Spot that Fallacy: War on Christmas Edition

As I watched a recent video by featuring Dave Muscato, I started to point out a few fallacies in the comments section–but the fallacies kept on coming, and I didn’t stop.

For fans of Fox News and/or The O’Reilly Factor, perhaps this post will provide some insight as to how a humanist/skeptic/atheist watches a segment like this.

Let’s begin playing Spot the Fallacy™!

00:05 Poisoning the well/straw man fallacy. (How does the placement of a billboard entail a “war”?)

00:11 Poisoning the well/straw man fallacy. (How is a statement of fact “mean-spirited”?)

00:17 Poisoning the well/straw man fallacy. (How is a statement of fact an “attack”?)

00:29 Loaded question. (“How mean can you be?” is akin to “Have you stopped beating your wife?”)

(Yes, we’re up to seven logical fallacies before Muscato has a chance to speak. Moving on….)

00:58 Etymological fallacy. (As Muscato correctly pointed out, people can celebrate Valentine’s Day without thinking about Saint Valentine.)

01:10 Loaded question/appeal to authority fallacy. (A question like “says who?” or “based on what authority?” dismisses the fact that rational beliefs are formed on the basis of the evidence itself.)

01:16 Subjectivist fallacy. (“That’s just your opinion” is a quick way of dismissing any fact.)

01:22 Exaggeration fallacy. (“Many” is undefined.)

01:31 Straw man fallacy. (Muscato never told anybody what they should or should not believe.)

01:52 Red herring fallacy. (Bolling’s feelings of offense are irrelevant to the facts.)

02:05 Argumentum ad populum/red herring fallacy. (About a third of Americans believe the sun goes around the Earth, too. It’s irrelevant to the facts.)

02:29 Red herring/circumstantial ad hominem/appeal to emotion fallacy. (Muscato could have just as easily asked, “Mr. Bolling, do you think watching The O’Reilly Factor is good for kids?” It would be just as irrelevant.)

02:46 Red herring fallacy. (Nobody is claiming that your kids shouldn’t care about the things you care about.)

03:01 Loaded question. (It’s like asking a firefighter, “Why are you always messing with fire?”)

03:05 Straw man/ad hominem fallacy. (Bolling does nothing to support his assertion that Muscato is “mean-spirited,” but even if he were, it would be irrelevant to the facts.)

03:08 Argument ad populum fallacy. (Only about 0.3% of the U.S. population are active members of the U.S. Army, but this does not render their needs irrelevant.)

03:25 Argument ad populum fallacy… again.

03:28 Straw man/abusive ad hominem fallacy. (Bolling does nothing to support his assertion that Muscato is “offending people,” but even if he were, it would be irrelevant to the facts.)

03:44 Loaded question fallacy. (Muscato could have just as easily asked, “Don’t you love America, Mr. Bolling?”)

03:46 Outright lie/red herring fallacy. (No, America was not founded on Christian beliefs–just read the original documents of the Founding Fathers to see this–but it’s also irrelevant.)

03:56 Genetic fallacy/red herring fallacy. (As Muscato correctly pointed out, the change was recent, and it’s irrelevant.)

04:05 Loaded question/red herring fallacy. (As Muscato correctly pointed out, elected officials can affirm, and it would be unconstitutional to require them to hold a religious test for office.)

04:21 Red herring/ad hominem fallacy. (How is where Muscato spends his Thanksgiving in any way relevant to the topic?)

04:25 Red herring/ad hominem fallacy… again.

04:33 Straw man/abusive ad hominem fallacy. (Bolling does nothing to support his assertion that Muscato is a “mean-spirited attack on Christians,” but even if he were, it would be irrelevant to the facts.)

04:38 Straw man fallacy. (Nobody is claiming that Bolling cannot be allowed to like the things he likes.)

05:06 Straw man fallacy/abusive ad hominem fallacy. (Bolling does nothing to support his assertion that Muscato is “attacking Christmas,” but even if he were, it would be irrelevant to the facts.)

05:11 Straw man/circumstantial ad hominem fallacy. (Asserting that Muscato is placing his billboard “for the shock value” and “to get on The Factor”–with no evidence to support this assertion–is a quick way of maligning Muscato’s character, which is irrelevant to the facts anyway, even if it were true.)

05:25 Red herring fallacy. (As Muscato correctly pointed out, “Then it’s not for you.”)

05:31 Straw man fallacy. (Muscato never claimed to be offended by anything.)

05:34 Red herring fallacy. (Bolling feeling offended is irrelevant to the facts.)

By my count, that’s a total of 48 fallacies, or an average of about one fallacy every seven seconds–100% of which came from Bolling. That’s an impressive level of complete and total disregard for the rules of logic, even for a Fox News host.

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