Logical Fallacies and the New York Rangers

Lias Andersson of the New York Rangers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lias Andersson of the New York Rangers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

When it comes to the New York Rangers, opinions abound

We’re all passionate about the New York Rangers. It’s why we write and/or visit this site. But we sometimes let our emotions get the best of us when we’re talking about our team. And often we respond with ideas based on our gut response instead of using logic, which causes us to employ logical fallacies (or errors in reason) to try and prove our ideas.

Here are some logical fallacies explained using discussions about the New York Rangers as examples:

The Straw Man Fallacy

This logical fallacy is when you oversimplify someone’s argument, but you don’t fully capture what they’re saying. People use this because it allows them to attack an argument that a person may not have ever made.

Person 1: The New York Rangers need to stay committed to the rebuild.

Person 2: So you’re saying they need to not focus on winning just so they can keep getting high draft picks and let the prospects play more? That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

Person 1 never said that staying committed to the rebuild means you have to lose, yet Person 2 implies that as the basis for their counterpoint.

Ad Hominem Fallacy

In Latin means “to the person.” In this instance, it’s when you attack a person instead of an argument. An example would be writing off anything that Anthony DeAngelo posts on Twitter about politics by simply saying, “Well, he’s a Trump fan, so whatever he thinks doesn’t matter.” That’s not focusing on any argument, but instead the person.

Bandwagon Fallacy

This is implying might equals right. In other words, this is when you argue that because the majority of people think it, it must be true. Recently our site had a poll on which goalie should start Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes. A bandwagon argument would be if your reason now for starting Igor Shesterkin is that “majority of Rangers’ fans think he should,” then that would be a logical fallacy. Instead, an argument that is supported by data and facts would make your case stronger about starting the Russian rookie.

Correlation/Causation Fallacy

Just because two things happened at the same time doesn’t necessarily mean one is the product of the other event. Here’s an example: “Artemi Panarin had the best year of his career playing with Jesper Fast. Fast allows Panarin to focus more on his offensive game.” Just because Panarin put up his best numbers while playing with Fast, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Fast was the cause of it. There’s no way now to prove that Panarin would have put those numbers up with or without Fast on his line in his first year as a Ranger.

Appeal to Authority Fallacy

We all want to believe we’re hockey and New York Rangers experts. However, when having a debate about our favorite team, it can be dangerous to justify your point by solely citing expert opinion. Lias Andersson–probably the biggest lighting rod among fans today–is a great example of that. If you’re of the belief that Andersson wasn’t given a fair shake under Coach David Quinn, you can cite his lack of playing time, his unskilled linemates, etc. However, if you don’t believe that’s the case, you may find yourself saying, “Well Quinn sees him everyday in practice. He knows best, and he clearly saw that Andersson is lacking something.” This is a logical fallacy. By simply relying on Quinn’s expert opinion as the basis of your argument, you make a weak case. (Side note: I’m not trying to stir up a debate about whether or not Andersson received fair treatment. I’m simply using this as an example of this logical fallacy.)

These are just a few of the logical fallacies that exist. Healthy debate about our team can be fun. But always remember what John Stuart Mill said:

"“So long as an opinion is strongly rooted in the feelings, it gains rather than loses in stability by having a preponderating weight of argument against it. For if it were accepted as a result of argument, the refutation of the argument might shake the solidity of the conviction; but when it rests solely on feeling, the worse it fares in argumentative contest, the more persuaded its adherents are that their feeling must have some deeper ground, which the arguments do not reach; and while the feeling remains, it is always throwing up fresh intrenchments of argument to repair any breach made in the old.”-John Stuart Mills"

In other words, we argue with our feelings and then double down on our argument because someone disagreeing with us threatens our identity.

We’re all fans here, and we just want to see the New York Rangers win another Cup in our lifetime!

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