– Answer 2


Back to: 4 Fallacious Arguments to Avoid

“While Americans like Ben Franklin and Herman Melville wrote with simple quill pens, most authors in hi-tech Japan prefer to write with a computer.”

Of course, it makes no sense to boast of Japan’s high-tech prowess in relation to nineteenth-century technology. Historians generally should compare societies that are either contemporaneous or comparable in most socioeconomic categories.>

“Although it is true that Galileo invented the telescope, in fact his Italian instrument was inferior to American scopes. The lens was weak and uncoated, and there was no digital drive.”

This statement tries to diminish the importance of Galileo’s invention by comparing it to later and more sophisticated scopes produced by another “nation,” but, of course, we have no reason to believe those later scopes would have existed if Galileo had not invented the first telescope.

“In twelfth-century China, civil office was open to most men, but, unlike Western nations, women still were excluded from civil service examinations.”

This statement compares a timeless “West” to a specific period in China’s history. It seems to imply that Western nations have always been as they are now, but you can be certain that, in twelfth-century Europe, neither women nor men were able to compete for civil office. Women were not allowed to vote in the US before the mid-1920s, and women representatives are only a recent phenomenon, dating back no more than a few decades.


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