Friday, July 13, 2012

Bad Argument: the "You're not in it" fallacy

Can you study a business from the outside?
Those inside don't think so.
Critics of a suspect scheme were often ridiculed by scheme's affiliates with the "you're not in it" argument. It usually takes this form.

A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ____, _____, and _____. 
B: You don't know Acme XYZ at all. You have to be a member to know it. You have no idea what you're talking about. 
This is an often used "bad argument" by suspect scheme defenders. It is also a multi-level fallacy.

As red herring

Response from B does not attempt to defeat A's premise, nor does it prove a counter-argument. Thus, it is completely irrelevant, and thus, red herring.

As failed logic

One does not have to be in the scheme to analyze it. Police and judges are not part of criminal enterprises but they catch and prosecute and sentence criminals. Film critics are not part of film studios yet they analyze films. EVERYBODY analyze their favorite sports team's performance, yet few actually have played the game in any serious capacity.

The entire idea that you need to join the scheme to understand and analyze it is a logical fallacy.

As inverse of anecdotal fallacy

You could also interpret "you're not in it" fallacy as the inverse sibling of the anecdotal fallacy, where if you take the anecdote (i.e. personal experience) as the ultimate evidence, then clearly, the inverse, LACK of anecdotal evidence, clearly means the ultimate ANTI-evidence.

As a cult thought

Cult indoctrination cultivates a "us vs. them" attitude, where the member sees things in black and white, you're either with us or against us. A critic of the scheme is clearly in the "against us" category, so their logic and evidence is clearly NOT relevant to the member. The member knows the "truth", which is very different from the logic and evidence.

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