Monday, April 16, 2007

Email of unknown origin celebrates a common fallacy - thanks Jack!

The excerpts below are extracted from an email of unknown origin forwarded to us by "Jack".It seems there are other Humbuggers out there who use a knowledge of fallacies to win arguments, while feigning a search for truth. We approve because we celebrate and affirm hypocrisy. (Test yourself: guess the main fallacy celebrated and endorsed in the email...answer at end of the excerpt.)

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments.

Suppose you're at a party and some hot-shot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about... (All you have to do is express) STRONG VIEWS about the Peruvian economy. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

Make things up.

Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove Peruvians are underpaid. DON'T say: "I think Peruvians are underpaid." Say: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."

NOTE: Always make up exact figures. If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up, too.

Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks. You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are: You're begging the question. You're being defensive. Don't compare apples and oranges. What are your parameters? This last one is especially valuable. Nobody, other than mathematicians, has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.

Update: My co-blogger reminds me that we have come across something like this before.