Argument from Personal Incredulity – FT#29

Argument from Personal Incredulity – FT#29

Show Notes

The Argument from Personal Incredulity describes a situation where someone dismisses a claim for no other reason than they find it difficult to believe. In fact, the person may be having trouble believing something simply because it doesn’t conform to how they currently think, or even that they simply don’t understand some element of the claim. However, rather than asking for more information or an explanation, the claim is dismissed as false because it seems unlikely to them.

This can be difficult to distinguish from the perfectly reasonable task of a critical thinker to consider prior plausibility before accepting a new claim. Sometimes counter-intuitive things turn out to be true, so finding something unlikely or hard to believe should be the beginning of your journey to deciding whether you believe it, not the end.

We started out with this clip of the Donald’s responding to a Washington Post story citing nine administration officials as sources for their story about Michael Flynn discussing sanctions with Sergey Kislyak:

Then we looked at one of his many claims regarding how much he’s achieved compared to every single other president ever:


In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about Boris Johnson struggling to recall whether he called French people turds:

Then we talked about Theresa May finally deciding she needs to do something about Climate Change after she saw glaciers shrinking for herself, as described in this Guardian article.


In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this horrifying rumour in Schindler’s List, and the disbelieving responses to it:

Then we discussed a clip from Starsky and Hutch, where Hutch is not-unreasonably skeptical that crocodiles are responsible for more deaths than anything else:

Then we witnessed Richard Dawkins name-dropping the fallacy in a debate with mathematician and creationist John Lennox in 2008:

And finally, we talked about the lyrics to Wonderwall.

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. If they sold a car to us we bring it in for no tax. It’s 2.5 percent, but basically, when you do certain paperwork and check the wrong boxes you pay nothing. It’s stupid. When we buy a car from them, and we buy a lot of them, believe it or not, it’s a 40 percent tax.
  2. We’re working on a new healthcare plan and it’s going to be beautiful. You know Jack Nicklaus is a great friend of mine. And when he’s standing over a four foot putt he used to say “If you’re going to miss, get it over with.” So that’s what we’re doing with healthcare, but we’re not missing.
  3. We have the greatest energy in the world. They wanted to take it away from us. They don’t like that we have it. We’ve really discovered it over the last very short period of time. I’ve made it readily accessible. We’re approving pipelines in Texas that would have taken 20 years. I’m getting them done in about six months.

Click below for the answer

Mark is on a roll of epic proportions about which I am personally incredulous, so he’s now on 43%. I feel like I’m losing my powers to fool him!


Then we talked about the first Democratic debates and declared Kamala Harris to be the next President.


And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:

  • While presenting an Iraq war veteran with the medal of honor, Trump had a wardrobe malfunction. Fortunately, it wasn’t the kind where we accidentally see him naked, but rather the kind where he says this. Wearing a wardrobe? Does he know what a wardrobe is?  Is he picturing some kind of wood-clad assassin or is it more like that scene in Friends where Joey wears all of Chandler’s clothes? 
  • In a rare moment of morning glory on Friday June 21st it appears Trump was so pleased that he was an early riser that in a tweet he told us he called off an airstrike on Iran cos the spirit of humanity overwhelmed him at the prospect of killing innocent casualties. But he proudly included that up til then he, we, America, Uncle Sam himself had been “cocked and loaded” and presumably ready to spray Iran in the face – oh no wait a minute I’ve drifted off into a Stormy Daniels film… Should we changed his twitter handle from POTUS to NSFW?
  • Last week NBC discovered that the cost of detaining child immigrants in tent cities is $775 per child, per day.  And for that they don’t even get soap, toothbrushes or in many cases, beds. Whenever Democrats speak out against the inhumane conditions these children are kept in, a common refrain from the compassionate right is “Oh yeah? How many immigrants will you invite to stay in your house then?”  At those prices? I’ll take three please.
  • Ted Cruz in an admirable act of mismanagement failed to withdraw the last $10,000 from his campaign funds before the campaign ended, His lawyers, ever subtle, said it was an infringement of his civil rights the like of which we’ve not seen since the 60’s when filing a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission after they said he could have withdrawn the money when he had the chance. Yeah sure his lawyers said and Rosa Parks could’ve sat at the back of the bus. Hmm Comparing the loss of $10,000 for a senator with a reported net worth in the millions to the action of a civil-rights icon who ushered in the Montgomery bus boycott is a tough analogy to sell. But at least Cruz, in a 2015 presidential debate, said he’d put Rosa Parks on the $10 bill. A thousand times obviously!!
  • Robert Mueller has been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees and he will testify in back to back public hearings on July 17th. Democrats are excited because this might mean more people will hear what’s actually in his report, and Republicans are excited because they’ve managed to convince themselves that they’ll get the better of Mueller in a public hearing.  People like Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes and Louie Gohmert actually think they will beat Robert Mueller at thinking and talking. But I think Mueller might have an advantage, because I’m pretty sure he’s actually read the Mueller report.
  • You know when Phoebe Buffay in Friends tries to teach someone the guitar and we all know that she’s got absolutely no idea but she continues anyway, well Ivanka at the G20 summit was hilariously being Diplomat Barbie chipping in on a conversation between Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and MD of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde and French president Emmanuel Macron’s. Lagarde’s face was a perfect Chandler as she looked with incredulity at Ivanka as she appeared to be simply repeated the last word in everyone’s sentence – could she BE any more out of place. Well there’s a muppet in the oval office why not have a misproportioned plastic airhead at the global conference projecting ‘Merican Values right there!
  • Since he was in the area for the G20, Trump sent a tweet last Saturday morning which said “if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” Apparently, Kim follows Trump on Twitter, and must have DM’d him, because on Sunday afternoon the pair met up in a totally casual, spontaneous and definitely not at all planned weeks in advance kind of way, and Trump became the first US President to step into North Korea. Trump got a nice photo op and absolutely fuck-all else, and Kim got an invitation to the White House and further validation as a legitimate leader on the world stage. I like to think that a reporter asked “Why did you decide to meet with a dangerous unstable warmonger?” and Kim said “He’s not that bad when you get to know him”.
  • In another exciting week in British Politics where we’re down to the last two snake oil salesman running for the occupancy of number 10 Downing Street. Oxbridge-Trump-in-waiting Boris Johnson was strenuously avoiding talking about the almighty row between him and his girlfriend where neighbours called the cops cos they were so concerned for her safety after she was heard shouting “get off me” and “get out of my flat”. In a TalkRadio interview with Ross Kempsell He described his hastily made-up hobby of painting buses. Johnson was clearly having problems with the earpiece connecting him with the instructions from his brief cos he was so obviously inventing this pastime involving old wine crates and figures of passengers enjoying themselves. On that basis alone he should be conducted to an asylum. Job done though cos if you now Google Boris Bus you no longer get the lie about 350 million pounds going to the EU each week – you get this load of certifiable bollocks!

See you next time!

Jim Cliff

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