Red herring fallacies

A red herring fallacy, one of the main subtypes of fallacies of relevance, is an error in logic where a proposition is, or is intended to be, misleading in order to make irrelevant or false inferences. In the general case any logical inference based on fake arguments, intended to replace the lack of real arguments or to replace implicitly the subject of the discussion.[60][61][62]
Red herring – argument given in response to another argument, which is irrelevant and draws attention away from the subject of argument. See also irrelevant conclusion.
  • Ad hominem – attacking the arguer instead of the argument.
    • Poisoning the well – a type of ad hominem where adverse information about a target is presented with the intention of discrediting everything that the target person says.[63]
    • Abusive fallacy – a subtype of "ad hominem" when it turns into verbal abuse of the opponent rather than arguing about the originally proposed argument.[64]
    • Tone policing – a subtype of "ad hominem", focusing on the emotion behind the message rather than the message itself as a discrediting tactic.
  • Appeal to authority (argumentum ab auctoritate) – where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting it.[65][66]
  • Appeal to consequences (argumentum ad consequentiam) – the conclusion is supported by a premise that asserts positive or negative consequences from some course of action in an attempt to distract from the initial discussion.[68]
  • Appeal to emotion – where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning.[69]
    • Appeal to fear – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing side[70][71]
    • Appeal to flattery – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made due to the use of flattery to gather support.[72]
    • Appeal to pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) – an argument attempts to induce pity to sway opponents.[73]
    • Appeal to ridicule – an argument is made by presenting the opponent's argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous.[74][75]
    • Appeal to spite – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made through exploiting people's bitterness or spite towards an opposing party.[76]
    • Wishful thinking – a specific type of appeal to emotion where a decision is made according to what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than according to evidence or reason.[77]
  • Appeal to motive – where a premise is dismissed by calling into question the motives of its proposer.
  • Appeal to nature – wherein judgment is based solely on whether the subject of judgment is 'natural' or 'unnatural'.[78] (Sometimes also called the "naturalistic fallacy", but is not to be confused with the other fallacies by that name)
  • Appeal to novelty (argumentum novitatis, argumentum ad antiquitatis) – where a proposal is claimed to be superior or better solely because it is new or modern.[79]
  • Appeal to poverty (argumentum ad Lazarum) – supporting a conclusion because the arguer is poor (or refuting because the arguer is wealthy). (Opposite of appeal to wealth.)[80]
  • Appeal to tradition (argumentum ad antiquitatem) – a conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true.[81]
  • Appeal to wealth (argumentum ad crumenam) – supporting a conclusion because the arguer is wealthy (or refuting because the arguer is poor).[82] (Sometimes taken together with the appeal to poverty as a general appeal to the arguer's financial situation.)
  • Argumentum ad baculum (appeal to the stick, appeal to force, appeal to threat) – an argument made through coercion or threats of force to support position.[83]
  • Argumentum ad populum (appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) – where a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because many people believe it to be so.[84]
  • Association fallacy (guilt by association and honor by association) – arguing that because two things share (or are implied to share) some property, they are the same.[85]
  • Bulverism (psychogenetic fallacy) – inferring why an argument is being used, associating it to some psychological reason, then assuming it is invalid as a result. It is wrong to assume that if the origin of an idea comes from a biased mind, then the idea itself must also be a falsehood.[43]
  • Chronological snobbery – where a thesis is deemed incorrect because it was commonly held when something else, clearly false, was also commonly held.[86][87]
  • Fallacy of relative privation ("not as bad as") – dismissing an argument or complaint due to the existence of more important problems in the world, regardless of whether those problems bear relevance to the initial argument. For example, First World problem.
  • Genetic fallacy – where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context.[88]
  • Judgmental language – insulting or pejorative language to influence the recipient's judgment.
  • Naturalistic fallacy (is–ought fallacy,[89] naturalistic fallacy[90]) – claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is.
  • Pooh-pooh – dismissing an argument perceived unworthy of serious consideration.[91]
  • Straw man fallacy – an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[92]
  • Texas sharpshooter fallacy – improperly asserting a cause to explain a cluster of data.[93]
  • Tu quoque ("you too", appeal to hypocrisy, I'm rubber and you're glue) – the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.[94]
  • Two wrongs make a right – occurs when it is assumed that if one wrong is committed, an "equal but opposite" wrong will cancel it out.[95]
  • Vacuous truth – A claim that is technically true but meaningless, in the form of claiming that no A in B has C, when there are no A in B. For example, claiming that no mobile phones in the room are on when there are no mobile phones in the room at all.
  • Appeal to self-evident truth - A claim that a proposition is self-evidently true, so needs no further supporting evidence. If self-evidence is actually the basis for the claim, it is arbitrary and the opposite (a contradictory or contrary statement) is equally true. In many cases, however, the basis is really some kind of unstated and unexamined observation or assumption.

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