I was challenged to look at a speech or debate that has taken place somewhat recently and break down the logical issues with it. So I asked myself, where is the easiest place to find logical fallacies? To anyone familiar with the American presidential debate, the answer is obvious: Donald Trump. If Donald Trump loses the election, his speeches will be shown in what not to do seminars, if not then we’ll never be able to say anything negative about him again.
With an idea finally in my head I decided to watch his speech about not letting Muslims into America. After I stopped crying, I started breaking down the things he said. First of all a little background: the premise for his speech was that all Muslims should not be aloud into America because 25% of Muslims who were surveyed said that they thought that violent actions against Americans were justified under the Jihad. This information was taken from Pew research and others. Which others? I doubt we’ll ever know. If that’s not enough evidence for you don’t worry, he gives us more. Oh wait, never mind. Instead of backing up his claims with more evidence he convinces his audience slandering those 25%. Within 30 seconds of presenting this fact, those 25 percent of Muslims surveyed have gone from people who believe that violent acts against Americans are justified under the Jihad to people who, and I quote “believe only in Jihad… and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” The evidence for this? Only that 25% of the surveyed Muslims thought that violent acts against Americans were justified. I want to see the results of the survey of how many Americans think that violent actions against Muslims are justified because of horrors like 9/11. My guess is that it’s pretty much the same numbers if not greater
So besides a lack of evidence, what were the major logical fallacies presented in this speech? One of the most obvious ones is Composition/Division which is assuming that one part of something has to be applied to all other parts of it. He does this with the Muslim Faith. He says that America should outlaw all Muslims from entering the country because 25% of them think violent acts against Americans are justified. Do you know who thinks that those acts are unjustified? 75% of the Muslims who were surveyed. But just to keep it safe, we should probably ban all of them.
Trump says that “[America has] no choice.” Really? This is the only option you can possibly think of? According to Trump there are only two options: let them in and have continued violence against Americans, or don’t let them in, and you wont have problems. There is no middle ground. This logical fallacy is called black and white, although in this scenario brown and white is probably closer to the truth.