A “fallacy” is a mistake and a “logical fallacy” is an error in reasoning. Fallacious thinking will keep us away from having an open-mind and to look for the truth.
First of all, humans have a tendency to generalize all the time. When we draw a conclusion based on “insufficient or unrepresentative evidence," we are committing a hasty generalization. In our reading, writing or daily life, we should not draw conclusions from sparse evidence. For example, we eat in a restaurant and the food which has been served was not good. Then, we will think that the food will always be like that. So we will stop going to that restaurant again. We have drawn a bad conclusion about this restaurant from going to it only once.
If we have a fixed general image about a group of people, we are stereotyping them. A stereotype is a hasty generalization about a group. We forge an opinion about something and our mind will refuse to notice other evidences which could change it. If one politician has failed to follow his or her campaign program, we will assume that “Politicians are corrupt”.
People often perform hasty generalization because of bias or prejudice. For instance, someone who is a sexist might assume that “Women are bad bosses”. During P.E in school, we can hear boys saying that they are better at sports than girls.!!
Making assumptions is another way of falling into logical fallacies. An assumption is a “claim that is taken to be true" and people will make them without looking at all the necessary proofs. We make assumptions without thinking about them or making them explicit.
When a writer is making a statement that does not follow the logical steps and it does not relate to what comes before, he or she is guilty of a non sequitur. It is a Latin word for “it doesn’t follow”. For example, “Mary loves good food; therefore, she will be an excellent chef.” We know that people who love good food are not automatically good cook. Few people will find this claim logical.
Post Hoc argument happens when “a person assumes that because one thing followed another thing the first item caused the second item.” For example, I have friend who would never come and eat at my house if I tell her that we are thirteen people. She is convinced that something bad will happen to a member of her family if this odd number is represented at a dinner table. Therefore, in order to avoid making assumptions, we need to take the time to gather all the necessary truths before we assume something. We need to make sure that we have looked at all the necessary proofs.
Drawing analogies can make us fall into false analogies. An analogy is a comparison or a similarity between two things that are otherwise different. A false analogy has a weak logic.
Logical fallacies are easily found in our everyday life. We can find them in news paper, in advertisements, listening to people and many other sources. But in order to avoid them we need to read and think critically. If we do not detect these errors of reasoning, we will not be able to write and think in an honest way.
The best shield against fallacious reasoning which try to twist our vision of the truth is to ask ourselves questions.