Winning Discussions: Affirming the Consequent (Effective Pirating)
Logical fallacies are techniques that people use to make an argument appear convincing even when it is wrong. Learning how to identify and refute logical fallacies is one of the best ways to win in a discussion. Catching an opponent committing a fallacy will force him to retract his error or he will appear foolish or manipulative to his audience. There is a dark side to this. Once you learn to identify logical fallacies you will also be able to use them. Do not deliberately use them against fellow Pirates; it is extreme bad manners and you will most probably be caught out.
The Logical Fallacy – Affirming the consequent
This fallacy is also called the converse error or fallacy of the converse. It is taking a true conditional statement such as “if it is raining the sky is cloudy”. Then taking the consequent “if it is cloudy then it must be raining” is affirming the consequent. Clearly it is not always raining from a cloudy sky and the fallacy is clear. It is not always so easy to see the problem in the logic.
If A then B
When you see this sort of argument then check that the last of the argument, the consequent cannot be the result of another condition. it could be that it is cloudy with no rain or it may even be snowing. Also be wary if the last part is a statement; it is quite likely that the creator of the argument is trying to trick you.
If people do not work they will be poor.
Therefore, poor people are poor because they do not work”
This sounds plausible but it is false. Millions of women in Africa work hard for long hours every day and are amongst the poorest in the world.
If TOR is used to download pirated movies.
Rebecca uses TOR.
Therefore Rebecca downloads pirated movies.
TOR is used for many reasons besides downloading movies, pirated or not.
You can read more about the bandwagon logical fallacy in a wikipedia post and logical fallacies in general in this wikipedia article.
Remember that just because someone commits a logical fallacy it does not mean their argument is necessarily incorrect. If you have the time and resources then use the principles of scepticism to test their reasoning objectively.
This article is a part of a series called Effective Pirating:
Winning Discussions: The Fallacy Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 09/01/15
Winning Discussions: The Gambler’s Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 28/12/14
Winning Discussions: argumentum ad ignorantiam (Effective Pirating) 21/11/14
Winning Discussions: post hoc, ergo propter hoc (Effective Pirating) 13/11/14
Winning Discussions: Ad Hominem (Effective Pirating) 23/10/14
Winning Discussions: Appeal to Fear (Effective Pirating) 21/10/14
Winning Discussions: Begging the Question (Effective Pirating) 17/8/14
Winning Discussions – The Bandwagon Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 11/8/14
Effective Pirating: Winning Discussions – Tu Quoque 24/7/14
Effective Pirating: Winning Discussions – The Straw Man 17/7/14
Effective Pirating: Choose your Opponents Carefully 7/7/14
Featured image: CC BY-NC Tom