Manipulating People with False Dichotomies

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posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 10:12 PM
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reply to post by Ian McLean
 


I suppose i have to apologise now.

I cheated!

^^




posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 10:21 PM
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What, you don't really consider yourself devious, psychologically-aware, and introspective? To be honest, I have heard you froth at the mouth a little bit in some threads.

Banter aside, this highlights an interesting point: false dichotomies, when followed in discussion, either tend to either divert into other tangential issues, or derail the conversation entirely.

Perhaps this is why they're most commonly use in uni-directional communication: speeches, opinion shows where everyone buys in to the 'common ground' of discussion, etc.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 10:23 PM
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reply to post by Ian McLean
 


Actually, no.

I just like to think the best of people, which, whilst being a noble mentality to consider, also acts as the perfect counter to your belief that people can be siphoned off into one of two categories.

I'll agree i can be pretty devious when i want to be.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 10:26 PM
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Originally posted by Ian McLean
The reason this technique works is quite simple, really:

There are two types of people: those who can be categorized into one of two possible groups, and those who cannot.


Actually...there are ten types of people...

Those who understand binary and those who don't...




posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 10:31 PM
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Originally posted by Anti-Tyrant
the perfect counter to your belief that people can be siphoned off into one of two categories.


My belief? Oh dear, let me clarify: I posted a deliberate logical paradox, to underscore my point about how dichotomies can provoke emotion. Read it again:


There are two types of people: those who can be categorized into one of two possible groups, and those who cannot.



[edit on 12-6-2008 by Ian McLean]



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 10:33 PM
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reply to post by Ian McLean
 



However, i was expressing distaste at the form of expression, not the actual expression itself.


I'll admit it's a technicality, but where would we be without technicalities, i wonder?



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 01:04 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Wow Skyfloating, I love this thread in this brand new Forum area. I've always thought about dichotomies like that but I have yet to have discussed it here on ATS. Your example of "Creationism vs Atheism" is something I've always wondered about Myself. I do not see things in that perspective as I hate being limited by the "sheeple" mentality that there are only two choices, limiting the outcomes of what I see as the possibility of how things work in the Universe.

Personally, I do not believe in "Creation vs Atheism" being The Bible vs Darwin, "And God Said..." vs "Evolution and the Big Bang theory" because they both seem so fallibly illogical in that they both have so many holes in their theories it's like a piece of swiss cheese. I do not believe that we as human descended from apes but at the same time I do understand that animals as well as human have the need to adapt to our environment.

Again, I see "And God Said..." of the Bible and "The Big Bang" according to scientists views as one in the same, and that because of dichotomy of the fallible choice of only two versions of "How the Universe Came Into Being" is just another version of the controlling powers usage of "Divide and Conquer." It's just logical if you really think about it in some senses as there has always been the "Christian" vs the "Science" where they are constantly bickering at one another in who is right and who is wrong.

Who are we as simple human beings to define in a book created by men, being the Bible, to limit God to the same 24 hour clock and 7 day a week clock in the the Earth was created in seven days. Maybe God's one day is equal to our 1 million years?

Who knows.

No one will know for certain.

[edit on 13-6-2008 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 01:39 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Excellent post. Logical fallacies, like the creation of false dichotomies, are pretty prevalent on the boards. I've noticed entire threads where the ENTIRE thread is nothing but people arguing by logical fallacy, and when you point out, everyone ignores you.

One of my favorite ones I see on ATS: argument ad ignorantium (argument from ignorance).

Its most prevalent in arguments over the existence of God on here. Someone says:

"You cannot prove God exists and without proof I will assume he does."

Even though the fact that no proof about something does not mean it or its opposite must be true, people still claim it does. It simply does not follow - yet people use it all the time.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 01:43 AM
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I'd also like to add on a different note that the false dichotomy logical fallacy does not mean that things can never be categorized, or indeed, that there can't be only two of something. I see some people are writing things that suggest that, but a fallacy has a very specific context.

Creating a false dichotomy means intentionally drawing choices down to "this or that" when there is no logical reason to do so. It does not mean that sometimes "this or that" is not actually all we have to choose from.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 05:28 AM
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reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 


I call them the "bearded guy in the sky theory" vs. "the dead and pointless universe theory", both are tremendously unattractive (for me at least)



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by ALightinDarkness
I'd also like to add on a different note that the false dichotomy logical fallacy does not mean that things can never be categorized, or indeed, that there can't be only two of something. I see some people are writing things that suggest that, but a fallacy has a very specific context.

Creating a false dichotomy means intentionally drawing choices down to "this or that" when there is no logical reason to do so. It does not mean that sometimes "this or that" is not actually all we have to choose from.


But there is never seems to be a lack of a 'logical reason to do so', if people want to argue that. I can't think of a single useful dichotomy that can't either:

1) be argued as having sides that are somehow 'too extreme', and there exists truth in the middle ground, that the opposites do not encompass or accurately represent (eg, "we must fight or roll over")

2) be argued that the opposing choices are, in fact, similar in a larger context, and when seen in that context, the representation of the choices within the dichotomy is inaccurate (eg, "men are from Mars, women are from Venus")

If there can always be argued a 'logical reason' why a dichotomy is insufficient, the distinction between a 'false' and a 'valid' dichotomy becomes entirely a matter of opinion.

Perhaps the most important point in what you said is "intentionally" -- I think a more valid definition of a 'false' dichotomy is one which is deliberately intended to deceive, illogically convince, or obscure; or has illogical resonance or inertia such that it acts that way, entrenching itself and obscuring alternatives (eg, Skyfloating's creationism example).



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 02:17 PM
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reply to post by Ian McLean
 


When I say logical, I mean it it in a very specific way. Logical means that categorizing things between two dichotomies is done in a way such that the precepts for the conclusion that ultimately leads towards categorization are not in and of themselves fallacies and they must lead to the conclusion offered. A logical reason has a very specific definition in the study of logic, as what is logical is very precise.

The examples you cite do not work all the time because they lead to the relativist fallacy. That is the danger of claiming anything which says "this or that" is a false dichotomy - you could be committing a relativist fallacy in doing so.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 05:51 PM
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Originally posted by ALightinDarkness
When I say logical, I mean it it in a very specific way.

Ah! That makes much more sense, then. That is indeed a very stringent definition. Useful, in that it would allow application of irrefutable parallels to a framework of symbolic logic.

Woefully, most people's definition of 'logical' seems to be something like: an argument they can understand, in which they cannot cite contradiction, and which doesn't evoke conflict with their other beliefs. How often do we hear people say "that may be logical, but it's not right!"?

Such a 'loose' definition, I would argue, is much more useful towards understanding the topic at hand: the rhetorical use of dichotomy as a manipulative tool.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 03:40 PM
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False dichotomies? That's been a big beef of mine for a long time! Seems to me that much of our reality is based upon these either/or, 'this or that' types of thinking.

As one of my favorite authors, William S. Burroughs, wrote in his brilliant manifesto The Electronic Revolution:


THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF EITHER/OR. Right or wrong, physical or mental, true or false, the whole concept of OR will be deleted from the language and replaced by juxtaposition, by AND This is done to some extent in any pictorial language where two concepts stand literally side by side. These falsifications inherent in the English and other western alphabetical languages give the reactive mind commands their overwhelming force in these languages. Consider the IS of identity. When I say to be me, to be you, to be myself, to be others- whatever I may be called upon to be or to say that I am- I am not the verbal label "myself." The word BE in the English language contains, as a virus contains, its precoded message of damage, the categorical imperative of permanent condition. To be a body, to be an animal. If you see the relation of a pilot to his ship, you see crippling force of the reactive mind command to be a body. Telling the pilot to be the plane, then who will pilot the plane?


There's a lot more in the essay - I recommend reading it all.

Robert Anton Wilson also writes about the so-called "is of identity," which seems to be very closely related to the either/or problem. The idea is that if something "is" something, then it "is not" something else - a duality is inherent, hence a false dichotomy is created. One of tools for fighting this is something called "e-prime" ...


E-PRIME, abolishing all forms of the verb "to be," has its roots in the field of general semantics, as presented by Alfred Korzybski in his 1933 book, Science and Sanity. Korzybski pointed out the pitfalls associated with, and produced by, two usages of "to be": identity and predication.



The reader may employ his or her own ingenuity in analyzing how "is-ness" creates false-to-facts reality-tunnels in the remaining examples, and how E-Prime brings us back to the scientific, the operational, the existential, the phenomenological--to what humans and their instruments actually do in space-time as they create observations, perceptions, thoughts, deductions, and General Theories.


Read his essay Toward Understanding E-Prime for more.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 05:58 PM
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reply to post by shipovfools
 


At the same time you mention e-prime Im over on this thread being told about the subject.


Anyway, thanks for the good read.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 09:12 PM
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I've been royally pissing a friend off on a similar topic as the false dichotomies and manipulation through them. This is a friend I've known for 13 years, and we recently engaged in a conversation on being a "leader" or a "follower" and she has stated, I have to pick one or the other.

This of course, does not make Me happy in the least. Do not tell Me I have your options, that's assinine in the least, insulting to My intelligence as well. I am not a follower, especially not a stupid follower, like a lemming or sheeple willing to follow without question. I question everything, at all times.

Well, then she expressed that I would become a leader.

Another thing to not do, to tell Me a role I will or will not play in anything. I hate ignorance and she showed it during that conversation, and the continuing conversations after that one on the same topic as well.

While yes, I have learned about world leadership, world politics, blah blah, the list goes on and on, I am not stepping into the role of a leader, unless I choose to do so. My choice, not yours, not hers.

She stated, there were only two choices, be a follower, or be a leader.

Poppycock, sheer poppycock I say. She kept prying and trying to get Me to define that I would be one or the other.

I did not.

Meanwhile, I'm laughing to Myself, because I know she's a manipulator.

I do not have to be a follower.

I do not have to be a leader.

I can be neither, and be neutral, and gain just as much power or non-power through that, if I so choose to.

Just a word of advice, never try to manipulate someone, when they know what you're up to.


They will screw you every time.


[edit on 14-6-2008 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 09:24 PM
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Originally posted by SpartanKingLeonidas


They will screw you every time.


[edit on 14-6-2008 by SpartanKingLeonidas]


I can agree with that, from personal experience of being manipulated.

I find it truly astonishing the kind of complacency such people hold when carrying out this manipulation though, as if it doesn't matter one bit that they are attempting to alter the mental activity what goes on inside your head.

As if it's perfectly natural for them to be disrespectful of other people's individual personality to the point of which it ultimately means nothing to them.

Such individuals are rarely aware of the consequences of their actions, and i have not met any that are even mentally capable of understanding why this kind of behaviour is un-acceptable.

They see far too little from within their perspective of the world.





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