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Leading you to incorrect conclusions for their personal benefit at your expense

October 3, 2011

TORONTO – Techniques used by public officials to deceive and mislead people are so common, that the most typically used have given names to aid in their detection.

There are even study books aimed at creating skills for recognizing tactics deliberately used to cause the targeted people draw a conclusion (position or opinion or belief) that is not in conformity with facts or truth.

Conclusions and how we make them is an essential part of our life because the decisions we make, especially the important ones, are based on conclusions.

Regardless of what we do for living, we make decisions numerous times every single day. While some are unimportant, others are crucial. The right decision made in time is rewarding and pays back. Making a wrong decision could sometime ruin our life. Therefore, it is very important that we are able to make right and good decisions.

When a conclusion - based on which a decision is made - is incorrect, consequences could be fatal. Imagine that a doctor draws incorrect conclusion and then takes action or does not, prescribes a course of treatment or does not prescribe any treatment at all.

Remember, nearly 23,750 people die each year from in-hospital errors in Canada, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Even though some incorrect conclusions result in fatalities, others can result in benefit.

Many groups of people and many individuals employ special skills to make us draw erroneous conclusion by causing us form false belief, opinion, or idea.

Fallacy is an incorrect or misleading notion or opinion based on inaccurate facts or invalid reasoning. Fallacies are statements that are logically false, but which often appear to be true.

Some people are unaware that they make use of fallacies, but others employ fallacies in a conscious effort to deceive.

Politicians resort to fallacies very often

  1. To evade answering a question;

  2. To prevent unveiling the truth or to conceal it;

  3. To assign responsibility by implication to somebody else for their failure;

  4. To manipulate people’s emotions and make them reply in a particular way or accept a claim as being true on false grounds - although being aware that it might not be of people’s best interest.

Fallacies are not always easy to recognize.

Public relations specialists have spent billions of dollars researching how subtle fallacies can be used to persuade people vote for candidates, support particular policies, or buy products.

For those who study political campaigns, advertisements, or editorial commentaries, would find that many of them are filled with fallacies.

Politicians’ considerable influence on people’s lives makes recognizing fallacy and its politician users particularly important.

Fallacies are so common, that the most typically used have given names to aid in their detection.

Analyzing a few examples below of the most common fallacies would provide a foundation upon which readers would be able to build additional critical thinking skills necessary to identify officials who employ deceptive tactics for personal gain at the expense of public interests.


Missing the Point
Two Wrongs Make a Right
Appeal to Fear
Personal Attack


With files from various sources


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ABOUT CFI: Canadians for Integrity (CFI) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to identifying, challenging, and deterring public officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests.