The goal of this series of posts is to help others learn how to recognize faulty reasoning and the use of misinformation designed to mislead. The key word here is “help” because this isn’t a class. However, there will be embedded videos with links to sites and books that may better educate about intellectual dishonesty.
The book description of Crimes Against Logic by Jamie Whyte [formerly a lecturer in Philosophy at Cambridge University where he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy], says, “In the daily battle for our hearts and minds–not to mention our hard-earned cash—the truth is usually the first casualty. It’s time we learned how to see through the rhetoric, faulty reasoning, and misinformation that we’re subjected to from morning to night by talk-radio hosts, op-ed columnists, advertisers, self-help gurus, business ‘thinkers,’ and, of course, politicians.”
If you watched the embedded video in Part One, “Introduction of Fallacies” by Kevin deLaplante, the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Iowa State University, you may remember that he talked about what a fallacy was and provided more than one example. He said, “A fallacy is a bad argument. What makes it bad is certain GENERAL FEATURES that characterize arguments of this TYPE, and arguments of this type can often be MISTAKEN for GOOD arguments.” He then used the following example.
1. Computers are products of intelligent design.
2. The human brain is a computer
Therefore, the human brain is a product of intelligent design.
However, because a computer is designed by an intelligent designer, that does not mean the human brain is the product of intelligent design. In the Part 1 video, Professor deLaplante teaches how this logic is a fallacy, provides examples and says people need to be trained to recognize these fallacies.
Confirmation Bias the the Evolution of Reason. Source: The Critical Thinking Academy
When Sid said, “You can bar me from commenting. All hopeless CCP apologists are censors. It’s inevitable that you would try something like that. You lack the intelligence to argue, so you ban.” Source: in the comment posted January 13, 2012 at 09:02
Sid’s opinion is an example of the same logical fallacy that Professor deLaplante warns us about in “Introduction to Fallacies” in Part 1.
If we break down the logical fallacy in Sid’s reasoning, you will discover a similar pattern.
A. Lloyd censored Sid from commenting on this Blog.
B. People that censor lack intelligence to argue.
C. All hopeless CCP apologists are censors.
A + B + C = D
D. Therefore, Lloyd is is a hopeless CCP apologist that lacks intelligence to argue, which is why he banned Sid from commenting on this Blog.
However, that is not the reason why some of Sid’s comments have been deleted from this Blog — it has to do with Sid’s use of logical fallacies and his intellectual dishonesty during and after the debate as you shall discover.
In addition, I have never apologized for anything Mao or the CCP may have done since 1949. Anyone that knows the difference between an explanation supported with valid evidence from reliable sources and the definition of an apology would know this isn’t the case.
Another way to discover Sid’s intellectual dishonesty is to compare what he writes to other arguments. To start, I suggest reading the Letters section of Foreign Policy magazine and compare the style of those arguments with Sid’s alleged intellectual dishonesty.
In fact, if Sid had avoided using logical fallacies to support his argument, some of his comments wouldn’t have been deleted.
Continued on January 28, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 3 or return to Part 1
Meet the real Sid and learn about him from his own words and the opinions of others
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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In a mostly deleted 295-word comment from Mr. Parfitt on January 27 at 13:28, he ended his tirade with “BTW, it’s not a logical fallacy to call somebody a name. Look it up.”
I’m going to share some advice from “Abusive Love.com”, which I’m not following by sharing a few of the logical fallacies that Mr. Parfitt uses in each of his comments.
“MORE ABOUT PERSONAL ATTACKS AND AD HOMINEM ARGUMENTS… I encourage anyone who has been subjected to this kind of verbal abuse (flames) on the Internet in newsgroups, discussion groups, mailing lists, in message threads, in emails, when using USENET or posting comments on a blog (weblog) to respond in this manner: ‘In your last response to my post (or email or comment) you engaged in a personal attack. You have tried to discredit my argument by discrediting me as a person. You have used the fallacy of an Ad Hominem attack rather than refute the logic or reason of what I said. Therefore, you have lost the discussion and I will not respond further to your posts.'” Source: http://www.abusivelove.com/abuse_types_1_14.htm
Then, I refer readers to a post on Verbal Bullying at Bullying Staticsts.org, and say that I will not tolerate bullying on my Blog even when it is directed at me.
Bully Statistics.org says, “In this bullying article we take a look at verbal bullying. What is verbal bullying? What are the effects of verbal bullying? Read this article to learn more about how to recognize verbal bullying and ways to deal with someone that is a verbal bully…
“With verbal bullying, the goal is still to degrade and demean the victim, while making the aggressor look dominant and powerful. All bullying focuses on creating a situation in which the victim is dominated by the aggressor. And this can happen verbally as well as physically.” Source: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/verbal-bullying.html
As for logical fallacies, Mr. Parfitt uses two logical fallacies in one statement. One appeals to the people (Argumentum ad Populum) when Parfitt says, “You’re a champion, not of China or the Chinese people, but of the Chinese Communist Party” [this focused on China haters and there are millions in the West, which is Parfitt’s primary audience for his second book].
In Hurley’s book, “A Concise Introduction to Logic”, he says, “In the direct approach [appeal to people] the arousal of a mob mentality produces an immediate feeling of belonging for each person in the crowd… The same thing happens in the indirect approach, but the context and technique are somewhat subtler.”
In addition, in an argument against the person, an ad hominem argument, Hurley shows arguer 2 verbally attacks arguer 1 in an argument against the person. Then arguer 1 presents an argument in response, as I did with “Verbal Bullying”, which arguer 2 rejects. This is where Arguer 2 commits the ad hominem fallacy. (page 116-117).
Hurley says, “The argument against the person occurs in three forms: the ad hominem abusive, the ad hominem circumstantial, and the tu quoque. In the ad hominem abusive, the second person responds to the first person’s argument by verbally abusing the first person.
“The ad hominem circumstantial begins the same way as the ad hominem abusive, but instead of heaping verbal abuse on his or her opponent, the respondent attempts to discredit the opponent’s argument by alluding to certain circumstances that affect the opponent.” By doing this, the respondent (Troy Parfitt) shows that the opponent (me) is predisposed to argue the way he or she does and should therefore not be taken seriously.
Hurley says, “The tu quoque (“you too”) fallacy begins the same way as the other two varieties of the ad hominem argument, except that the second arguer attempts to make the first appear to be hypocritical or arguing in bad faith. The second arguer usually accomplishes this by citing features in the life or behavior of the first arguer that conflict with the latter’s conclusion. (page 118)
“In evaluating any argument,” Hurley says, “there are always two issued to be considered: the quality of the reasoning and the truth of the premises. As we have noted, both are irrelevant to the personal characteristics of the arguer. But whether we accept the premises as true may depend on the credibility of the arguer. Knowing that the arguer is biased or has a motive to lie may provide good ground for distrusting the premises. Another reason why ad hominem arguments are effective is that they engage the emotions of readers and listeners and thereby motivate to transfer their negative feelings about the arguer into the argument.”
Here is one example of an ad hominem that Mr. Parfitt used in this mostly deleted comment. He said, “You’re a vulgar propagandist and a crackpot.”
I urge readers to ignore this ploy and instead evaluate the quality of the reasoning and the truth of the premises made during the debate with Mr. Parfitt. This would require that readers read the entire twelve-part debate and all the comments in addition to any facts or evidence provided and then decide if I am a “vulgar propagandist and a crackpot”.
If readers then decide that I am “not playing with a full deck” as Mr. Parfitt says in this mostly delted comment or that I am “left looking, quite frainkly, loopy” so be it.
The debate starts here > http://wp.me/pN4pY-2BM
Parfitt also said, “then you delete information that doesn’t contain faulty logic – it just annoys you, next you admit to not knowing much about logic, and finally you claim again that statements were deleted because they didn’t stand up to your logic standards; standards that, by your own admission, you don’t have.”
The challenge is that Mr Parfitt weaves his logical fallacies in with his argument making it difficult to impossible to remove the logical fallacies without gutting what’s left.
Then to change the topic again in another Red Herring attempt, Parfitt says, “It was in the news today that the CCP has been lying about pollution and not disclosing related statistics for five years. What kind of country lies to its own people about weather and air quality?”
I don’t know. You tell me, Mr. Parfitt, but read this first.
“EPA Whistleblower Says Federal Government Covering Up Leathality of Corexit and Lying About BP Gulf Oil Spill Water Samples to Save BP Billions.”
“Democracy Now has published a shocking interview with a top EPA official, Hugh Kaufman, who tells us that NOAA and the EPA are covering up the lethal effects of the neurotoxin pesticide dispersants and lying about Gulf Oil Spill water samples to save BP billions of dollars in fines.
“In the interview with Democracy Now! Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, reveals some appalling details to the public.”
Whatever the answer is to your question, it also applies to the United States.
To learn more about Mr. Parfitt and who he is, here are a few pull quotes from reviews of his book that may shed a light on him as a person.
This pull quote comes from the Wordbasket
“This technique requires an essential trade-off. Parfitt’s immediacy and human touch necessarily incorporate his bias into the story. He says in his introduction: “In spite of my prejudices, I honestly tried to approach the experience with as open a mind as possible…”
“Unfortunately, he also sees them as real humans who primarily fail to uphold his Western standards. He wants swift service, smiles all around, and cab drivers who can negotiate Hong Kong streets in English. He wants standards of professionalism that didn’t even exist in the Western world a century ago. And he looks down on Chinese who don’t snap to. Though I can’t call Parfitt racist (he denigrates everyone equally), he certainly sees the world through his own particular lenses.”
This one comes from Peking Duck.org
“I was appalled at Parfitt’s attitude toward both China and Taiwan. In spite of his finding some things to praise about each, it is more than clear from the very start that he harbors a good deal of contempt toward both countries…
“Parfitt seems to seek out and dwell on the negative… Xiamen, where he enjoys visiting the island, but the praise is lukewarm at best and is totally drowned out by his hostility toward the PRC.
“Where Martin Jacques’ “When China Rules the World” (which I’m making my way through in follow-up) lays out arguments and describes historical developments, Troy Parfitt does bring in some historical background and references, but in highly opinionated ways which alone belie his supposed position as disinterested observer…
“Rather, he comes across like a China expat on what they somewhat affectionately call a “bad China day,” or as an angry traveler who cannot quite handle the many disappointments and oddities that China throws at the foreigner.”
From Pacific Rim Shots
“I see more of negative attitude and communication problems than a profound understanding of the supposed problems of Chinese culture. This isn’t so much a book about China’s future standing in the world as the disgruntled traveller’s diary, and paradoxically, he asserts the claim made by many pro-CCP people that the party rules because the one-party system is uniquely fit to the country’s culture.”
From Publishers Weekly – entire review
Parfitt, who has taught English in Taiwan for over a decade, uses his experience there to start several months of travel through the People’s Republic of China in order to challenge the assumptions that China will determine the course of the global economy in the next century. The result is mostly travelogue told from an outsider’s perspective, contextualized with overviews of major events in Chinese history. Parfitt argues that China will not rule the world, because as a nation it is more interested in the appearance of success than actual substance. He suggests that culturally, China has little to offer. More importantly, the majority of goods currently being created in China come from non-Chinese companies, again proving a lack of innovation. Parfitt makes a compelling case from the microcosmic level for why it will be difficult for China to become the primary hegemonic force of the 21st century. However, his book lacks the pre-cise facts and figures that he decries in other books promoting Chinese dominance. Parfitt is a persuasive writer and readers will leave his tale scratching their heads and perhaps deciding that they do not want to visit China at all. (June)
From the Vancouver Sun review
First see the pull quote Parfitt showcases on his Website at
Then read the full review in the newspaper or the pull quotes below.
“Parfitt is only partly successful. He does convey with sometimes excessive repetition that away from the showcase metropolitan centers China is a gloomy, bitter, xenophobic and ill-favoured place with little to offer the world…
“But all too often the book comes across as a 400-page rant. Although the rant is by and large well-founded, there were times when it took dedication to duty to keep on reading. Parfitt spent a decade or so teaching English in Taiwan, the island nation 160 kilometres off the coast of China, which Beijing claims to own. He learned some Mandarin and around 2005 decided to set off to learn about China
“One of the frustrations of Parfitt’s book, in contrast, is his apparent lack of curiosity and his reluctance to engage with the people he meets…
“I have been to most of the places to which Parfitt travelled in his search for China. Unlike him, however, I have always found people, especially in small towns, provincial cities and villages, to be friendly and hospitable, sometimes excessively so…”