Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bad Argument: "Show you face!"

Logical Fallacies 3
Logical Fallacies 3 (Photo credit: Mark Klotz)
Some critics of scams and/or MLMs prefer to keep their identity hidden, and let their analysis and evidence speak for themselves. They do not want to be accused of using "appeal to authority", as in "I am an expert, trust me".

MLMers, to "defend" their opportunity against criticism from such critic, will often respond with the "show your face" tactic.  It takes the form of "He won't show his face, thus what he said cannot be trusted." It is a variant of genetic fallacy.

Genetic fallacy is a fallacy because the argument presented is not affected by who made it. Does it matter who said 'X+Y=Z', a homeless person, or a billionaire? No. The source of the argument is a red herring. 

"Show your face" tactic expands upon genetic fallacy by adding "appeal to emotion" / reciprocity to the retort. Instead of addressing the argument, logic, and/or evidence, they are appealing to emotion (we don't know who he is!), and demanding disclosure (he must tell us who he is!)

"Show your face" is also often followed by circular reasoning ("he can't be trusted because he won't show his face, he won't show his face because he has ulterior motives, he has ulterior motives so he can't be trusted")

"Show your face" tactic is also often accompanied with "conspiracy" declaration, as in "You work for our enemy", with an implied corollary "that's why you hide your face". It's basically a loaded question. The MLMer presumed the answer before question was even asked.

Sometimes "show your face" tactic is accompanied by "my resume is bigger" a variant of "red herring" / "appeal to authority", where a supposed "authority" in the subject engages a critic, claiming that this "authority" (himself) is far more qualified to comment on the subject than this "anonymous" critic (who was implied to be neophyte and unqualified). This is a red herring because the supposed authority did not engage the arguments at all, but threw out some other topic (such as 'whose resume is bigger').

Threats toward critics or skeptics are not uncommon. Such demand as "show your face" are often followed by physical and/or verbal threats if the fear-mongering (he works for our enemy) and other fallacies do not discourage the skepticism. 

When you see someone using "Show Your Face" tactic, they are not arguing logically. 
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