LSAT Logic in the Colbert Report | Marijuana Legalization

LSAT Logic in the Colbert Report | Marijuana Legalization
Whatever your political views, you have to admit that while Stephen Colbert is in character on "The Colbert Report," he exhibits several logical fallacies.

Colbert recently exhibited a classic logical fallacy, the ad hominem attack. He was attacking Ethan Nadelmann, founder and director of the Drug Policy Alliance during an interview on the subject of marijuana legalization.

In an ad hominem attack, the person making the logical fallacy attacks the individual's personal characteristics, rather than the substance of the individual's argument itself.

Here's the dialogue where the ad hominem attack occurs (watch it in the video below by scrolling to 3:47):

Colbert: Have you ever done drugs?

Nadelmann: Well...I...Stephen...I have smoked the occasional joint when I'm ---

Colbert: So YOU are a criminal, and none of your arguments have validity now.

But wait - there's more.

Nadelmann makes an argument by analogy in the interview (at 2:45 in the video below). Arguments by analogy like Nadelmann's aren't necessarily logical fallacies. In order for the analogy to be valid, the things being compared must be similar in relevant ways.

Nadelmann: You can compare alcohol prohibition to marijuana prohibition.

Colbert: How so? Go on.

Nadelmann: What's going on in Mexico right now, it's like Chicago during Prohibition under Al Capone --- times 50.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Ethan Nadelmann

In LSAT Logical Reasoning questions, ad hominem attacks like Colbert's often occur in questions with a dialogue between two individuals. However, you can find these attacks in regular questions as well.

Being able to recognize argument by analogy is important for "method of reasoning" Logical Reasoning questions.

1 comment:

  1. I think colbert is hilarious (even though he satirizes a lot of my political views), and one of his most common thing is to use ad hominem attacks. (Usually in an incredible 'over the top' acting out fashion.)