Fallacies of insufficient evidence have premises that are relevant to the conclusion, but the premises do not give sufficient evidence to support the conclusion. In the following passages, identify whether or not there is a fallacy of insufficient evidence. Identify the fallacy or state that there is no fallacy. Give reasons for your answer.
In the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), there is a scene that is a spoof of the witch hunts that took place in the Middle Ages: A group of peasants set upon a woman and declare that she is a witch and demand to burn her. The scenario goes something like this:
Knight: How to you know she’s a witch?
Crowd: She is dressed like a witch.
Knight: Why is she dressed like a witch?
Crowd: We dressed her up to look like a witch.
Knight: What do you do with witches?
Crowd: We burn them.
Knight: What do you burn besides witches?
Knight: Wood! So why do witches burn?
Crowd: Because they are made of wood.
Knight: Does wood sink or float in water?
Crowd: It floats.
Knight: What else floats in water?
Crowd: A duck.
Knight: Exactly! So . . .
Crowd: If she weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood!
Knight: Therefore . . .
Crowd: She’s a witch—burn her!
List the premises and the conclusion that you find in the argument. Does the conclusion follow the premises logically? If not, where does the reasoning break down? Can you spot a fallacy? Explain your findings.
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