Five of the fallacies I am going to talk about in this short essay are Tu Quoque fallacy or the appeal to hypocrisy, Causal fallacy, Hasty Generalization, Bandwagon fallacy, and Appeal to Authority (argument ad verecundiam).
Tu Quoque Fallacy or the Appeal to Hypocrisy
Tu Quoque Fallacy or the appeal to hypocrisy is a logical fallacy where a person schemes their way through an argument by pointing fingers at the other person’s failure in order to cause distractions. An example when someone I know used Tu Quoque Fallacy or the appeal to hypocrisy was when a very close family friend was transferred to Germany for work about six months ago. Before he left the US, he begged his wife to travel with him because he was going to be there for a while, but she bluntly refused.
According to her, she felt she could not work over there as a realtor because it would take too much time to adjust. She said she loved it here, and she loved her job. This became a huge problem in their marriage. But I tried to convince her because their marriage was barely a year old, that if she truly loved her husband, then she should go with him. She looked at me angrily and said to me, “what about you? Why aren’t you with your husband back home? Or don’t you love him? Face your family and leave me alone.” She was ignoring that my situation was different than hers and instead was calling me a hypocrite rather than respond to the idea itself.
Causal fallacy is an argument that suggests cause and effect. It is presumed that one thing causes the other to happen when in fact there is no evidence to prove it. For example, a friend of mine always argues that the reason why her son keeps getting sick with flu is because he was not born in Africa. She says she is convinced of this because her other two children hardly catch a common cold let alone the flu. She even goes so far as to say that she is sure that her unborn child will be no different. This example falls in line with the post hoc fallacy because there is really no connection between the two things. Being born in Africa or the United States has nothing to do with getting sick with the flu. Children get sick all the time; it really does not have anything to do with where they were born.
Hasty Generalization is a fallacy that is based on stereotype, in which general assumptions are made about a person or a group with no solid or sufficient evidence to prove them. These speculations and general impressions tend to result in hasty, unfair, and biased conclusions. For instance, my mother-in-law never wanted her son to marry me because of the assumptions that women from Niger Delta in Nigeria, where I come from, are wayward and diabolic. Her reason for the argument was that she has heard stories, just stories. She made hasty conclusions about me without taking the time to know me first. But, after a while, she realized that her assumptions and conclusions about me were wrong.
Bandwagon fallacy is the assumption that something is valid or right based on popular opinion. It is a way of making people do things that are believed to be true by following the trend because others are doing the same thing. For instance, a few years back, before I came to America, without evidence of success, I put all the money that I had into a business hoping to get a double return on investment.
My husband tried his best to convince me not to do it, but I told him that everyone was doing it and started mentioning names. Despite his warnings, I did it anyway because I heard some people got double the sums of money that they invested in return. In the end it was all a scam. I lost every penny I had. No return on investment, not even my capital. So the Bandwagon fallacy or following the trend can sometimes or get one into uncomfortable and regrettable situations.
Appeal to Authority (Argument ad Verecundiam)
Appeal to Authority (argument ad verecundiam) is a fallacy where it is assumed that every statement made by a person or persons of authority is true or correct even without solid evidence. For example, the pastor of a church I used to go to back in Nigeria told the congregation things they should do to receive blessings. He would claim that the Holy Spirit required people to crawl to the front of the church to buy a bracelet of protection. I believed this was the truth because I thought that he should know what the Bible says.
When I searched the Bible, I couldn’t find a place that said this. He was using his authority as a clergyman to persuade people to buy something he could profit from instead of giving them the truth from the Bible.