What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Logical Fallacies

Everyone who's taken beginner's logic knows the old school fallacies - Non sequitur, Ad hoc post proctor ergo hoc, etc. Ever since we at FCN learned those nifty phrases, we started deploying them in all kinds of mundane household discussions. "Wow. That shirt is so ad hominem." "He ran a red light. That's the fallacy of division." "He beat the tar out of him. What a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid."

No doubt about it. Knowing the names of logical fallacies makes us seem smarter and sparkles up our repartee. Not content to just use the old school fallacies, we went to the FCN Lab and discovered a healthy passel of new ones. We publish our results here for the benefit of the general intellectual community: Plurium Stupidium, Petitio Kapowio, Retardio Terminorum, Consensum Minoritum, Argumentum Dementum, Terminorum Confusium, Refutatum ad Mortem, Ipse Dimwit, Argumentum ad Baculum Squidius Magnus, and the Stupid Pants Fallacy. Learn them well, then incorporate them in your everyday conversations.

1) Plurium Stupidium: Fallacy of Much Stupidity. Consists of several stupid comments improperly grouped into one. Often, a single refutation is expected against all the nonsense.


"Gas prices are so low today that I think I'll fill every container in my house to make my own strategic oil reserve by stockpiling all the gas in that nook next to the fireplace."

"We should let women rule the world because they drive cars better."

"I've decided to spend the rest of my life sitting right here and eating this cheese."

2) Petitio Kapowio: Fallacy of Begging to get Socked in the Nose. Consists of defending a position in a really irritating way, such that the opponent has no choice but to point out the logical error in a very physical and satisfying fashion.


"Bring it, punk."

"Well, I'm right, and that's just how it is."

"Why are you REALLY arguing with me? Is it because you're scared?"

3) Retardio Terminorum: Fallacy of Retarded Terms. Consists of a categorical syllogism that has retarded terms.


Major Premise: That's lame.
Minor Premise: Lame is pathetic.
Conclusion: You're lame.

Major Premise: White is the new black.
Minor Premise: Silver is the new gold.
Conclusion: I'll buy that one.

Major Premise: Nothing is too good for the king.
Minor Premise: A bowl of oatmeal is better than nothing.
Conclusion: A bowl of oatmeal is too good for the king.

4) Consensus Minoritum: Appeal to Minority. The inverse of Appeal to the People (Argumentum ad Populum). Consists of an argument supported by its own lack of support.


"That's what they all say. I can't believe you fell for it, too."

"The court ruled 8-1. The dissenting opinion, however, has some very choice arguments in support of my position."

"We'll never win this election unless we can befriend minorities."

5) Argumentum Dementum: Fallacy of Arguing from a Position or State of Dementia. Consists of arguments which accidentally make no sense and are not the fault of the arguments themselves. Argumentum Dementum is a very hard fallacy to spot.


Major Premise: All cats are animals.
Minor Premise: Ginger is an animal.
Conclusion: Teeheehee!

"Due to my incredible good looks, remarkable intelligence, contagious charisma, discriminating good taste, and skill with a joystick, I will take over the world at this time tomorrow, and anyone who wants to stop me can ... teeheehee!"

A = B
B = C
Therefore, A = Teeheehee!

6) Terminorum Confusium: Fallacy of Confusing Terms. Consists of arguments expressed in confusing ways. This often involves mathematical notation. It is designed to block the opponent from effective response.


If no birds are dogs, no dogs can fly, no birds can swim, some fish can fly, no dogs are fish, some dogs can swim, no fish are birds, and all fish can swim, then all birds can fly.

A = B
B ⊄ C
B ⊄ D
D ⊂ either B or C
C ≠ A
B ⇒ A ⇒ C
D = B ≡ C ≠ D
B ¬ C
Therefore, A ∀ B := C ∃! D.

If aggregate assessment driven system development can only be optimized under synergistic group-based outcome models, then growing functionalities on core competencies will only recontextualize pre-existing proactive relationships rather than enhancing holistic cross-circular networks.

7) Refutatum ad Mortem: Fallacy of Arguing a Point to the Death. Consists of an argument issued from the mouth of one who has been arguing so long he no longer knows what he is saying.


"I'm not sure what you just said because my ears are ringing so loud from all the caffeine, but I'm sure it's wrong."

"Just oooooooooooooooooooone more jelly donut. Then I'll stop. This time I mean it. I'm really going to stop."

"Medicare, Medicaid, and the environment ... Medicare, Medicaid, and the environment ... Medicare, Medicaid, and the environment ..."

8) Ipse Dimwit: Fallacy of Appealing to a Dimwit. A subset of Argument from Authority; occurs when the cited authority is a dimwit.

"Homer Simpson once said: 'Bart, with $10,000, we'd be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like ... love!'"

"Homer Simpson once called beer the cause of, and solution to, all life's problems."

"Homer Simpson once said that weaseling is what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel."

9) Argumentum ad Baculum Squidium Magnus: Fallacy of Fear of Giant Squid. Consists of an emotional appeal involving a giant squid; this fallacy typically involves said squid falling from the sky. Also known as Secundum Squid.


"I would love to get a driver's license, but I don't want to risk having a giant squid fall on me in the middle of the test."

"You're so obssessed with people starving in Africa. What about those poor people in Quebec? Why, a giant squid could gobble them up at any moment!"

Major Premise: All cows eat grass.
Minor Premise: Betsy is a cow.
Conclusion: However, due to the giant squid, Betsy actually does not eat grass.

10) The Stupid Pants Fallacy. Consists of an argument in which substitution of identical designators in a true statement can lead to one that is stupid pants. Such arguments often neglect to consider the high prevalence of stupid pants entities.


Fact 1: I know who X is.
Fact 2: X is stupid pants.
Fact 3: I do not know who Y is.
Conclusion: Y is not stupid pants.

"My cousin James lives in Iowa. He isn't stupid pants. So I'm going to move to Iowa, where the stupid pants concentration is lower."

If Bob is stupid pants, then Bill is stupid pants. If Bill is stupid pants, then Bob is stupid pants. Bob is not stupid pants. Therefore, Bill is not stupid pants.


adrialien said...

#5 made me LOL. Thanks, guys. I needed that!

Christopher Yerziklewski said...

That was amazing. You guys rock.

Halo Trujello said...

That was so great :D One of your best.

Anonymous said...

absolutely brilliant.

Guitarbob said...

i love petito kapowio, thats great

you can call me batman said...

oh, my gosh. this was hilarious. not happy this morning and then just about died laughing. Thanks!

Lindsey said...

That was hilarious!! :D

Watch out for those falling squid said...

The giant squid was my fav~! Absolutely brilliant~!

Captain Wentworth said...

Quite hilarious! Had the whole family in ROFLOL.

adrialien said...

Waaaa! It's 7:35 pm!!! Where's my Tuesday post????

Will said...

Retardio Terminorum ROFL!!! You just blew my mind!

Anonymous said...

Infomaditun overfulum: To much information not very well explained and not very well thought through. But still very funny

Lazrmagnt said...

i think i do #6 a lot, confusing myself

Raven said...

Yeah wow funny but you guys need to work on your Latin... its atrocious. tisk tisk lol :)

mumble's the word said...

I've read this several times, and I still come up loving it. There are some people I know who use Petitio Kapowio.

Blackjack Rules said...

Here so history!