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Learn to Spot Logical Lies

Learn to Spot Logical Lies

Learn to Spot Logical Fallacies

Logical lies are the logical fallacies. The logical fallacies are the common errors in logic. Everyday, people commit logical fallacies in order to purposely mislead others, or simply as a mental mistake.

Human action is governed by human thought. But people commonly make mistakes in their thinking.

There are about 50 logical fallacies. They are the ways we commonly mess-up.

One way to reduce our frequency of error, is to know about the logical fallacies, because if we know them, we can more easily identify them when we see them. We can then rectify the error, or better still, prevent it.

Every rule can be broken, so there are as many logical fallacies as there are logical rules of reasoning.

But some errors are more common than others. Here are five of the most common errors.

1. The democratic fallacy.

This is the common error of imagining that, if a lot of people believe something, it must be true, (or is more likely to be true). This is false.

The number of people who believe something, has no bearing whatsoever on the truth or validity of the statement.

So, don't fall into the trap of thinking, "I must be wrong, because I am the only one who thinks it".

Progress is only made when someone says something new. Let that someone, be you.

2. Arbitrary claim.

An arbitrary claim is one for which there is NO supporting evidence. The claim may be conceivable, (meaning you can form a mental image of it) but there is no evidence to support it. Under these circumstances, you should NOT regard the claim as a "probability" and you should not treat it as such.

For example, if I arbitrarily accuse Jack of being a mass murderer, who had killed several people, but had never been caught, and challenged him to disprove my claim, then he could not disprove it. But that does not mean that if Jack can't disprove the claim then he may be a serial killer. Jack, nor anyone else, cannot prove a negative, since there is nothing in favour of the original assertion.

When anyone claims anything, you should ask them to "Prove it!". If they cannot bring any evidence to bear, then you should dismiss their claim, NOT as a false claim, but as an ARBITRARY claim.

In Justice, there is no room for the arbitrary.

3. Wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking is believing whatever appeals to you, because it appeals to you.

Many people believe whatever they want to believe. They don't need a reason, proof or evidence. They only need a keen desire and a vivid imagination.

Beware of wishful thinking, both in yourself and in others. Don't be swept away by a person's honest enthusiasm for his or her belief.

Honesty is no substitute for evidence. It is possible for people to be earnestly wrong.

4. Loaded language.

Loaded language is when a person's language imbues a feeling or an opinion onto a fact, or choice.

Example: "Are you going to be rational about this and vote with me, or are you going to be irrational and simply follow the masses?"

Whenever you hear loaded language, try to restate the sentence using more objective language.

In the above case, the same question may be rewritten, "Are you going to vote with me, or not?"

5. Selective perception.

Selective perception is the habit most people have of noticing and remembering any fact that tends to support their existing ideas, and simultaneously NOT seeing or ignoring any fact that tends to contradict them.

As an analogy, imagine you go outside on a clear night, and look up at the stars. There are literally thousands of points of light hanging in the sky. Imagine you wanted to pick out a message written in the heavens, by joining the dots of light with imaginary lines which reads, "I am the greatest!", then, could you do that? Yes, by picking out the stars that fit your desired pattern and ignoring the stars that don't.

People tend to do that with their belief systems.

If they think "Manchester United is the greatest!" they believe it irrespective of any facts that contradict it. The same is often true for practically everything that people believe.

The correct approach is to look at all the facts, and then make your decision. Not make your decision and then look at the facts.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has the data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." Sherlock Holmes

Summary

These fallacies are only five from at least 50.

  1. The democratic fallacy.
  2. Arbitrary claim.
  3. Wishful thinking.
  4. Loaded language.
  5. Selective perception.

Every fallacy you learn, will improve your chances of success.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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