Jan 20, 2012

Posted by in Fallacy of the Week | 1 Comment

Fallacy of the Week – Slippery Slope Fallacy

Slippery Slope Fallacy _ the claim that a particular action will trigger a negative chain of events, when in reality many surrounding factors would prevent the result.

Example:

“We can’t allow people to bring beverages into the conference room. If we do, soon they’ll be bringing in snacks and then meals. Pretty soon we’ll have a full-blown restaurant in here! I’d have to hire wait staff and a chef! We could get shut down for a health code violation! Somebody could even choke and die! Do you want that on your conscience?”

The power of this fallacy comes from the “domino effect” of linking one hypothetical scenario to another, and so on, to an undesirable end. That end result is then used as a powerful emotional reason to prevent the so-called “cause”.

There are valid cause and effect relationships to everyday scenarios and by using logic and information, we can extrapolate those results with accuracy. However, in the Slippery Slope fallacy, the normal safeguards between the steps which would prevent the progression are intentionally left out.

The fallacy is identified by an increasing number of vaguely defined steps between cause and effect to draw out an emotional response.

It’s also important to note that the Slippery Slope fallacy is not incrementalism. Progressives have an agenda to move people from one paradigm to another slowly, without much notice or resistance. In this case, the safeguards are removed by stealth and deception. The progress to the desired outcome is carefully controlled and monitored.

 

  1. Thank you! I just talked with a teen who was taught the slippery slips fallacy in class. Because of her new found “knowledge” it was impossible to answer any of her questions regarding morality. She said it was impossible for one thing to lead to another and, not only impossible, illogical to think so. As a result, she was not able to reason anything out. After reading your article, I can see where she is mistaken in her understanding. The slippery slope fallacy assumes that there are safeguards that would keep something from moving onto the next step. Unfortunately in today’s society, it seems as though the safeguards have been removed and now the kids are being taught that society’s morals have not gotten worse and, even if they have, it’s not the result of a moral decision made in the past. according to her, people can make whatever moral decisions they want because those decisions will not cause harm to anyone else or to society. I hope she is not an example of our future.

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