Garbled Cause and Effect


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

Affirming the consequent

Assuming there’s only one explanation for the observation you’re making.

“Marriage often results in the birth of children. So that’s the reason why it exists.”

Circular logic

A conclusion is derived from a premise based on the conclusion.

“Stripping privacy rights only matters to those with something to hide. You must have something to hide if you oppose privacy protection.”

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc

Claiming two events that occur together must have a cause-and-effect relationship. (Correlation = cause)

“Teenagers in gangs listen to rap music with violent themes. Rap music inspires violence in teenagers.”

Denying the antecedent

There isn’t only one explanation for an outcome. So it’s false to assume the cause based on the effect.

“If you get a degree, you’ll get a good job. If you don’t get a degree, you won’t get a good job.”

Ignoring a common cause

Claiming one event must have caused the other when a third (unlooked for)  event is probably the clause.

“We had the 60s sexual revolution, and now people are dying of AIDS.”

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Claiming that because one event followed another, it was also caused by it.

“Since the election of the President, more people than ever are unemployed. Therefore the President has damaged the economy.”

Two wrongs make a right

Assuming that if one wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out.

“Sure – the conditions in this prison are cruel and dehumanising. But these inmates are criminals.”

See other: Rhetorical Fallacies

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