Five Days of Fallacies: Day 5, Fallacist’s Fallacy

Five Days of Fallacies: Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here. I have discussed  some common mistakes we humans make in reasoning, in the hope that you can 1) Understand what they are 2) Recognize them when others speak 3) Recognize them when you think this way 4) Attempt to correct your thinking on old, current and future ideas.

The Fallacist’s Fallacy (I like saying that) refers to an argument being refuted, simply because it uses a fallicious approach, not because the content is false. For example: “These old-school classic basketball shoes always hold up better.” (an appeal to antiquity). The argument commits a fallacy (they are old = they are better), but perhaps they are constructed with more craftsmanship or durable supplies, so the content may still be true. (*are we to assume more craftsmanship and better supplies make a better B-Ball shoe?!  Oh my, don’t let me make assumptions here!)

The Gambler’s Fallacy is also a nice one to be aware of. (unrelated to the one above, but I’ll put it in here) It involves making assumptions about future events, based on past events. The classic example is a coin toss or roulette wheel. You heavily weight the previous outcomes when making a prediction of the next coin flip or wheel turn. Ex: If you toss 5 heads in a row, the next toss will likely be tails right? Well, sorry, it’s still 50/50 each time. Same with roulette. Just because black or red or the number 16 has come up recently does not influence this turn of the wheel. So watch out for the influence of prior events in your predictions of how the current or future events should/could go.

“You should not concern yourself with this semantic psychological bias stuff, there are more important topics in Physical Therapy to discuss, like Medicare Caps and Direct Access.” Perhaps. However, that statement is a Fallacy of Relative Privation, or There’s-bigger-fish-to-fry argument. Just because there are bigger issues, does not discount this topic series 🙂

Human bias is such an endlessly fascinating topic. Being drawn to these quirks in thinking also draws one towards research. Now, research may seem nerdy and full of decimal points and head-splitting math and charts, but it is also the only tool which we have to combat our biases.

Research is not perfect, but without it, we live the lives in the reality we choose, not necessarily the reality of the truth.

I’ll end this with a Thought-Terminating Cliche Fallacy. Where your retort to a statement is a cliche, instead of a statement, thereby stopping the discussion. “Welp, it is what it is…” *turns, walks away*

If you liked this sort of stuff, please go to the Wikipedia and look up more.  Hope you enjoyed this series.


Matt D


5 thoughts on “Five Days of Fallacies: Day 5, Fallacist’s Fallacy

  1. Pingback: Five Days of Fallacies: Day 4, Circular Argument | PTbraintrust

  2. Pingback: Five Days of Fallacies: Day 3, Irrelevant Appeals | PTbraintrust

  3. Pingback: Five Days of Fallacies: Day 2, Complex Question | PTbraintrust

  4. Pingback: Five Days of Fallacies: Day 1, Post Hoc | PTbraintrust

  5. Pingback: A Year In Review: II | PTbraintrust

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