As a logic professor I regularly have to remind myself to turn off the logic switch when I’m not in the classroom setting, or writing professionally. There is no better way to lose friends and find yourself isolated from family members than to call out their logical missteps and fallacies. Gaia nearly decapitated me one time for failing to turn off “the switch”.
Well today “the switch” goes on, as I though it would be fun to define a few of my favorite fallacies, while using climbing terms and expressions to exemplify each fallacy.
***WARNING*** Calling people out on fallacies will cause personal isolation, loss of friends, and potential decapitation. Use at your own risk!
Fallacy = A defect in an argument arising from some source other than merely false premises.
Climbing = The sport or pastime of climbing rock faces.
Here is what happens when you mix the two together.
Appeal to ignorance = This fallacy occurs when you argue that a conclusion must be true, because there is no evidence against it.
EX: No one can prove that Popo and Nana didn’t get the 1st ascent of The North American Wall in Yosemite, so we can only assume they did!
Equivocation = When an arguer uses one term in two different senses throughout an argument.
EX: There are so many options at Squamish that we can each pick our own crack. (I’ll just let you imagine where this one is going)
False Dichotomy = Presenting two options in an either or scenario when in fact there are several alternative scenarios.
EX: You either climb trad or you’re a loser, and since you only like to boulder we know what that makes you!
False Cause = Wrongly assume a cause and effect relationship exists.
EX: The only reason I sent that 5.12a is because Sarah was belaying with her new Revo1.
Amphiboly = An argument is syntactically ambiguous and thus interpreted in the wrong way.
EX: I cannot believe that my boyfriend admitted that his favorite thing about climbing is checking out the jugs…what a jerk!
Slippery Slope = Arguer predicts a chain reaction of undesirable events when there is little likelihood that these events will come to pass.
EX: I seriously can’t miss one training sesh, if I miss one day, I’ll get lazy, then I’ll quit climbing, then I’ll end up spending the rest of my life in a cubical wishing I didn’t miss that one session!
Hasty Generalization = Inductive generalization drawn from a sample that is not necessarily representative of the entire population to which it is being applied.
EX: Dirtbags are disgusting; I’ve never met a single one who understands the benefits of a shower.
Weak Analogy = Comparing two significantly incomparable cases.
EX: Look, if you want a good description of what rock climbing is all about, then just imagine dragging your whole hand across a cheese grater, while contorting your body into the shape of a pretzel. Basically rock climbing is like a cheese pretzel.
(Side note: One time I abbreviated this fallacy on the dry erase board as “Weak Anal”, causing my students to commit the fallacy of equivocation. My students are buttholes, but I love them!)
Band Wagon = When a proposition is claimed to be true solely because many people believe it to be so.
EX: The La Sportiva Solution must be the best shoe; everyone at my gym wears them.
Composition = The fallacious reasoning of moving from the parts to the whole.
EX: The main climbing objective for Sarah and Gaia is to get swole, obviously it follows that the only reason anyone climbs is because swole is the goal!
So, that’s it; these are my top 10 fallacies. So, just remember the next time you’re at the crag or in the gym and someone starts to use some faulty reasoning just bite your tongue, and let it go…unless they really start to drive you crazy, then by all means, let hell break loose. But be warned…
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Thanks for reading…
- This is a shameless plug for The Revo, and if anyone from Wild Country wants to send one to theDIHEDRAL, we would not be opposed, because all of our belay devices have been lost and now we have no way to climb!
Appeal to Pity!