A loaded question occurs when someone asks you two questions, but one is hidden behind the other. The purpose of a loaded question is to make you assume the answer to a hidden question, without actually asking that hidden question.
In the example above, the hidden assumption is that the person has been beating his wife. While that’s not so hidden in this question, it still presents a problem because the question is asking for a “yes” or “no” answer. Both of these replies will incriminate the responder. If a “yes” answer is given, the person is admitting he used to beat his wife. If a “no” answer is given, the person is admitting he still beats his wife.
How is this a problem for candidates in the elections? Candidates are asked all sorts of loaded questions by journalists and others who interview them and moderate their debates. For example, in the 2007 Republican debates, Senators John McCain and Mike Huckabee were asked this basic question, “Do you believe in evolution? Yes or no.” At first, this may not appear to be a loaded question. However, if you know the history behind the question and the perceptions involved in the heated debate, this is an obviously loaded question. Let’s look at why.
The issue has been superficially divided, for the most part, between those who believe the universe was created and those who believe the universe does not need a creator. Though the issue is wrongly divided in this way, it tends to get labeled and promoted as such, especially through the media. A person who has studied the question of evolution and the origins of the universe in some depth knows that there are non-religious scientists as well as religious scientists who argue, based in scientific evidence, for a creator of the universe. There are also various views on evolution within the faith community. Yet the question assumes the perceptions of the issue: that 'belief in science' is what is actually at stake. So the assumed question is: what do you believe about the endeavor of science?
Due to the simplistic labeling of the various positions on this argument, if Mike Huckabee or Senator McCain had simply answered “yes” or “no,” here’s how it would have come across because of the loaded question:
“Yes” – I believe in science. (ala the movie Nacho Libre)
“No” – I do not believe in science.
Loaded questions have much to do with perceptions. That is why Mike Huckabee stated that his moderator was asking the wrong question. This is an example of what to do when you are faced with a loaded question. You should question the question!
 Adapted from Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn. The Fallacy Detective: Thirty Six Lesson on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning. (Muscatine, IA: Christian Logic, 2002, 2003), 120.
 McCain was asked the question one-on-one. The moderator then asked for a show of hands of who “doesn’t believe in evolution.” Mike Huckabee, in a later debate, was asked to explain why he raised his hand to signify he "didn't believe in evolution" in a more complex version of the same basic question.
 Paul Davies, John O’Keefe, Fred Hoyle, Alan Sandage, Arno Penzias, Arthur Eddington and others.
 He actually stated it was an “unfair question,” which I would not have said. I would have said it was the “wrong question.”