Faulty Argumentation Worksheet

Faulty Arguments in the Field of Herbalism, “Natural” Cures and Plant Medicine (40 points)

It is time for you to dive into this vast mountain of literature! You will be searching for examples of the faulty arguments and poor reasoning types listed below. Make sure you have studied the PowerPoint on this subject before attempting this assignment!

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Some great places to start: Google any of the following or find your own sources:

  • Mercola
  • Oz
  • Natural cures
  • Herbs are better than pills
  • Wild claims for herbs

You will find a huge array of information, ranging from the credible to the fantastic. Scan for the following faulty arguments and write down the example of what you found and the source and exactly WHY you think the reasoning is poor. Some of them will be easier to find than others. Find at least 10 in the literature and citations. There is no specific word count and you may use as many literature sources as you need. You may make up the rest of the faulty arguments using the field of plant medicine as your platform. Make sure you label the ones you create as your own.

  1. Poor Logic
  2. Emotional Appeal
  3. Ad Hominem
  4. Ad Populum
  5. Appeal to Authority
  6. Faulty Statistics
  7. Research by Exegesis
  8. Slippery Slope
  9. Red Herring
  10. Straw Man
  11. Testimonial
  12. Circular Reasoning
  13. Non Sequiter
  14. Equivocation
  15. False Dichotomy
  16. Hasty Generalization
  17. Glittering Generality
  18. Prejudice and Stereotypes
  19. Faulty Analogy
  20. Dogmatism
  21. Post Hoc
  22. Tu Quoque
  23. Jargon

Here is an example:

Dr. Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition (ACN). He also has a clinic in Naples, Florida, and he’s been very active in publishing his findings in peer-reviewed medical journals. He says, “We’re now recognizing from research at our most well-respected institutions from around the globe that the gut bacteria (Links to an external site.) are wielding this very powerful sword of Damocles,” he says.

They determine whether we’re going to have a healthy brain or not, whether our brain is going to function well or not, and whether our brain is going to become diseased or not. Who knew that we’d be referring back to the gut?”

The source is Dr. Mercola http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/17/gut-bacteria-brain-health.aspx (Links to an external site.)

This is an example of slippery slop, appeal to authority and false dichotomy. The reasoning is poor because it is an over-stretched analogy that is unproven scientifically and no literature studies are cited. Its also an oversimplification that relies on jargon to confuse non-medically trained desperately ill people.

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