Possible Sources and Followup for Pointing Out
An Error Assignment:
(1) Some General Comments
Some of the fallacies we've discussed are:
selection and sampling bias
conflating median and mean
You might also look at some of the fallacies
discussed in Corbett's book--e.g., equivocation, red herring, straw man. Some
criticisms won't fit perfectly into a specific category. Some of the other examples I suggested
in class were pointing out if an author has an unacknowledged bias that clearly
affects their judgment in making an argument (e.g., someone from a flight
attendant's union making an argument about airlines), or dealing with
statistics that are misleading (e.g., what does unemployment mean).
In all of these cases, an important part of
your task is to be reasonable in your judgments. Is the article doing something problematic? If so, you
should say so. But if someone
simply observes a correlation that seems plausible, and plausibly is in fact a
causation, you might not have much to say.
As I said in class, the paper only has to be a
page, and I'll reduce the weight in the overall grade to 10%.
(2) Potential Sources
Here are some URLs that might be helpful (i.e., you could use these for your assignment),
including a few that list other examples.
Not all of these will necessarily work well; it's your job to evaluate
whether you think there's a substantial criticism to be made.
I'd encourage you to look also at what you read
in your extramural reading, to see if you think there are any weaknesses in the
arguments you saw. Also,
definitely look for certain hot-button topics where you see people using shaky
If you find an article online criticizing
another article or study, you can use that to find the original article. Then,
for your paper, focus on the problematic article. In your sources, acknowledge
the source article and the extent to which you relied on it. I'd encourage you not to rely
too much on the criticizing article, since I want you to do that yourself.
(a bunch of examples)