Take the argument, reanalyze it and make it more clearer of what the topic is asking.
Summarize the argument, and explain how it commits the fallacy. How could the argument be improved to avoid committing the fallacy? Explain and discuss.
Equivocation fallacy is an example of informal fallacy perpetrated by the public figures to explain some of the days to day issues in society. Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, political commentator, a producer, and a writer in one of his shows, “The daily show with Trevor Noah” committed a fallacy when he sought to explore the relationship between the U.S. and China based on 5G technology. Trevor Noah on a segment he uploaded on YouTube on May 22, 2019 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEQTo9usai4), asserted that the U.S. and China are at battle over it. Notably, the discussion below gives an analysis of the informal fallacy by summarizing it as well as explaining how it commits an error.
Summary of the fallacy
5G technology refers to the fifth generation of a cellular network that facilitates broadband access. The technology succeeds in 4G technology that has been adopted widely. 5G is a new invention that requires countries to invest heavily on infrastructure that will support it. The U.S. is one of the most super-power countries of the world wants to adopt the technology before any other country in the world. China is a well-developed country that as well intends to take the technology first. It is due to the desire of these two countries to roll out 5G technology that Trevor Noah on his show stated that the U.S. and China are conflicting. Such a statement contributes to an informal fallacy that is invalid whose meaning cannot be understood by many. The equivocation fallacy is seen when the political commentator states that the two countries are at war. Many people understand conflict as engaging military resources in a physically that leads to a fight for a particular reason. Therefore, despite their desire to adopt and roll out 5G technology in their countries first, the two countries are not engaging in confrontation. In his argument, Trevor Noah use faulty reasoning to adverse his argument. Notice his tone when he says ‘…and why is China and America going to war over it’. It is clear that ‘conflict’, under this context, is not used as a metaphor but as a literary depiction of military wrangle. Remember that fallacy is the use of invalid reasoning to make a wrong move. Hence, Noah uses the reference ‘war’ to persuade his audience and attract them. For instance, an audience by hearing Trevor say ‘why China and America have a feud over it’ would think that the two countries are literary going into military battle.
The fallacy in the argument
Primarily, China and the U.S. have not engaged in physical confrontation whereby military troops from each of the two countries are fighting each other in combat. Therefore, it is not true that the two countries are fighting each other. Trevor Noah goes ahead to explain how the two countries are wrangling in a segment of his show called “if you don’t know, now you know” (The Daily Show, n.d). The name of the segment of his shows contributes to further confusion as it is hard for one to comprehend how not knowing can be called now, you know. Therefore, it is the invalidity of his statements that renders them informal fallacies.
Improving argument to avoid the fallacy
One of the main ways through which the political commentator would have avoided ambiguity is through stating facts regarding the 5G technology concerning the U.S. and China. For example, the two countries are competing against each other on infrastructure development for 5G technology. Making such a statement would allow the viewer to understand on what basis is 5G competition between them. Noah could have avoided the fallacy by being categorically clear about what he meant by ‘conflict’.
The second way through which the show host should have or may improve his shows is by being specific on the aspect he is referring to with such a statement. China and U.S. are not conflicting and the competition to adopt 5G technologies should not be compared to a military battle as there are no military troops involved and nobody will likely die due to such a “conflict”.
If You Don’t Know, Now You Know 5G | The Daily Show [Video file]. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEQTo9usai4
With that answer this question to make this argument more clear so the reader can understand.
This is not clear that what fallacy (if any) is committed here. For instance, it says that to avoid the fallacy, he should have stated “facts regarding 5G technology concerning the US and China… the two countries are competing against each other on infrastructure development for 5G technology”. But in the full segment that is exactly what he discusses and explains in detail. So can you make it a little clearer on what he should have done differently?
Also, it is worth noting that “war” is very commonly used as a metaphor. For example, politicians and others regularly talk about the “war on drugs”, and everybody understands that this is not a reference to actual military troops or a military war between two nations. There is also a lot of recent talk about “trade wars” (in connection with the US and China, and the US and Mexico, for example) – again, everyone understands that this is not an actual military war, but rather an intensive competition over trade policies trying to gain economic advantages over rivals. Is there a reason to think that Noah was using war in a literal sense, and not simply in a metaphorical sense the same way we talk about trade wars and the war on drugs, etc?