sarahmichigan: (Default)
[personal profile] sarahmichigan
This one drives me up the wall. I noticed an example of it in, of all things, Babylon 5, season 4. Captain Sheridan tells the alien Lorien that the first duty of a prisoner is to escape. Lorien then launches into a completely moronic speech about, "If you're a captive of love, should you try to escape to solitude?" and so on, using terribly flawed analogies and abusing the prisoner metaphor to within an inch of its life.

Of course, no analogy is perfect, but some are better than others. More discussion on this fallacy can be found here:

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/wanalogy.html

Date: 2007-03-02 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pstscrpt.livejournal.com
The problem with using analogies as proof is that proving the analogy hold is generally the same thing as proving whatever you were arguing without the analogy. They're useful as illustrations, but I think using analogy for argument is just an emotional appeal.

Date: 2007-03-02 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
I think analogies can be useful to explain hard concepts, but they're not terribly useful as "proof" or "evidence" for any claim.

Date: 2007-03-04 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkaycee.livejournal.com
I noticed an interesting elision from a TV commercial in my teenhood... some commercial for a toothpaste (or maybe a mouthwash with flouride? I don't recall but it was dental), said commercial claiming that its special ingredient would penetrate your teeth and protect them from within.

And then the person making that claim took a piece of chalk and dipped it into a blue liquid, then broke the chalk in two to show the fascinated boy in front of him that the liquid had penetrated partway into the chalk.

When the commercial first aired, the kid said, "it DOES get in!!!"

They cut the line a few months later, leaving the rest of the commercial untouched.

Even I knew that the commercial was a completely bogus analogy, and used to make fun of it. I did always wonder if someone sued them or something, or they just got letters saying the kid's exclamation mmade it even more stupid ... or if sanity just prevailed by a few percentage points.

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