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A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. Strong arguments are void of logical fallacies, whilst arguments that are weak tend to use logical fallacies to appear stronger than they are. They’re like tricks or illusions of thought, and they’re often very sneakily used by politicians, the media, and others to fool people.
Don’t be fooled! This poster has been designed to help you identify some of the more common fallacies. If you see someone committing a logical fallacy online, link them to the relevant fallacy to school them in thinkiness e.g. yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman
This poster is published under a Creative Commons No Derivative Works license 2012 by Jesse Richardson. You are free to print, copy, and redistribute this artwork, with the binding proviso that you reproduce it in full so that others may share alike. This poster can be downloaded for free at the website.
Misrepresenting someone’s argument to
make it easier to attack.
After Will said that we should put more money into
health and education, Warren responded by saying that
he was surprised that Will hates our country so much
that he wants to leave it defenceless by cutting
Cherry-picking data clusters to suit an
argument, or finding a pattern to fit a
The makers of Sugarette Candy Drinks point to
research showing that of the five countries where
Sugarette drinks sell the most units, three of them are in
the top ten healthiest countries on Earth, therefore
Sugarette drinks are healthy.
Attacking your opponent’s character
or personal traits in an attempt to
undermine their argument.
After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case
for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the
audience whether we should believe anything from a
woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and
smells a bit weird.
Asking a question that has an
assumption built into it so that it can’t be
answered without appearing guilty.
Grace and Helen were both romantically interested in
Brad. One day, with Brad sitting within earshot, Grace
asked in an inquisitive tone whether Helen was having
any problems with a fungal infection.
Believing that ‘runs’ occur to statistically
independent phenomena such as roulette
Red had come up six times in a row on the roulette
wheel, so Greg knew that it was close to certain that
black would be next up. Su!ering an economic form of
natural selection with this thinking, he soon lost all of
Appealing to popularity or the fact that
many people do something as an
attempted form of validation.
Shamus pointed a drunken finger at Sean and asked
him to explain how so many people could believe in
leprechauns if they’re only a silly old superstition.
Sean, however, had had a few too many Guinness
himself and fell o! his chair.
Where two alternative states are
presented as the only possibilities, when
in fact more possibilities exist.
Whilst rallying support for his plan to fundamentally
undermine citizens’ rights, the Supreme Leader told
the people they were either on his side, or on the side
of the enemy.
A circular argument in which the
conclusion is included in the premise.
The word of Zorbo the Great is flawless and perfect. We
know this because it says so in The Great and Infallible
Book of Zorbo’s Best and Most Truest Things that are
Definitely True and Should Not Ever Be Questioned.
Using the opinion or position of an
authority figure, or institution of
authority, in place of an actual argument.
Not able to defend his position that evolution ‘isn’t true’
Bob says that he knows a scientist who also questions
evolution (and presumably isn’t a primate).
Making the argument that because
something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid,
justified, inevitable, good, or ideal.
The medicine man rolled into town on his bandwagon
o!ering various natural remedies, such as very special
plain water. He said that it was only natural that
people should be wary of ‘artificial’ medicines such
Assuming that what’s true about one part
of something has to be applied to all, or
other, parts of it.
Daniel was a precocious child and had a liking for logic.
He reasoned that atoms are invisible, and that he was
made of atoms and therefore invisible too.
Unfortunately, despite his thinky skills, he lost the game
of hide and go seek.
Using personal experience or an isolated
example instead of a valid argument,
especially to dismiss statistics.
Jason said that that was all cool and everything, but his
grandfather smoked, like, 30 cigarettes a day and lived
until 97 – so don’t believe everything you read about
meta analyses of sound studies showing proven
Making what could be called an appeal to
purity as a way to dismiss relevant
criticisms or flaws of an argument.
Angus declares that Scotsmen do not put sugar on
their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a
Scotsman and puts sugar on his porridge. Furious, like a
true Scot, Angus yells that no true Scotsman sugars his
Saying that a compromise, or middle
point, between two extremes is the truth.
Holly said that vaccinations caused autism in children,
but her scientifically well-read friend Caleb said that this
claim had been debunked and proven false. Their friend
Alice o!ered a compromise that vaccinations cause
Judging something good or bad on the
basis of where it comes from, or from
whom it comes.
Accused on the 6 o’clock news of corruption and taking
bribes, the senator said that we should all be very wary
of the things we hear in the media, because we all
know how very unreliable the media can be.
Using double meanings or ambiguities of
language to mislead or misrepresent the
When the judge asked the defendant why he hadn’t
paid his parking fines, he said that he shouldn’t have to
pay them because the sign said ‘Fine for parking here’
and so he naturally presumed that it would be fine to
Presuming that a real or perceived
relationship between things means that
one is the cause of the other.
Pointing to a fancy chart, Roger shows how
temperatures have been rising over the past few
centuries, whilst at the same time the numbers of
pirates have been decreasing; thus pirates cool the
world and global warming is a hoax.
Presuming that because a claim has been
poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made,
that it is necessarily wrong.
Recognising that Amanda had committed a fallacy in
arguing that we should eat healthy food because a
nutritionist said it was popular, Alyse said we should
therefore eat bacon double cheeseburgers every day.
Manipulating an emotional response in
place of a valid or compelling argument.
Luke didn’t want to eat his sheep’s brains with chopped
liver and brussels sprouts, but his father told him to
think about the poor, starving children in a third world
country who weren’t fortunate enough to have any
food at all.
Avoiding having to engage with criticism
by turning it back on the accuser –
answering criticism with criticism.
The blue candidate accused the red candidate of
committing the tu quoque fallacy. The red candidate
responded by accusing the blue candidate of the same,
after which ensued an hour of back and forth criticism
with not much progress.
Saying that the burden of proof lies not
with the person making the claim, but
with someone else to disprove.
Bertrand declares that a teapot is, at this very moment,
in orbit around the Sun between the Earth and Mars,
and that because no one can prove him wrong his
claim is therefore a valid one.
Saying that because one finds something
di!cult to understand that it’s therefore
Kirk drew a picture of a fish and a human and with
e!usive disdain asked Richard if he really thought we
were stupid enough to believe that a fish somehow
turned into a human through just, like, random things
happening over time.
Moving the goalposts to create exceptions
when a claim is shown to be false.
Edward Johns claimed to be psychic, but when his
‘abilities’ were tested under proper scientific conditions,
they magically disappeared. Edward explained this
saying that one had to have faith in his abilities for
them to work.
Asserting that if we allow A to happen,
then Z will consequently happen too,
therefore A should not happen.
Colin Closet asserts that if we allow same-sex couples
to marry, then the next thing we know we’ll be
allowing people to marry their parents, their cars and