Time once again for us martial arts bloggers to learn:
1) How NOT to make a case for or against someone or something
2) Why certain comments set our teeth on edge
3) How to stay focused when discussing our arts
This week’s lesson was co-written with my daughter!
White Belt: Hey, Sensei! All the other white belts think I should’ve been testing at the last promotion. Why didn’t you have me test?
Just because a lot of people think something doesn’t mean any of them have any authority on the subject. This fallacy is very similar to the faulty appeal to authority fallacy and can even be considered an exaggerated version. It’s a mistake to quote one person who has no expertise on the subject, so it’s an even bigger mistake to quote many people who have no expertise on the subject.
Wannabe: Sensei Rockum Sockum has fifteen thousand followers on YouTube, therefore he must be awesome!
White Belt: Did you check the comments on some of his videos? It looks like at least three quarters of his subscribers are picking apart his techniques and his credentials. Therefore, Sensei Rockum Sockum is a fraud.
Hmmm, look over that dialogue again… Yes, both “Wannabe” and “White Belt” are guilty of the Appeal to the People fallacy! “White Belt” needs to do some independent research and come up with solid evidence that Sensei Rockum Sockum isn’t what he claims to be.
If you’d like to learn more, you can follow along in the book The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn.