22 Mar Anecdotal Fallacy – FT#71
The Anecdotal Fallacy is committed when someone allows an anecdote to lend far more weight to an argument than it warrants.
We started out by talking about this clip of Trump claiming an employee of his had a child who was made autistic by a vaccine:
Then we talked about this clip of Trump claiming a friend of his was made better by hydroxychloroquine:
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark is back! He talked about these clips of the Irish and Thai leaders explaining why they paused vaccinations after anecdotal evidence of problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine:
Then he covered this clip of Michael Gove using an anecdote in place of evidence for people being harmed by the EU:
Fallacy in the Wild
We talked about this clip from Mad Men:
We followed that up with this clip from Enemies of Reason:
Jim’s Skeptics in the Pub Talk
At 7pm GMT on Thursday March 25th, Jim is giving a talk to Skeptics in the Pub Online about film censorship in the UK. You can watch at http://twitch.tv/sitp
If you’d like to win some Fallacious Trump Merch and a t-shirt, go to the competition page and do exactly what it says there!
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- It’s sort of like when you go in for an operation, if a person is healthy. Healthy. We were healthy — we had the greatest economy in the world, we went in for an operation. We closed our country down. We closed it down, we saved possibly two million, two and a half million lives. Now it could have been a million lives, I don’t think anything less than that.
- It’s like a hurricane and we were worried. We didn’t know is this going to be a hurricane or a major, major recession? A major recession that’s not artificially caused because we artificially — this was artificially closed. We just said “Boom. Closed.” And everything just stopped and also you know what else stopped — big numbers on death by doing it.
- It’s kind of like with a great fighter, really one of the greats. We had a really bad situation that was not even our fault. China should have stopped it, and they could have done, but they didn’t. We did everything right — even my enemies said I did the right thing by closing, but afterwards. Only afterwards. A lot of people didn’t want me to do it.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right this week, and is currently on 46%
Voter suppression is still not a logical fallacy
We covered some of the GOP’s latest efforts to make voting harder.
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- When Biden didn’t manage to get a $15 minimum wage included in the stimulus bill, a surprisingly large number of people decided that meant he was just like Trump. Presumably because they are idiots. Here’s just one example of how they’re different. Remember back in 2017 when Bill O’Reilly told Trump that Putin is a killer, and Trump immediately threw America under the bus, saying “What, do you think our country’s so innocent?” Well, last week George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if Putin was a killer, and Joe said “Mmhhmm, I do.” Vlad the killer isn’t quite used to US Presidents who have the balls to criticise him, so bizarrely, he challenged Biden to a live debate. Biden’s a bit busy Presidenting right now, but also, that’s not a fucking thing that happens. Politicians debate their political opponents when they’re trying to get elected, not just randos with hurt feelings. Needless to say, Charlie Kirk, Madison Cawthorn and basically all of Fox News are openly rooting for Russia in the non-debate against the US.
- Long regarded as the grandfather of creepy artificially-coloured tallow-derived horror; The House of Wax has nothing on Ripley’s Believe or Not Louis Tussaud’s Odditorium in San Antonio Texas. The likeness of dripping grease collection Donald Trump has had to be removed for repair. In a rather leading question (we’re all thinking it!) spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts was asked if the damage to the Trump figure occurred because of repeated punches to the face, she said, “Have some people done that? Yes. But it’s also been damaged accidentally, as well.” Usually wax museum’s likenesses are laughably inaccurate in their depictions of famous faces, so its either testament to their “talented team of artists” that Trump’s face was punchably recognisable or it simply needed a couple of good haymakers to have it resemble the collapsed honeycomb of his visage more closely. Suzanne assures us “the company has no political bias and allows visitors to pose with figures however they want”. Great I’m heading to San Antonio with a baseball bat!
- Wisconsin Republican traitor Ron Johnson, sorry, Senator traitor Ron Johnson, told a conservative radio show that he ‘never felt threatened’ during the armed insurrection on the Capitol, but that he would have been more concerned if the mob were Black Lives Matter protesters. Keen to prove he’s not just being unbelievably racist, Johnson gave us some cold, hard facts: “Out of 7,750 protests last summer associated with BLM and Antifa, 570 turned into violent riots that killed 25 people” and later, he even cited a source – a study by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. Unfortunately for Ron, a spokesman for that organization then pointed out that that wasn’t what their data said. The number of BLM related protests was correct, but the 570 that turned violent was the total number from all protests, which includes thousands of non BLM based protests including right wing and anti-lockdown protests. And the 25 people killed by BLM protests? Well that number includes the people Kyle Rittenhouse shot, at least three BLM protesters who were hit by cars that counter-protesters, sorry, racists, drove into crowds, and numerous other examples that have in fact been attributed by authorities to far right extremists.
- In what promises to be another to add to Jim and my list of Trump adjacent films to *cough cough* “review”. “Actress” Louise Linton, wife of Steve Mnuchin, makes her directorial debut with the release of ‘Me You Madness,’ that she also stars in. Financed by “friends and family members,” it probably won’t be mistaken for a Scorsese film. – Is this an astute observation by social media gadfly Perez Hilton? you may ask – nope this from the twitter feed of Ron Filipkowski – Whose profile states with joyous glee – Attorney, Marine, Triathlete, Historian. Former Federal Prosecutor & Repub; now Defense Attorney & Democrat. Political comedy, commentary, theatre and horror. Welcome Ron what a pleasure it is to have you back from the dark side… now then (rubs hand with glee) how do we get to see that movie…
- Last week, the House passed a resolution to award Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers who protected Members of Congress during an armed insurrection. You’d think that would be pretty uncontroversial, but that’s because you forgot about America’s dumbest politician, Louie Gohmert. Yes, that guy who claimed there are no rules about making so much noise you can’t hear a witness testifying to Congress. Anyway, Gohmert and eleven equally repulsive colleagues from the party of law and order and blue lives matter circulated an alternative resolution which carefully avoided any mention of the attack on the Capitol, presumably to avoid accidentally insulting any of Gohmert’s supporters. The initial bill, which included the phrase “a mob of insurrectionists”, passed 413-12.
- Just when you thought it was safe to go back onto Twitter – Trump invents spam faxes – he sent out a missive on headed paper ostensibly from the 45th President of course no mention of the 46th laying claim to the COVID Vaccine and its rollout – “I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” it reads. It concludes with a repeat of the words, “I hope everyone remembers!” A classic Trump statement: the wounded narcissism, the unnecessary but very pronounced bigotry, the random capitalizations, the random quotation marks, the ridiculous boasts that he then increases to make himself feel better, the pointless repetition. How Twitter has changed – no longer the falling at the feet of Trump’s thunderous and ranty rallying cries, people are comparing him to the shuffling tramp on the street corner with a tin cup begging for alms for an old (fake) soldier, pointing out that tho on headed paper it fits in a tweet! And of course like postal voting the people he’s asking to remember it was him are the people who aren’t going to get it cos he convinced them not to! You can take Trump out of Twitter but you can’t take the fucking idiot out of Trump!
- Timothy Hale-Cusinelli, an army reservist charged with taking part in the Capitol riot, has been called a Nazi sympathiser by coworkers. I mean, it’s not hugely surprising, but come on, it’s not like he had a Hitler mustache and regularly talked about killing Jews… Holy fuck, the guy had a Hitler mustache and regularly talked about killing Jews! One colleague at the Navy base where he was employed as a security contractor said he told him “he would kill all the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and he wouldn’t need to season them because the salt from their tears would make it flavorful enough” and others recall him making derogatory remarks about women, black people and other minorities. His lawyer, who is really earning his money here, wrote in a filing that there was no evidence his client belongs to any white supremacist organizations. Well maybe he’s not a joiner! I don’t think that should be the only criteria we need to worry about!
- In re-engaging with British Politics on returning to Fallacious Trump I am of course simply struck by how perverse it all still is, the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer in spite of the record number of deaths, the record number of corrupt backhanders dealt to to friends of the government and then hidden for years, and the interference by the Scottish Tories in the potential overthrowing of Nicola Sturgeon as head of the SNP in an attempt to ward of a Scottish referendum and secession from the United Kingdom, an increase in the nuclear arsenal so we can kill everyone several more times over and no pay increase for the health sector so we can continue to kill them several times over, despite all of this Keir Starmer has slipped below Boris in the polls as most popular leader and best person to be prime minister. Of course Starmer isn’t taking this lying down nope he’s doing the rounds and blaming Corbyn, rather than holding up his hand and leaving the field for missing so many open goals, goals so open for a while there the other team wasn’t even on the field. Blow the whistle ref it’s game over!
That’s all for this week, and thanks for listening!