Monday, August 20, 2012

Hanlon's Razor... about stupidity and malice

Some times, in my study of scams and their victims (many of whom have been brainwashed into becoming scammers themselves) it comes to a point where I wonder whether it is their stupidity or their malice that is driving them.

My research brought me to Hanlon's Razor, which essentially states:
Never attribute malice to something that can be adequately explained by stupidity
 And that, leads to an expanded version by M.L. Plano
Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume your opponent is the ignorant one -- until you can show it isn't you.

I can believe that most defenders of suspect schemes are not scammers at heart. They have been mislead and their self-deception took over, leading them to defend the scheme with all their heart, with all the wrong reasons and logic. In other words, they are arguing from ignorance.

I don't assume them are arguing out of ignorance. I *prove* they are arguing out of ignorance with more facts and logic than they have.

Yet defenders of suspect schemes are very quick to assume their "opponent" are ignorant, stupid, or malicious.

There's the "You're not in it" argument, you're ignorant of "the truth".

There's the "You can't judge us unless you're in it" argument

There's the "Why don't you ask us" argument

There's the "What's your problem" argument, you must be malicious to say bad things about ____.

There's probably a few more I haven't categorized.

When you argue an issue, make sure you are arguing from position of strength, which in a real debate, has only two components: relevant facts, and proper logic. Anything else is bullsh__. When you don't have facts or logic, concede early.

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  1. I would add that in addition to argument with just relevant facts and logic, I like to create hypothetical scenarios where I grant the other side their facts or supposition - even if it is incorrect - in order to show them how their facts must be false or their premise incorrect.

    For example, Len Clements, Troy Dooly, and Keith Laggos all believe that Zeek Rewards is NOT a Ponzi, because should profits decrease in the future, the daily profit pool rate would just decline. Even though that may have adverse effects on the distributor's profits or ability to recruit others, they claim that the ability to reduce profits and not guarantee it makes Zeek not a Ponzi.

    The Zeek critics all believed the RPP to be fake like all other Ponzi's.

    Now that we've seen the SEC's complaint where they allege that indeed the RPP was fake and that Paul Burks created the daily RPP and pegged it to average around 1.5%, there are two ways to debate this new fact:

    1. Insist that the fact must be true because an authoritative third party (the SEC in this case) has said so.

    2. Let the other side respond with WHY they believe the authoritative third party's assertion is wrong, and use the other side's own assertions against them.

    Almost everyone responding on Troy's blog has used method #1. "The SEC says the RPP was fake, therefore it must be true." Troy can deflect this because he says the SEC complaint is just something that is alleged, and not final until there is a court trial. He says Paul Burks "made a deal" and the truth may never be known. He also insists the SEC just has their facts or interpretation wrong, and Zeek isn't a Ponzi.

    It seems short of a Paul Burks confession, Troy will never believe Zeek is a Ponzi.

    However, we could take what Troy and Len Clements have said publicly, which is "Zeek could just lower the RPP rate". Using that assertion, we can show that the existing 3 billion VIP points, if the rate were to be lowered by a factor of 10 from 1.5% daily to 0.15% daily, that Zeek would STILL run out of money before all the 3 billion points expired.

    Therefore, Zeek must be a Ponzi, because it is impossible for the business model to sustain any lowering of the RPP and survive. When the Zeek "experts" claim they can just lower the RPP, they are thinking ranges of 0.5% to 1.4%, not 0.15%. Yet even 0.15% would result in Zeek going bankrupt.

    Troy, Len, Keith... I rest my case.

  2. Actually, Jimmy, this article was just in the pipeline (has been for a week) and its publication has nothing to do with Zeek at all. :) Timing is entirely coincidental.

    I personally have stopped listening to Laggos regarding his Ponzi definition when ASD was busted. Laggos filed an amicus brief saying ASD's not a Ponzi back then.

    Len Clements promised a better explanation on why Zeek's not a Ponzi to his view in a few days when he updates his website.

    In the meanwhile, I think I'll start a new blog entry on "Ponzi, Pyramid, and Zeek".