1. Straw Man Fallacy
It is very frustrating to have your thoughts summed up and attacked. It’s especially maddening when someone misunderstands your beliefs, describes them all wrong, and then attacks your position! This distortion of a belief is called a straw man tactic. Here is an example of the straw man tactic in reaction to the proposal to require school uniforms:
Our school board wants us to start wearing uniforms, so they want us all to give up our individuality. They expect us to become a mindless throng of obedient children who are not able to express their individuality in any way.
Obviously, this would not be the desire of any member of a school board, and it is certainly a view that can be opposed by any feeling human. It is a false and unfair representation of the school board’s intentions.
2. Hasty Generalization
A hasty generalization is a conclusion that is based on few examples. Here are a few that have been used in research papers:
Elderly people are bad drivers.
Be careful not to draw conclusions in your own research after you’ve seen a few individual pieces of evidence.
（tip：要避免这种错误，可以加一个程度副词，比如mosly等等。上句话可改为：Elderly people are mostly bad drivers.）
3. Slippery Slope
The slippery slope fallacy occurs when we get carried away and start making claims that one event will lead to another–when those claims are not necessarily accurate. Here is a conclusion that doesn’t add up:
If we let students use their cell phone calculators during tests, they’ll start cheating by using other apps to find the answers. Then no one will ever learn anything. Everyone will fail.
4. Red Herring
A red herring is a tactic used to change the subject when we feel we’re in hot water. You may recognize the red herring as a tactic you’ve used on your own parents.
”You are late. Your curfew was thirty minutes ago.”
”I know, but there was big fire in a factory across town. It’s lucky that nobody was hurt.”
In the exchange above, the teen is trying to distract the parent from the issue at hand by diverting his or her attention. This tactic of changing the subject is common in a debate scenario, when one presenter feels trapped or challenged. It can be an easy but costly maneuver.
5. The Bandwagon Fallacy
There is a certain sense of security we feel by being a part of a group. If you’ve ever agreed with a stance because it is the popular one, you have been taken in by the bandwagon effect!
The most prestigious schools use school uniforms, so we should adopt that policy, as well.