Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Sci Tech

Skepticism Triggers -- Signs of Poor or Deceptive Arguments

By       Message Richmond Shreve       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments, In Series: Thinker's Tool Kit

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Valuable 3   Well Said 2  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 10/13/09

Author 24545
Become a Fan
  (17 fans)
- Advertisement -
As readers and editors we often need to make judgments about the veracity of an author's assertions on topics where we lack personal knowledge and expertise. Here is my list of signs and signals that herald an argument that is not well grounded in objective fact:

1. Extreme or absolute phrasing. (Words like always and never which allow for no exceptions.)

2. Characterizations. Adjectives that attribute merit or adjectives that demean without factual support. (Outstanding authority John Smith". Discredited activist judge Jim Jones ")

3. Citation of anonymous authority. (A nationally famous physician states ")

4. Absence of contrary information. (Writer withholds or fails to discuss dissenting opinion and conflicting data.)

- Advertisement -

5. Ad-hominem arguments that appeal to feelings rather than reason.(Many rants are passionate and evoke prejudices while lacking factual substance.)

6. Ad-hominem phrasing that attacks the character of an individual.

7. Innuendo, insinuation an indirect statement that implies something without actually asserting it.

- Advertisement -

8. Metaphors and similes that grossly oversimplify, usually diverting attention from the inconvenient complexity of reality. (A great way to finesse flawed logic.)

9. Denial. The refusal to even consider well known conflicting information, dismissing it or ignoring it.

10. Sophism. Clever or fallacious argument that leads to a wrong conclusion. Sophism can look like a rational, reasonable argument, but usually ignores some facts and embellishes others to make a case. Connecting some of the dots, omitting others, to show a false pattern. Patternicity that imagines or creates meaning from noise.

11. Misapplied authority Seeking to attribute authority to the opinion of someone whose expertise does not extend to the topic. (Medical opinions of a Disk Jockey)

12. Fear mongering.

13. Hate.

- Advertisement -

14. Sensational assertions.

15. Too good or too bad to be true.

16. Arguments that assert a conspiracy that would be hard to conceal -- one that would require the silent complicity of a large number of diverse people. (In real life, leaks happen, whistle-blowers surface, etc.)

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

Must Read 3   Valuable 3   Well Said 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

Richmond Shreve is a retired business executive whose careers began in electronics (USN) and broadcasting in the 1960s. Over the years he has maintained a hobby interest in amateur radio, and the audio-visual arts while working in sales and (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

Series: "Thinker's Tool Kit"

How can I trust? (Article) (# of views) 06/09/2014
On Making Decisions -- Personal and Public (Article) (# of views) 10/16/2009
Dangerous Skepticism (Article) (# of views) 10/12/2009
View All 7 Articles in "Thinker's Tool Kit"
Total Views for the Series: 10607   

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The US is Broke -- Not!

Barstool Economics - A Viral Conservative Fable

Infiltrating the Truth Movement

What is Coffee Party USA?

O'Reilly -- On Obama and the Race Problem

How I Became a "Bestselling" Author