Posted by: Ticktock | July 25, 2009

Junior Logical Fallacies

It occurred to me that kids argue in ways that completely defy logic. Here’s my attempt at categorizing those arguments into a list of ten new logical fallacies. I hope you enjoy!

1. Argument by Repetition – Any time a child wants something and asks for it repeatedly without regard to the fact that her father has said “NO” and stated his reason. This fallacy typically occurs when an ice-cream truck pulls into the cul de sac or when the family is at the toy store exit.

2. Argument by Ignoring – When a father clearly states a simple order, and his child refuses to acknowledge the request or respond to it appropriately. A good example of this fallacy is when a child spends fifteen minutes organizing her bag of “gems” instead of putting on her shoes like her Dad told her to do in the first place.

3. Argument by Tantrum – This effective fallacy uses public embarrassment via an enraged fit to communicate an intense desire for something that the child does not intrinsically need. Often, the Argument by Tantrum, indicates a deep underlying need for sleep and relaxation for the child… and the parent.

4. Argument by Cuteness – When a child spontaneously acts like an adorable puppy dog and starts licking her arm and quietly whimpering, while looking at you with  moistened eyes. This fallacy is used by toddlers who can’t verbalize complete sentences. It often coincides with the announcement that it’s time to go to bed.

5. Vicious Circle of Persistent Questioning – Why do those ducks have green heads? Because they evolved that way. Why did they evolve that way? Because having a green head gave their ancestors a survival advantage. Why did having a green head give them an advantage? I don’t know. Why don’t you know? Because I don’t study ducks. Why don’t you study ducks? Because I chose to be a theatre major in college. Why did you choose to be a theatre major in college? That’s a long story. Why is it a long story? […ad infinitum]

6. Argument by Parental Deferment – When a child petulantly tells you that her mother will let her do the thing that you are forbidding. This fallacy is usually followed by the child calling her mother on the phone and insisting that you were mean to her, even if all you did was refuse to let her have Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey for a snack.

7. Argument by Peer Reference – When an older child insists that she should be able to do something just because all her friends are allowed. This fallacy occurs in proximity to cell phones stores. The best response to this fallacy is to mention the dangers of Peer Reference, especially in regards to jumping off a bridge.

8. Argument by Eye Roll – When a teen lacks the verbal intelligence to defend her point, and instead, rolls her eyes toward the sky while looking at you with utter contempt.

9. Argument by Whining – This is a fallacy that, left unchecked, will slowly melt your brain away. Although similar to the Vicious Circle of Persistent Questioning, this fallacy is differentiated by the elongation of diphthong vowels at the end of sentences. There’s typically a rise in annoying inflection, implying demand, but then a dip in tone, implying a need for sympathy. A parent can tune this fallacy out so that it sounds like the distant melodic gasps of a lone accordion

10. Argument by Blame – A fallacy for siblings that usually involves one sister excusing her bad behavior because of something the other sister did. This fallacy is associated with a perceived violation of possessions and  is used to justify physical harm done to the other sibling. For example, “I bit her ear because she took my Dora coloring book.”

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Responses

  1. My daughter is very good at #4. Her immediate response to anything I say in even a vaguely reprimanding tone is: “But I love you.”

  2. HAHA! Great list.

  3. Excellent 🙂

  4. Hah, good stuff.

  5. Love this list! I have two young daughters and WOW, am I not looking forward to experiencing #s 7, 8, 9, and 10.

  6. I love this. And as I was reading it, my daughter came out from her room and asked me to tuck her in. Yet again. And I encountered Argument from Loquaciousness, wherein the child basically says, “You can’t leave me here to sleep if we’re engaged in conversation!”

  7. Hmmm. Why do those examples seem so real to me?

  8. Ahh, I can identify, most particularly with 4., which is indiscriminately used by my 3 month old daughter at midnight when I am bleary-eyed trying to get her to sleep while her brother snores beside us, and 5., which her 3-year-old brother indulges in every waking moment when his mouth has no food in it.

  9. I recognise all of those too well. Which is why I walked out.


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