29 Apr No True Scotsman – FT#48
The No True Scotsman Fallacy is committed when your existing definition of a particular group is challenged by a member who doesn’t fit the criteria. Rather than adjust the definition, the offending group member is redefined as a non-member of the group.
The name comes from an example given in Antony Flew’s 1975 book Thinking about Thinking, in which he wrote:
Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion, but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says: “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”.
We started out with this clip of Trump calling Republican governors who criticize him RINOs (Republicans In Name Only):
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark talked about Conservatives who were forced out of the party after voting against Boris’s Brexit vote:
And then we talked about Tony Blair’s opinions on the right kind of left wing of the Labour Party:
Fallacy in the Wild
We looked at this clip of Homer Simpson being excluded from ‘everyone’:
And we followed that up with this clip of Bill O’Reilly demonstrating the occasion alternative name for this fallacy, No True Christian:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but we’re going to test it? And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do, either through the skin or… in some other way. And I think you said you’re gonna test that too? Sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that. So you’re going to have to use medical doctors.
- Antibiotics used to solve every problem now one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotics can’t keep up with it, and they’re constantly trying to come up with a new — people go to a hospital and they catch — they go for a heart operation. That’s no problem but they end up dying from… from problems — you know the problems I’m talking about. There’s a whole genius to it — we’re fighting, not only is it hidden but it’s very smart okay it’s invisible and it’s hidden but it’s… it’s very smart.
- The authority that I have as president is the authority I have, which is very powerful. I call the shots. I have done a job, the likes of which nobody’s ever done, the mobilization, the things, all of the things we have done. Nobody’s ever done a job like this. It’s very sad when people write fake stories, like The New York Times, who frankly, if there was any justice would be out of business, and they will be out of business at some point, probably relatively soon if they don’t start telling the truth.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right AGAIN this week, so now he’s on 20/48, or 41.7%.
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Antibody tests are not a logical fallacy
Then we talked about why antibody tests probably aren’t the answer to opening up the country just yet.
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- In one of Trump’s daily propaganda shoutfests last week, he randomly decided to claim that he had total authority to tell Governors when to lift stay at home orders. Several reporters immediately told him “LOL, no you don’t” and the next day he said he was giving Governors permission to make their own decisions about it, which is not how any of this works. A few of the stupider Governors thought that opening up now would get them in Trump’s good books, so Ron DeSantis reopened Florida’s beaches and classified pro-wrestling as an essential industry, while Georgia’s Brian Kemp announced the opening of hair salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and bowling alleys. Dr Birx struggled to explain how hairdressers and tattoo artists would be able to do their jobs while remaining socially distant, and Trump threw Kemp under the bus, saying he disagreed strongly with Kemp’s decision, despite reports that he had called Kemp to praise him for the decision just the day before.
- Way back in the time of Brexit British Transport minister – ex-transport minister – Chris Grayling did a deal totalling £50m pounds to make and then break a contract with a company to run ferries to ease congestion at Dover in the case of a no-deal Brexit, a company which had no ships, had never run a ferry service or ever moved a single truck in its entire history – why would you do that? (spoiler alert follow the money?) In a strange echo Trump’s administration has awarded a $55 Million dollar contract to make N95 masks to a company that’s never made anything like that – is no longer listed as a limited company in its native Virginia, filed for bankruptcy protection, oh and has no employees – hasn’t since May 2018. Not shady-mafia-sounding executive for Panthera James V. Punelli told the Washington Post that the company was working with military contacts to obtain the masks at a cost to FEMA of $5.50 a pop. Weirdly a lot more more than the 63cents apiece they are paying companies like 3M WHO ALREADY MAKE THE FUCKING THINGS! – Military contacts hmmm? follow the money!
- Trump is struggling with whistleblowers again, but at least this time, he knows the whistleblower’s name. Dr Rick Bright, was the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the agency working on developing a coronavirus vaccine, until he questioned Trump’s repeated hydroxychloroquine adverts, at which point he was moved to a less important and less impactful role at the National Institute for Health. Bright claims he was ousted because of his insistence on spending time and money on stuff with some scientific basis. Trump has continued to talk up hydroxychloroquine, although less frequently now that the FDA are advising against its use and a VA study showed no benefit
- This week’s throwing-as-many-people-as-possible-under-the-bus-in-one-go award goes to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman who offered the entire city as a “control group” to see what happens when you come out of lockdown. Okay we all know the town has a link with lab-associated rodents – the Rat Pack and all, but turning the whole place into guinea pigs – come on! – without asking! And then what about the unfortunates coming into the city to do the actual working – cos no one normally actually lives there right – well exactly -. Trying to hide her disappointment Mayor Goodman says the only reason they couldn’t do it is cos the statisticians (damn those boffins) said it wouldn’t be a true control, the placebo, if you will, which she “would love to be” – cos those pesky migrant workers would come in and ruin it. You’ll not be surprised to hear that despite her call to open Vegas’ bars, casinos, hotels for business she offers no plan on how to do it safely “That’s their job, not the mayor’s job” Hmm sounds like the mayor’s job won’t be yours come next election Carolyn!
- On one of the days last week when he disagreed with Governors deciding for themselves whether it was safe to open, Trump decided to rail against those evil Democratic Governors evilly stopping people from going out just because of the deadly virus, tweeting things like “LIBERATE MINNESOTA” in all caps like a lunatic, in support of the lunatics who took to the streets to protest the stay at home orders, calling their state governments fascists for evilly trying to save lives, and carrying signs with slogans like “Give me liberty or give me death” without having the sense to realise they could have both or neither. Meanwhile, Stephen Moore, a Trump advisor and economist who lost out on a seat on the Federal Reserve board because he’s an economically illiterate, racist transphobe, decided, wrongly, that people haven’t heard enough from him and likened the protestors, as group made up almost entirely of angry white people, to Rosa fucking Parks. If any of them knew who that was, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even appreciate the comparison.
- A weird mobius folding-in-on-itself-type loop is happening in Washington, the big building with Trump in it is neighbours with another big building with Trump on it – and nobody in it. The Trump International Hotel – is owned by Trump and leased for $3million a year to be paid monthly to the General Services Administration under a 60 year deal. And the Trump Organization is appealing to the Trump administration for a reduction in the rent cos times is hard. “Just treat us the same” whined Eric. But the Trump Organisation was bared by Congress from seeking relief from the treasury’s $500 billion rescue fund, and the company has decided not to apply for a federal loan through the Small Business Administration. In an all-too familiar story of impending or actual bankruptcy Trump himself owes Deutsche Bank more than $300 million in loans connected to the Washington hotel and various other properties and this time he can’t do an unseen back-hander – it couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy!!
- Fresh from TV appearances where he claimed the $1200 stimulus checks should see American’s through a ten week lockdown (“It’s just a couple of mortgage payments Michael, what could it cost, $10?”) Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that it was his idea to print Trump’s signature on the checks. Sure, Trump puts his name on buildings, planes, steaks, bottled water, board games, wine, chocolate, golf courses, vodka, casinos, hats, playing cards, footballs, glasses, bath bombs, hoodies, sharpies, cologne and – I swear to God I’m not making this up – bow ties for dogs, but it was fat John Oliver’s idea to print Trump’s name on the checks.
- In Britain our Health Minister the 12-year old Matt Hancock continues to try to convince everyone that masks, gowns and gloves really, really are coming in vast quantities – when they’re not and those quantities that are shipped would last about a day, that ventilators will be available in large numbers whilst companies who can make them, are not being asked to, and that testing will be carried out at the rate of 100,000 per day by May – they won’t – and he succeeds in fooling no-one – except perhaps Boris convalescing in the countryside, who is proud of his protege for continuing to spout empty words that sound great and mean nothing in true Brexit style, so that when it all goes to shit – next week – Boris can make him the fall guy. Of course Boris is recovered now and is thus totally immune – not from further bouts of coronavirus but from any further criticism – he’s the people’s champion after all he beat it for us – God help us all!
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening, and thanks to our latest Patron, Keith Bowman!