Topics: Atheism, Critical thinking, Argument Pages: 2 (644 words) Published: September 1, 2013
Yevgenia Dashtoyan
Unit 3 Individual Project

Pseudo-questions: Asking a question based on a false premise. "Why does the Obama administration want to punish poor people?" A political pundit might ask this question about the proposed health care plan in which Americans will be required to buy insurance. 

Equivocation: Relying on two meanings of a word to make your point; changing the meaning partway through the argument. "I'm not prejudiced. Some of my best friends are black." This argument takes advantage of different meanings of the word "prejudiced". On the one hand, it can mean actively or knowingly disliking people of a particular race or ethnic group. But on the other hand, it can also mean having under-the-surface, unconscious stereotypes. Most people probably have the second kind of "prejudice", even if it's subconscious. 

Ad hominem: attacking the person instead of the issue; name-calling. "Arnold Schwarzenegger is a muscle-bound lunkhead who doesn't know what's best for this state." This would be a personal attack on an individual that doesn't at all address any kinds of arguments or issues.

Mere assertion: Stating something but not giving any reason for it. "God doesn't exist." The most common atheist "argument" is no argument at all but simply a statement of fact. Of course, in the case of atheism, atheists are arguing from negative evidence, which is much harder than simply making the assertion.

Circular reasoning: Using the premise itself, or something that follows from the premise, in order to prove the premise. "I know God exists because the Bible says so and the Bible is the word of God." This argument is circular; in fact, nothing in the Bible can be said to "prove" the existence of God.

Red herring: Changing the subject. Bringing up irrelevant information instead of addressing the relevant points. "The drinking age should be lowered to 18 because 18 year olds are old enough to die...
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