Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Devil's Sneeze: New Logical Fallacies Defined
The International Society of Master Debaters has released two new logical fallacies. Here is the press release.
“Recent media attention to the polygamy of Mormon founder Joseph Smith and the LDS church essay on his plural marriages has spawned voluminous debate in commentary on dozens of news articles and countless replies on hundreds of forum threads. The debate has developed two new logical fallacies which are not quite like any others already in definition.
Devil’s Ventriloquist Fallacy: an appeal to dismiss the opponent's argument by appealing to a third being in the discussion.
Not to be confused with playing Devil’s Advocate in debate, a master debater will sometimes fall into using this fallacy when his opponent uses a large number of facts which contradict the debater’s traditionally held beliefs. Examples of Devil’s Ventriloquist often uses phrases such as those found in Mormon scripture: “The spirit of contention is of the devil.” (see 3 Nephi 11:29). Here the fallacious master debater will dismiss his opponent and leave the debate with an apparent win by claiming his opponent’s facts are contentious and of the devil, implying the opponent speaks vicariously through or for the devil.
The implied ventriloquism also comes in words such as “You carry an evil spirit about you” or “This discussion offends the spirit.” Upon using the DV fallacy, the master debater will leave the argument and declare a holier-than-thou victory. Meeting in the upper debate rooms of Constitutional Hall, the International Society of Master Debaters considered that this fallacy is already covered by the “Appeal to Motive” red herring fallacy, by the “Ad Hominem” fallacy, or by the “Appeal to Emotion” fallacy. However, by calling on a supernatural being and dismissing the opponent’s argument on the basis of a third party (spirit) it appears to be a new fallacy not hitherto seen.
From now on, a call to Devil’s Ventriloquist in debate will be assessed by both those who fear oppressive spirits and by those who know the devil as just a regular (albeit misjudged) guy with great bar conversation game.
A second fallacy which is very similar, was also newly defined.
Gesundheit Fallacy: dismissing an argument by invoking a positive affirmation or apparent blessing on an opponent in a backhanded manner.
Like Devil’s Ventriloquist, the master debater calls on a third being to “bless” the opponent when he sneezes a stream of facts, spewed out in an unanswerable blast. The master debater apparently having no argument or understanding of the factual sneeze invokes a positive affirmation or blessing in the form of “Well, God bless you and good luck!” just before leaving the argument. Upon using the Gesundheit Fallacy, the master debater will imply a holier-than-thou victory and even appear magnanimous in blessing his opponent, while seemingly grabbing the upper hand as he exits the discussion.
From now on, a call to the Gesundheit Fallacy in debate will be assessed by a tribunal of a medical general practitioner, a shaman and a representative of the Kleenex corporation.”
PS- In case you missed it: the above is satire.