Logical fallacies is a topic related to the cognitive biases. It is also a part of what I like to call “lazy thinking”.
As with the cognitive biases, we’re all guilty of committing logical fallacies once in a while. While that is not necessarily true for the cognitive biases, the danger to commit logical fallacies decreases with increasing IQ and the more honest a person is with oneself, more likely one is to realize the logical fallacies one commits. This is one reason I prefer CONVERSATIONS over DEBATES. In a debate, both sides try to WIN the debate – and that increases the probability that one or both sides start to use logical fallacies and unfair rhetorical tools, just to not lose.
Personally, I have inverted that premise: a day I lose a debate or an argument, is a GOOD DAY! Because it means I was able to drop a false belief and replace it with something better. This is more valuable to me than forming a new opinion or learning something new. Eradicating 1 false belief is equal to learning 10 new things. Whenever possible, I prefer to have a conversation with the common goal of finding out what is actually true. May the better facts and arguments win. WHO wins is irrelevant to me.
There is an excellent list of logical fallacies on Wikipedia. I strongly suggest everybody to read through these and to be honest with oneself…
Here a short list of the most common ones I come across regularly:
- Red herring