Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 3/10

January 28, 2012

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 Finder.com 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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Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 2/10

January 27, 2012

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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Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1/10

January 26, 2012

I discovered something important the day a Vietcong sniper came within a skin’s thickness of hitting and possibly killing me. I realized that I should never stop learning. Later, 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.

My latest lesson in life started in November 2011 when I agreed to debate another author on this Blog. He wrote a scathing book condemning Chinese culture, and I disagreed with his biased opinions.  In this series of posts, I am sharing the lesson I learned from that debate and the mistakes I made.

Instead of using my opponent’s name, I’m going to call him Sid. If you are interested in reading the actual debate, there will be embedded links in this series of posts that will lead you to it [as there is in this sentence]. When Sid and I started arguing about China, I didn’t know there was a philosophical school of thought that has studied logical fallacies for decades. I didn’t know there were books on the subject and university courses.

Since the debate, I’ve learned about the different types of logical fallacies, and Professor Keven deLaplante says there are more than 100.

One Good Move.org says, “The idea of logic is truth preservation. What that means is that if you start with true beliefs, your reasoning will not lead you to false conclusions… most people have non-logical reasons for believing the things they do… So use reason with caution, and if you really want to persuade someone of something, remember that compassion, honesty and tact are as important as logic.”


Introduction to Fallacies – Hosted by Kevin deLaplante, the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Iowa State University.  Source: The Critical Thinking Academy

Before this series concludes, you will discover that Sid knew about logical fallacies and took advantage of my ignorance. I will also cover some of the most common logical fallacies that lead to intellectual dishonesty, and I will be using examples from the debate I had with Sid and comments he left or attempted to leave on this site since the debate.

I have never taken a debate class. I have never read a book on logical fallacies, and this is nothing to be ashamed of.

However, when I was earning a BA in journalism (1973), I learned how to write an honest and proper Op-Ed piece. Due to that, I was aware of a few logical fallacies to avoid such as cheery picking, ad hominem, and red herring — but not in depth. No one formally taught me how to recognize these logical fallacies [or what to do when I did], but I knew it was intellectually dishonest to use them in an Op-Ed piece to influence people, and I recognized their use by sales persons, politicians or political talk-radio hosts.

Then in December 2011, Sid and I launched a twelve-part debate on this Blog about China, which was the beginning of my education about intellectual dishonesty and the use of logical fallacies—an alleged con artist was my teacher, and I was his victim. As you will see, Sid eventually came to hold me in contempt.

Continued on January 27, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – 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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The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 7/7

January 17, 2012

The CIA Factbook [where I found the data used in this post] says China’s GDP [Purchasing Power Parity or PPP] was more than $10 trillion and its real GDP growth rate was 10.3% in 2010, foreign exchange and gold reserves were about $2.9 trillion and its external debt was $529 billion. The current account balance was a positive $305.4 billion (2010 est.)  Public debt was 16.3% of GDP (2010 est.).

India’s GDP [PPP] was $4 trillion with a growth rate of 10.4%, reserves were $287.1 billion and its external debt was $316.9 billion. The current account balance was a negative – $51.78 billion. Public debt was 50.6%.

Brazil’s GDP [PPP] was about $2.2 trillion with a growth rate of 7.5%, reserves were $288.6 billion and its external debt was $396.2 billion. The current account balance was listed as a negative – $47.36 billion.  Public debt was 54.7%.

Russia’s GDP [PPP] was a bit more than $2.2 trillion with a growth rate of 4%, reserves were $479.4 billion and its external debt was $538.6 billion. The current account balance was a $71.13 billion.  Public debt was 9%.

South Africa’s GDP [PPP] was $524 billion with a growth rate of 2.8%, reserves were $43.84 billion, and its external debt was $109.4 billion. The current account balance was a negative – $9.987 billion.  Public debt was 33.4%.

Summary for the BRICS

The BRICS combined GDP [PPP] for 2010 was $18.9 trillion, overall growth of GDP was 7%, foreign exchange and gold reserves were about $3.99 trillion and its external debt was almost $1.9 trillion so the BRICS had more than twice the reserves than it did external debt. The current account balance was a positive $168.263 billion

The WEST

The Economic Health  [or should I say Illness] of the United States

Meanwhile the United States GDP [PPP] was more than $14.6 trillion with a GDP growth rate of 2.8%, reserves were $132.4 billion and its external debt was $14.71 trillion, which means debt is more than 111 (one-hundred-and-eleven) times that of reserves. The current account balance was a negative – $470.2 billion and public debt was 62.9% of GDP.

The Economic Health [or should I say Illness] of Canada

Canada’s GDP [PPP] for 2010 was $1.33 trillion with a GDP real growth rate of 3.1%, reserves of foreign exchange and gold were $57.15 billion, and its external debt was $1.181 trillion in June 2011. The current account balance was a negative – $48.5 billion (2010 est.) and public debt was 84% of GDP (2010 est.)

The Economic Health [or should I say Illness] of the European Union

Member states of the EU (year of entry) — Austria (1995), Belgium (1952), Bulgaria (2007), Cyprus (2004), Czech Republic (2004), Denmark (1973), Estonia (2004), Finland (1995), France (1952), Germany (1952), Greece (1981), Hungry (2004), Ireland (1973), Italy (1952), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004), Luxembourg (1952), Malta (2004), Netherlands (1952), Poland (2004), Portugal (1986), Romania (2007), Slovakia (2004), Slovenia (2004), Spain (1986), Sweden (1995), United Kingdom (1973)

The CIA reported that in 2010, the European Union had a GDP [PPP] of $14.82 trillion with a GDP growth rate of 1.8%, there is no listing for foreign exchange and gold reserves. However, the current account balance was a negative -$11.07 trillion with external debt of $16.08 trillion as of June 2011. Public debt is listed for each member country but not for the European Union.  For example: Germany’s public debt was 83.4% of GDP, the United Kingdom was 76.1% and Greece was 142.7%.  Source: CIA Factbook

Summary for the WEST

The WEST’s GDP [PPP] was $30.75 trillion, the average GDP growth rate was 2.56%, external debt was $31.971 trillion and the current account balance was a negative – $11.525 trillion.

As of 2011, the five countries that make up the BRICS were among the fastest growing emerging markets.

Return to The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 6 or Start with Part 1

______________

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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The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 6/7

January 16, 2012

When you read something disparaging or criticizing another individual or a country such as China or one of its BRICS partners, you may see something like the question Troy Parfitt recently asked in a comment on this blog: What about China’s debt problem?” The immediate thought after reading Parfitt’s entire comment might be that China has a debt problem that will slow or stop its economic progress leading to a crises.

In fact, few readers dropping by for the average thirty seconds to read a blog post will take the time to find out the facts to see if the claims of critics are as bad as they sound.

The result is that individuals motivated by cultural biases that resort to using confirmation bias in what they write will often leave behind a negative image of the subject they have criticized.

A cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one’s own culture, and confirmation bias is a method used to support this.

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias, my side bias or verification bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way.

Another example of country’s economic health may be found in the spending and saving habits of its households. Canada’s household savings rate in 2008 was 3.8%, the United States was  2.7%, the EU total was 5.8%, the Russian Federation was 12.6% in 2005, Germany’s household saving rate was 11.2%, Greece was a minus -7.3% in 2006, and the United Kingdom was a minus – 4.5%.  Source: Global Finance magazine

For a comparison between China and the WEST, I discovered a paper from the Congressional Budget Office, Washington D.C. titled, “Why Is China’s Saving Rate so High? A Comparative Study of Cross-Country Panel (November 2010)

On page 45, Table 1, the GDP per Capita and National Saving Rate (annual average) for China was 54.4% up from 35.6% in 1980-1990.  Wow! More than fifty-four percent saved (annual average) out of what a family earns!

On page 43, Figure 6, there was a chart comparing the saving rates of China with the United States.  In 1980, the US saving rate was about 12.4% but by 2008, it was down to almost 5%.  By comparison, China’s household saving rate was closer to 15% in 1980 and climbed from there to about 30% by 2008. After the 2008 global financial crises rolled across the globe from New York, the household saving rate in China jumped allmost 20%.  Talk about saving for a rainy day!

If a financial crises is coming to China, that household saving rate tells us that the average Chinese family is getting ready to survive it.

Before ending this series, there are more economic facts and comparisons to consider in The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 7 on January 17, 2012, or Return to Part 5

______________

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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The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 5/7

January 15, 2012

It may be no secret that China’s economic health will have an impact on the rest of the BRICS countries in addition to America and Europe. India and China need the resources of Brazil, Russia and South Africa and those three countries prosper due to the business from India and China.

For a better understanding of the BRICS, I turned to Investopedia for a definition, which said, “The BRIC thesis posits that China and India will become the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials.

“It is important to note that the Goldman Sachs thesis isn’t that these countries are a political alliance (like the European Union) or a formal trading association – but they have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc…”

Due to lower labor and production costs, many companies also see the BRICS as a source of foreign expansion opportunities.

In addition, what was once only an acronym has become something else.

Although the BRIC acronym came into existence in 2001 when there was no real political organization among the four original countries, on June 16, 2009, due to the 2008 global financial crises, the leaders of the four BRIC countries held their first summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and issued a joint declaration. Since then, they met in Brasilia in 2010 and again in Sanya, China in 2011.

In 2010, South Africa launched efforts to join the BRIC group, and the process of its formal admission began in August. Later in 2010, the BRIC countries expanded to include South Africa, becoming the BRICS.

The next meeting of the BRICS is scheduled in New Delhi, India, March 2012.

Continued on January 16, 2012 in The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 6 or Return to Part 4

______________

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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The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 4/7

January 14, 2012

Because of the structure of China’s land ownership and banking system, the risk of losing money is much less than in the West and when the government resells property that lost value the first or second time around, the government banks collect another 30% to 60% down payment and also makes money off the interest of the new loans, and the property still belongs to the government—it is only leased for 70 years with an option to extend the lease.

In America, private property seldom belongs to the government. Even when the government repossesses property for any reason, it is usually sold at auction for very low prices with little to no chance to make up for what was lost.

In China, however, the government recycles the money mostly in a loop while the US government is not part of the loop—except when baling out private sector banks, and the money flows in one direction toward the private sector while adding to the national debt.

In addition, in China, Bloomberg reported in December 2011, that China’s property sector equals about  12 percent of China’s GDP and then Bloomberg goes on to discuss property values in China dropping 10, 25, 40 and even 50 percent or more—something that is still devastating the economy in America.

To learn more about property values dropping in China, I suggest reading More on Property Downturn at Patrick Chovanec’s An American Perspective from China

Chovanec wrote, “The revenue shortfall is making it hard for some cities to pay for basic services like police and hospitals, much less repay the massive amount of debt they borrowed for stimulus projects – which, according to this report from Bloomberg, may be much larger than official statistics suggest.”

However, before I move on with more about the BRICS countries, let’s not forget what caused China to borrow for stimulus projects in the first place—the 2008 global economic crises, which led to about 20 million Chinese losing jobs. Is it possible that the 2008 economic tsunami from New York is finally being felt in China?

Interestingly, Global Issues.org says, “While Europe and the US consider more socialist-like policies, such as some form of nationalization, China seems to be contemplating more capitalist ideas, such as some notion of land reform, to stimulate and develop its internal market…”

Continued on January 15, 2012 in The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 5 or Return to Part 3

______________

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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