Thursday, August 16, 2012

Logical Fallacies - Bloggers and Commenter’s pitfalls

This post isn’t really "hard hat" post. Unless you are one of the people who does this ^_^.

This post sort of continues JMB's Latin theme and looks at one of a whole bunch of different kinds of broken logic/faulty reasoning.

They, as a group, are called “Logical Fallacies”. Tricks and mistakes that stop a person following the true logic of an argument and bury the actual facts, often by clouding them with emotion.

You see them sometimes in posts on some, mostly political, blogs and/or in some of the comments.

There are two reasons to use this sort of argument. One is you are smart enough to see it makes no real sense yourself, but cynically know that lots of people will not be able to work that out and will be convinced. So you can convince the careless and gullible and “win” an argument dishonestly. Political arguments are just the type these are used in.

Where it is more important for a person to “win” an argument and seem right, than to actually be right. Ok until a someone runs into the brick wall that was argued not to exist. Or relies on the brick wall it was argued existed to keep out a burglar.

The other reason is someone who doesn’t get it when something makes no sense and has no experience of real debate..

They are a fascinating subject all on their own and it is actually useful to know them, like it is useful to watch those TV programs about cowboy builders, fake products and con men. It is useful to know, so you can tell if someone is trying to con you and so you don’t fall for it.

If you spot a logical fallacy then you need to be wary of being suckered.

So. Here is one (and here comes the Latin tu Moggsy?). “Ad hominem tu quoque” (literally “to the man” and literally "you also"). It sounds way complicated and fancy, or even rude ^_^, but it isn’t at all. it is real simple. It is to do with attacking the person making an argument to try to make it seem invalid.

Here is an example and you will see. Imagine a father giving his son advice about marital fidelity saying:

“Son if you mess around behind that girl’s back you’ll regret it” (classic county and western theme here)

…and the son saying; “Oh Yeah! Like I’ll take that advice from someone who played around behind Mom’s back, is divorced and was never there for me”.

The son’s argument is a fallacious (great word that also sounds really quite dirty ^_^) because it is about the father’s character. The father in the example might be being hypocritical, He might be selfish, he might have messed up, he might also be speaking from regret and hard won experience.

Whatever… _None_ of it makes what the father says less logical, less valid.

Apropos of nothing special, except maybe the verbal fallacy of equivocation and an implied syllogism..

“Why did Farmer Giles get awarded the Nobel prize?”
…Because he happened to be out standing ^_^ in his field.


James Higham said...

That's a most logical post, Moggsy.

jmb said...

Brilliant Moggsy. I love it. I hope you weren't meaning me. LOL.

CherryPie said...

Very clever, the person/s who need to understand this will not see it is them you are talking about ;-)

Moggsy said...

Thanks for all your comments. I was aiming for it to be more informative than especially logical.

Cherry I think you are right. It is not just in blogs either, politicians are terrible for this, and lots of other Logical Fallacies.

I might explore this subjetc more some time.

Often they just avoid any question outright. Most reporters lazily never seem to call them on it, or even notice.