Logical Fallacies on the Internet and in My Life

Pictured: the logo for the website Reddit.

Content Warning: discussion of sex, trauma, transphobia/TERFs. Strong language is censored in my personal post, but not in the link I’ve provided. Read at your own risk. 

In my close read of chapters 14, 15, and 25 of “Thank You For Arguing” several examples, mostly those from various caverns of the Internet and my life, came to mind. 

I often catch myself scrolling through r/GenderCritical. It’s like a terrible car accident you can’t look away from with regards to both the moral implications of many posts, and the numerous logical fallacies sprinkled throughout. This post in particular demonstrates “the wrong ending/slippery slope” and reductio ad absurdum: “It Finally Happened” https://www.reddit.com/r/GenderCritical/comments/eyansw/it_finally_happened/ (CW: transphobia and strong language).  

“I was HORRIFIED when I discovered I’d be considered a bigot/transphobe, etc. for deciding I never want to deal with a penis again.” – u/milleniallyill

The author of this post exemplifies a slippery slope mindset in the very creation of her post on r/GC. She assumes that not wanting to have sex with a partner that has a penis means a few things: all transwomen have penises and that she was called transphobic because she “didn’t want to deal with a penis” (however, the language used in the rest of her post suggests others may have concluded she was transphobic for other reasons: see “man with autogynephilia”). 

In the comments, u/milleniallyill also writes “Oh, you “FEEL FEMALE!?” Well I feel like a f*****g Leprechaun so VALIDATE ME!” which commits reductio ad absurdum, reducing the argument to absurdism. The argument is absurdist in its incorrect comparison as well as its reduction to “feeling female.”  While “female” is actually a gender, “leprechaun” is not. They’re two completely unrelated things (not to mention that leprechauns aren’t real, but I’m pretty sure females exist). U/mileniallyill presents the argument for the existence of trans people as “feeling” a certain gender. This is one way to explain being trans to those who don’t understand it, but there are several sociological and sometimes physiological aspects which prove being trans is an “actual thing.” In any case, the “feeling” itself is often a recognition of one’s place in society based on analysis of one’s experiences. Also I highly doubt u/milleniallyill actually feels like a leprechaun.  

On a lighter note, I’m guilty of logical fallacies myself. I committed “good money after bad” a number of times throughout my high school years. Although the Cambridge Programme benefited me in a few ways, it also caused me a lot of stress I could have done without. But I stuck with it because I felt that I had done so much in the program already so quitting was not really an option. Ultimately, I probably would have been better-off in dual enrollment during junior and senior year.

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