On the Attack


Rhetorical fallacies are subtle errors in speech and writing. – The manipulation of rhetoric and logical thinking. The following fallacies can be categorised as ‘On the Attack’.

Ad hominem

Bypassing the argument by launching an irrelevant attack on the person and not their claim.

“Anyone who says we should build the Ground Zero Mosque is an American-hating liberal.”

Burden of proof

I don’t need to prove my claim – you must prove it is false.

“I maintain long-term solar cycles are the cause of global warming. Show me I’m wrong.”

Circumstance ad hominem

Stating a claim isn’t credible only because of the advocate’s interest in their claim.

“A study into the health risks of mobile phone involved mobile phone companies. Therefore, the study cannot be trusted.”

Genetic fallacy

Attacking the cause or origin of a claim, rather than its substance.

“Of course, the mainstream liberal media aren’t going to say Barack Obama is a Muslim.”

Guilt by association

Discrediting an idea or claim by associating it with an undesirable person or group.

“You want to relax the anti-terrorism laws just like the terrorists want us to do. Are you saying you support terrorism?”

Straw man

Creating a distorted or simplified caricature of your opponent’s argument, and then arguing against that.

“You say Israel should stop building settlements on the West Bank in violation of treaty. So you’re saying Israel doesn’t have the right to be a nation?”

See other: Rhetorical Fallacies

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