Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 3/10

In the video embedded in Part 2, Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin deLaplante, talked about Confirmation Bias and the Evolution of Reason.

From a discussion at the James Randi Educational Foundation, we learn there isn’t much of a difference between cherry picking and confirmation bias. In fact, cherry picking, is also known as suppressing evidence and the fallacy of incomplete evidence.

Professor deLaplante says, “Confirmation bias is a tendency we have to filter and interpret evidence in ways that reinforce our beliefs and expectations. To deal with this bias we must force ourselves to seek out and weigh even the evidence that might count against our beliefs and expectations.”

Cognitive bias research conducted over the past forty years on this topic revealed that confirmation bias leads to making bad decisions. Confirmation biases lead us to proportionately accept arguments that support our beliefs and reject arguments that challenge our beliefs and this leads to errors in judgment.

An example of cherry picking and/or confirmation bias appears in Part 3 of our debate when Sid said, “Locating a valid academic source concluding Mao’s reign was more beneficial than not is impossible.”

I replied,”Proving China prospered [on average] under Mao at the same time that Chinese people suffered due to Mao’s Anti-Rightist Campaigns was easy. Professor Stephen Thomas [University of Colorado at Denver] wrote for the World Bank’s Forum on Public Policy, ‘In 1949, the newly established People’s Republic of China designed and carried out economic development policies that led to an annual average economic growth rate of about 4 percent from 1953 to 1978, among the highest in the developing world…‘”

The Ad Hominem Fallacy. Source: The Critical Thinking Academy

Another example may be found in Part 4 of our debate where Sid says, “China’s achievements have occurred despite Confucian values. Overwhelmingly, Confucianism works only to stifle creativity, stymie critical thinking, and nullify questioning. It is a form of authoritarianism, tyranny of the mind and soul… I don’t deny China’s scientific achievements… Chinese innovations should not be disregarded. However, it must be asked why so few have appeared in modern history.”

Sid’s flawed logic follows the pattern Professor deLaplante revealed in Part 2 of this series of posts.

1. Confucianism is a form of authoritarianism, a tyranny of the mind and soul that stifles creativity and stymies critical thinking, which nullifies questioning.

2. The Chinese are influenced by Confucianism

Therefore, all [1.3 billion] Chinese are incapable of being creative, thinking critically, etc.

If Sid had not been cherry picking or fallen victim to his own confirmation bias to prove his theory that Confucian values stifle creativity, he would have realized that this theory is not realistic. In fact, he dismissed China’s innovations over the centuries by claiming they happened in spite of Confucianism inferring that those innovations were accidents.

However, the facts say otherwise.

Over more than a thousand years, mostly during the Han (206 BC – 219 AD), T’ang (618 – 906 AD) and Sung (960 – 1276 AD) Dynasties, in spite of being ruled by authoritarian governments with an emperor that was considered a god, the Chinese, probably because of the Confucian emphasis on education, developed paper, the printing press, the compass, a method to measure earthquakes, multi-stage rockets, holistic/herbal medicine, a cure for scurvy centuries before the West, the stirrup, the crossbow, gunpowder, the cannon, the Pound Lock used on the Grand Canal and much more—all during extended periods of stability and prosperity.

In fact, forms of authoritarianism do not stifle innovation. If this were so, Hitler’s Nazi Germany would not have developed the solid fuel rocket, the first freeway system [the autobahn], jet engines and stealth technology. Instead, the evidence says that most innovation takes place in times of economic stability and prosperity regardless of the type of government, political or cultural philosophy.

If you doubt this, I suggest visiting Idea and spend time studying the incomplete Innovation Timeline, which covers about 500,000 years of innovation or read Ancient Chinese Inventions that Changed the World.

Continued on January 29, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 4 or return to Part 2


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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2 Responses to Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 3/10

  1. […] Moreover, if dishonesty is part of human nature, it stands to reason that people will be subconciously dishonest when they demonize something they fear or do not understanding, which means critics will filter the facts to fit personal beliefs—known as Cherry Picking and turn to the Ad Hominem Fallacy to slander an entire nation. Source: Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty […]

  2. Troy Parfitt says:

    Note from Blog host: In another post, “Is China a Republic? Part 3/4”, I offered bait to discover if a premise I had about Troy Parfitt’s character was correct. Then I waited. Mr. Parfitt swallowed the bait by following his usual logical fallacy habits and missed an opportunity to score one against me without the use of insults and logical fallacies.

    My premise was that Mr. Parfitt cares more for his own pontificating to pump up his sense of superiority over others than checking the sources used in arguments against his opinions, which is why he often rejects or ignores facts and evidence from reputable sources that do not support what he believes—he doesn’t bother to read them, since it is easier and faster to use logical fallacies to derail an opponent’s argument–at least in the short term.

    As we can see in his comment to this post [nothing was deleted], he offers nothing but logical fallacies and no argument supported with evidence or facts to support his biased and angry opinion of my character or intelligence. In fact, through his choice of insults he reveals more about who he is.

    Mr. Parfitt said, “Your talking about logic is a bit like a child disseminating wisdom on nuclear physics or quantum mechanics. You are so incredibly stupid it defies imagination. On the one hand you admit you have no background in formal logic, on the other you you pontificate on it. You are foolish, a grown man with the intelligence of a teenager.”

    Mr. Parfitt, since you already have all the answers on any topic you hold an opinion on, you probably do not know that the best way to learn something is to teach it, and I made it clear in Part One of this series how much I knew of logical fallacies and what I was doing. I made it clear what I knew and where I was coming from and that I was learning as I went.

    In Part One, I clearly said, “I learned that it doesn’t matter how many years we spend in school or how many degrees we earn—we will never know everything, and that it is okay to be ignorant and learn from our mistakes… I’ve learned about the different types of logical fallacies, and Professor Keven deLaplante says there are more than 100… I have never taken a debate class. I have never read a book on logical fallacies, and this is nothing to be ashamed of.” [Note: I bought three books on logical fallacies last week after I wrote and scheduled this series, and I am now studying them to learn more.]

    Then in Part Two, I said, “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.”

    Anyone that already knows how to identify the use of logical fallacies or is learning from Professor deLaplante’s Website or his YouTube videos should be able to recognize the logical fallacies that Mr. Parfitt throws around like a dust storm in the Gobi Desert without respect for facts or other people.

    Now, I’m going to step aside for a paragraph or two and quote another individual that explains why Verbal Bullies do what they do. Then I will reveal the bait that Mr. Parfitt swallowed hook line and sinker and what it may have revealed about Mr. Parfitt’s motives and character.

    Frank J. Kong says, “Verbal bullies love an audience. They love the attention and I am sure you have as most of us have been there, find it extremely frustrating and annoying… Verbal bullies are mostly insecure. They use their verbal faculty to abuse people so they can appear superior and then they lose respect and their influence in the long run. You don’t want to be one. Remember this. You will know that you are a secure and a confident person the moment you have developed the capacity to consider others better than yourself.”


    Prediction from this Blog’s host: Mr. Parfitt will either ignore what Mr. Kong said on his site or denigrate him in some way as he has done to Henry Kissinger, Amy Chua, Frank Neville of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and others. The list of people that Mr. Parfitt has ravaged is long and growing longer. In fact, he has already ravaged more than 1.3 billion Chinese and their culture.

    If Mr. Parfitt ignores what Mr. Kong said, he may launch another blizzard of insults and other logical fallacies designed to change the focus of the topic.

    Mr. Parfitt certainly hasn’t used much evidence to support his opinions other than that he’s read 80 books on China and taught ESL in Korea and Taiwan for more than a decade, which makes him an expert on the topic [his opinion – not mine], and we already know his contempt for East Asian society from many of the reviews of his second book, “Why China Will Not Rule the World”. What’s interesting is that I agree with the title—not because of Mr. Parfitt’s reasoning—but because I don’t believe China’s government wants to rule the world. I believe that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party just wants to improve life for its people, stay in power and be left alone by meddling Western governments such as the US or biased critics such as Mr. Parfitt.

    If Mr. Parfitt spent any time in India, imagine the fuel he would have to roast that country and culture since he demonstrates that he has no tolerance for anyone that disagrees with him or any culture that doesn’t fit his limited, narrow view of how the world should operate. [Have you noticed my use of Red Herrings in the last few paragraphs?]

    Now for the bait that Mr. Parfitt swallowed by ignoring it.

    The above link will take you to the CIA Factbook page that I quoted from a number of times in a comment at “Is China a Republic? Part 3/4”, but I did not leave a link, which is something I do most of the time. One would think Mr. Parfitt would have been suspicious since there wasn’t a link and I quoted from the CIA in depth. It wouldn’t have taken long to find the full quotes that I cited and uncover the cherry picking that took place but I doubt if he reads much of what I write, which he accused me of in one of the deleted e-mails he wrote yesterday.

    On January 27 at 14:16, Mr. Parfitt said, “Besides, Floyd, you censor my remarks BEFORE you even see them, don’t you? You’re a liar and crazier than a bag of hammers.” [Note: Does it look like I censor his remarks before I read them?]

    In the quoted material from the CIA, I also used the ellipses (…) three times, which indicates that there was more to the quote that was left out. The use of an ellipsis also signals possible cherry picking (confirmation bias). After all, why would someone cut a quote off half way. People that rely on logical fallacies often do this as they load the argument in his or her favor.

    Radio talk-show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck use this tactic all the time—they take a phrase from the speech of a politician or CEO they are roasting in addition to the use of logical fallacies and twist that speech out of context by leaving out portions that do not favor the opinion and the often one-sided argument of the talk-show host.

    In this way, radio talk-show hosts such as Limbaugh and Beck use the words of the person they are trashing with logical fallacies to demean this individual and make him look bad or worse than he or she is.

    For an example, many of Mao’s critics, such as Troy Parfitt, have used this tactic to make the man look much worse than he was and these critics achieve this by leaving out what he did right—that’s cherry picking. And yes, Mao was ruthless but he also set in motion some policies [not all of them—the worst one was the Cultural Revolution] that improved life in China. Anyone he thought was an enemy he eliminated one way or the other and used other people to do his bidding without leaving much of a record behind as incrimination. When the Politburo disagreed with Mao over the Cultural Revolution, he managed to get rid of them and replaced them with Party members that supported his policies during those insane years (1965-1976). Even Deng Xiaoping suffered when the Red Guard was sent to punish him for disagreeing with Mao. When the teenage Red Guard arrived, they didn’t find Deng Xiaoping at home so they took his son up to the roof of a multi-story building and threw him off sending a message to Deng to keep his mouth shut.

    There is no doubt that Mao was ruthless, but when we examine all the evidence about the famine that took place during the Great Leap Forward, we discover that there are two sides to the story and nothing that supports the inflated facts and opinions of Mao’s critics that he deliberately set out the butcher 16.5 million, 20 million, 30 million or 40 million [pick one—that’s what Mr. Parfitt does] rural Chinese peasants in several of China’s provinces that were hit hard by a drought for several years resulting in lower crop yields. The next President of China recently admitted in a Party meeting attended by hundreds that 3.8 million had died and those deaths were a blight on the Party’s reputation that the Party should not remind the Chinese people about.

    However, I digress. Back to the CIA bait that was dangled in front of Mr. Parfitt. If he had followed the logical fallacy I offered, he would have had something real to crow about, but as I expected, Mr. Parfitt may be the sort of person that finds more enjoyment as a verbal bully using his talent as a writer to scourge those he holds contempt for, which is anyone that dares to disagree publicity with his biased opinions. I pity any student of Mr. Parfitt’s that has the courage to disagree with him in his classroom. I wonder what kind of emotions flow through Mr. Parfitt when he unleashes his demons on unsuspecting victims. Is there a rush, a thrill of some kind? [By the way, this is a loaded question, which is a logical fallacy]

    Here’s the link that will take you to the page at the CIA Factbook where the rest of those quotes that I cut off with an ellipses awaits discovery. Be my guest.

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