The overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade ruling in 2022 has sparked a nationwide debate on the morality of abortion. The issue has been a source of contention for decades and has resulted in a highly polarized debate, with both sides leveraging their own moral and ethical perspectives to support their cause. In any debate, it is crucial to make sure that the arguments are sound and logical; sadly, many fallacious arguments have been used in the abortion debate. The primary logical fallacies in the abortion debate include begging the question, circular reasoning, and appeal to inadequate authority.
Begging the Question
Begging the question is a fallacy that occurs when an argument is based on a premise that is also the conclusion. Basically, the argument assumes a major point as true, which ‘begs the question’ (page 1/29). Essentially, the claim is rounded and fails to provide new evidence or insights. For example, in the abortion debate, some opponents of abortion have argued that it should be illegal because it is morally wrong. This argument commits the fallacy of begging the question because it assumes that abortion is morally wrong without providing any evidence to support that claim.
Circular reasoning is a fallacy that occurs when an argument is based on a premise already established in the argument. It is an extreme form of begging the question. Essentially, the argument fails to provide new evidence or insights. For example, in the abortion debate, some opponents of abortion have argued that it should be illegal because it goes against the teachings of a particular religion. This argument commits the fallacy of circular reasoning because it assumes that a particular religious perspective should be the basis for making laws without providing any evidence to support that claim.
Appeal to Inadequate Authority
Appealing to inadequate authority is a fallacy that occurs when an argument relies on the opinion of someone who is not an expert on the issue. An argument that assumes a statement as true simply because the person who speaks it says so commits this fallacy (page 5/29). For example, in the abortion debate, some opponents of abortion have argued that it should be illegal because celebrities have spoken out against it. This argument commits the fallacy of appeal to inadequate authority because it assumes that the opinion of celebrities should be taken as authoritative without providing any evidence to support that claim.
How to Avoid Logical Fallacies
It is advisable to make sure the arguments are based on evidence and logical reasoning to avoid committing logical fallacies. It must be understood that there is “no computational solution that captures all the complexities of logical fallacies” (Nakpih & Santini, 2020 p 43). Navigating the fallacies could prove a tedious task. In the abortion debate, opponents should use evidence-based research and well-reasoned logical arguments. For example, instead of relying on the opinions of celebrities, opponents should provide evidence that abortion should be illegal due to the health risks to the mother or the potential psychological impact on the child. Similarly, instead of relying on religious beliefs, opponents should provide evidence that abortion should be illegal due to its potential to devalue human life.
The abortion debate has been marred by logical fallacies, such as begging the question, circular reasoning, and appeals to inadequate authority. It is essential to recognize these fallacies to ensure that any debate is based on sound evidence and logic. To avoid committing logical fallacies, opponents should present their arguments using evidence-based research and well-reasoned logical arguments. Doing so can make the debate more productive and respectful and the outcomes more equitable.
Chapter 7: Fallacies of Support. 1-29 Nakpih, C. I., & Santini, S. (2020). Automated discovery of logical fallacies in legal argumentation. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Applications (IJAIA), 11. https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/62608912/Automated_Discovery_of_Logical_Fallacies_in_Legal_Argumentation20200331-96898-4hwb3r-libre.pdf?1585922753=&response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DAutomated_Discovery_of_Logical_Fallacies.pdf&Expires=1682054955&Signature=Y6N9FzUOdACv8V77kivc60azABowRMmOU48nAZaYDX4e~stbJUWLHeuudNACBL6FkJeL2~MxYJ4I87ry7XQ~f2nW2NnW4l5hFSwiAoXqmBNsO~h2F9l0-l8ZLkW~aQSFgEjsME07QJdfcq8AuHF128W5onW6ZoUViYBIzyfyXgLmtS9gf6e-OeE~MW1DVBQlphZN0kd3ojX6LP2m2yZ8Z8SNmqmal2iZWVbUZ6HxrXWsAkLB-SSZy558TKqkIuxA8vBQX1WAE~uZORid1tCJQH~eDx4b9b1A79rHNsdu9JU9BTZhGx17MBVgxNGGMyTY7I5U-XKFg~w62t3E2hzkWg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA