Considering our general lack of thoughtful posts for, oh, I dunno, almost a month, I’m putting up this shameless post completely and totally recycled from the web somewhere. I stole this from my e-mail archive, so I don’t know where it comes from, but it sounds suspiciously like something Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) writes. The mention of Elbonians is the dead giveaway, I think.
1. AMAZINGLY BAD ANALOGY
Example: You can train a dog to fetch a stick. Therefore, you can train a potato to dance.
2. FAULTY CAUSE AND EFFECT
Example: On the basis of my observations, wearing huge pants makes you fat.
3. I AM THE WORLD
Example: I don’t listen to country music. Therefore, country music is not popular.
4. IGNORING EVERYTHING SCIENCE KNOWS ABOUT THE BRAIN
Example: People choose to be obese/gay/alcoholic because they prefer the lifestyle.
5. THE FEW ARE THE SAME AS THE WHOLE
Example: Some Elbonians are animal rights activists. Some Elbonians wear fur coats. Therefore, Elbonians are hypocrites.
6. GENERALIZING FROM SELF
Example: I am a liar. Therefore, I don’t believe what you’re saying.
7. ARGUMENT BY BIZARRE DEFINITION
Example: He’s not a criminal. He just does things that are against the law.
8. TOTAL LOGICAL DISCONNECT
Example: I enjoy pasta because my house is made of bricks.
9. JUDGING THINGS WITHOUT COMPARISON TO ALTERNATIVES
Example: I don’t invest in U.S. Treasury bills. There’s too much risk.
10. ANYTHING YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IS EASY TO DO
Example: If you have the right tools, how hard could it be to generate nuclear fission at home?
11. IGNORANCE OF STATISTICS
Example: I’m putting ALL of my money on the lottery this week because the jackpot is so big.
12. IGNORING THE DOWNSIDE RISK
Example: I know that bungee jumping could kill me, but it’s three seconds of great fun!
13. SUBSTITUTING FAMOUS QUOTES FOR COMMON SENSE
Example: Remember, “All things come to those who wait.” So don’t bother looking for a job.
14. IRRELEVANT COMPARISONS
Example: A hundred dollars is a good price for a toaster, compared to buying a Ferrari.
15. CIRCULAR REASONING
Example: I’m correct because I’m smarter than you. And I must be smarter than you because I’m correct.
16. INCOMPLETENESS AS PROOF OF DEFECT
Example: Your theory of gravity doesn’t address the question of why there are no unicorns, so it must be wrong.
17. IGNORING THE ADVICE OF EXPERTS WITHOUT A GOOD REASON
Example: Sure, the experts think you shouldn’t ride a bicycle into the eye of a hurricane, but I’ve got my own theory.
18. FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF KNOWN IDIOTS
Example: Uncle Billy says pork makes you smarter. That’s good enough for me!
19. REACHING BIZARRE CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT ANY INFORMATION
Example: The car won’t start. I’m certain the spark plugs have been stolen by rogue clowns.
20. FAULTY PATTERN RECOGNITION
Example: His last six wives were murdered mysteriously. I hope to be wife number seven.
21. FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE WHAT’S IMPORTANT
Example: My house is on fire! Quick, call the post office and tell them to hold my mail!
22. UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT OF SUNK COSTS
Example: We’ve spent millions developing a water-powered pogo stick. We can’t stop investing now or it will all be wasted.
23. OVERAPPLICATION OF OCCAM’S RAZOR (WHICH SAYS THE SIMPLEST
EXPLANATION IS USUALLY RIGHT)
Example: The simplest explanation for the moon landings is that they were hoaxes.
24. IGNORING ALL ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE
Example: I always get hives immediately after eating strawberries. But without a scientifically controlled experiment, it’s not reliable data. So I continue to eat strawberries every day, since I can’t tell if they cause hives.
25. INABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THAT SOME THINGS HAVE MULTIPLE CAUSES
Example: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: they were good singers.
26. JUDGING THE WHOLE BY ONE OF ITS CHARACTERISTICS
Example: The sun causes sunburns. Therefore, the planet would be better off without the sun.
27. BLINDING FLASHES OF THE OBVIOUS
Example: If everyone had more money, we could eliminate poverty.
28. BLAMING THE TOOL
Example: I bought an encyclopedia but I’m still stupid. This encyclopedia must be defective.
29. HALLUCINATIONS OF REALITY
Example: I got my facts from a talking tree.
30. TAKING THINGS TO THEIR ILLOGICAL CONCLUSION
Example: If you let your barber cut your hair, the next thing you know he’ll be lopping off your limbs!
31. FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND WHY RULES DON’T HAVE EXCEPTIONS
Example: It should be legal to shoplift, as long as you don’t take enough to hurt the company’s earnings.
32. PROOF BY LACK OF EVIDENCE
Example: I’ve never seen you drunk, so you must be one of those Amish people.