly assumes that one event causes the other because they occur sequentially. A really simple example would be someone approaching you and asking, "Why are you snapping your fingers?" I'd say, "To keep the elephants away" and they'd go, "I don't see any elephants around here" And I'd say "I know, works pretty well doesn't it?" That example is a bit impractical though so a better one might be an education critic pointing out the fact that an increase in sexual promiscuity among adolescence occurred around the same time that prayer was banned in public schools by the courts. While there could be a link between the two of them, there's nothing to actually establish any evidence to prove it. Just saying one happened before the other doesn't actually mean anything and doesn't actually make any sense.

Next up is a fallacy you see all the time in advertisements. It's called appeal to authority. The appeal to authority fallacy relies on the testimony of someone who isn't actually an expert in that field but makes you trust their opinion anyway. They do this by trying to impress you like if it was a famous celebrity or an athlete. You see this a lot in advertisements when celebrities endorse a particular product that they might not have much in common with. Just because a celebrity says that it's good for you or it's a good product doesn't actually really mean anything if they're not an expert on it. For example, an NFL quarter back might be qualified to tell you what you need to succeed in an organized sport, but if it wanted to support a political candidate they're not qualified for that at all.

Last but not least, we have the band wagon appeal fallacy. This fallacy is based off the idea that if the majority of people like or believe something then you should, too. While the mass appeal of something generally can be a sign of its merit, it doesn't necessarily make it true. In the terms of statement, it could be totally wrong. The best example of this, that I can think of, is just when you look back at science and history. In the past, everyone thought the earth was flat, for example, but now everyone knows that that isn't true. Just because the majority of the whole world thought it, doesn't even make it a fact. So as science continues to progress we learn more and more things that everyone thought was true, but aren't.

So there you have it guys. I hope you enjoyed the video and, more importantly, I hope this will help you call out people when they're just not making any sense.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This great rundown of argumentative fallacies was created by YouTuber Michael Gallagher. If you feel like it, send him some thanks via Twitter!

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

In case you were wondering what matters to us, it's your privacy. Read our updated privacy policy.

Hey, Internet Friend. Looks like you're using a crazy old web browser, which is no longer supported. Please consider upgrading to something more modern—for a better experience, and a safer time online. We only want the best for you.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.