To borrow a phrase from Forrest Gump, Twitter is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.
For example, there’s a particular troll on Twitter who automatically dislikes anything I tweet or write here on the blog – and yet he follows me on Twitter and reads the blog, presumably as some form of penance. Among other odd attacks, he once took to lecturing me about my writing style. I replied that I don’t take writing advice from a guy with a blog hardly anyone reads and who can barely scare up a following on Twitter. At that point, he accused me of writing controversial tweets simply to gin up retweets.
Oh, if only I were blessed with such powers of prediction. I have no idea which tweets are going to generate a buzz. I’m reminded of an interview I read years ago with songwriter Paul Simon. He explained that he’s written songs he was convinced were sure-fire hits, only to see them barely dent the charts, while other songs he considered far from his best became chart-toppers. Nobody can predict what’s going to be popular, he explained.
When I tweeted a link to my post about the Harvard study on push-ups and CVD risk, I honestly didn’t expect much beyond the usual number of replies, retweets, etc. Wrong. Lots and lots of people wanted to comment on or argue about that one.
I’m all in favor of Twitter debates, of course. I just wish people who apparently can’t comprehend plain English would remain on the sidelines. As the number of arguments grew, someone with a sense of humor commented that sooner or later, people on Twitter would be accusing me of saying I’m against push-ups.
Yes, that would fit the usual Twitter pattern. Fortunately, it wasn’t the Full Twitter Pattern. To be the Full Twitter Pattern, it would have to go something like this:
- A few people post tweets accusing me of being against push-ups.
- Other people chime in to demand I apologize for my anti-push-up stance.
- Still other people who can do a lot of push-ups decide I’m belittling them and offer to meet me anytime, anywhere and kick my ass because I’m obviously a wimp who can’t do 40 push-ups.
- Someone eventually tweets that Donald Trump doesn’t do push-ups either.
- Someone else then tweets that she saw me wearing a MAGA hat while working outdoors on the farm.
- Celebrities and celebrity wannabes, anxious to demonstrate their moral superiority, tweet that my anti-push-ups attitude is obviously racist, and I don’t do push-ups as a way to flaunt my white privilege.
- Someone else then points out that the Harvard study’s leader author is named Justin Yang, and I’m clearly belittling the study and telling people not to do push-ups because I don’t like Asians.
- Reza Aslan posts my picture and tweets Honest question: have you ever seen a more punchable face?
- Kathy Griffin tweets (in all caps) YOU KNOW THIS RACIST MOTHERF@#$%*R WOULDN’T HESITATE TO DOXX ON YOU, SO SOMEBODY POST HIS REAL NAME AND ADDRESS! – presumably so the forces of good could show up at my door to express their goodness by engaging in physical violence and/or making life a living hell for my family.
- CNN and The Washington Post jump into the fray with articles about a growing movement of extremists who are racist, sexist, homophobic and opposed to push-ups, identifying me as a leader of the movement.
- After people blessed with both consciences and brains post clips of my previous tweets to prove I’ve never actually stated any opposition to push-ups, CNN and the Washington Post write new articles explaining that the situation is “more nuanced” than originally believed.
- Finally, CNN, the Washington Post and other fine examples of journalist ethics write commentary explaining that while the story about my racist, sexist, anti-push-up tirade may not have been factually true, their rush to judgment was entirely understandable — because the real issue here is that people believed the story could have been true, which is a sad, sad, sad indication of how many Americans have become racist, sexist, homophobic and opposed to push-ups in just the past three years.
The Full Twitter Pattern didn’t happen, of course. But most of us who post on Twitter eventually run into what I’m now calling the Four Types of Twitter Dumb:
1) Those who argue about something you didn’t actually say – but they’re convinced you did for no apparent reason.
Now and then I reply to arguments with something like I’m sorry you struggle with reading and comprehension. That’s because Twitter Dumb will argue vigorously against a point you never made – and continue arguing against the point you never made even after you explain you never made it.
Let’s suppose you post a tweet about the benefits of eating meat. The odds are pretty good Twitter Dumb will show up and demand to know why you’re opposed to eating vegetables.
So you reply that you’ve never opposed eating vegetables. Twitter Dumb will never, ever admit making a mistake (see type #4), so he’ll reply that you’re obviously opposed to eating vegetables. After shaking your head and wondering how this opinion ever found its way into Twitter Dumb’s brain, you ask Twitter Dumb to please cite the post or tweet where you expressed this obvious opposition to vegetables.
Twitter Dumb will, of course, ignore that direct challenge – Twitter Dumb routinely ignores direct challenges that would prove him wrong. Instead, Twitter Dumb will begin firing off tweet after tweet with links to articles about the benefits of eating vegetables … thus continuing to argue against a position you never took. If you are silly enough to reply, the stream of pro-vegetable tweets will go on for days.
After I tweeted a link to my Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds speech, Twitter Dumb showed up to argue vigorously against my “anti-vaccination views.” I explained to Twitter Dumb that I’ve never taken a stance on vaccinations either way. Twitter Dumb replied that I gave that speech at a Weston A. Price event, so therefore I’m obviously an anti-vaxxer. Twitter Dumb then continued to berate me for all the children who were going to get sick and die because of my endorsement of anti-vaxxers. Recognizing what I was dealing with, I ended blocking Twitter Dumb in that case.
When I tweeted about the Harvard push-ups study, a surprising number of people replied that by gosh, my criticism was unfounded because Harvard never actually claimed push-ups prevent heart disease. That true. It’s also true that I never claimed that Harvard claimed push-ups prevent heart disease. Harvard did claim, however, that they’d demonstrated the number of push-ups men can perform is a useful assessment of CVD risk – which simply isn’t true if you look at their data.
I explained this to Twitter Dumb, who nonetheless continued to insist I’d unfairly criticized the study … because by gosh, Harvard had never claimed push-ups prevent heart disease, so why the heck was I criticizing them?
2) Those who argue that nobody should listen to you if you don’t have an impressive-sounding title.
Anytime I criticize a study, the odds are pretty good Twitter Dumb will show up and tweet something like, Oh yeah, I’m really going listen to a comedian instead of doctors and PhDs. Amazingly, every time Twitter Dumb makes this comment, he thinks he’s making it for the first time and is being rip-roaringly clever.
Of course, I’m not “just” a comedian. I’m also a software engineer who deals with math and logic for a living. Observational studies put out by Harvard aren’t sacred scrolls that can only be decoded by wizards with the magic keys. Anyone with access to the study can review the numbers and see if they support the researchers’ conclusions.
As I’ve tried to explain to Twitter Dumb many times, math and logic don’t care about the title of the person who employs them. My degree is in journalism, which means according to the Title Is Everything crowd, I shouldn’t be working as a programmer. And yet I am — because my employers care about my actual abilities, not my college degree.
So when Twitter Dumb points out that I’m “just” a comedian, I reply that if my critique is wrong, he can easily prove it by citing the mathematical or logical mistake in my analysis instead of comparing titles.
Twitter Dumb never accepts this challenge. Instead, Twitter Dumb offers replies like this (which I’ve quoted directly): That title usually comes with LOTS of applicable education that was earned.
Ah, I see. A Harvard PhD has LOTS of applicable education that was earned, and therefore his conclusions must be correct even if actual data says otherwise.
I’ve often wondered where this desire to simply believe people with impressive titles comes from. I can only conclude that it’s a form of insecurity. Some people simply want the authorities to be correct … because if the authorities can be wrong, we have to accept the burden of thinking for ourselves.
Unfortunately, history tells us authorities are indeed often wrong, and sometimes intentionally dishonest. As I’ve mentioned before, my college physics professor told us to learn math no matter what our career plans were, because “math is how you know when they’re lying to you.” Granted, I was in his class more than 40 years ago, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t tell us our math could only be correct if we acquired a fancy title first.
3) Those who are wrong but can’t be persuaded they’re wrong because they have the logical-thinking capacity of a turnip.
Twitter Dumb showed up several times to insist the Harvard push-up study is meaningful because the guys who could do more than 41 push-ups had far fewer heart attacks than the guys who could do 10 or fewer. I tried explaining several times that after adjusting for age, the difference was not statistically significant. It says so right there in the study. That tells us the capacity to do push-ups was mostly just a marker for age.
Twitter Dumb replied several times by pointing (again) to the raw data. Terms like “adjusted for age” and “not statistically significant” apparently don’t mean anything to Twitter Dumb, who kept repeating that push-ups are obviously a good way to assess cardiovascular risk, just as Harvard told us, because the guys who could do more push-ups had fewer heart attacks.
So I pointed out that among the men who could do 21-30 push-ups, the rate of cardiovascular events was 2.3%, while among the group that could do 31-40 push-ups, the rate of cardiovascular events was 3.5%. If we believe the data is solid and meaningful, that means men who can do 31-40 push-ups have a 50% higher risk of heart disease than men who can only do 21-30 push-ups. Does anyone actually think that’s true? No, of course not. But you can’t pick and choose which chunks of data you want to believe and which ones you don’t. The data is either meaningful, or it isn’t. In this study, it clearly isn’t.
When I pointed out the 50% higher CVD rate among men who could do 31-40 push-ups vs. those who could only do 21-30, Twitter Dumb replied that he didn’t believe me. The reason? The authors of the study didn’t point out the difference themselves.
Ah, I see. Researchers who claim they discovered push-ups are a useful tool for assessing CVD risk didn’t point to the numbers that negated their claim. I guess that means the numbers don’t exist, even though they’re in the study tables for anyone to read. That’s Twitter Dumb logic for you.
This study reminded me of an observational study I once saw comparing meat consumption and cancer. In that study, cancer went up as meat consumption went up … but as meat consumption continued going up, the cancer rate went down. So what are we supposed to believe? That eating meat causes cancer unless you eat a lot of it? No, the logical conclusion is that meat had no effect on cancer either way. The numbers were just noise.
Same thing with the Harvard push-up study. If the rate of cardiovascular disease goes down, then sharply up, then sharply down again as men could perform more push-ups, that tells us push-ups are not, in fact, a useful measure of cardiovascular risk.
None of this logic had any effect on Twitter Dumb, who kept pointing to the (not statistically significant) difference in cardiovascular disease between the highest and lowest push-up groups.
4) Those who argue endlessly and absolutely refuse to admit they’re wrong even if you prove it.
Sometimes Twitter Dumb keeps arguing because he has the logical-thinking capacity of a turnip (see above). In fact, someone following one back-and-forth argument finally chimed in and replied to Twitter Dumb with Jesus effing Christ. You are literally too stupid to enter this discussion.
Heh-heh … yes, sometimes Twitter Dumb is like the tone-deaf person who can’t be convinced he sings off-key – because he’s tone deaf and therefore can’t hear that he’s off-key, so he refuses to believe he’s off-key. Illogical people can’t be convinced that they’re being illogical – because it takes a logical mind to recognize illogical thinking.
But other times, Twitter Dumb is actually an intelligent person who simply refuses to admit he got it wrong. He’s a walking, talking, tweeting example of the phenomenon described in the wonderful book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): once some people have taken a public position, they will defend it to the bitter end, even when proven wrong.
I don’t understand that mindset. Nobody knows everything there is to know about a subject, so everyone makes mistakes. The smart move is to admit those mistakes and move on. It’s not all that difficult to say, Sorry, looks like I got it wrong, thanks for pointing out the error.
I’ve been listening to Principles, written by Ray Dalio, who runs one of the world’s most successful investment firms. I’m not planning to become a Wall Street investor, but I wanted to know how this extraordinarily successful guy thinks.
Early in his career, Dalio lost a fortune (his money and his clients’ money) by being too confident in his own calculations. He had to lay off everyone at the firm, become its sole employee, and borrow money to stay afloat. That taught him a valuable lesson: always be willing to be proven wrong. In fact, he surrounds himself with people who are expected to challenge his strategies, his calculations, and his beliefs. All of his employees undergo training to learn to embrace having their beliefs challenged by others — which happens at regular company meetings.
Twitter Dumb would never make it as an employee of Dalio’s firm. When Twitter Dumb is proven wrong, absolutely and positively, he’ll either disappear from the conversation without admitting his mistake, or attempt to change the subject and continue arguing.
As you may recall, a doctor once chimed in on Twitter to deny that “hard-working, professional” dieticians would recommend pancakes to diabetics. I replied that a hard-working, professional dietician in a hospital had served pancakes (but no butter) to my diabetic father-in-law as a “heart-healthy” meal – a meal that caused his blood sugar to blow past 400.
Well, that’s just one dietician, the doctor insisted. It’s not typical.
So I tweeted direct quotes from articles by dieticians advising diabetics to eat 12 to 15 servings of “heart healthy” starchy foods per day. I also screen-capped menus from a bunch of hospitals – menus designed by hard-working, professional dieticians. The menus listed sugary cereals and pancakes under the “heart healthy” section. I tweeted one screen cap after another in my replies to the doctor. I suggested several times he just admit he’d gotten it wrong.
Nope. First he tried to turn it into an argument about whether I’d properly vetted the menus. (Apparently I was required to fly to the cities where the hospitals are located and check the menus in person.) Then he tried to turn it into an argument about whether I’d needlessly insulted the entire profession of dieticians. But he never admitted his original position – dieticians don’t serve pancakes as a “heart healthy” meal – was wrong, despite the proof. He finally disappeared from the conversation.
He’s a doctor, and (I hope) not dumb. But he’s Twitter Dumb. Twitter Dumb will never admit being wrong.
I’m grateful for social media because it’s enabled the Wisdom of Crowds to flourish. Debates and disagreements among thoughtful people are part of the process that allows the good ideas to rise to the top. I did, in fact, hear from a couple of thoughtful people who disagreed with my take on the Harvard push-ups study. They weren’t Twitter Dumb.
I guess if we want the benefits of social media, we have to take the downside as well. Hearing regularly from Twitter Dumb is one of the downsides.
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See, I knew I didn’t need a Twitter account. Thanks.
I gave up Twitter for Lent last year and never went back. This is one reason why. Stress is bad for you, and Twitter seems to cause it. If you can stand it, you can learn quite a bit. But there’s not enough wheat to go along with the chaff.
I’ve learned to ignore much of the chaff.
“I did, in fact, hear from a couple of thoughtful people who disagreed with my take on the Harvard push-ups study. They weren’t Twitter Dumb.” What were their arguments?
They believed the higher CVD rate among the 31-40 group and the statistically insignificant results after adjusting for age were both the results of the relatively small sample sizes, not because push-up capacity doesn’t actually indicate CVD risk. I don’t buy that idea, but the people promoting it weren’t Twitter Dumb.
Another issue is categorizing age into 10-year groups, which seems somewhat arbitrary and unnecessary. Doing so eliminates the variance that exists within each group and reduces that small sample size of each group. They could simply run correlation and regression analyses with push-ups and age as the predictors and when the multivariate analyses show that push-ups are no longer significant, the interpretation is pretty simple: The relationship between push-ups and CVD risk is spurious. It’s always amazing to what lengths some academics will take to explain away the most simple statistical concepts that they learned or even teach in introductory courses when the results don’t match their biases.
I figure once the academics are deep into a study, they get VERY anxious to crunch the numbers in order to produce what looks like a meaningful result. It would be kind of embarrassing to report back to whoever funded the study and say, “Naww, we didn’t find squat.”
If you don’t produce the results your sponsors want, then obviously you are useless and it’s inutile to continue to support you. This is the best case, in other cases they may cause other sponsors to withdraw your support and cast aspersions on you.
IOW—Follow the money.
I find Twitter useful when people post links to information that I have an interest in. Most of the time I don’t respond to much.
That’s exactly why I’m on Twitter. Besides posting info myself, I gather a lot of good links and ideas from people I follow.
I am finding a lot of the low carb, keto and carnivore doctors posting a lot of stupid stuff and adapting that “My degree is greater than your Google search” mentality. One posted something yesterday suggested that you throw away anything in that comes in a cardboard box with the word “natural” on it. I asked if that included the angus hamburgers I just purchased. 🤦♂️
Humans, go figure. };o)
I have encountered this on Face Book, too. You can make a simple, straight forward statement. Someone extrapolates my simple statement into a tome of their own making. And yes, they inevitably say that I said something or believe something that never was stated (and I don’t talk about my beliefs…). I have found it best to drop the whole thing as further communication with these dummies is completely fruitless!
These people remind me of that goofball British newscaster who made Jordan Peterson famous with her attack-dog interview. She kept putting his words in his mouth (“So what you’re really saying is …”) and he had to patiently explain that no, he isn’t saying that.
Long before Twitter they inhabited Usenet (some of you may need to ask old people what that was). One such took umbrage at the belief that the ADA had ever recommended that diabetics “Eat More Starch!” because by then the page had finally been taken down.
People who had archived it quoted it and he accused them of making it up.
Wayback Machine to the rescue
There was a UK TV programme called Crimewatch which made reconstructions of various crimes. Someone I knew was an actor and also worked part time in his family’s shop not a million miles from the studios. They often gave him a part as “Asian Criminal” and every time the Police would have people ring up and say
“He works in a shop in Ealing!”
The Police would have to explain carefully that no, that was the ACTOR and you should really be looking for the guy in the Photofit . . .
Well, kids used to kick actor Bruce Dern because he killed John Wayne’s character in the movie “The Cowboys.”
I have an attorney buddy who told me a surprising number of people have no idea the Wayback Machine exists. They’ll deny ever using a phrase or image protected under trademark law (his specialty) on their websites … until he sends them a screen cap from the Wayback Machine.
Media of all sorts can have a weird affect on people’s brains. People have a way of getting caught up in mediated reality, maybe for how it so powerfully allows projection. That was true long before the internet. But social media has a particular strangeness all of its own. As for an earlier era, Harlan Ellison shared an amusing anecdote told to him by Dan Blocker from the show Bonanza:
“He told me– and he said this happened all the time, not just in isolated cases– that he had been approached by a little old woman during one of his personal appearances at a rodeo, and the woman had said to him, dead seriously, “Now listen to me, Hoss: when you go home tonight, I want you to tell your daddy, Ben, to get rid of that Chinee fella who cooks for you all. What you need is to get yourself a good woman in there can cook up some decent food for you and your family.”
“So Dan said to her, very politely (because he was one of the most courteous people I’ve ever met), “Excuse me, ma’am, but my name is Dan Blocker. Hoss is just the character I play. When I go home I’ll be going to my house in Los Angeles and my wife and children will be waiting.”
“And she went right on, just a bit affronted because she knew all that, what was the matter with him, did he think she was simple or something, “Yes, I know… but when you go back to the Ponderosa, you just tell your daddy Ben that I said…”
“For her, fantasy and reality were one and the same.”
Wait … are you telling me Jed Bartlet was never president? I used to tune in every week to see how he was doing.
But Rat from “Perls Before Swan” was President.
I’ve heard the same thing about actors/actresses in our soap operas being accosted in the street too.
Wayback Machine isn’t perfect though, an angry debate started on John Briffa’s blog with dieticians and doctors attacking him for criticising the Diabetes UK high carb low fat recommendations. The worst of it, including people trying to have his medical licence pulled, went on on another doctor’s blog which was subsequently deleted and also somehow got taken off the Wayback Machine completely. See also, deleted tweets . . .
Boy, someone really wanted the history erased.
The ADA was recommending diabetics eat 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal as late as 2017. And they listed carb counts for a bunch of junk food on their web site. http://relievemypain.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-happened-to-ada-guidelines-to-eat.html
Pretty much what I’ve been predicting for years: organizations like the ADA, AHA, etc., won’t admit they were wrong. They’ll just slowly back away from their old advice and hope most people don’t notice.
And if anyone does notice they will deny they said it. CSPI all over again. Isn’t recommending that people eat artificial transfats rather than natural fats tantamount to genocide?
Sure turned out that way.
They should be tried for crimes against humanity then. They went and used government which is force to impose their extract of male bovine feces.
Yes they did that already. At one stage they stopped recommending high carbs per se, but when you subtracted the recommended protein and fat from their “calories” it was the same old same old.
There are some UK dieticians now indignantly claiming they NEVER dissed low carb diets and always recommended them for diabetics. The effect is rather spoiled by all the other dieticians doing the exact opposite.
Social Meeja does permit people to discover what actual patients do, and there are increasing numbers of doctors, researchers and yes even dieticians on board with reality, and lots of links to decent studies too, so not all bad. Plus thr trolls and other manipulators do tend to get called out, which can be entertaining.
In the Full Twitter Pattern, you left off the last one where @jack bans you.
Heh-heh … I knew I missed at least one.
I am thinking of doing a partial media fast for Lent (not of this blog, of course). I use Face Book as one means of keeping track of my far-flung relatives, but there have been too many times when one or two in particular posted something that made me want to change my will! Individual emails are much better.
I don’t spend much time on Facebook, even though I hope nothing I post there would prompt my mom to change her will.
Tom, you are *always* funny, but this post is award-worthy. Absolutely dynamite. Wit, sarcasm, wryness, and pinpoint accuracy — whatever the 4-item version of a trifecta or hat trick is, you, sir, have mastered it.
Thank you, Amy. I know you deal with Twitter Dumb yourself.
There is an old saying here in the South. By the way, I’m just down the road from you in Columbia.
“You can’t argue with stupid”
I would like to widen that to:”You shouldn’t argue with stupid!”
Yup, but sometimes the argument has to go on for a bit before I realize I’m arguing with stupid.
People do believe what they want to believe. I used to write a newspaper column about food & cooking, but people would sometimes read something as the opposite of what I wrote. In an article about mushrooms I clearly stated that I was NOT a mushroom expert, which is why I confined my mushroom hunting to the grocery store. I got an email from a reader asking my opinion about some local mushrooms because she read my disclaimer as claiming to be an expert. I became paranoid about how I phrased things after that.
Conflating the actor with the character he plays is common, even by people you’d think would know better. I remember when James Dobson did that – he lost the last shred of respect I had for him. He also thought the novel 1984 was a prediction – he said Orwell got the year wrong.
I think that being an inveterate reader of both fiction & non-fiction, and having been involved (behind the scenes – I’m no actor) in local theater when I was younger, has helped me distinguish fantasy from reality. At least I hope so – if not, I’d probably be the last to know!
Actually, the far-left doesn’t really like and ignore the Asians because they blow up the whole white privilege narrative since they tend to outperform everyone.
I love it when Twitter Dumb shows up on my threads… not only do their comments oftentimes force me to stay sharp but occasionally they say something that requires me to up my game and additionally, with each response I also get the opportunity to sharpen my position for people following along who are on the fence.
I have no illusions I can change the mind of people using logic and reason whose beliefs were never based on logic and reason. If you follow Scott Adams and have seen his recent posts on manmade global warming I think this is why he (somewhat maddeningly) concentrates on the “persuasiveness” of arguments rather than attempting to determine who has the most solid facts.
Good point. When I argue with Twitter Dumb, it’s not to change his mind. It’s to make a case to others who are following along.
Persuasiveness is, of course, a topic Scott Adams has studied extensively. I enjoyed his book “Win Bigly” very much.
Tom, great post. I would not have read the original push-up study if you hadn’t fisked it. That article fit my biases. Forty four years after medical school, I can still beat the forty pushups in 80 seconds, so naturally I thought it must be correct. Shame on me. And my rule is to ALWAYS read the primary literature
Before thinking some assertion may be true, and, if possible to find a confirmatory study. So, thanks for both the fishing, and this Twitter Dumb post.
I think it’s great to be capable of banging out 40+ pushups, of course. I just disagree that Harvard proved more pushups = less CVD risk.
It seems to me there’s a Thomas Kuhn angle in here somewhere but I can’t quite put my finger on it… wrt there has to be a sizeable critical mass of evidence before minds will change.
I’m waiting for a guy who regularly did a lot of pushups to wake up from his heart attack surgery and immediately sue Harvard.
Heh-heh … best not give the lawyers any ideas.
“goofball British newscaster”
She spawned a memevalanche.
(New word, yes, thx pay me)
Result : lobsters everywhere.
She did him a favor, making him famous just as his book was coming out.
Tom, thanks for letting me throw this out here for anyone interested in testing ketones.
ADW Diabetes (www.adwdiabetes.com) has a deal for a
Free Nova Max Glucose Ketone Meter w/Purchase of 20 Ketone Strips
for $37.98 and if you use Honey (the coupon finder at Amazon and elsewhere) you get $6.68 off that order. Basic shipping is $4.95 for a total of $36.25 for the meter and 20 strips.
Ketones are not something you test several times a day like glucose, but the price of strips is still somewhat high. This deal will allow someone to dip a toe into the ketone testing waters without breaking the bank.
I have no idea how long ADW’s deal will be available, nor how long the Honey coupon will be available.
A thought I had later… we’re aware of ad-hominem attacks being a logical fallacy. As in, attacking somebody’s opinions for who they are, not based on the merit of their positions.
This excessive veneration of degrees and white lab coats… that’s the same thing as the ad-hominem fallacy, only it’s in the positive direction instead of the negative. But it’s just as fallacious to exalt somebody’s opinion for who they are as to denigrate it.
Exactly. Earning a degree in a field should command some respect … but it doesn’t make anyone infallible.
Except in dietetics where knowing nothing is a degree requirement in most places. Perhaps also if the degree is from Harvard.
small typos at the bottom of #2″ missing the word he between sure and didn’t “I was in his class more than 40 years ago, but I’m pretty sure didn’t tell us our math could only be correct if we acquired a fancy title first.”