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135 MIN READ TIME

THE FALLACY FORK

MAARTEN BOUDRY

Fallacy theory is popular among skeptics, but it is in serious trouble. Every fallacy in the traditional taxonomy runs into a destructive dilemma that I call the “Fallacy Fork”: either it hardly ever occurs in real life, or it is not actually fallacious.

Why do people believe weird things? Why is there so much irrationality in the world? Here’s one common answer from the skeptic’s playbook: fallacies. Fallacies are certain types of arguments that are common, attractive, persistent, and dead wrong. Because people keep committing fallacies, so the story goes, they end up believing all sorts of weird things.

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Skeptical Inquirer
September October 2017
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