, 23 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Welcome to #FallacyFridays! On Fridays, we learn about logical fallacies in order to have better arguments and have sound logic. Today's logical fallacy is the red herring fallacy, a tricky one to catch if one isn't aware of it. Retweet to let your followers in on the knowledge.
The story goes that when herring, a type of fish, is cured with brine, it turns into a reddish color and has a pungent smell. At times, this cured herring is used to create false trails to train hunting hounds. This is thought to be a possible origin of the “red herring fallacy.”
The red herring fallacy occurs when, instead of addressing or responding the argument in question, you digress from it and introduce another topic. You are lured by a metaphorical cured herring, distracted by the scent of irrelevant points instead of the actual argument at hand.
Today’s illustration of the red herring fallacy could not be more perfect in depicting how it works.

The infamous distracted boyfriend meme.

The guy is not paying attention to his girlfriend but has his attention on another woman, coincidentally dressed in red.
Sometimes, the red herring fallacy is obvious to spot. But other times, it can be very tricky to spot. Let’s look at this example in the picture below to see how it works:
Now, that above example is obviously red herring. Rob said, “That’s not even worth discussing,” and Tim caught onto the fact that Rob was diverting from the question with introducing a new topic: Tim’s communication skills & transparency.
But let’s look at this example.

Jen: “Will free healthcare mean higher taxes?”
Obi: “Free healthcare will mean that everyone will have access to healthcare. Healthcare is a human right and refusing to make sure everyone has access to it is unethical."
A bit more tricky to spot than the first example I shared. But it’s clear here that Obi was deliberately diverting from Jen’s question, “Will free healthcare mean higher taxes,” to now arguing that healthcare is human right.
Now, say Obi answered, “Yes, free healthcare will mean higher taxes. However, the amount the middle class will be paying in taxes is less compared to the monthly expenses of the average working class family who struggles to afford basic healthcare.” This wouldn't be red herring.
So far, all of the examples have been showing a diversion from questions. But it can also happen with statements as well. For example, if Sally says, “Our millennial citizens are questioning if you’re really fit to be mayor of our town"...
...and the candidate for mayor says, “Millennials? The same ones that lick ice cream and put it back? We need prosecute them so they stop such disgusting behavior,” the candidate has made a red herring. He did not respond to the fact that millennials question his competence.
POP QUIZ for my OG #FallacyFridays students! Which other fallacy did the candidate for mayor commit by making that response?
It's important to note that there are times when questions or statements put forward have a flawed/inaccurate premise. If you don’t answer the question or argument put forward but you successfully point out the flaw in the argument, you're not committing a red herring.
For example, someone asks, "Do you think that the Roe v. Wade ruling that restricted all abortions was fair?" It's not a red herring to correct the person & say that it actually ruled that laws that banned all abortions (except the mother's life is in danger) are unconstitutional
Moral of the story: to avoid making a red herring fallacy, unless the question or argument has a flawed premise, just answer the question or engage with the statement. In the event that the question or argument is flawed, clearly explain why it is flawed.
Now for the quiz! In the following tweets, you will find statements or conversations. Determine which answer choice depicts a red herring fallacy.
A. I know you’d like to think you are competent enough for this position, but you lack the social intelligence and leadership skills to navigate it. We have found a more qualified candidate. I think you should look at other institutions or positions for a better fit.
B. "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!” –Kanye West, in 2009 when Taylor Swift was in the middle of giving her acceptance speech for her VMA Award & Kanye interrupted.
C. I know you think you think fornication is a sin that destroys the moral fabric of our civilization but world hunger has taken a much larger toll on the everyday well-being of our species. It’s not that we lack the resources to solve it. It’s food distribution we need to solve.

Timi: I think you’d make a great student body president. You’re a great listener, compassionate, and a natural leader.

Sofi: Aw, thanks Timi. I won’t be running for the position though. I’m focusing more on school so I have straight A’s this semester.
Which one of the following depicts a red herring fallacy?
Thanks for joining me on today's #FallacyFridays! As you know, I offer this free of charge. However, I created a virtual tip jar in case you'd like to give some $$$ as encouragement to keep going with this. Thanks in advance to all who give & retweet. 🙏🏾 bit.ly/2LII79n
Also, check back in four days for the answer thread discussing the rationale behind the answer choices. If you enjoyed this and would like to see all of the #FallacyFridays threads done so far, you can go through this collection here:
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Ekaete 🌱
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!