Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions

“Paul Offit likes to tell a story about how his wife, pediatrician Bonnie Offit, was about to give a child a vaccination when the kid was struck by a seizure. Had she given the injection a minute sooner, Paul Offit says, it would surely have appeared as though the vaccine had caused the seizure and probably no study in the world would have convinced the parent otherwise.”

No, Half of All Children Won’t Be Autistic By 2025, Despite What Your Facebook Friends May Tell You

“As for the headline claim that half of all children will be autistic by 2025, this claim blithely ignores the broad consensus that the increasing prevalence of autism is largely due to increasing rates of diagnosis and – as a new study has recently demonstrated changes in how autism is diagnosed. The baseless assumption that rates of autism diagnosis will continue into the stratosphere is dumbfounding.”

Do athletes really get “hot hands” when they’ve hit a few shots in a row?

Interesting research into whether making one basketball shot makes you any more likely to hit your next one. The first two links summarize the fallacy and the third one questions it. Interesting way of using math to help us know and understand something too large to keep track of or understand simply by our memory.

How does math help us understand the world around us? How do we reconcile mathematical knowledge that contradicts our intuitive knowledge?

President Obama’s straw man arguments

Here is a compilation of some pieces of President Obama’s speeches in which he mischaracterizes or oversimplifies the arguments of his opponents to make his own positions seem more appealing. This type of argument is called a straw man argument.

This is a common technique among politicians and public officials to further their own arguments especially when they’re giving speeches and no one is standing there to respond to the claims being made.

The “Chewbacca Defense” from South Park

From an episode of South Park (season 2, episode 14 “Chef Aid”), the Chewbacca defense is a funny example of a non sequitur reasoning fallacy in which someone employs an argument whose conclusion does not logically follow from its reasons. In particular, this is a red herring  fallacy. Check out the link below. There is an ad first and there is some foul language but a funny clip.

Lyndon B Johnson’s famous “Daisy Ad”

One of the most famous and controversial political ads in American history, LBJ’s “Daisy Ad” was a great example of an appeal to emotion argument. Rather than present a reasoned argument or discuss facts, the ad takes one of the scariest prospects of the time, or any time, nuclear war, and tries to capitalize on people’s emotions by saying that a vote for the other guy would lead to nuclear war. The ad was only aired once but had a huge impact.