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False Analogy Examples

Which colour suits me best-blue or Purple? We often compare things because that makes it easier to find out the best option available. It also helps to communicate things easily and effectively. For example, if you want to buy the best cell phone available in the market, you compare the different models which suit your budget to find out the best one. But, have you ever tried to compare a cell phone with an LCD TV? Hopefully, never! They are totally different from each other and it does not make any sense to compare the two. Their purpose and characteristics are entirely different from each other. However, at times it happens that we compare two things which do not share any common characteristics. This often happens when we react to something spontaneously or randomly pick up things to put forth an idea; such comparisons are known as false analogy. There are a number of examples for false analogy. Take a look on the list of examples given below.

Examples For False Analogy

Social

  • Employees are like nails. Just as nails must be hit in the head in order to make them work, so must employees. Explanation: Comparing employees with nails is totally illogical as both of them do not share any common features.
  • Government is like business. Just as business, government also must be sensitive primarily to the bottom line. Explanation: The objectives of government and business are completely different, so it doesn’t make sense if you compare both these institution.
  • “People are like dogs. They respond best to clear discipline.” Explanation: You cannot compare people with dogs; almost all intelligible living beings respond to discipline.
  • “A school is not so different from a business. It needs a clear competitive strategy that will lead to profitable growth.” Explanation: The ultimate goal of both organizations differs greatly from each other and hence you cannot compare both of them.
  • “Education cannot prepare men and women for marriage. Trying to educate them for marriage is like trying to teach them to swim without allowing them to go into the water. It can’t be done. Explanation: Educating people about a social institution is essential and this cannot be compared to some other training which includes muscular movements. Physical training is different from educating people in moral values.
  • “Most extremists follow Islam. Therefore, Islam is a religion that propagates extremism.” Explanation: This is hardly fair. Just because some members in a community exhibit extremism, you cannot generalize that it is the common feature of that community.
  • “Students should be allowed to look at their textbooks during examinations. After all, surgeons have X-rays to guide them during an operation; lawyers have briefs to guide them during a trial; carpenters have blueprints to guide them when they are building a house. Why, then, shouldn’t students be allowed to look at their textbooks during an examination?'” Explanation: Doctors, lawyers, and other professional are not giving their examinations to check how much they have learned whereas the students are. The situations are altogether different and comparing these makes for a false analogy.

Science

  • “There were wonderful psychologists who passed away several decades ago. If they could be effective in what they did, without reading any of the studies or other articles that have been published in the last several decades, there’s no need for me to read any of those works in order to be effective.” Explanation: There are several theories related to all fields of studies and not all theories are equally credited by all practitioners. You cannot assume that by reading a book of a practitioner who passed away several decades ago, you have imbibed all that was written by people before him.
  • “There are seven windows given to animals in the domicile of the head: two nostrils, two eyes, two ears, and a mouth. From this, and many other similarities in Nature, too tedious to enumerate, we gather that the number of planets must necessarily be seven.” – Francesco Sizzi, 17th century Italian astronomer. Explanation: Please tell us you don’t believe this guy!
  • “There has to be life on other planets because as of today no one has been able to conclusively prove that there is no life.” Explanation: Just because there is no evidence to the contrary, doesn’t make an assumption right.
  • “Water is liquid and is good for you to drink.” Explanation: Water is definitely good but not just because it is a liquid. Engine oil is also a liquid, but you can’t drink it.

General

  • “Mind and rivers, can be both broad. It is a known fact that the broader the river, the shallower it is. Therefore it must be true, that the broader the mind is, the shallower it is. Explanation: Mind and river are totally different from each other. Comparing both of them doesn’t make any sense.
  • “Look at that guy there who is wearing the leather jacket and baggy pants. His attire conclusively proves that he must be a gangster.” Explanation: You cannot conclude anything just looking on the attire of a person; it is not a good reason to substantiate your argument.
  • “This soap is like a dream. It lifts you up to a spiritual plane”. Explanation: Soap being a dream, really? Both are absolutely different from each other. Soaps have a physical existence whereas dreams obviously don’t.
  • “Bill Clinton has no experience of serving in the military. To have Bill Clinton become president, and thus commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States, is like electing some passer-by on the street to fly the space shuttle.” Explanation: It is true that Bill Clinton did not serve in the military but that in itself is not enough to compare him with a passer-by with absolutely no knowledge of politics. It also does not mean that Mr. Clinton is not capable of making important decisions.
  • Love is like a spring shower. It brings refreshment to a person’s body. Explanation: Love and shower are totally different from each other and so, they cannot be compared.

Of course, comparing is the best method to convey your message effectively but it is very important to consider whether the comparisons make sense or not. Improper comparisons can spoil the content of your message or totally discard the idea you put forward. Hope this article helped you to understand the concept of False Analogy.

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