23 Nov Ad Hoc Fallacy – FT#63
The Ad Hoc Fallacy is committed when someone makes stuff up in order to avoid accepting evidence against their belief.
We started out with these three Tweets from Trump, which are representative of the many many lies he has told on Twitter since losing the election, almost all of which are flagged by Twitter as disinformation:
I won the Election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2020
“DEAD PEOPLE VOTED” https://t.co/y6WRvCBykc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2020
This was a rigged election. No Republican Poll Watchers allowed, voting machine “glitches” all over the place (meaning they got caught cheating!), voting after election ended, and so much more! https://t.co/YDh7A7wxLW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2020
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark is having to take a few weeks off from the podcast due to work, so Jim talked about this clip of Matt Hancock on Good Morning Britain:
And then these clips of Nigel Farage on the same programme (which Jim isn’t convinced are Ad Hoc arguments):
Fallacy in the Wild
We talked about this clip from 12 Angry Men of a juror imagining lots of baseless things about a witness:
We followed that up with this clip from The Simpsons Movie where Homer is making up excuses not to go out and face the angry mob:
And finally in this section we looked at this clip of Uri Geller on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, making up reasons why he can’t perform his usual tricks after James Randi prepared some fair tests for him:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- We have the best planes. The best fighter jets, F35 Stealth. You can’t see them. They’re very, very tough to see. You’re very tough to beat, a plane in the air when you can’t see it. But we have the best planes, the best ships, submarines. We’re doing submarines like nobody’s ever seen before. We have the best rockets and missiles. We have the best of everything, and our nuclear now is… tippy top.
- I had a group of people not so long ago at a place, nice place, and they said “President, president, could we say hello?” They were wrapped in masks and it’s terrible. And they say, “Could we say…” you couldn’t hear them because their masks. One person had the world’s thickest mask, I’ve never seen… I mean, and then the scientists will say, “That one’s no good. That one’s no good.” But they’re saying, “President, president.” Successful people, good people. And I’m saying, “Look at these people.”
- If Joe gets in you can kiss your 2nd Amendment goodbye. There’ll be no ethanol. You probably don’t even know what that means, but the ethanol people do. The oil industry will be gone. It’ll be a socialist – really a socialist country. Biden and Harris will outlaw energy and your children will be indoctrinated by the radical left to hate America. It’ll be a prison state- you’ll be locked in your homes while leftist looters and thugs will be free to roam the streets and burn down our cities.
Click below for the answer
Our guest host Matt got it right this week, so he’s now technically in the lead (tied with Rachel from last episode and Caplin and Massiah) with 100%.
Trumps post-election lawsuits are not a logical fallacy (but include a huge amount of making shit up)
We talked about the desperate attempts of the Trump Administration to litigate him to a second term (so far 2 wins, 34 losses!) and why almost all the lawsuits were obviously doomed to failure before they started. One of them resulted in this brilliant exchange between a judge and one of Trump’s lawyers:
A supercut of an Arizona judge examining the electronic form-letter affidavit collection process used by the Trump campaign to support one since-dismissed case.
It yielded lies and “spam.”
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) November 20, 2020
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- You know those “How it started, how it ended” memes? Well, it started with Trump’s Press Secretary lying about the size of the crowd that came out to watch Trump get sworn in, and it ended with Trump’s Press Secretary lying about the size of the crowd that came out to protest Trump getting fired. Nazi Barbie Kayleigh McEnany claimed on Twitter that more than one million people descended on Washington DC last weekend for the always ambitiously named Million MAGA March. Unfortunately for Kayleigh, there’s still that same old problem that foiled Sean Spicer back in 2016, which is that some people own cameras. Images of the march show maybe a few thousand, and even Trumpphilic cable channel One America News Network only claimed it was tens of thousands. If you’d like to do your own comparison, just look up a picture of the 2017 Women’s March in DC, in which over half a million people made their feelings about Trump very clear.
- Channelling Dirk Bogarde in Death in Venice but without the acting chops, my cousin Vinny but without any sense of irony, and the Wicked Witch of the West but without the integrity, Rudy went full Tim Burton Oswald Cobblepot, when he broke into a sweat at a presser telling us so many lies in defence of Trump’s ongoing conspiracy theory junkpile, that his actual head started actually melting. Apparently he can “smell crimes”, and yet he told us “you don’t need to smell these”, cos he’s got “the evidence to show us” – he even looked under the podium at one point to find the FBI, we’re still looking under ours for the evidence. Not content with heating up old conspiracies, Rudy, thankfully for a while away from the mic, blew his nose into a handkerchief, folded it booga side out, and then wiped it round his bull-shit leaking face!! In an echo of Pence’s fly, Rudy’s dye is nature’s way of telling us everything about this is unreal, and oddly since the election we can see it for the idiocy it is, there’s a palpable sense of relief that we know it’s not as black as Rudy paints it.
- They say you learn something new every day, and aside from just how crazy Trump lawyer Sidney Powell is, recently we all learned that thanks to the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, the decision of whether the President-elect gets to officially start his transition process comes down to the whim of one person. In this case, Emily Murphy – the current Administrator of the General Services Administration. It’s her job to provide the appropriate resources and funds to the apparent successful candidates for the office of President and Vice President so that they can start hiring staff and getting ready to govern. Unfortunately, when applying for the job, nobody asked Emily if she understood what the words ‘apparent successful candidates’ actually meant, and now she seems confused about who won. It’s almost as if she’s a shameless Trump loyalist refusing to do her fucking job. The good news is that on the day this episode comes out, she will be appearing before Congress to answer some questions, and one of the people asking those questions is the always amazing Representative Katie Porter! Who’s bringing the popcorn?
- In a similar “show us the evidence” kinda way – well-known (no me neither) Dutch cyber-investigator Victor Gevers says he has evidence that he hacked into Trump’s Twitter account. Twitter says there’s no evidence of a hack and from what we can see of Gevers’ activities there wouldn’t be cos he apparently just signed in using Trump’s name and guessed his password – yep MAGA2020. Don’t bother trying though cos apparently the White House have tightened up security and instigated the old send a confirmation to your cell phone thing after Victor himself contacted them for weeks and weeks – dammit! Whilst the Dutch police are seeing if any cyber crime has been committed on Victor’s part, I think the real crime is a) that no one had done it before, and b) that when Victor logged in he didn’t delete the whole damn account – would’ve saved us a lot of fucking trouble! Right I’m off to hack Boris’ – what do ya reckon his password is – PLEASELOVEME PLEASE? Yeah that should do it.
- With several tax fraud cases just waiting in the wings until Trump is officially an ex-President, some people on Twitter have naturally started comparing Trump to Al Capone. But really that’s just very unfair. First of all, Capone was only responsible for 33 deaths instead of a quarter of a fucking million. He opened a soup kitchen during the depression and provided over 100,000 meals for the unemployed and the homeless, he was cheered when he went to ballgames, and he was happily married to one woman from the age of 19. Also we’ve actually seen Capone’s taxes.
- We know that ‘Trump supporters’ and ‘reading beyond the initial slogan’ aren’t two notions that go together all that well. “Stop the Steal” for instance is one of the MAGAHAT-wearing protestors slogans to see electoral justice done for the hopelessly trailing ex-president. And yet the stealing goes on from those very down-home, grass-roots, low-paid, highly-motivated, poor-loser Trump-supporters themselves. The nickel and dime supporters donating to the “Official Election Defense Fund” need to read the fine print – (need to read period!) – only if their single donation exceeds $8,000 will any of it go to that fund, otherwise 40% goes to the RNC and 60% of it will just go to the very-newly-setup “Save America” PAC – i.e. a pseudo-political fund for Trump to do whatever he likes with, claim travel expenses, fight the next election, buy his way into TV again, pay off hookers, bribe prison officers, fund an assassin to shut Rudy up etc etc. Draining the resources of we the Ignorant People to fund nefarious activities for which he’s never accountable is what propelled Trump to the highest office in the land in the first place, God Bless America!
- One other difference between Trump and Al Capone is that Capone didn’t have a daughter to carry on the family grift. The New York Times has been investigating the financial records they managed to get hold of, and have reported that between 2010 and 2018 Trump wrote off about $26 million in “consulting fees” as a business expense. The consultants aren’t named in the records, but that doesn’t stop intrepid reporters from uncovering details like one payment, for consulting fees claimed as expenses on hotel projects in Vancouver and Hawaii, which totalled $747,622, By pure coincidence, in her 2017 financial disclosure when starting her job at the White House, a certain Ivanka Trump reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, in the value of $747,622. Following rumours that New York State’s tax investigation into Trump was widening to include consulting fees, Ivanka decided it was time to speak out and defend her dear old Dad, calling the investigation “harassment…100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage”
- Meanwhile this side of the pond, more business as usual in One-Rule-for-Them-and-Another-for-Us-land. Dominic Cummings, self-obsessed blogging machiavellian, unelected bureaucrat and architect of the Vote Leave and Vote Boris campaigns, very suspiciously visibly left Downing Street clutching his personal-advisor-just-been-fired box, (like nobody outside of Ally McBeal ever does ever) at bang on just before the main evening news goes to air. For a week we suspected that Boris had thus reset his government from autocratic malevolence to one nation altruistic level-up Toryism, nope! A week later he says that weirdly shrunken-headed gorgon Priti Patel isn’t intentionally a bully despite a report to say she definitely is, and doesn’t sack her – I suspect she threatened to thump him in the playground. He then avoided answering whether foreign aid as a percentage of GDP will be cut despite being enshrined in law by his predecessor but one, in the same breath as announcing spending on lasers and Trump’s old discarded space force to the tune of tens of billions of pounds for the armed forces, “Don’t feed Johnny Foreigner – Blast ‘Em!” Thankfully the opposition’s Keir Starmer was absolutely outraged and protested in the strongest possible terms that of course the armed forces should get loads of money, his predecessors had stupidly believed in peace, dialog and cooperation for far too long, sorry did I say opposition I meant complete vacillation! Still at least Starmer is showing some strength of character and being strongly on the side of the law by refusing to allow Corbyn to continue as a Labour MP – *sigh* no, no, he’s not….
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!