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Chapter 10. My Way or the Highway: Speak... > Truth or Consequences - Pg. 80

My Way or the Highway: Speaking to Persuade 80 Oversimplifying the Issue When speakers oversimplify the issue, they twist the truth by presenting too narrow a range of possibilities. For example: Here, we have a clear-cut choice between a plan that will result in international catastrophe or a plan that will result in a thriving economy both at home and abroad. Can two sides of an issue really be that clear-cut? It seems unlikely. Unless the speaker can back up the assertion with convincing details, the audience is likely to shake its collective head in disbelief. The argument is not valid. A Little Latin Post hoc ergo propter hoc is Latin for "After this, therefore because of this." It is the mistake of confusing after with because . Look at the following example: During the board of directors' term of office, the value of common stock has declined 25 percent; preferred stock declined by 15 percent. Should we reappoint people who cannot manage our money? The fact that the value of the stock declined after the board of directors took office does not mean that it happened because they were in office. In order to prove that the board of directors are re- sponsible for the dip in the stock, the speaker must show that the events are linked by a cause-and- effect relationship. Reasoning Backward This logic fallacy assumes that people belong to a group because they have characteristics in com- mon with that group. Therefore, it assumes that anyone with those characteristics is a member of that group. Study this example: Democrats are always proposing tax increases. Governor Harriman is proposing a tax increase. From this we can conclude that Governor Harriman is a Democrat. Clearly, people other than Democrats have proposed tax increases. This ploy comes up a lot when public officials seek re-election in a tough year. The Least You Need to Know · Effective persuasive speeches rely on appeals to logic, emotion, and trust. · Assertions should be backed up with carefully researched facts, details, examples, and statistics. · Facts matter: Use them to make your persuasive speeches really persuade. You can find great facts in text and electronic sources. · Only use sources that are high-quality, free from bias, and appropriate. · Errors in logic can destroy an argument. Logic fallacies include begging the question, bogus claims, false analogies, loaded terms, misrepresentation, oversimplifying the issue, confusing "after" with "because", and reasoning backward.