By David Grant
Welcome one and all. We are here today to teach you how to screw up your life.
We hope you will apply the lessons you learn here to destroy your health, your marriage, every positive relationship, and make you poor, needy and dependent.
Don’t worry, you can live on the government dole and someone else will do the work that you are unwilling and will soon be incapable of doing. It’s really a simple, step-by-step process. Here’s how it works.
We will convince you that you are number one! How does that sound? You are the only important being in the world. Others exist to meet your needs.
When they stop doing this, their being is no longer necessary. They owe you. You need higher self esteem. You need to be the center of your own universe. You da man!
The special fallacies that you will need to show your proper place relative to others are,
- Ad Hominem
- Straw man
- Appeal to misleading authority
- Appeal to force
- Well Poisoning
- Tu Quoque
- Appeal to Nature
With these fallacies well mastered, you will be able to manipulate others into getting what you want from them. Time for…
Because you are special and unique, the laws of logic, economics and statistics do not apply to you. You are truly exceptional. That which signals failure for most is mere noise for you.
You will learn the proper use of the following fallacies:
- Anecdotal fallacy
- Texas sharpshooter fallacy
- Fake precision
- Slippery slope (Semantic and causal versions)
- Question begging
- Hasty generalization
- False dichotomy
Just to give you and idea of how this works, let’s take a closer look at a few Step One fallacies.
In Step One we teach you a host of Red Herring fallacies. This is done so that you will be distracted from real issues and and focus on irrelevant things instead.
It’s like flipping channels to see what Spongebob is up to at the expense of the History Channel presentation on the American Revolution or foregoing a slice of homemade wheat bread in favor of a Twinkie.
Red Herring fallacies are similar in that they all deflect attention from the real issue. The name of the fallacy came from the ancient and effective practice of confusing hounds by dragging a stinky fish across the scent trail.
The Red Herring fallacies include the following,
- Straw man
- Two wrongs
- Appeal to consequences
- Appeal to emotion
- Guilt by association
- Ad Hominem
- Tu Quoque
- Poisoning the well
- The Hitler card
- Appeal to celebrity
The Two Wrongs fallacy will come in handy when you do something bad and you want to deflect blame. There is really no need to own up to your wrong when all you really have to do is point out someone else’s worse wrong, thereby making what you did seem good by comparison.
For example, If your mom catches you drinking, you could say, “Well, at least I’m not smoking dope. You should be happy that drinking is all I’m doing.” This is a classic Two Wrongs fallacy and works well on bad parents.
You may even get a really bad parent to believe that they are lucky you are getting drunk on a regular basis.
If you really want to make an impact, bring your mom’s family into it. Say something like, “Yea, you should be glad I’m not an alcoholic like uncle Bob.”
The two wrongs fallacy will get you out of responsibility while you are young. If you keep practicing, you can use it on your wife or girlfriend and your obnoxious kids that you have to see every other weekend.
The Tu Quoque fallacy is similar to the Two Wrongs fallacy but with a twist. Instead of deflecting blame by pointing at a wrong that is worse than yours, you accuse the person that is accusing you of being just as bad as you are or worse.
For example, let’s say a girl at your school accuses you of being mean to your girlfriend. You could say, “Oh, yea, maybe I should treat her the way you treat Becky, idiot.”
Adding the word “Idiot” to the end brings in the next fallacy to be discussed, Ad Hominem.
An Ad Hominem (Attack against the man) attack is an attack against the man instead of the woman, just kidding. It is an attack against the person instead of their argument. It’s so powerful, it’s almost like a Jedi mind trick.
It works great against weak minded people. They will be so focused on answering your attack that they will completely forget the logical merits of the discussion. Here is how it works…
Friend 1: Hey, you are pushing a few pounds there, dog.
You: Oh yea, well, you are stupid and ugly and I can lose weight.
See how awesome that is? You just dragged a stinky old fish across the scent trail about your needing to lose weight. At this point, your friend will probably fall for your Jedi mind trick and say, “Oh, you mean stupid and ugly like your mama?”
This could lead to tons of other fallacies like Appeal to Force.
The last fallacy to discuss in Step One is the Guilt by Association fallacy. This one is used to shut people up by saying that they could not have anything intelligent to say because of the group they run with.
You can attack their heritage, their religion, their political party, their family, just about anything.
It makes sense to study the Red Herring family of fallacies. You can deflect blame and put others in their place quickly.Remember, you are number one. People and organizations are useful only if the benefit you!
Once you have learned and practiced Step One fallacies, you will be ready to move on to Step Two fallacies.
Let’s look at the Anecdotal Fallacy and the Hasty Generalization fallacy.
The Anecdotal fallacy is a favorite among the dysfunctional, a group that you will soon be joining if you stick to the lessons. It consists of carefully selecting the more emotional and more immediate data from a mountain of evidence.
Here is an example. Let’s say that you are a 28 year old female who saw every Twilight movie and read every Twilight book three times. One Friday you decide to have lunch at the park in hopes that your Edward might come by and swear that he is addicted to you like a drug.
As you bite into your pita sandwich a guy in stylish yet shabby clothing asks if he can share the bench. He tells you that he is not sure why he had to sit by you but that there is something intoxicating about your vibe. Flash forward two weeks.
You learn that he has been imprisoned for drug use, he beat up a former girlfriend, he goes to a clinic to get checked once a week, and he works at the adult book store. He says that he is over the drugs, that the girlfriend was psycho and that he was only protecting himself, that he has been scab free for a month and that he is looking for a different job.
In order to join the dysfunctional group, you need to commit the Anecdotal fallacy by ignoring the evidence that this guy is a loser and will hurt you now and in the future. Instead go with the emotional evidence that he makes you feel special and would never hurt you.
You can increase the speed and intensity of the dysfunction by allowing him to use you to create progeny. You go, girl!
Las Vegas is built on the success of this fallacy. The evidence that you will probably lose money, pollute your mind, over-eat and leave dumber than you were when you came is extremely high.
But if you merely rely on the Anecdotal fallacy, ignore statistical realities and economics, you can confidently go and share in the mystique.
Few things will propel you to dysfunction faster than the Hasty Generalization fallacy. It is committed when you conclude something from a data set as small as one.
For example, you may conclude that smoking really doesn’t hurt you much. After all, your friend’s uncle started smoking at 14. He is 86 now, still smokes and is still going strong. Instead of looking at all of the available data on the pro’s and cons of smoking, you draw a conclusion from a single data point.
Related to the Hasty Generalization fallacy and something that will aid in deepening your dysfunction is the notion that you are a statistical exception. It is the conviction from deep in our soul that although others have failed doing what you do and have suffered pain and humiliation, it won’t happen to you.
You are special. You are different. You are unique. There is no one quite like you (remind you of anything?). Here are some examples:
“If you try it once, you have a high chance of becoming an addict.” If someone says this to you, you need to respond, at least in your head if not out loud, “I am special, I am unique, there is no one quite like me. Therefore, what you say does not apply to me.”
“If you are intimate with him this soon, you will end up hurt or worse.” If someone says this to you, you need to respond, at least in your head if not out loud, “I am special, I am unique, there is no one quite like me. Therefore, what you say does not apply to me. There has never been a love like ours. How could you know possibly know what is going to happen to me.”
Finally, you need to ignore history. At least ignore history before President Hayes and for dysfunction’s sake, under no circumstances study Plato, Aristotle or any other weirdos in togas…unless one of them is John Belushi.
David B. Grant is the founder of Summa Logica Productions, which promotes formal logic training, particularly among youth, and helps you become a better thinker, reader, and writer. He is the author of Joseph Spider and the Fallacy Farm.
David holds degrees in Philosophy (BA) and Business (MBA) from Brigham Young University. He teaches Entrepreneurship and Operations at Southern Utah University.
He resides in Cedar City, Utah with his wife and five children.