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An explanation is intended to explain why some phenomenon happens. The explanation is fallacious if the phenomenon does not actually happen or if there is no evidence that it does happen.

  1. The reason why most bachelors are timid is that their mothers were domineering. (This attempts to explain why most bachelors are timid. However, it is not the case that most bachelors are timid.)
  2. John went to the store because he wanted to see Maria. (This is a fallacy if, in fact, John went to the library.)
  3. The reason why most people oppose the strike is that they are afraid of losing their jobs. (This attempts to explain why workers oppose the strike. But suppose they just voted to continue the strike, Then in fact, they don't oppose the strike. [This sounds made up, but it actually happened.])
Identify the phenomenon which is being explained. Show that the evidence advanced to support the existence of the phenomenon was manipulated in some way.

About Stephen Downes

Many kudos are owed to Stephen Downes, the logician who originally authored this list of fallacies and made it freely available on the Web. His basic structure remains. A mirror of Downes' original site can be found here.