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News Literacy: News Views & Fact Checking Resources: Logic Traps

Great idea!

Gaslighting: A manipulation tactic to gain power by attacking a person's sense of reality.

A false dilemma, also referred to as false dichotomy, is an informal fallacy based on a premise that erroneously limits what options are available.

A: I'm not old!     B: Only old people say that.
A: You're wrong. B: You're just saying that because you know I'm right and it scares you.
A: You're wrong. B: If I'm so wrong, why are you trying so hard to convince me I'm wrong, hmmm?

False Dilemmas,  Absolutes, & Authorities
Either X is always right or X is always wrong.  
If X is not 100% right, then X is 100% wrong.


  • The argument is only as good as the authority of the arguer.
  • You cannot separate the argument from the arguer.
  • If the person is a criminal they can do no good.
  • If the person is a saint they can do no wrong.
  • If you don't know anything about X, nothing you say about X can be correct.

Food for thought: Beliefs are templates, like stereotypes, that the brain uses to conserve energy.

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”  -Leo Tolstoy

Shorter FLICC from John Cook


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