Slippery Slope

In Lesson 12, we discussed conditionals, which are one of the ways in which a deductive argument may be framed. Conditionals use an "if-then" premise to lead to a conclusion (example: if you do not pay your electric bill, then your power will be turned off). When a conditional contains a logical fallacy, it is called a slippery slope.

In this type of fallacy, it is asserted that one event will or might happen, and then, inevitably, another, more serious or drastic, event will occur. The slippery slope does not explain how the first event leads to the other. Often, it leaves out a number of steps between the two events, without saying why they will simply be bypassed. The argument takes the following form:

1. Event A has/will/might occur.

2. Therefore, event B will inevitably occur.

The slippery slope argument makes an opponent's argument seem more extreme. It says that event A will eventually lead to an extreme, unwanted event B. The argument infers that the only way to avoid event B is to not do event A, or even anything at all. The gun lobby uses the slippery slope all the time to argue against any type of gun control. They say that any small measure, such as registration or waiting periods to purchase firearms, will lead to drastic control, or even confiscation of their weapons. Here is another example:

"We have to stop the tuition increase! Today, it's $5,000; tomorrow, they will be charging $40,000 a semester!"

Note that there are many possible steps between event A, the tuition increase, and event B, the charging of $40,000 a semester. An increase could occur every year for ten years or more before there was a jump from five to forty thousand dollars. In addition, tuition might never reach $40,000. This is a slippery slope because one tuition hike to $5,000 does not inevitably lead to a charge of $40,000.

Other examples are listed below. Keep in mind the possible intermediate steps between event A and event B in each, and the likelihood, or unlikelihood, that B will ever be a result of A.

■ Don't let him help you with that. The next thing you know, he will be running your life.

■ You can never give anyone a break. If you do, they will walk all over you.

■ This week, you want to stay out past your curfew. If I let you stay out, next week you'll be gone all night!


The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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