Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Middle pleading

I can't believe it's almost a week since my last post on fallacies, where does the time go these days! Here are a couple of whoppers, arguments I hear all the time especially the first one which seems to be a personal mantra for some people, usually people who will do anything to avoid a conflict. Special pleading is another position that's common, it's amazing what mythologies people will cling onto against all evidence either through vested interest or simple fear of the unknown.

MIDDLE GROUND - Saying that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes is the truth.

Much of the time the truth does indeed lie between two extreme points, but this can bias our thinking: sometimes a thing is simply untrue and a compromise of it is also untrue. Half way between truth and a lie, is still a lie. Holly said that vaccinations caused autism in children, but her scientifically well-read friend Caleb said that this claim had been debunked and proven false. Their friend Alice offered a compromise that vaccinations cause some autism.

SPECIAL PLEADING - Moving the goalposts or making up exceptions when a claim is shown to be false.

Humans are funny creatures and have a foolish aversion to being wrong. Rather than appreciate the benefits of being able to change one’s mind through better understanding, many will invent ways to cling to old beliefs. Edward Johns claimed to be psychic, but when his ‘abilities’ were tested under proper scientific conditions, they magically disappeared. Edward explained this saying that one had to have faith in his abilities for them to work.

1 comment:

Chairman Bill said...

Is that Middle Pleading-on-the-Wold?