Answers to sample questions about reasoning:

1. This is causal reasoning.  It is a weak example because these are more likely to be two effects of the same cause, aging.  They may be correlated, but there is no evidence that they are causally linked.

2.  This is an argument from principle.  Note how its form is like that of a deductive argument.  The structure of the argument passes the rules of validity, but listeners may not believe the first two premises and if they do not, then the argument will not work.

3. This is a bandwagon fallacy.  The fact that "everyone" wears or does not wear a helmet is irrelevant to the issue of whether you should or whether helmets protect people.  [*note: bandawagon arguments are also a kind of generalization, so if you called this a hasty generalization that's good too.  On a multiple choice exam, you would not find both bandwagon and hasty generalization as options.]

4.  This is a red herring fallacy and an example of unethical argument because it prevents the speaker from making his or her case: it does not promote the free exchange of ideas.  Terrorism as an issue has no relationship to national parks and concern for either issue should not cancel out concern for the other.

5. This is an example of causal reasoning that is flawed by the post hoc fallacy.  Though these events are related in time, there is little evidence to suggest that they are related causally (and certainly this argument makes no effort to show a true causal relationship).

6. This is the slippery slope argumentative strategy.  If we do this, then this will happen, and this will happen and things will get out of control.  Without having evidence to support a true causal chain of occurrences, it is fallacious to argue that we cannot draw lines.

7. This is an analogy.  I figure it is a weak one.

8. This is specific instances or a generalization argument.  However, three cases does not prove the point adequately, especially when there is a presumption in the status quo that smoking in public places does bother people (we hear about that more often than we hear the other side.)  So it is a hasty generalization.  To be stronger the arguer would have to supply some great statistics to support the examples.

9. This is a classic form of ad hominem.  It attacks the person making the argument rather than attacking the argument itself.  This too is an unethical argument at its heart because it undermines the ability of the opposition to even gain a hearing.  It does not promote the free exchange of ideas.

10. This is a classic form of the either-or fallacy.  Rarely are there only two choices one can make; especially in policy decisions.  For example, instead of cutting the library for all students, the university could consider cutting programs that are duplicated elsewhere in the state.  The either-or fallacy is rarely persuasive because it is so easy for the audience to imagine a third or fourth option.