30 Aug Argument from Popularity – FT#7
Trump likes to talk about ‘many people’ doing, thinking or saying something, to give the impression that whatever they are doing, thinking or saying is correct. In doing so, he is arguing from the popularity of an idea, rather than using evidence to show the idea is true. This is an extremely common fallacy. After all, if a lot of people believe something, it must be true, right?
Despite the (ironic) popularity of this fallacy, it’s quite easy to refute. The fact that billions of people believe Jesus was the son of God is a compelling argument until someone points out that billions of other people believe Jesus wasn’t the son of God.
The examples used in this episode will be coming soon.
Here are the links to the stories we talked about
And finally, some things we really didn’t have time to talk about – and in a fun twist, every single one of these stories happened on Tuesday August 21st:
- Michael Cohen pled guilty to eight counts, including tax and bank fraud, and campaign finance violations, “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office… for the principal purpose of influencing the election”. Gee, I wonder which candidate he could be talking about.
- Having told Chuck Todd last week that “Truth isn’t truth”, Rudy Giuliani turned his gaslight up to 11, telling Reuters “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen.” also saying “I think the president is absolutely in the clear. The Cohen thing is over.” He was later heard to say “Adam Sandler is the best actor of all time and Big Macs are health food”
- Within minutes of the Cohen plea, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of tax and bank fraud. Which is not completely shocking, since part of his defence was – and this is an actual quote – “Nobody intending to violate the law would leave the evidence around for his accountant to find it.” I think that’s called the ‘Basic Instinct defence’.
- Although Cohen’s plea deal didn’t include cooperating with prosecutors, his lawyer, Lanny Davis, said “Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows.” that’s some kinda non-cooperation!
- According to the UN’s nuclear watchdog, there is no indication that North Korea has halted or dismantled any nuclear activities since Kim Jong Un met with Trump and specifically didn’t agree to do that. I’m shocked that this didn’t go how Trump planned. Shocked.
- A Trump advisor has been linked to white supremacist Peter Brimelow. No, not the speechwriter who was fired earlier this month for his links to the noted racist – this time we’re talking about Larry Kudlow, who invited Brimelow to his birthday party. Apparently he didn’t want to, but his Mum made him invite everyone in his class so that nobody felt left out.
- One of Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress has been indicted on federal charges. No, not Chris Collins, who was charged with insider trading earlier this month – this time we’re talking about California Congressman Duncan Hunter, who, along with his wife Margaret, stands accused of using a quarter of a million dollars of campaign funds for personal expenses. Hunter must have been taking lessons from Ben Carson, because in an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Hunter blamed the whole thing on his wife.
- A new rule from the EPA called The Affordable Clean Energy Rule could cause up to 1400 premature deaths per year due to relaxed emission standards. That’s according to the EPA’s own impact analysis. The rule replaces stricter Obama era guidelines which the EPA says would have prevented up to 3600 annual premature deaths. So the government knows their policies will kill you, but they’re fine with that. Because fuck you, that’s why.