Idiom of the Day: Red Herring

red herringThe idiom “red herring” is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue.

The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

  1. Topic A is under discussion.
  2. Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
  3. Topic A is abandoned.

This sort of “reasoning” is a logical fallacy because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim.