An argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position
personal attack on the opponent instead of the opponent’s premise
Missing the point: Answering an argument with a counterpoint that has nothing to
do with the original argument.
Cherry picking: Selecting only the evidence which support one’s own argument
while deliberately ignoring relevant facts which would support the opponent’s
(false cause, Non Sequitur): Assuming that because B comes after A, A caused B
Weak analogy: Two things that are being compared aren't really alike in the
Appeal to authority: Attempting to impress by referring to irrelevant sources or
An appeal through popularity or bandwagon.
(you too?): An ad hominem attack based on the opponent’s group or
Appeal to ignorance: The use of the lack of evidence as support for a positive claim
about the truth of a conclusion.
False dichotomy: Attempting to portray a situation as having two opposite or
different parts when in reality they may be similar or grouped
Red Herring: Going off on a tangent or raising a side issue to avoid
answering an opponent’s point or question.
Smoke Screen: An attempt to cloud or confuse the real issue with irrelevant
facts, arguments or inventions.
Begging the question: (petitio principii): Where the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or
explicitly assumed in one of the premises.
Circular reasoning: A premise that says essentially the same thing as the
conclusion, using a conclusion as evidence instead of distinct
Equivocation: Using two or more different meanings of a single word or phrase
in the same argument.
Negative proof fallacy: Because a premise cannot be proven false, the premise must be
true; or, because a premise cannot be proven true, the premise must be
Proof by example: Examples offered as inductive proof for a universal
proposition. ("This apple is red, therefore all apples are red.")
Correlation does not imply
causation: (cum hoc
ergo propter hoc): A phrase used in the sciences
and the statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not
imply that one causes the other.
Etymological fallacy: Incorrectly assumes that the original or historical meaning of
a word or phrase is necessarily identical to how it was always used
Moving the goalpost (raising the bar): Argument in which evidence presented in
response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater)
evidence is demanded.
Two sets of rules (uneven playing field): Attempting to censor your opponent’s
methods, strategies, or evidence which you allow yourself to use.
Stacking the Deck: Attempting to limit or include evidence or arguments allowed in
the debate to unfairly favor one side.
Attempting to run the debate clock out by refusing to address a relevant fact or
Copycat doctrines: Assuming that a doctrine, law or practice that applied to one
group in the past can be applied to a present day group, without understanding
the important differences between the time, situation and covenantal
relationships of the two groups. (for instance: Sabbath keeping or speaking in
Event inventions: Fabricating non-existent events or descriptions based on
assumptions that are unsupported by the text or the context. (for instance:
144,000 “evangelists” and an “invisible” Second Coming)
House of Cards: Theories based on a theories or assumptions based on
assumptions presented as fact unsupported by the evidence directly (example:
“Life arose spontaneously and randomly on this planet, therefore millions of
other planets undoubtedly have life as well”)
Out of Context: A text or quote is removed from its surrounding material in
such a way as to distort its intended meaning or to far surpass its intended
Obviously true fallacy: Declaring one’s own premise as obvious true, common knowledge,
beyond question, or exclusively intelligent when it is no such thing
Fallacious Definition: Defining a word or phrase incorrectly to support one’s
Hasty Generalization: An argument drawn from too little evidence to support the
Incorrectly quoting a source in such a way as to change the intended meaning or
attributing a quote to the wrong source.
Fallacy: Incorrectly describing literal language as
symbolic or symbolic language a literal.
Translated Word Fallacy: Using a translated word or phrase as if it had special meaning
only in the translated language. (for instance: “Adam means ‘A is
Attributing a meaning, fact or statement to a text that is clearly not
Corrupting Text: Deliberately inserting (or removing) a word, phrase,
punctuation, or capitalization directly into a text or translation so as to
change its original meaning in a significant way. (as in “the Word was
a god” instead of “The
Word was God”)
Fallacy of Grammar:Misunderstanding or misuse of a
sentence’s grammar so as to change its intended meaning in a significant way.
Hyper-Contextualizing:Taking an absolute statement and
presumptuously confining it exclusively to its immediate context.
Complexity arrogance: (a type of smoke screen): Arguing that a topic or issue is so
complex that it cannot be effectively addressed in the present forum, inferring
that only they have the ability to understand it and reach a correct conclusion
and you don’t.
Invisible Evidence: Insisting that a premise must be accepted but refusing to
disclose important evidence because it may be challenged.
Loaded language: Inserting words or phrases which are intended to prejudice
opinion and create a visceral reaction simply by the way they sound or are
Loaded Question: A question that also contains a false assumption so as to make
any answer an automatic admission of guilt, error or agreement (as in: “When did
you stop beating your wife?”)
Bogus Statistics: Using statistics that are false, misleading, insufficient,
irrelevant, or whose source is dishonestly prejudiced for one side of the
Junk Science: Science that is not really science, but based on dubious or
prejudiced methodologies, or opinion passed off as science, or mere theory
supported by insufficient or contradictory evidence.
Revisionist History: Deliberately changing historical facts, or ignoring important
facts of history to create an alternative history that never really existed.
Poisoning the Well: Ignoring the details of the evidence and instead trying to
discredit a legitimate source.
Exaggerated Consequences: Attempting to frighten by exaggerating the consequences of
choosing a particular alternative.
Attempting to prejudice someone’s opinion, attitude, affection or allegiance by
the use of flattery.
Mixing Apples and Oranges: Attempting to evidence a comparison by using two types of
subjects or facts that are too fundamentally different to support the
Ax Grinding: Using a debate forum to express nasty, abusive, vengeful,
judgmental, vicious, or angry impulses in order to get back at the world or hurt
Violent Intimidation: Making personal threats of violence or harm to intimidate or
silence an opponent.
opponent who deceptively pretends to be neutral or support the opposite side in
order to hide their prejudices, cause trouble, get attention, ridicule, draw
blame or misrepresent the beliefs, claims or methods of the other
Proof by verbosity: (a snow job): Using an argument with an overwhelming volume of
material which superficially appears to be well-researched, but would be
extremely time consuming to untangle and fact check, in an attempt to intimidate
the participants into accepting its legitimacy out of hand.
Appeal of Force: Might makes right. He who has the gold makes the rules. Shut
Appeal of Personality (or false
authority): A premise is argued as correct based
solely on the authority, identity, or force of personality of an individual’s
Hypothetical Speculation: Arguing a premise about something in the real world using only
imaginary or absurd examples
Double Standard (hypocrisy): An argument which condemns the actions of one individual, but
allows another to commit the same act without any such condemnation.
Presumptuous Expertise: Assuming that a source is automatically correct based on the
amount of research they have done, expertise they claim, education they have
achieved, respect they are afforded, notoriety they enjoy, or a label they have
attached to themselves.
Unrelated Connections:Unrelated points are treated as if
they should be accepted or rejected together, when each point should be accepted
or rejected on its own merits.
Complex Questions: Asking two or more distinct questions in the form of one
question which are impossible to answer correctly together.
Misrepresenting a quote or text in attempt to make it say the opposite or
something completely different than what the speaker or writer stated.
Putting words in the mouth: Stating that an opponent or source is saying something which
the opponent or source has not said
Symbolism Inflation: A legitimate parable, symbol, or type taken farther than the
author originally intended
Misconstrued Symbolism: Interpretation of a legitimate symbol, parable or type that is
fundamentally or completely wrong
Elephant in the room: Deliberately ignoring or hiding an overwhelming fact or a
massive presence of evidence in order to make one’s own point or evidence seem
stronger, more important or more legitimate than it really is
The Emperor has no clothes: An obvious truth that a large population refuses to acknowledge
for fear of going against popular opinion or an intimidating authority.
Convoluted weak argument: The more convoluted and lengthy an argument is, the more likely
it is that the position is invalid.
Orwellian:Arguing a position with an absurd level of double
speak, thought policing, or political correctness from a totalitarian mentality.
Uncivil:Using rude, obscene, discourteous, nasty, vicious,
or slanderous words instead of a factual and reasoned argument.
Offended Bigot: Arguing that a legitimate position, action or belief is
personally offensive based solely on one’s own intolerance or bigotry. (As in:
“I am offended that you are reading the Bible.”)