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Don't fall for arguments that merely appear to be reasonable watch

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    On the internet it's common to see people make arguments that, while having no evidence or logic supporting them, get a lot of praise because they simply appear reasonable. However, there is no reason to assume that they are. Here is a couple:

    The "only a few bad apples" argument. This is perhaps the most common one. I think the film Spotlight did a good job of showing how stupid and harmful this assumption can be. People had this attitude towards stories of Catholic priests molesting children, and yet it turned out that while it was only a minority of priests committing these crimes, they were nonetheless a minority which was scarily large in number, and their crimes were being systematically covered up by the organisation as a whole. The problem with the "few bad apples" argument is firstly that people generally either make it because they know nothing about the subject (but it sounds reasonable), or because they are trying to defend themselves and the group which they are part of. Secondly, the statement is entirely vague and ambiguous. How many is a few? Just how bad are these apples? And how many of the other apples know about the bad ones but purposely make an effort to hide their actions? Because I'd say those who do that are "bad apples" too.

    The "few bad apples" argument is essentially the same one people use when they say things like "well, most Muslims are probably moderates". First of all, without context, the term "moderate" is meaningless. What context are we speaking of here? Are most Muslims moderate in terms of the general political views of people in the UK? Are they moderate within the spectrum of views held across the entire Muslim population? Or are we talking about moderate, for example, within Saudi Arabian society? Because in each of these contexts, "moderate" means quite different things. Secondly, do we have any evidence that suggests that this claim (whatever it actually is) is correct? Why is this claim routinely considered so much more credible than the claim that, in fact, most Muslims are not "moderates", even if the former claim (whatever it is actually claiming) usually comes with no evidence to back it up. Because without evidence it is in reality no more reasonable than the second claim. Thirdly, the problem is that shrugging off Islamic extremism by saying "oh well, most are moderates" isn't really an adequate response to a serious problem that evidently exists even if this statement is true. Lets say only 1% of Muslims are extremists (and I mean extreme within the context of the general spectrum of views held by people in the UK). That's 16 million people; surely one of the largest groups of extremists in the world.

    Another "reasonable" argument people use is usually something along the lines of "oh well, there are bad apples in every <insert demographic>". This is about as reasonable as responding to someone concerned about the dangers of bare knuckle boxing by saying "oh well, people get injured in every sport". Because, while that statement may be true, it is also completely irrelevant. The fact that there are a few bad apples in every large demographic is a given; it simply does not need to be said because we can assume that this is almost universally understood. What is a concern is when there are significantly more bad apples in a demographic than normal.

    TL;DR Don't fall for completely baseless arguments simply because they may appear reasonable.
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    Sounds reasonable, so yeh I agree with anything you said.
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    honestly.
    It's 1:22am .
    I am only thinking of either one of two things right now.
    Sex/Sleep.

    all in all, I don't care, the world is s**t anyway. life is a conspiracy in itself.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    On the internet it's common to see people make arguments that, while having no evidence or logic supporting them, get a lot of praise because they simply appear reasonable.
    Some good points.

    I'd add that such arguments do not only sway people because they appear reasonable. They sway people because (a) they are safe, (b) they are popular, and (c) they do not require any readjustment of the individual's preconceptions.
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    When people post something like this, I usually fall.

    Fall asleep, that is.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    On the internet it's common to see people make arguments that, while having no evidence or logic supporting them, get a lot of praise because they simply appear reasonable. However, there is no reason to assume that they are. Here is a couple:

    The "only a few bad apples" argument. This is perhaps the most common one. I think the film Spotlight did a good job of showing how stupid and harmful this assumption can be. People had this attitude towards stories of Catholic priests molesting children, and yet it turned out that while it was only a minority of priests committing these crimes, they were nonetheless a minority which was scarily large in number, and their crimes were being systematically covered up by the organisation as a whole. The problem with the "few bad apples" argument is firstly that people generally either make it because they know nothing about the subject (but it sounds reasonable), or because they are trying to defend themselves and the group which they are part of. Secondly, the statement is entirely vague and ambiguous. How many is a few? Just how bad are these apples? And how many of the other apples know about the bad ones but purposely make an effort to hide their actions? Because I'd say those who do that are "bad apples" too.

    The "few bad apples" argument is essentially the same one people use when they say things like "well, most Muslims are probably moderates". First of all, without context, the term "moderate" is meaningless. What context are we speaking of here? Are most Muslims moderate in terms of the general political views of people in the UK? Are they moderate within the spectrum of views held across the entire Muslim population? Or are we talking about moderate, for example, within Saudi Arabian society? Because in each of these contexts, "moderate" means quite different things. Secondly, do we have any evidence that suggests that this claim (whatever it actually is) is correct? Why is this claim routinely considered so much more credible than the claim that, in fact, most Muslims are not "moderates", even if the former claim (whatever it is actually claiming) usually comes with no evidence to back it up. Because without evidence it is in reality no more reasonable than the second claim. Thirdly, the problem is that shrugging off Islamic extremism by saying "oh well, most are moderates" isn't really an adequate response to a serious problem that evidently exists even if this statement is true. Lets say only 1% of Muslims are extremists (and I mean extreme within the context of the general spectrum of views held by people in the UK). That's 16 million people; surely one of the largest groups of extremists in the world.

    Another "reasonable" argument people use is usually something along the lines of "oh well, there are bad apples in every <insert demographic>". This is about as reasonable as responding to someone concerned about the dangers of bare knuckle boxing by saying "oh well, people get injured in every sport". Because, while that statement may be true, it is also completely irrelevant. The fact that there are a few bad apples in every large demographic is a given; it simply does not need to be said because we can assume that this is almost universally understood. What is a concern is when there are significantly more bad apples in a demographic than normal.

    TL;DR Don't fall for completely baseless arguments simply because they may appear reasonable.
    I am sure it is reasonable but your post was too long to read it.
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    (Original post by TheArtofProtest)
    When people post something like this, I usually fall.

    Fall asleep, that is.
    What a hilarious pun.
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    Do you ever post anything not about Muslims?
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    TL;DR Don't fall for completely baseless arguments simply because they may appear reasonable.
    Very true indeed. I often see this, both on TSR and in my everyday discussions. As a generation and society we have become obsessed with not trying to offend others and as a result try our very best to stifle genuine, open conversations with phrases such as: "but they are only a minority". I find this to be a real shame as real progress can be made when people express their true sentiments and ignorance is rooted out.
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    Thought this was reasonable till you snuck in Muslims like Taylor swift does with her ex's in her songs.
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    The thing is if you are making general comments on say Muslims, you have to show or at least attempt a convincing argument that a given attribute is a direct result of being Muslim, as opposed to an external factor. Because if it is the latter then perhaps this group is simply unfortunate.
    The important thing is proving that X has property P because of Y as opposed to X has property P and also happens to have Y.
    If you can not justify this then you are just making unfair generalisations.

    For your Muslim example you would really have to show that being a Muslim is not only directly correlated to being extremist but is partially caused by it. As we would define Muslim as a follower of Islam you really have to show that Islam itself directly encourages this form of extremism, which you may think it does.

    If you can not do this then it's far safer and more politically correct to make a reasonable claim of no link.
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    TSR Support Team
    I liked your first sentence, it's just a pity that you ended up using this post as yet another excuse to complain about Muslims. I don't really get the point of your second paragraph either, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the "a few bad apples" argument, if it's true then it's true and if it's false then it's false.
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    (Original post by Vikingninja)
    Thought this was reasonable till you snuck in Muslims
    Agreed. It's only a few bad apples.
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    (Original post by Vikingninja)
    Thought this was reasonable till you snuck in Muslims like Taylor swift does with her ex's in her songs.
    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I liked your first sentence, it's just a pity that you ended up using this post as yet another excuse to complain about Muslims. I don't really get the point of your second paragraph either, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the "a few bad apples" argument, if it's true then it's true and if it's false then it's false.
    Interesting how you feel my argument is correct, except in the case of Muslims, where logic doesn't apply.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Interesting how you feel my argument is correct, except in the case of Muslims, where logic doesn't apply.
    I didn't say I agreed with all your arguments, neither did I say anything about the factual accuracy of your points regarding Muslims. I said it would have been nice if you'd just made the point that people should be more critical without using it as an excuse to pander about your politics.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I didn't say I agreed with all your arguments, neither did I say anything about the factual accuracy of your points regarding Muslims. I said it would have been nice if you'd just made the point that people should be more critical without using it as an excuse to pander about your politics.
    It's funny how you don't have a problem with the Catholic priests example. But when it's Muslims, you crap your pants.
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    (Original post by BankOfPigs)
    The thing is if you are making general comments on say Muslims, you have to show or at least attempt a convincing argument that a given attribute is a direct result of being Muslim, as opposed to an external factor. Because if it is the latter then perhaps this group is simply unfortunate.
    The important thing is proving that X has property P because of Y as opposed to X has property P and also happens to have Y.
    If you can not justify this then you are just making unfair generalisations.

    For your Muslim example you would really have to show that being a Muslim is not only directly correlated to being extremist but is partially caused by it. As we would define Muslim as a follower of Islam you really have to show that Islam itself directly encourages this form of extremism, which you may think it does.

    If you can not do this then it's far safer and more politically correct to make a reasonable claim of no link.
    But the identifying factor with all Islamic extremists/terrorists is that they're, well... Islamic. Correlation may not equal causation, but we can certainly say that the common thread with all of these people is that they are Muslim. As such, it's the most useful way of identifying them as a demographic, and it's worth investigating that thread. And when you find that their religion idolises (I know they say they don't, but they do by any normal understanding of the word given the fact they consider him the perfect man) a man who ordered his army to kill many, and their doctrine includes hundreds of verses that could easily be interpreted as calls to violence (such as outright advocating killing and chopping the fingers off non-believers), it may be worth considering that Islam does have at least some influence on these people.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    It's funny how you don't have a problem with the Catholic priests example. But when it's Muslims, you crap your pants.
    It's because you always go on about Muslims in pretty much every thread you make so it's pretty obvious this thread was to keep on rambling about them.
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    (Original post by Vikingninja)
    It's because you always go on about Muslims in pretty much every thread you make so it's pretty obvious this thread was to keep on rambling about them.
    If it was, does it change the legitimacy of what I am saying?
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Interesting how you feel my argument is correct, except in the case of Muslims, where logic doesn't apply.
    Logic? I think you may be asking a bit too much from the general populace.

    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I didn't say I agreed with all your arguments, neither did I say anything about the factual accuracy of your points regarding Muslims. I said it would have been nice if you'd just made the point that people should be more critical without using it as an excuse to pander about your politics.
    You know, here's an example of another unreasonable statement. The purpose of using Muslims as an example was left ambiguous, the OP could've been pushing a political agenda OR using them as an example because it's been a big issue for a while now. We have no way of telling which is the case, so no assumptions/conclusions can be made.

    You however seem to have jumped to the conclusion that the OP is attacking musselmen to further his own political agenda. You've got nothing to base this on because of the ambiguity of the OP's statement, so it was a stupid thing to say.

    For example, someone could overhear a snippet of a conversation which is, "nah I don't like black..." If the OP is the guy who was overheard by you, then your assumption about political bias is equivalent to assuming that in the example I gave, the speaker was being racist. The speaker could've been talking about black cherries, but you didn't know that so you assumed the worst.

    Nowadays it seems that whenever certain words are used, people shut their eyes and cover their ears then yell "bigot" despite not knowing the context. This generation's got itself into quite a sorry state. Hardly anyone has any reasoning ability.
 
 
 
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