Mosley's explanation of the fallacies
Fallacies: A fallacy is an error in reasoning, false reasoning. A fallacy is a failure and the mark of an argument that should not be credited.
Emotionally loaded terms (emotionalism)
Emotionalism is different from appealing to emotions. Every persuasive speech should appeal to the reader's emotions, and we will soon learn that psychological appeals are a type of support for value claims. Emotionalism is the use of emotion instead of logic.
Emotionally loaded terms are terms that are designed to 'beg the question' by implying a verdict without logical argument.
Examples: For example, if a cable news channel decides that people who put explosives on themselves and blow up near enemies should no longer be called “suicide bombers” but “homicide bombers,” they're using emotionally loaded terms. The term itself is a verdict
('this is an act of murder; it has no justification; it is a crime') and is designed to get the listener's emotions going while the logic is still in neutral. The same would be true of saying “innocent little children”; the children are small or innocent already, and saying it that way is swaying emotions to win the argument without arguing.
Argumentum ad hominem
Usually people just call this Ad hominem, and it's one of the few fallacies you'll hear about online. Literally, “ad hominem” translates as “to the man.” (If it helps you remember it, you can think of 'ad' as being like 'at' and 'hominem' as being like 'homo' or 'hominid' or
'hombre.') Essentially, an ad hominem is changing the subject of the argument from the original topic to the person him or herself. This is most often done with an insult. The point is that it is a diversionary tactic. It is possible to perform an ad hominem with a compliment, but people respond to insults more consistently than compliments, and people in arguments are usually readier to call names than pet each other anyway.
Examples: Suppose our topic is, “Should we put terror suspects from
Guantanamo Bay on trial in the United States federal courts?” Now,
Bob is arguing “Yes,” and Pete is arguing “No; use military tribunals.”
Bob argues that Rachman, the sheik who inspired Osama bin Laden, was put on trial in federal court, and so were three other terrorists from al Qaeda, and each was no problem. Pete, getting desperate, says, “Sure. You ACLU types are all about freeing everyone, aren't you? You have no experience with what it's really like on the front lines. I've served in the military, but you were off hugging trees and worrying about rights!” Well, Bob's going to respond to that, isn't he?
Wouldn't you? After all, Bob's winning the argument. However, as soon as Bob responds, as soon as he tries to prove that he is too manly, as soon as he tries to seem tough, the ad hominem has
worked. They've stopped arguing about trying suspects in federal court and started arguing about how macho Pete is.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc (faulty cause and effect)
Most of the time, you can just call this a “post hoc.” The post hoc fallacy is mistaking sequence for cause. If one thing happens after another, you assume that the first one caused the second one. This is a mistake in our inductive reasoning. We know that it's natural to look for patterns and causes in sequences, but when we find them in things that can't be cause and effect, we're making a mistake.
Examples: “Did you know that, ever since Obama's been in office, the number of natural disasters has gone up?” “When we got rid of prayer in schools, the divorce rate shot up.” “As soon as you started coming to school here, the basketball team started losing.” All of these are post hoc fallacies. The simplest forms of it are our superstitions. If you tell a lie, and lightning strikes, the lightning almost certainly did not strike because of your lie, and yet it's natural for you to look around as if God had