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How to Argue, Part 3

Once upon a time, people didn’t know how to make fire. Until one day someone figured it out, people just shut up and listened, and everyone knew how to be warm, cook stuff, and purify water. Note that no one claimed that they had the idea first or fire was a gift from the gods so they should be thanked, and if you don’t, you’ll die and don’t deserve it, because, logic. And if no one agreed with them, racism.

But if someone did, that person was then offered to a Sabertooth tiger as a snack, hopefully.

Traps

This wasn’t the first trick or trap, in fact there are far too many, and we all know someone, or several people, who should be mauled by a Sabertooth tiger. There’s logical fallacies, false correlations, manipulation, outright bullying, peer pressure, so many things that trip you up and trick you into doubting yourself.

Logical Fallacies

Bad things do not happen because God hates you, God is far too busy to deal with your crap. Also, no country is objectively the greatest country on Earth, that’s extremely personal and relative. Although some far outrank others. And if you believe in spontaneous generation, don’t, the bug eggs are laid in the rotting meat by mommy and daddy bugs and that’s where babies come from.

Your brain is very lazy, it will take neurological shortcuts to simplify things, and see and insinuate patterns, or what it’s energetic enough to see. Which is why stereotypes, racism, and religion are things, also conspiracy theories.

Your brain is also biased, and you are biased, and can be wrong, along with your brain, also your memory is crap. But there is hope, once you take the blinders off and see your faults, you can overcome them.

Common Examples

Stats

Numbers and statistics are a reliable source of information, but none the less can be manipulated and abused. 90% of people like cake, 10% like pie, is a set of statistics, but if you only poll 10 people that’s not representative of a population. And if your sales are $1 it’s very easy for them to double in a year.

Numbers can also be over and under reported. Car travel is actually much more dangerous than air travel, but a fear of flying is more commonly reported than a fear of driving. Situations like this easily become “facts”, and “logical” assumptions.

Do you see any good examples of certain minorities on the news? Compare that to, yeah- racism. There’s also chauvinism, so many -isms inspired by “facts”. “Facts” that go onto support…

Survivor Bias

That would never happen to me, I would never do that, if I were you, are all things you have said or thought. These are examples of survivor bias. If you can do, or survive, so and so, why can’t someone else? You’re right and there’s something wrong with them.

Survivor bias is like throwing your shoes at someone else, demanding that they fit! But they don’t because everyone has different feet. Not only are your feelings not evidence, it’s also impossible to (metaphorically) rely on your experience, all the time. But if someone literally shoots you and drives off you should still call the police.

False-ness

-False Correlations

What do all pregnant teenagers have in common? They had sex? No, bad parenting, their parents weren’t there to monitor them 24/7 and close their legs. Which is impossible, but parenting is hard. And although parenting does involve sex, it doesn’t have anything to do with the products of your sex having sex, directly, hopefully.

Also, illness is not a curse from God, and not being good enough or to someone is an excuse for cheating. But cheating can directly be correlated with break ups, and never forgiving someone or seeing, respecting them ever again.

-False Authority

Speaking of parents, they are your parents. But there are limits to what you owe them, and they should respect you and be reasonably demanding. Just because someone is someone doesn’t mean you’re obligated to them, you have free will and choice.

This doesn’t mean you should exercise this all the time, but that’s how you learn what consequences are, and the authorities learn their limits, how people under them actually feel. And the Bible doesn’t have science in it.

Jesus

Jesus seems like a really great guy, it’s people who claim to know him that are the problem. Fake Clinics even give pregnant women, who want abortions for whatever reason, false information, that they claim is medical. Which is very dangerous and should be very illegal, no matter how you feel about abortion.

They are far from the only liars, generally delusional people though. Then there’s people who think that autism comes from vaccines, never give them a Bible.

Because they have enough feelings already. Not to say that religious texts are bad, but people tend to interpret them differently, pick and choose, plus they’re typically old, and can’t be applied in every situation.

The Bible says lots of things but noting about sexting. Or pants, they weren’t invented yet, and baked goods, besides bread. It’s probably not a sin to like brownies though, if it is you’re in a cult.

Targeting Weaknesses

Is any opponent’s go to strategy when they’re losing, rhetoric wise there are several insidious tactics.

-Sucking Up

Sucking Up is a classic. You might be right about some things, and suddenly be less wrong. But you need to understand, forgive, the other side. If not, the “But Yous” begin, and you “misunderstood”, or discrimination, oppression.  You’re the bad guy for not letting them be the good guy.

Then there’s just bullying, which quite often follows, and threats, slander. Essentially a hissy fit because you’re probably right and they don’t want to hear it, which often takes the form of peer pressure.

-Peer Pressure

The Asch Conformity Experiments are an example of this. Groups of people were presented with lines, and one was clearly longer, shorter, or different than the other. Everyone else, who were actors, had to agree that the lines were all the same. Anyone who protested eventually gave in to fall on line with the herd, be left alone, accepted.

This is used in arguing when people, especially your friends and family gang up on you to agree with them, and often ends up working. And when it doesn’t a narcissist gets punched in the balls by Jesus, maybe, someone does it, metaphorically.

-Lying

Then there’s just lying, purposeful or not. Purposeful lying is lying, stating false evidence, convincing people with not the truth. There’s also accidental lying, from someone’s purposeful or accidental influence.

People tend to say what other people want to hear, especially if they are in a weaker position. And do what other people want too. It’s why so many people have flags on their front porches in America, feel obligated to their religious or political views.

Saying what you think someone wants to hear is a huge problem on psychology, personality inventories, and rating systems. And hiring as well, people will say and do things to get a job. They’re hard to trust, people lie. Which is why reviews online preferably have written back up, evidence.

It’s also a problem with mentally ill people who lie on gun buying forms, to get guns. When they are not actually sane, despite their false answer. There’s also drugs, prescriptions, and underage drinking, but guns, seriously.

Lazy people who want to blend in, please others, and be left alone. It’s a trap, and far from the only one.

But how do you fight this? Learn how to fight the power in part 4.

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