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 debating
Geek One: In my opinion, you simply need to re-boot your computer.
Geek Two: Bruce Lee said, “Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.” I’m so frustrated I just have to kick this computer. That’ll fix the problem with it!
Bruce Lee might have been an authority on martial arts, but he died before home computers were even invented. Geek Two is appealing to someone who is widely respected but has no knowledge of the topic. This logical fallacy is called, “Faulty Appeal to Authority.”
By the way, pouring water into the computer so the water will become the computer isn’t a good idea either. The computer will crash, not flow.
Someone who uses Faulty Appeal to Authority is hoping we will be reluctant to challenge the expert’s viewpoint. We mustn’t give in!
White Belt: I’m fixing a spinach salad to have with my lunch because the nutritionist I saw last week said if I eat more leafy greens I will have more endurance while training.
Wannabe: Sensei Rockum Sockum doesn’t touch spinach. He said on one of his YouTube videos that there’s toxins in spinach that’ll make your legs turn to Jello.
White Belt: Last I checked, Sensei Rockum Sockum doesn’t have a Master’s degree in Nutrition.
Wannabe: Does your nutritionist have a YouTube following of fifteen thousand subscribers like Sensei Rockum Sockum?
White Belt: No, but she worked hard in college and my doctor highly recommended her. Here, just try my spinach salad – I put bacon in it!
Sometimes an issue is controversial and not clear cut. In that case, don’t stick to any one authority. Present both sides, quote equal authorities and/or support your case with other evidence such as statistics.
Black Belt One: I love kicks because I can keep my body out of the way of my opponent until I’m ready to follow up with something else – and sometimes that might be another kick!
Black Belt Two: Kicks can be useful, but you run the risk of someone sweeping you, so I favor punches when I’m sparring.
White Belt One: You hear that? Sensei One says kicks rule! I’m SO using kicks against you first chance I get!
White Belt Two: Um, I heard two equally qualified experts discussing their preferences. How about we try both kicking and punching next time we spar?
White Belt One: I have an idea – I’m going to the next tournament and I’ll write down some statistics based on direct observation of points scored by the competitors. Kicks will come out on top, I guarantee you!
White Belt Two: Have fun with that. I’m going to ask Sensei Two to show me some leg sweeps.
If you’d like to learn more, you can follow along in the book _The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn