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Relevance Fallacies of Emotion



Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma which is simply the fact that the foundation of all human thought (without Divine revelation) is one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regression, circular reasoning, or bare assertions without any evidence.


Relevance Fallacies of Emotion (using emotion rather than reason)

  • Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Emotion / Emotional Appeal / For the Children / Play On Emotions: occurs when an emotion-inducing statement is used to support a conclusion rather than a true premise. There is nothing wrong with emotion. Almost all decisions seem to be made based on emotions and the rationalized to make them seem as if they were logical decisions. And there are many emotions. Appeal to fear is one of the kinds of logical fallacy of appeal to emotions.
  • Argument by Slogan / Simplistic Slogans: occurs when a slogan is (or slogans are) used as proof for a conclusion. Slogans are short statements with an emotional punch. They constitute an appeal to emotion.
  • Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Force / Argumentum Ad Baculum / Argument to the Cudgel / Appeal to the Stick / Appeal to the Stick / Appeal to Power: occurs when coercion or force is used to bring compliance rather than sound reasoning. EXAMPLE "If you don't believe in evolution, then you will not get tenure and you will be out on the street." Note that this is only a fallacy because it is given as a reason to believe. If we were to say, "If you steal, you will eventually be caught and go to jail. You don't want to go to jail; so don't steal. Another example of what is not a fallacy would be, "If you reject the offer of Jesus to save you from your sins, you will go to Hell. You don't want to go to Hell; so don't reject the offer of Jesus to save you." Sometimes, this is presented as a reason to believe in Jesus, but the reason to believe in Jesus is that He reveals Himself to you in many ways. He speaks to you through the Creation, and you can sense His Presence. He speaks to you through Christians when they are speaking by the Holy Spirit.
  • Argument by Vehemence: occurs when vehemence is used as support of a conclusion. Vehemence can be expressed by raising the voice, speaking with more emotion, using exaggerated body language, and many other ways.
  • Argument to Veneration / Appeal to Respect: occurs when respect for a person or a group is the reason to believe a proposition.
  • Argumentum Ad Invidia / Appeal to Envy: occurs when envy is stirred up in order to influence. Envy is an empty emotion. It is not so much interested in having what others have but in seeing them not have something that you don’t have. Appeal to envy is used a lot in politics as one of the main motivators to elect certain politicians. EXAMPLE Politician, after raising taxes on 77% of wage-earners: “I’m willing to do more, as long as we do it in a balanced way that doesn't put all the burden on seniors or students or middle class burdens but also asks the wealthiest Americans to contribute and pay their fair share.”
  • Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Anger / Appeal to Spite / Argumentum Ad Odium / Appeal to Hatred / Appeal to Loathing / Appeal to Outrage: occurs when someone presents anger as a premise rather than sound reasoning with a true premise to support their conclusion. EXAMPLE "We are outraged that ax murderers aren't afforded the same rights as other citizens."
  • Appeal to Spite: occurs when the proof for a given conclusion is stirring up bitterness or spite against whoever or whatever is opposing the conclusion. Appeal to spite is a specific type of appeal to emotion.
  • Appeal to Guilt / Appeal to Shame: occurs when guilt or shame are used as a reason to believe in something. This is generally used in concert with another fallacy such as unsupported assertion or outright lie. EXAMPLE “Can you believe it? He said that homosexuality is a sin. He ought to be ashamed!” The implication is, “and so should you if you believe what God is saying through Scripture.” This is not evidence. This is guilt mongering combined with lying.
  • Logical Argument of Appeal to Fear / Argumentum In Terrorem / Ad Metum: occurs when someone uses fear to coerce someone into accepting some statement. There are ways that fear is used to persuade that are not good. Sometimes, this appeal to fear is connected with ultimatum. Scripture tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. John the Baptist wouldn't accept the Pharisees because they were simply trying to avoid the wrath of God but didn't truly want to serve Him. EXAMPLE "What cannot be mistaken is the fact we have evolved. Even if the argument becomes macro v. micro evolution - no one can deny we have evolved, and if they do, they are extremist and dangerous." This remark was taken from a blog. First, we have a claim with no proof. There is a band wagon fallacy. Following that, is the logical fallacy of appeal to fear. The way this is used to coerce is two-fold. First, if you don't believe the story, then you will be labeled as extremist and dangerous as a punishment. Second, it is playing to the crowd to try to muster up political energy to use the government for physical coercion.
  • Pollyanna's Ploy, Unbridled Optimism: occurs when warnings, reprimands, signs of danger, etc. are ignored. This is the opposite side of the appeal to fear fallacy. There are times to change course because disaster is imminent. Risk management can sometimes avoid or mitigate future problems. EXAMPLE Rocky: “Look out. The cliff is right behind you. It’s time to stop walking backwards.” Sandy: “Nothing bad will happen.” EXAMPLE Rocky: “Since you have already admitted that you don’t meet God’s acceptable level of righteousness (you have used the name of Jesus as a curse word, stolen, lusted after women, and hated people), and God is a righteous judge, if you would die tomorrow, would God give you Heaven or Hell?” Sandy: “Hell, but I would be fine in Hell.” Rocky: “One who becomes stiff-necked, after many reprimands will be shattered instantly-- beyond recovery. Proverbs 29:1”
  • Chicken Little's Fear and Pessimism: occurs when a vision of hope is given, yet fear and bitterness persist.
  • Appeal to Complexity: occurs when lack of understanding of a topic is brought as proof that one argument is as good as another. There may or may not be others who do have an understanding of the topic. EXAMPLE Rocky: “The Molecules-to-Man story is so unlikely that it is statistically impossible just because of what has been learned regarding information theory.” Sandy: “Information is still so poorly defined that it cannot be used as an argument.” The fact that Sandy doesn’t understand information theory is not an argument against the knowledge that has been discovered..
  • Argument by Poetic Language: occurs when beautiful language is used as proof for a conclusion or premise. EXAMPLE "It can't be wrong when it feels so right. You light up my life." It can actually be very wrong when it feels so right.
  • Logical Fallacy of Bluffing / Appeal to False Bravado / False Show of Confidence / Turning Up the Rhetoric / Bluster /: occurs when a theatrical false show of confidence is used as proof for a conclusion rather than real evidence and rational thought. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "Tiktaalik, this fish-lizard guy. And they found several specimens. It wasn’t one individual. In other words, they made a prediction that this animal would be found and it was found. So far, Ken Ham, and his worldview, the Ken Ham creation model, does not have this capability. It cannot make predictions and show results." This is a perfect example of shoehorning the evidence to fit the predication. What is the prediction? That intermediate forms will be found between kinds of living things (cat kind, dog/wolf kind, etc.) The search has been constant since Darwin. There should be millions of these intermediate forms in the fossil record, not just tons of fossils that show interesting variations within existing kinds. The prediction was that a missing link to fill in a gap in the story of molecules-to-man, however, calling this a missing link would be a bare assertion, an unfounded notion. It is just like so many other so-called predictions that didn't pan out but were publicized as victories (declaring victory) anyway. Tiktaalik has already been debunked. Using such a counterfactual tale as this as a premise to support molecules-to-man would be a hysteron proteron fallacy. So Bill resorts to false bravado/bluffing. Just pump it up and step up the rhetoric. One of the ways that Bill does this is to make a rather strange claim, strange in the light of the fact that Ken Ham actually showed him a slide of 20 predictions in his opening talk, which amounts to denialism. Bill made a great show of superiority, give a whole series of bogus claims of evolutionistic "predictions" that are to verbose to list here. That is false bravado instead of proof. If someone puts on an air of self-confidence, people are much more likely to believe what is said. However, a show is not proof of anything. It has no impact on the reality that the so-called predictions for evolution are mere confirmation bias.
  • Hifalutin' Denunciations: occurs when vague, but grandiose, language is used to speak against something or someone. EXAMPLE Harvested from Youtube: [Ken Ham] doesn’t even try to understand science; he even said during his debate with Bill Nye that nothing would change his mind. Ken Ham is a closed-minded bigot.” The phrase, doesn’t understand science is one of the meaningless cliches used by those who are trying to make a case against God, Jesus Christ or the Bible. In fact, there is no information in this personal attack. Science is undefined and probably means "Atheism." The debate was largely about what science is. Ken Ham contended that assumptions are not a good basis for science. Bill Nye contended that the assumptions that he believes are facts of science. Bill was hypocritical in his closed-minded bigotry and pretended to be open-minded, so this part of the hifalutin' statement has no content either. The funny part is that Bill wants to make it illegal to teach Creation science, yet Bill is claiming to be open-minded to it. The specifics of what Ken would not change his mind about are left out of this statement. That is a very important issue. Ken will not change his mind about the Bible being the word of God that is without error. This fact is by Divine revelation and cannot be set aside. It would make sense for Bill to change his mind about agnosticism, naturalism, materialism, uniformitarianism, evolutionism, etc., because all of those philosophies are based on arbitrary assumptions and all have fatal flaws.
  • Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Flattery / Apple Polishing / Wheel Greasing / Stroking / Stroking the Ego: occurs when a person uses flattery to disrupt that ability of one or more other people to make rational decisions regarding truth or validity. A closely related fallacy is Appeal to Pride (Argumentum Ad Superbiam, Appeal to Vanity). EXAMPLE "Students, remember to pity those who are not as intelligent as you. You, however, are the intellectuals, since you believe in evolution, the billions-of-years old Earth, and the big bang."
  • Appeal to Pride / Argumentum Ad Superbiam / Appeal to Vanity: occurs when the reason for acting of believing is pride or vanity. One way this is done is through flattery (apple polishing, wheel greasing, stroking the ego). Another is to imply that believing a certain thing or taking a certain action makes sense because of how wonderful you are. This can also be used by implying that believing or acting will make you look good to others.
  • Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Humor / Appeal to Ridicule / Reductio Ad Ridiculum / Appeal to Mockery: occurs when humor is used to divert attention away from the discussion or to make the other side appear foolish. EXAMPLE The liberal press knew that Scopes would be found guilty at the Scopes Monkey Trial, so they created a very successful attack using ridicule rather than dealing with the facts.
  • Logical Fallacy of Argument by Emotive Language: occurs when someone substitutes emotive language for true premises that support the conclusion. Example: "I don't believe in the magic man in the sky or in fairies or leprechauns, and that's why I don't believe in God."
  • Emotion-Biased Decision-Making Phenomenon: occurs when a decision is influenced by emotion and then rationalized to make it appear to be based on facts and logic. Keep in mind that it is also a fallacy to claim that emotions have no place in decision-making. A false dichotomy is often made between emotion and rational thought. What is important is the source of the emotion. For instance, when you get a certain check, often a feeling, in your innermost mind (heart), it is very foolish to ignore it and blunder forward. If you cannot get peace about a certain decision, it is very foolish to ignore the apprehension and rush in having only what you can rationalize. There may be times when you have fear and yet you know that God’s will is for you to do something such as to confess that you have done something wrong. In these cases, you must obey God. Yet, there are also times where you have constructed an amazing mathematical case for making a certain decision, but every time you think about it, you can’t seem to feel right about it. In those cases, you must go to the basis of your amazing mathematical case. Have you made any assumptions (something we do without thinking about it)? Are you sure that this is the exact decision that God has led you to? How do you know?
  • Logical Fallacy of Loaded Language / Colored Words / Colored Phrases / Slanted Language / Slanting (type of): occurs when presuppositions or emotional connotations are attached to language. EXAMPLE Bill Nye, arguing against Creation Science: "I mean, it’s very reasonable perhaps to you that Noah had super powers to build this extraordinary craft with seven family members" Bill Nye uses the logical fallacy of loaded language, using the term, "super powers," and calling the craft "extraordinary" to imply that it would be impossible. Super powers are not required to be led by God--just a humble and submissive spirit. This is a type of straw man fallacy since Ken Ham didn't refer to super powers, nor has Bill Nye demonstrated that super powers would be necessary to build such an ark. It is also a fallacy of extension, exaggerating Ken Ham's point to make it seem weird or impossible. EXAMPLE Wikipedia: “During the debate, Ham advocated the legitimacy of a Young Earth creationist model of the universe's origins, while Nye cited observations from a variety of scientific fields to defend the scientific consensus that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old."  Note that both Bill Nye and Ken Ham "cited observations from a variety of scientific fields," but the quote slants the language to make it appear that only Bill Nye cited observations. Note also the slanted language that uses a bandwagon fallacy coupled with an untrue statement: "scientific consensus." First, this is how the bandwagon fallacy looks. Second, a consensus consists of agreement by all parties. This is why the debate happened. Consensus doesn't exist. Thousands of scientists courageously and openly disagree. An unknown number remain silent about their disagreement for fear of losing their jobs. Majority exists. Coercion, lack of scientific freedom, and message control exist. However, to use the word, "consensus," is hyperbole.
  • Logical Fallacy of Magic Words: occurs when certain words are used as proof rather than providing actual proof. Magic words tend to give automatic credibility. Magic words include the following: Biblical, science, research, experimentation, scientific fact, logic, reason, and scientist. EXAMPLE The word, "science," is used to sell products, sell political ideas such as global warming, and to sell religious ideas such as big bang, molecules-to-man, or no-floodism. EXAMPLE Entertainer, Michael Gungor: “Do I believe that God literally drowned every living creature 5,000 years ago in a global flood except the ones who were living in a big boat? No, I don’t. Why don’t I? Because of science and rational thought.” Michael uses that magic words, science and rational thought rather than answering his own question in a rational way. He did follow this up with many irrational arguments against the flood, of course. Article
  • Motivated Reasoning: occurs when those things that disagree with our preconceived notions are more carefully scrutinized and rejected, a kind of emotion-driven and selective skepticism. It is an extreme form of confirmation bias, where the worldview, or fake reality, is the filter that determines what reality is. Motivated reasoning confirms what is already believed, while ignoring contrary data. Motivated reasoning drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong or at least unsupported. Motivated reasoning responds defensively to contrary evidence, actively discrediting such evidence or its source without justification from logic or evidence. EXAMPLE Emotion-driven defense of the Big-Bang-Billions-of-Years-No-Flood-Molecules-to-Man story despite the fact that it violates several known laws of science and all the evidence is against it.
  • Guilt Induction Fallacy / Appeal to Guilt: occurs when guilt is used as a reason to believe a proposition. Guilt is a very real thing, and it is helpful. It lets us know when we have violated our consciences, our innermost sense of right and wrong. However, consciences can be seared. Right can begin to seem like wrong, and wrong can begin to seem like right. Rhetoric can be used to induce guilt for things where guilt is not an appropriate response. EXAMPLE "Did you say that homosexuality is a sin against God? You ought to be ashamed. You ought to feel so guilty." This is one of the ways that consciences become seared. In the Bible, the word, "sin," is translated largely from a word that means to miss the target or stray from the pathway. Jesus reveals to us that He is the pathway and the life. He teaches us that the pathway is narrow and restricted and it is the pathway that leads to life. Other paths lead to death. So, Jesus is both the way and the destination, being the pathway and the life. Guilt would cause us to wake up and return to the path to life. Lies take us off the path and onto one of the paths to death. Whatever is not of faith is sin--leaving the path that leads to life. Jesus Christ leads us. He speaks His will into your heart. When you hear it, that is, listen and acknowledge Him, faith comes. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the utterance of God. Faith gives access into grace and grace does the works of God. This process crucifies the fleshly nature and builds up the mind of Christ in you. It changes your nature, making you holy and setting you free from slavery to sin (redemption). Sin reverses this process. EXAMPLE Many non-profit organizations use guilt to shake money out of people, yet the top officials are sometimes making huge salaries and only a small portion of the donations go to the cause. EXAMPLE Guilt (along with envy) is a huge political motivator.
  • The Norm of Reciprocity / Reciprocity Norm: occurs when some positive action is done merely to influence either the person who benefits from the action or some group of people (or animals or plants) that will be highly visible. EXAMPLE A young man interested in a young girl's body for personal gratification befriends her, spends money on her, and gives her flowers so that he can use her. EXAMPLE Owners of a manufacturer do things to push for environmental issues and even spend some of their own money so that more people will buy their product.

Last updated: Sep, 2014
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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Emotion / Emotional Appeal / For the Children

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Slogan / Simplistic Slogans

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Force / Argumentum Ad Baculum / Argument to the Cudgel / Appeal to the Stick / Argument by Vehemence

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Vehemence

Logical Fallacy of Argument to Veneration / Appeal to Respect

Logical Fallacy of Argumentum Ad Invidia / Appeal to Envy

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Anger / Appeal to Spite / Argumentum Ad Odium / Appeal to Hatred / Appeal to Loathing / Appeal to Outrage

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Spite

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Guilt / Appeal to Shame

Logical Argument of Appeal to Fear / Argumentum In Terrorem

Logical Fallacy of Pollyanna's Ploy, Unbridled Optimism

Logical Fallacy of Chicken Little's Fear and Pessimism

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Complexity

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Poetic Language

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Contempt

Logical Fallacy of Bluffing / Appeal to False Bravado / False Show of Confidence / Turning Up the Rhetoric / Bluster

Logical Fallacy of Hifalutin' Denunciations

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Flattery / Apple Polishing / Wheel Greasing / Brown Nosing / Appeal to Pride / Argumentum Ad Superbiam / Appeal to Snobbery / Appeal to Vanity / Proof Surrogate

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Pride / Argumentum Ad Superbiam / Appeal to Vanity

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Humor / Appeal to Ridicule / Reductio Ad Ridiculum

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Emotive Language

Logical Fallacy of Emotion-Biased Decision-Making Phenomenon

Logical Fallacy of Loaded Language

Logical Fallacy of Magic Words

Logical Fallacy of Motivated Reasoning

Logical Fallacy of Guilt Induction Fallacy / Appeal to Guilt

Logical Fallacy of The Norm of Reciprocity / Reciprocity Norm

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General Fallacies

Fallacies of Presumptions, Bare Assertions, and Lies (using no evidence at all)

Fallacies of Flawed Evidence

Fallacies of Limiting Presuppositions

Statistical Fallacies

Fallacies of Contradiction

Fallacies of Comparison

Fallacies of Choice

Fallacies of Cause

Fallacies of Circular Reasoning

Fallacies of Non Sequitur

Fallacies of Invalid Form

Fallacies of Ambiguity

Relevance Fallacies of Authority

Relevance Fallacies of Emotion

Relevance Fallacies of the Source: Person, Organization, Book, etc.

Relevance Fallacies of Pressure

Relevance Fallacies of Distraction/Misdirection

Fallacies of Omission

Tactics and Mind Games

Faulty Conclusions that Affect Future Reasoning

Answer to Critic



Answer to Critic

Appeal to Possibility

Circular Reasoning

Argument to the Future

Insignificant Cause

Word Magic

Love Between a Man and Woman


Colossians 2

Righteousness & Holiness

Don't Compromise


Proof by Atheism

Scriptures About Marriage

Genuine Authority

The Reason for Rejecting Truth

Witness on the Internet

Flaky Human Reasoning

How Do You Know?


The Real Purpose of the Church

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From Glory to Glory

REAL Faith--What it IS & IS NOT

REAL Love--What it IS & IS NOT

How to be Led by God

How to Witness

Wisdom: Righteousness & Reality

Holiness & Mind/Soul

Redemption: Free From Sin

Real Reality

Stories Versus Revelation

Understanding Logic

Logical Fallacies

Circular Reasoning-Who is Guilty?

How Can We Know Anything?

God's Word

God's Process

God's Pattern

Mind Designed to Relate to God

Answers for the Confused

Fossil Record Says: "Creation"

Avoid These Pitfalls

Public School's Religion

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Twisting History

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