Analogies can help readers understand new information if the analogy is based on familiar things that are easy to imagine. Writers often use analogies to get their messages across and strengthen their arguments.
However, sometimes analogies can lead to incorrect conclusions.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to check whether the writer's analogy is accurate or misleading.
- In what ways are the things being compared really similar?
- Are the things being compared similar enough to support the writer's conclusions?
- Are there any significant differences between the things being compared?
- How do these differences affect the writer's conclusions?
- Which alternative analogies could give us a more accurate picture of how the things being compared are similar?
These questions can help readers exercise their own judgment instead of simply accepting the writer's claims.
The picture below draws an analogy between the human brain and a computer.
This analogy suggests that these are the same, and takes our attention away from some very important differences between the human brain and a computer.
The answers below are possible conclusions suggested by the brain-computer analogy.