Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Podcast: Tutorial 21 - Factoid Propagation

Factoid propagations can be harmless (like the Stella awards) and harmful (like the MMR Autism fraud/hoax).

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  1. Example - McDonnald's Hot Coffee and other "frivolous" law suits . The "Stella" awards. The fact  - youtube "Legal Minute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImaG1ugF5FM

  2. Spot that fallacy with Jeni Barnett

1.       The notion that we’re all the same – “Straw man”  and “factoid propagation” – who says this?

2.       Drug company making money – impugning motives (as opposed to the vitamin company...)

3.       Having it both ways, carp, rise in asthma, obesity etc., outright falsehoods, non-sequiturs and red herrings.

4.      Back in the day, when children got Measles, mumps etc. “she’s not advocating that” she says, yet later on does exactly that. Internally inconsistent (note - this is one obvious case of this, there are others...)

5.      If as a human being, you decide, etc. In a democracy you should have the right to say no. This is where you can use the technique of Substitution

6.      We have evidence – no we don’t – demonstrably false. Factoid propagation of Wakefield's infamous and now utterly discredited MMR autism  

7.      Not part of the herd. Sanctimony and weasel words

8.      Information being withheld. etc. Paranoid conspiracy mongering. Other things withheld... Rotashield as an example of how evidence is not withheld - it's dealt with openly.

9.       The whole thing is Browbeating 

The harmful factoid is the now discredited Wakefield study. The media very much to blame for the initial and continued scare, though at least there's now been some coverage of the correction. Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World is my number one example...