Monday, July 9, 2012

The "Fairness Fallacy"

When the other side claims you are not fair,
are they asking you to do their work?
When your debate opponent does not address your premise, but instead, insist that your premise is "unfair", "biased", "unbalanced", "not neutral", and so on, your opponent is using what's known as the "fairness fallacy", which is an advanced form of red herring.

Here's an example:
A: "Acme XYZ is not a business but a scam and here's proof E, F, and G."
B: "You are not portraying Acme XYZ fairly! You are biased! (I demand you to include facts favorable to Acme XYZ!)"
Why is this a red herring? Because B basically is arguing for the null hypothesis, which CANNOT BE PROVEN!

A null hypothesis in this case would be "Acme XYZ current legal status is unknown, it may or may not be a scam."

If A proclaimed that "Acme XYZ is a scam" that is the premise, then the counter-premise is "Acme XYZ is not a scam".

If B wishes to oppose A, he can go about this TWO WAYS:

1) Disprove A's premise

2) Prove the COUNTER-premise

By doing NEITHER, but instead plea for "balance" or "fairness", B is not trying to prove EITHER SIDE, and in fact, is trying to divert attention from the premise itself.

Null hypothesis cannot be proven, and calling for A to include arguments for BOTH SIDES is just idiotic.

B is not arguing logically, but instead, is trying to divert the debate altogether. It is a derail attempt.

This tactic is often used by defenders of suspect scams. Beware.
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