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Posted: November 24th, 2022


Part 1: Finding logical fallacies “in the wild” (5 points)

Instructions: Search the internet (news sites, blogs, social media, etc.) for an article or post that commits a logical fallacy. Describe the logical fallacy that is committed and discuss what could be done to correct it. Make sure to include a link and/or screen shot of your example. You are not limited to the logical fallacies that were presented in the course lecture (1-2 paragraphs)
NOTE: For the purposes of privacy, if you are taking a post from social media, please blur out names and photos of the individual(s) who posted and/or commented.

Here’s an example: Below is the headline for a Vox story linked here. This statement is an example of a correlation fallacy. Moving to California does not cause and increase in life expectancy. Rather, it is more likely that there are “lurking” variables (aka confounding factors) that need to be identified.

Here’s another example: The tweet below provides a headline and quick summary of the article linked here. This article implies that if we performed these morning rituals, then we can become successful as well. While there may be some merit to the impacts of a quality morning routine on productivity, this doesn’t mean that doing what Oprah does will make you as successful as Oprah.

There are a few potential fallacies here.
1.) This is a hasty generalization fallacy (we didn’t cover this one explicitly in lecture). Hasty generalizations examine just one or a few examples and then generalize that to be representative of the whole group. Just because these 6 successful people have morning routines doesn’t mean that all successful people have morning routines.

2.) This could also be explained as a correlation fallacy, if the article convinced you that these routines are the cause of their professional success (“Oprah meditates for 20 minutes, and she is very successful. Therefore, morning meditation leads to professional success.”). Just because these two things are true about Oprah doesn’t mean they are related, and definitely doesn’t indicate that one causes the other.

Part 2: Science, logic, and climate change (5 points)

There are a number of faulty arguments against anthropogenic (aka human-driven) climate change. I’ve listed 7 of them below. Choose 2 of the following arguments and provide a logically sound argument against them. You are welcome to look up and use outside information to support your argument. (~2 paragraphs)

Anthropogenic climate change is not really occurring because…

1.) it was a cold and snowy winter.
2.) the ice in Antarctica is actually increasing.
3.) the climate has changed in the past; this is just natural variation.
4.) carbon dioxide comprises a very small part of the atmosphere.
5.) scientists have been wrong in the past, so we can’t be sure of their claims now.
6.) there are thousands of scientists who disagree with the idea that humans are driving climate change.
7.) humans only emit a very small portion of the world’s CO2.


Part 1: “Out in the wild” logical fallacies (5 points)

Instructions: Find an article or post on the internet (news sites, blogs, social media, etc.) that makes a logical fallacy. Identify the logical fallacy that has been made and suggest how it might be corrected. Include a link to your example and/or a screenshot of it. You are not restricted to the logical fallacies discussed in the course lecture (1-2 paragraphs)

NOTE: If you’re using a post from social media, please blur out the names and images of the person(s) who posted and/or commented for privacy reasons.

Here’s an illustration: The headline for a Vox story linked here is below. A correlation fallacy is exemplified by this remark.

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