Bias, Rhetorical Devices, and Argumentation There are both good and bad arguments. Bad arguments consist of biases and fallacies. Good arguments include rhetorical devices and logic. Arguing your points and supporting your claims with evidence make your paper strong and ultimately persuade your reader to accept your viewpoint, so learning the correct techniques for argumentation is important. Bias Bias means holding opinions about a person or group that are stereotypical, prejudiced, or judgmental. Types of bias include political bias, gender bias, racial or ethnic bias, religious bias, and age bias. Academic writing requires you to be unbiased so your reader does not feel offended or excluded and also so you emerge as a fair and accurate researcher and writer. Writers must use caution to avoid bias in their own writing and also to avoid using research that is biased or one-sided. The following are examples of common types of bias: Type of Bias Example Political bias Republicans are the reason gay marriage laws will not pass. Gender bias Men take all the good jobs and always make more money than women do. Racial or ethnic bias Our country has so many economic problems because of all the illegal immigrants from Mexico. Religious bias Muslims believe in killing others for eternal reward. Age bias Senior citizens do not know how to drive properly and should not have driver’s licenses. Fallacies Using emotion the wrong way most often creates what is known as a fallacy . Fallacies occur when you use an illogical argument. The following concepts are common fallacies found in writing: • Scapegoating : Blaming a group or a person for a problem Example : Racial quotas are the reason I cannot find a better job. • Scare tactics : Using fear to try to scare readers Example : If you sit too close to the television set, you will go blind. • Apple polishing : Appealing to someone’s vanity to persuade him or her Example : You are too smart to be a Democrat. • Ad hominen : Attacking a person rather than attacking an argument Example : The president is stupid for proposing a tax cut at this time.
• Straw man : Creating a position that is easy to refute and then attributing that position to someone else (such as a source that is arguing the opposite of what you are arguing)
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to
access the rest of the document.