Showing posts from March, 2017

THE DUNNING KRUGER EFFECT - people are to stupid to know they are stupid

Have you ever sat and listened to a person drone on about a subject they know nothing about? This week’s Fallacy is so easy, it’s stupid. It’s also the one that is the hardest to accept in ourselves. It’s called THE DUNNING KRUGER EFFECT. It’s based on research done at Cornell University that showed that the less competent  someone is on a subject,  the worse they are at assessing their level of  incompetence  in that subject.   The reverse is also true.  The more competent a person is, in a subject, the less competent they tend to judge themselves to be. Author, Charles Bukowski   puts it best, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”  With that in mind, I would like to state, here and now, for the record, that I never know what I am talking about (wait  a second, is that a humblebrag?)

AD HOMINEM - or why I didn't have dates in high school

ME-It’s time for Fallacy Friday FACEBOOK- Oh great! Another lecture from less-cool-Urkel.  ME- Today’s fallacy is the “Ad Hominem” attack. FACEBOOK- ad hominem? Is that Latin for “you didn't date in high school?” ME-No, It refers to the practice of attacking the person making an argument, rather than attacking that person's argument itself. FACEBOOK-I saw you attacking a box of donuts this morning. ME-The attacks could be a crude, like the ones above, or they could be something more subtle. FACEBOOK-You weren’t subtle with those donuts. ME-attacking the way someone dresses or passing on an unflattering pictures of a person, can also be considered an ad hominem attack and should be avoided. The problem is, we all do this, all the time. Take a look at the FaceBook posts on this page. I guarantee that most of the political posts contain at least one ad hominem.  I understand that it is sometimes satisfying to call your opponent naive or stupid but really that kind of thing …


Why would anyone be in favor of a drug that leads to violence, murder and debauchery? Ok so maybe the debauchery isn’t so bad…BUT THE REST!

This Friday’s Logical Fallacy is the Straw Man. This is when a person argues against a warped or distorted version of your argument instead of addressing your true argument itself. They do this because it’s easier to argue against a false or oversimplified version of your point or to disregard your strong points in favor of attacking some minor throwaway line that you made. Don’t you just hate it when they do that! THOSE BASTARDS! Now here’s the sucky part of this lesson. How many times do you think you have done this to another person? When you find yourself in a h̶e̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶d̶e̶b̶a̶t̶e̶ friendly discussion try arguing against that persons STRONGEST POINT. If you can take on their strongest point, and still be successful it’s a better indicator that you yourself are on the correct side of the argument. Since arguing against your opponents weak…

THE GISH GALLOP - getting in the way of the food

FALLACY FRIDAY- Many times we debate with people, not to change THEIR minds, but to hopefully plant a seed of rationalism in the minds of the other people listening in on the conversation. We hope that some day that seed of rationalism will grow into a tall logic tree, which will, in turn, lead to a mighty forest of critical thinking. To that end, today we are going to talk about The GISH GALLOP. The term comes from a tactic frequently used by Duane Gish, a creationist who, during debates, would rattles off a laundry list of assertions, most of which were half truths and lies. He knew it was impossible to address all of his lies in the time allotted, so many of his claims would go unchallenged in the minds of the audience.   I fall for this debate trick at parties all the time. Faced with a long list of assertions I’ll take time meticulously deconstruct the first couple of claims. Meanwhile my opponent and everyone else listening, have moved on to the buffet table, leaving me talking …

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE- not as sexy as it sounds

HI TO ALL MY FRIENDS! I’m going to try something new. I’m calling it FALLACY FRIDAY. Every Friday for the next few weeks, I’m going to pick one logical fallacy and try to explain it. A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning that makes a particular line of an argument invalid. To start off, let’s talk about a fallacy called the Slippery Slope Logic Fallacy (SSLP). We have all heard it. If we allow some small event (A) then it’s a slippery slope to some horrible future dystopia (D). To break it down a little more what the person doing all the talking is actually arguing is that, if we allow event A to occur, it will lead to B, which will lead to C which will lead to dystopia D. For a Slippery Slope argument to actually be valid, the person making the argument must prove that A will INEVITABLY lead to B, which will INEVITABLY lead to B and so on. You see I capitalized "INEVITABLE" it doesn't mean I'm yelling. It just means that part is important. If they can’t prove t…