Bias List

Red Herring Fallacies


Abusive Fallacy

A subtype of "ad hominem" when it turns into verbal abuse of the opponent rather than arguing about the originally proposed argument.


Ad Hominem

Attacking the arguer instead of the argument.


Appeal to Accomplishment

Where an assertion is deemed true or false based on the accomplishments of the proposer.


Appeal to Authority

Where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting it.


Appeal to Consequences

An argument that concludes a hypothesis (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences.


Appeal to Emotion

Where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning.


Appeal to Equality

Where an assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality.


Appeal to Fear

When a person attempts to create support for an idea by using deception and propaganda in attempts to increase fear and prejudice toward a competitor.


Appeal to Flattery

A person uses flattery, excessive compliments, in an attempt to win support for their side. Flattery is often used to hide the true intent of an idea or proposal. Praise offers a momentary personal distraction that can often weaken judgment.


Appeal to Force

An argument made through coercion or threats of force to support position.


Appeal to Hypocrisy

When an argument states that a certain position is false or wrong or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.


Appeal to Motive

A pattern of argument which consists in challenging a thesis by calling into question the motives of its proposer.


Appeal to Nature

An argument or rhetorical tactic in which it is proposed that "a thing is good because it is 'natural', or bad because it is 'unnatural'".


Appeal to Novelty

Where a proposal is claimed to be superior or better solely because it is new or modern.


Appeal to Pity

When someone tries to win support for an argument or idea by exploiting his or her opponent's feelings of pity or guilt.


Appeal to Poverty

Supporting a conclusion because the arguer is poor (or refuting because the arguer is wealthy).


Appeal to Ridicule

An argument is made by presenting the opponent's argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous.


Appeal to Spite

Where an argument is made through exploiting people's bitterness or spite towards an opposing party.


Appeal to Tradition

A conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true.


Appeal to Wealth

Supporting a conclusion because the arguer is wealthy (or refuting because the arguer is poor).


Argument from Silence

Where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence.



Assuming that a person is wrong and then distracting his or her attention from the issue at hand by explaining how that person became so silly, usually associating it to a psychological condition. The fallacy deals with secondary questions about ideas rather than the primary one, thus avoiding the basic question or evading the issues raised by trains of reasoning.


Chronological Snobbery

The erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority.


Circumstantial Ad Hominem

Constitutes an attack on the bias of a source by pointing out that someone is in circumstances such that they are disposed to take a particular position.


Fallacy of Relative Privation

Dismissing an argument due to the existence of more important, but unrelated, problems in the world.


Genetic Fallacy

Where a conclusion is suggested based solely on someone's or something's history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context.


Guilt by Association

Asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association.


Judgmental Language

Using insulting or pejorative language to influence the recipient's judgment.


Naturalistic Fallacy

When people discuss problems and issues they talk about how they wish it would be as opposed to how it actually is.


Poisoning the Well

A rhetorical device where adverse information about a target is preemptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say.


Straw Man

The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., "stand up a straw man") and then to refute or defeat that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the original proposition.


Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

Improperly asserting a cause to explain a cluster of data. Differences in data are ignored, but similarities are stressed. From this reasoning a false conclusion is inferred.


The Traitorous Critic Fallacy

Responding to criticism by attacking a person's perceived affiliation as the underlying reason for the criticism rather than addressing the criticism itself. The critic is assumed an ungrateful traitor, and thus they should stay away from the issue altogether.


Two Wrongs Make a Right

Occurs when it is assumed that if one wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out.


Vacuous Truth

A statement that asserts that all members of the empty set have a certain property. For example, the statement "all cell phones in the room are turned off" may be true simply because there are no cell phones in the room.


Wishful Thinking

The formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality, or reality. It is a product of resolving conflicts between belief and desire.