Critical Thinking for Homeland Security - Free Essay

Published: 2023-09-27
Critical Thinking for Homeland Security - Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Stereotypes Social psychology Homeland security Social issue
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1635 words
14 min read

We saw two houses: one in the suburbs and one in the center of town. The suburban house was less expensive than the one in town so there must be something wrong with it.

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This reasoning lacks proper informational backing. The argument is based on an appeal to ignorance and a lack of evidence. As such, the author practices material fallacy by believing that the mere fact that the suburban house is cheaper than the one in town implies that something is wrong with it. The author instead requires to gather further evidence to illustrate the lower rent expense for the suburban house.

I’ve been putting in a lot of overtime and life has been really difficult lately. I want a promotion, and I deserve it; you should give me one.

This second case illustrates a fallacious attempt by one party to appeal to the emotions of the second (superior) party. The first party bases their argument for a promotion solely on their personal situation instead of the actual performance in the job to them. This appeal is thereby misplaced as grounds for requesting promotion as they are not logically relevant to the productivity in their job.

You are only attacking my politics because you are a racist.

This fallacy directly targets “the man” rather than the topic of the argument. This fallacy is termed as the Ad Hominem. The party in the argument attacks the second party´s personality as a means for declaring their argument line biased and lacking merits, claiming the second party as racist to their objectivity instead of arguing around the topic of focus.

People take more seriously what they have to pay for. Therefore, people paying their way are more serious students than those who are not.

This fallacy is based on a faulty generalization. The author presumes that all the students who pay their way through schools are automatically more focused than the ones who do not. The author fails to recognize the various interacting factors that may influence the seriousness of students in the learning journey. This cognitive bias may also be termed as the wishful thinking fallacy.

Children are imaginative; they are different from adults. Therefore, they should have a good education.

Glowing generality fallacy involves the use of emotionally appealing yet unquantifiable phrases like “imaginative” to implore the audience into accepting the reasoning. In this example, the author generally argues for the children´s “imagination” and “differentness” (irrational emotional traits) to support their claims for the children´s higher educational ability. The audience is thereby emotionally driven to approve the fallacy without seeking scientific and data-supported evidence.

Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am. (Rene Descartes:1637)

In this categorical syllogism, Descartes produces two declarative phrases with a cause-effect relationship that does not exist. The declarations are thereby constructed and linked through dubious means and an imagined causal relationship. The statement thus falls victim to the False Cause fallacy.

If you vote for a Democrat, you vote against the war on terror.

In this fallacy, just like the third example, uses a negative and terrifying emotion to appeal to the audience. The use of terror as an emotional manipulation tries to scare the audience from performing the action implied (voting Democrat). This fallacy is called the appeal to emotion fallacy

Sex education in schools encourages experimentation. (Browne & Keeley 2007:100)

In this eighth example, the authors appeal to the slippery slope argument fallacy. In this fallacy, the authors may claim that the occurrence of one event (sex education) will lead to the second event (experimentation). In this logical fallacy, an initial action leads to a negative consequence that differs from the initially intended one.

All Muslims are terrorists and should be killed.

The first readily evident fallacy in the statement is the hasty generalization fallacy. The party claims that the entire religion is comprised of terrorists without interacting with the members of the faith. Such fallacious conclusions are drawn from a small sample of the Muslim population that may be tagged as terrorists. Secondly, the deductive logic approach leads to the inference that all Muslims should be killed since they are all terrorists and terrorists should be killed.

It is true that certain organizations have ties to groups in areas of conflict that some may describe as terrorists, but they also have run orphanages and supported other local humanitarian efforts.

In this example, the author tries to divert attention from the main point by bringing in a non-related argument. This fallacy is referred to as the red herring fallacy. The author thereby tries to distract the audience attention from the organization´s link to terrorists by

A Gallup poll last week found that 75 percent of highly religious people didn’t think we should go to war with countries harboring terrorism. (Browne & Keeley 2007:100)

This is a biased sample fallacy that cannot be used to generalize findings to the overall population. As religious people are presumed to prefer non-violent conflict resolution methods, the author should expect them to be against military interventions to terrorism. The study should, as such, target the general population instead of a biased religious sample.

A great leader is infallible and can never be wrong. Saddam Hussein was a great leader because he could really inspire people to follow him. Yet anyone advocating genocide was clearly wrong, and Hussein did advocate and practice genocide. Therefore, Hussein was not infallible. (adapted from Govier, p. 159).

Explaining by Naming and Oversimplification fallacies are evident in this example. The author posits two extremes and places the target in either one end or the other of the infallibility continuum. In the first part of the statement, the infallible nature of leaders is explained by just naming the word and assuming perfection to the concept. The leader is thereby expected to be infallible in the absolute sense of it.

The terrorists only struck large cities like New York and Washington. Since I live in Iowa; I’ll be safe.

This argument employs the Monte Carlo fallacy. While it is true that terrorists have often targeted larger cities, it is not true that they might not target the smaller cities sometime. The author is thereby gambling their chances of being safe from the terrorist attacks.

Any country that does not relinquish terrorists to the American justice system is clearly on the side of the terrorists. (Browne & Keeley 2007:100).

This statement may carry the fallacy of presumption as well as the either/or fallacy. The justice system in the US believes that all countries that do not allow them to deal with the terrorists are on their side. The US justice system, as such, presumes that all these countries are terrorists without collecting enough evidence to prove the claims. The US also sets either/or demands which fail to recognize the reasonable middle ground; that maybe the other countries can also dispense justice on the terrorists. The Justice system might also be Card Stacking by taking only the side of the argument that furthers the narrative of terrorist cooperation while ignoring probable contradictory opinions.

The company CEO got a confidential notice from the CIA that one of our employees attended a radical, survivalist convention.

The notice, in this case, made a presumption that attending the radical, survivalist convention already implied that the said employee shared in the extremist views of the meeting. Explaining by naming is applied here to show the employee as a radical survivalist by merely identifying that they attended the convention.

America for Americans. Close the gates on immigrants.

Again, this is another fallacy that appeals to the emotions. According to the author, the aspect of being American evokes an emotional connection and is associated with a specific group of people. The ‘Americans’ are then encouraged to resist the entry of any outsiders into America. In the process, the author fails to recognize the fundamental diversity (as a result of immigrants) that make America the country it is today.

A person of integrity is one who will honor his or her commitments.

This example illustrates the fallacy of glittering generality. The author sets out a range of shared values; they believe people should attain to be presumed honorable. Integrity and commitment, in this case, is used to seek audience approval of the noble traits without questioning the absence of evidence.

Esse est percipi – to be is to be perceived (George Berkeley 1710)

In this phrase, Berkeley builds his reasoning on a dilemma that there are only two options to select from. The False Dilemma fallacy thereby restricts the audience´s alternatives and creates a false presumption that the audience should choose from. When you are not perceived, then you cannot be.

“At a time when young Muslims are being persuaded to murder large numbers of innocent people with the promise of a reward in heaven, it seems prudent to be wary of leaders who want to drag God into the dismal consequences of human behavior. The hell that appears to be looming is man-made…” (Govier, p. 200)

This example displays the Red Herring fallacy. While Govier wishes to speak on poor leadership, he introduces the popular argument on the motivation some terrorists find for engaging in terrorism. The two parts of the argument are, thereby, only slightly related.

Socrates is a man.

All men are mortal.

Therefore, all men are Socrates. (Woody Allen Love and Death 1975)

This is an inductive variant of a Syllogistic fallacy. In this fallacy, the three declarative statements are joined together to deduce a conclusion. The major premise (Socrates is a man) is linked with the minor premise (All men are mortal) to conclude that “Therefore, all men are Socrates.”

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