All the chewy goodness of fallacious reasoning in new fun-sized bites!

According to author Mark B. Woodhouse, slippery slope arguments “resemble straw man arguments insofar as both distort a view in order to attack it.”[1] Slippery slope arguments do so by falsely claiming that adopting a specific view will inevitably lead to undesirable consequences. It should be noted that there are various versions of slippery slope arguments. A more common version of slippery slope arguments is the precedent slippery slope where it is claimed that, if a particular practice is allowed, it will set a precedent which will set another and another until reaching a point of no return.

For example:

If Christians advocating some type or form of censorship for pornography win the day, then other things like art, literature, and, ultimately, all freedom of speech will be censored.

Since it does not inevitably follow that other forms of art, literature, and all freedom of speech will be censored if pornography is censored, this is a slippery slope argument. Christians beware. Inasmuch as non-believers can wield slippery slope arguments against us, we can do the same if we are not careful. Therefore, take great care with your words as you engage others so as to avoid this logical pitfall.

The best way to point out someone’s fallacy is by using the Columbo tactic as laid out in the Funsized Tactics series. There are plenty of excellent resources available in book, e-book, or PDF format. Two good places to start, with regard to formal and informal fallacies, are A Preface to Philosophy by Mark B. Woodhouse and Schaum’s Outlines: Logic by John Nolt, Dennis Rohatyn, and Achille Varzi.

[1] Mark B. Woodhouse, A Preface to Philosophy (Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2006), 85.