Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bad Argument: If you look for negative stuff, you'll find it

Recently, I was reminded of another variant of negativity avoidance, when defender of a suspicious scheme used what I called "if you look for it, you'll find it" excuse. Except in this case, he was referring to "negativity". It goes roughly like this:

A: We found X, Y, and Z about this opportunity that raises questions about its legitimacy. How do you explain it?
B: If you go look for negativity you will find it.

This is a complete non-sequitur. It means nothing.

The defender (B) clearly is trying to imply that you can dig up negative information on anybody if you look hard enough, thus the negative information are of no consequence. This is basically to cover up his lack of counter-argument, but to get in "the last word" any way. Yet he said it in a way to imply a deeper meaning, in a way trying to imply that his opponents are vindictive and he's the magnanimous one.

Pithy, but worthless advice. Actually, it's the WRONG advice. Let me explain why.

With advent of Internet Search Engines like Google, Bing, and such, you can find information on almost anything, both positive AND negative. However, there is a difference:

Scammers do not show you negative information about their scheme. They may show you some negative information about OTHER things, and present their scheme as the solution. Then they'll show you all the positive things they have to support the scheme (many of them documented here as bad arguments, like "association with authority", "appeal to age", and so on).

In other words, positive information comes to you.

Negative information? That you need to do yourself. It's a part of due diligence. You NEED negative information to get a full understanding of the situation.

Thus, you *should* go out and look for such "negativity", as I pointed out before. Any one telling you not to actually wants you to be reckless, not motivated.

And that makes you wonder what really is their intention...

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