Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Lesson in Critical Thinking

Disclaimer:  The example I want to use is from a twitter discussion I had earlier in the week.  This post does not support or endorse any Presidential candidate.

I was looking at a post that Donald Trump made on Twitter last week.  I wanted to see what people had to say about his statement.  I came across a series of odd statements.

The Statement:

How many billions? Nobody knows. It might not even be one. He's a scammer, and you've been scammed.

Then the rebuttal:

Donald Trumps net worth is 4bil+. Even Forbes agrees.

And finally a false statement that can easily be invalidated with evidence:

Forbes says it's more like $2B.

So I went to Forbes website and here's what I saw:

You can check out the page here (please note it updates over time):

I linked this information and the response I received was surprising:

Considering that Trump says that he considers his worth based on how he feels at the time, I don’t believe it.

And then the big finale:

do you believe forbes is right? Then is trump lying for saying its 10 Billion+ ???

So the illogical argument misquotes Forbes, I presented a correction, then the response was to invalidate Forbes and/or Donald Trump.

The question was not whether Forbes was a reliable source of information or that Forbes information was either accurate or inaccurate.  The question was "What did Forbes say?"

Answer:  Forbes said $4.5 Billion, not $2 Billion as claimed by the person in the conversation and not $10 Billion as claimed by Donald Trump.

Forbes seemed to be reliable enough to be misquoted at the time to serve the purposes of the presenter of the false argument, but once the correction was made to the presenter of the information, they tried to invalidate the presented facts by calling either or both Forbes and Donald Trump's claims into question.

This will NOT change the fact that Forbes DID NOT SAY it's more like $2 Billion.

Here's my answers today after thinking through this flawed logic:

In closing, I do not presume to know whether Forbes magazine is accurate or Donald Trump is lying about his fortune.  What I do know that if you want to have a logical discussion, don't make stuff up and then try to cover up by attempting to shift the blame.  Own up to your inaccurate statement to regain the trust among the other individuals in the conversation.

This is the problem with our society.  Facts become irrelevant when people base their opinions on how they feel.  If I trusted my gut everytime I was feeling lucky enough to buy a lottery ticket, I'd be a broke man.

Use some critical thinking skills.  Or what most of refer to as thinking.