Friday, December 28, 2012

10 (common) Pro-life fallacies

People on both sides of the spectrum use fallacies all the time. I often see pro-lifers mention all the fallacies pro-choicers use. So, I've decided to list some common pro-life fallacies.

1)  Accident Fallacy. This is when a general rule is applied when circumstances suggest that an exception to the rule should apply. It's a type of generalization

A common example I often see if when a pro-life individual poses this question; “It’s okay to kill a baby in the womb when ______” and sets up the question by first asking, “Do you think it’s a baby in the womb?” Another example of this fallacy is when people say, "it is a crime to shoot people." Soldiers shoot people in war. Victims shoot their attackers in self-defense. Obviously this kind of generalization is incorrect. No right-minded person would advocate that it is okay to kill a baby; however, we have not established a scientific definition of the word “baby”, only a common definition that often has an emotion-driven basis.  By using the word baby in their arguments or questions, they ignore an entire spectrum of early life stages that might be better described as zygote, embryo or fetus. A better question to ask would be, "at what point does a fetus become a baby?"

2) False Analogy. This is  an unjustified inference drawn on the basis of similarities between two items or types of items

A common example I freuently see is when pro-lifers compare abortion to the atrocities of the Holocaust, and say they are the same thing. They claim that there is an abortion Holocaust. The Holocaust is unique in its horror. Those who died in the Holocaust were fully human and independent persons who were conscious of themselves, others, and their surroundings. With abortion the life that dies is an embryo or fetus, on the road to becoming a person but not there yet, not able to feel pain, not aware of its surroundings, and not able to think. The fetus and embryo are physically linked to the woman whereas those who were murdered during the Holocaust were independent in this regards. These are significant differences. The scenarios are not the same and therefore cannot be viewed as analogous situations. The False Analogy to Nazism is so commonly used in debate that it even has it’s own name- Reductio ad Hitlerum

3) Loaded Questions. They are worded in a way that seeks to state something as truthful while phrasing it as a question or asking an unrelated question and are designed to force a yes or no answer to an unwarranted premise. The questioner forces the answerer to commit to a premise to which the respondent may not agree and then uses the response for further manipulation down the road. Falsely relevant questions are designed to prove an irrelevant conclusion

An example of this is when a pro-lifer condemns others by a moral standard that has not been proven to exist or agreed upon by all parties. At no point do they acknowledge that these morals are subjective or even that countless alternative moral systems exist in other cultures and religions. Morality is not only a culturally-ingrained thing, it's also a part of our psychologies. Our sense of right and wrong will change over time for everyone.  I think of it like this: if I have to tell a kid not to do something because it's bad, and they ask why, I'd better have an answer, or I should reconsider why I'm telling them it's wrong. I can't think of anything that I view as wrong or evil without some kind of reasoning backing it up

Still don't see it? How about another example? “In my religion if you step on lots of bugs during your life you get reincarnated as a bug after you die, but if you have 10 children you get reincarnated as a human again after you die. If you died tomorrow which do you think you would be more likely to be reincarnated as?”. Since most people don’t have 10 or more children they would likely respond that they would be reincarnated as a bug. Stating this does not make it true. There was no option for “I don’t believe that” or “Prove what you believe is true”

4) Argumentum ad baculum. This is the threat of force. Some might argue that this is not a true threat of force since the force is not readily apparent, and in this case we could instead classify it as an Appeal to Fear

This occurs when a religious pro-lifer invokes the fear of hell upon the person he is debating against.  A potential outcome being scary does not lend any amount of truth to a claim being made.  It’s unfortunate that we are so predisposed to fear the negative religious beliefs of the cultural majority that we were raised in and yet ignore those that we are unfamiliar with

5) Appeal to emotion. It's a way of gettin some emotional connection to try and make your argument more persuasive

An example of this would be, ""just be glad you weren't aborted when you were a baby" is nothing more than an emotional trigger. It's alsi important to use the correct terminology when speaking about this topic. The word "baby" is a term of endearment and not a specific scientific  term. When a person claims equality between fetus or to an infant or says they are the same, they are adding an emotionally charged element into the debate

6) Strawman fallacy. This is a type of argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position

I can give a good example of this. The following is a quote that was directed towards me; "You have a whole world of alternatives, but you INSIST that children need to die just so you can have your orgasm YOUR way. How many children need to be butchered just so you can cum? So, by your admission, it MUST be OK to kill human beings who are born, since they're just animals, right? Since humans aren't 'endangered', it MUST be OK to kill ANY human, right?" I don't think this one needs to be explained. It seems pretty self-explanitory 

6) Appeal to nature. This is the assumption that something is good or correct on the basis that it happens in nature

"If a fetus is in the womb by nature, then why mess with the intentions of nature and kill it?" We mess with nature all the time. We cut down trees, use medicine, we wear clothes, we drive cars, we fly airplanes, we use ships, we create synthetic food products and drinks, and so much more. The entirety of human civilization has screwed nature over, don't think abortion is anything different. Just because soemthing is natural, that does not make it good or bad

7) Ad Hominem. This is when a person attacks his or her opponents and his or her character instead of the argument being presented

An example of this would be the following (which is a REAL quote, sadly): "You're even ignorant to what YOU are saying. You're hopeless, Dear. Your ignorance is STAGGERING. DO try to educate yourself, Hon'! Since humans aren't 'endangered', it MUST be OK to kill ANY human, right? It's kinda funny how you deliberately danced around this. Sorry you lost, Dear, but there's nothing to continue - you've outed yourself as willfully ignorant, hypocritical, and desperate. All you did was repeat the same bullshit that I had already debunked. I'm not prepared to deal with 50 retards doing the EXACT same thing. Face it... Your bumper sticker slogans just can't help you."

8) Fallacy fallacy. This describes someone who has a basic understanding of fallacies and tries to call people out on them in debates, while in the process, dismissing the entire argument

There is nothing wrong with pointing out that someone's argument is invalid. However, claiming that the entirety of your own proposition (which could otherwise be an objective scientific truth or supported by better arguments) is false, just because it just happened to be supported by this single fallacious argument

9) Burden of proof.  It's the obligation that somebody presenting an idea or point has to provide evidence to support it. This fallacy occurs when a lack of evidence for side A is taken to be evidence for side B in cases in whichthe burden of proof actually rests on side B. A common name for this is an Appeal to Ignorance.

"I need not prove my claim, you must prove it is false"

10) Begging the question. This is what one does in an argument when one assumes what one claims to be proving

 Simply assuming that the conclusion is true in the premises does not constitute evidence for that conclusion. Simply assuming a claim is true does not serve as evidence for that claim. This is especially clear in particularly blatant cases: "Abortion is murder and murder is morally wrong. Murder is illegal and wrong, so abortion should be illegal"

Fallacies of moral reasoning are logically incorrect ways of reasoning that attempt to persuade emotionally or psychologically. Arguments should never be based off morality. That's like saying, "you shouldn't do X because X is clearly wrong." Okay. So you think X is wrong. But WHY? Why should we all subscribe to YOUR morality?

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