Interview 1488 – Debunking Logical Fallacies with Keith Knight

by | Oct 28, 2019 | Interviews | 32 comments

Keith Knight of Don’t Tread on Anyone has James Corbett on to discuss logical fallacies. They each break down five common logical fallacies, how they’re employed, and how to identify and disarm them.

VIDEO COURTESY KEITH KNIGHT: BitChute / YouTube / Download the mp4


Keith Knight Don’t Tread on Anyone – Website / YouTube / Bitchute

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  1. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I call it the firing squad fallacy.

    Since nobody knows who in the firing squad fired the fatal bullet, it tends to diminish the responsibility of each individual in the firing squad.

    It applies in situations like Carcinogens. “You shouldn’t worry about the danger of glyphosate, the cancer he got could have been caused by something else”

    • Good points but what you describe is not a fallacy, a mistake in reasoning, it is an attempt to delude.

  2. I think some fallacies are wrongly named logical fallacies, like for example Argument from intimidation. It works by abusing emotions, there is no logic(mathematics) here. Don’t know, probably it would be better to name them Rhetorical Fallacies, at least some of them.

    Sure, it’s very hard particularly in conversation, not to commit any fallacy.

    Let’s see one from the video.

    “…what makes socialism unique is institutionalized aggression against private property and individual…”

    Logical fallacies:

    -Unique?, no any system with a state is the same, we can just talk about magnitude (maybe this is just factual fallacy and also Keith maybe just said it in a rush)

    -Oversimplification, it is impossible to boil down so complex idea to seven words without any omission

    -Unattainable perfection, no doubt lots of mistakes, errors etc. can be attributed to socialism, but to say it’s crap, without any value whatsoever…well that would mean lots of people are stupid.

    I know I’ve committed logical fallacy in previous paragraph(lots of people), but I’m not in the mood for rigorous debate on this topic nor I have any need to defend socialism. Certainly, I have a need to be vocal when I’m confronted with bullshiting about socialism.

    And my theorem for the end:

    People’s need to denigrate socialism is in the exact inverse proportion with their knowledge about socialism.

    • There is no such think as a logical fallacy. We learn about fallacies in a Logic class, if we learn about them at all.

    • A fallacy is a mistake in reasoning. It can be intentional, or usually, unconscious.

      Given this, all fallacies are wrong for all fallacies are mistakes in reasoning.

      As to your point regarding socialism, I couldn’t agree more.

      This is an essential post by Corbett.

    • Man, I genuinely hoped no one will be interested in debating.

      This debates are almost every time fruitless.
      It’s hard to explain to a normie that life without state and government is not just possible, but it would be much much better (we have a reason to believe). It’s like to explain to fish life out of water is just fine.
      Gargantuan leap is necessary to grasp the essence. Debate is not suitable mind activity for achieving such a breakthrough. I think studying, not just one side but also opposing side, studying many many areas of human endeavor, contemplation etc. is the right way.

      Good start, excellent, we agree on Sweden.
      Lets stay in the world of ideas.

      “What valuable things can be attributed to it that are not overridden by the evil consequences?”

      To rephrase, some things might be found valuable in the World of Ideas, but consequences that can only be in the Real World are evil.
      This is mixing of two worlds and this is fallacious reasoning.

      “Capitalism is what would happen naturally without government”

      We don’t have a crystal ball. Certainly, there is nothing natural about capitalism, you can’t find anything similar in nature, it’s social construct.

      Your definition of capitalism obscure some very important facts. If you start from this point things became even shadier with introduction of terms like corporatism, neo-liberal capitalism, crony capitalism….

      This one is more appropriate:
      Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.

      Adam Smith noticed that everything is not rosy with “people freely trading with others to their mutual benefit”.

      Marx foresee that capitalism will develop towards (and end with) monopolism. Look around, that’s what we have now. Property in itself has a characteristic to attract (like gravitation) other property.

      Check also Proudhon: What is Property? and you will find property is not just what you think it is.

      To summarize, what is good with socialism (as an Idea!!!) is questioning and dissecting private property, the elephant in the room the opposing side don’t see or pretends to not see.

      Elephant in the room, fish and water….
      on the other hand
      we have two firmly established sides with abyss in between them, what a perfect situation for the powers that shouldn’t be. They would be eager to design it.

      My private property has very little similarities with Bill Gates’. My gives me the power to Live, his gives him the power to Conquer. Private property is not a concept that scales well.

      I’m not for abolition of private property, but for a thoroughly revision. This is not a middle ground fallacy.

  3. The Proficient Manipulators

    There are a small group of people who are skilled in the art of manipulation and control and they use this skill to threaten the survival of the planet and its occupants. These are the Machiavellians, their name taken from the philosopher Nicolo Machiavelli who understood what the ruling elite needed to maintain domination over the mind and thus the material control of the world (…/mattick-…/1943/machiavellians.htm).

    These people are shrewdly focused on pursuing their own self-interests without respect to how that pursuit affects others. In fact, others are only prey for their minds and self-interested agendas.

    Though they share many of the characteristics of uncritical thinkers, they have extraordinary qualities that separate them from uncritical persons.

    To begin with, they have a greater command of the rhetoric of persuasion and the art of deception and propaganda. They are more sophisticated, more verbal, and generally have greater status, prestige and control.

  4. The Proficient Manipulators part two

    Proficient manipulators are rarely insightful dissenters, rebels or critics of society. Instead, they work to maintain hierarchies of thought, wealth and dominance through subjective subterfuge and the engineering of material reality for their own egocentricities. They are both sadistic and masochistic and the reason is simple: they cannot effectively manipulate members of a mass audience if they appear to that mass to be invalidating their world views, their systems of thoughts and their calcified beliefs. So they will play on crisis and misfortune while submitting to domination and servitude.

    Proficient manipulators do not use their intelligence for the public good; rather, they use their intelligence to get what they want in alliance with those who they think share their vested interests, their material ambitions and their communal beliefs. Manipulation, domination, demagoguery, and control are the tools of the Sophists or Machiavellians.

    Persons proficient in the osteopathy of the mind seek to influence the beliefs and behavior of others without any regard for morals, without values and in total contempt for independent thinking. They are true nihilists and unfortunately, they have insight into what makes many people vulnerable to mental forgery.

    As a result, they strive to appear before others in a way that associates themselves with power, authority, and conventional morality – all such actions which Machiavelli advocated. This impetus is evident, for example, when politicians appear before mass audiences with well-polished but intellectually empty speeches; a homogenized rhetoric of vacuous ambiguity with a clear intent towards duplicity.

    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” — Voltaire

    There are a number of alternative labels for the roles that ‘proficient manipulators’ play, including: the spin master, the con-artist, the sophist, the noble deceivers and the liars, the propagandists, the indoctrinators, the demagogues, eventually collapsing into, the ‘politician’. Their goal is to always control what others think and they do so by controlling the way information is presented to people.

  5. Proficient manipulators part three

    The overwhelming preponderance of people haven’t freely decided what to believe or think, but rather have been socially conditioned (indoctrinated) into their belief systems by a culture devoid of reasoning, where ideas and thought are commodified and thinking itself is subversive. They are un-reflective thinkers; their minds are products of social and personal forces they neither understand nor control, nor concern themselves with. Their personal beliefs are often based on prejudices they have no idea they harbor, beliefs of which they have no idea of their origins. Their thinking is largely comprised of conscious or unconscious fallacies, stereotypes, caricatures, over-simplifications, over-generalizations, necessary illusions, delusions, rationalizations, false dilemmas, and begged questions.

    Their motivations are often traceable to irrational fear, discontent with their material and psychological conditions and attachments, personal vanity and envy, intellectual arrogance, indoctrination and feeble-mindedness. These mental constructs then become debauched mental habits, part of their identity and they circle the wagons around this uncritical individuality, protecting it at any cost. Their arrogance has cost them their humility and they are unable to purchase or learn or profit from any other points of view.

    See above site for more

    • Thank you Danny for this piece!

      Which is a greater fallacy .
      Begging your pardon or begging the question?
      This describes young people today.

      • The problem is not generational, it is a human problem called irrationality and adults suffer from the same condition

        • In the most reverence of MBP I must say;
          Irrational? You may explain. If I , have only Generals, generational or generalizations, on my staff, how can I measure reality accurately? By the way I must recommend as a rational adult that the Corbett readers of comments, read and review the comments at ” Words as Weapons “. It will go a long way towards understanding in spite of limitations and manipulations of language.
          You provided some very good reading and learning concerning language and every comment was quite inspirational. I wish, which is a want, to reprint it here along with several other comments, but I haven’t the skills. I missed a lot of James Corbett in June and July. Re-reading now and was just blown away by the information shared by everyone. Communication was happening on many levels which made understanding easy, relaxed, organic. Language can be used to kick ass or kiss ass in humility and kindness. I prefer the later than the earlier for civility and decorum, learning and growth but not submission…. In a learning experience lately I have been bothered by the lyrics in the Broadway production of Hamilton. Some advice Burr is giving to Hamilton.
          ” Talk less !
          Smile more.
          Never let them know what you are against or what you are
          { fighting } for”. My enfiscese in brackets.
          Machiavelli would be proud of such advice. Not open, not authentic but useful, practical and advantageous. Cunning.
          Let us see if I can direct anyone voluntarily to read the comments at Words as Weapons. Hope and sharing .

            • Besides the editor in chief, the contributions by the listeners make this one of the best for understanding language and comunication. It all was kicked off by John Loathe, followed by;
              Hugh C
              Thank you all for contributing to my learning.
              I encourage all to read or reread the comments. Something was going on here that is rare, and beautiful.

          • Yes,words. Good points.

            With words, or what can be called ‘language’ we often use language believing everyone has the same definition of the words as we do. This of course is not true and is why Socratic questioning is so important.

            Asking questions such as:

            When you say ‘climate change’ what do you mean by that?
            Can you give me an example of what you mean?
            Can you give me a metaphor perhaps?
            An analogy?

            And more.

            Words are used as weapons and the episode you point to is a very good report.

            To avoid the weaponization of words we must question more.

            And this means questioning ourselves or what is called metacognition in critical thinking.

            So, when I use the word ‘irrational’ I mean devoid of reason.


            It is irrational to believe that the corporate media does not use words to weaponize thinking.

            What I mean is that it is unreasonable, devoid of reason, to believe that we are not propagandized by language.

            To be rational, reasonable, would connote one would look critically at how language is being used, by whom. One would and must question to see the underlying assumptions behind words or language.

            Within our language are the assumptions we hold and are often unaware of.

            Asking for clear definitions or language used teases out assumptions and then allows us to examine those assumptions to see if they are valid or invalid. And this means looking for evidence if there is any, that either refute or re-enforce the language used.

            When critical thinking is used, it is a defense against being the victim of language useage and thus propaganda.

            As to generalizations they are fine. It is the use of overgeneralizations that is the problem.

            So, when one generalizes, by,let’s say putting forth that ‘most people are not critical thinkers’ this is a generalization. But if we say ‘all’ people are not critical thinkers then this is overgeneralization.

            How to see if generalizations are true or false? Again, critically examining the generalizations for evidence is the key.

  6. Hey James,
    What would your first 5 questions to Jesus be?
    I’ll open it up to others as well…

  7. I could not find any fallacies that are related to evidence..
    Not even on wikipedia.
    why not?
    Here I found have 5 already.

    Evidence based fallacies.

    1. Lack of evidence.
    People are claimed to be guilty of crimes without any real evidence.
    Example1: Bin Laden.
    Example2: Oswald.
    Example3: Russiagate. Say Putin one more time.

    2. Hiding of evidence.
    Many of the crimes committed by the military or CIA are hidden behind secrecy. Also evidence is often destroyed.
    Pseudo-skeptics use this to claim their is no evidence, while the destruction or even withholding of evidence is already a crime.
    Example1: Cocaine transports.
    Example2: Epstein.

    3. Manipulation of evidence.
    Example1: Climate gate.

    4. Impossibilities.
    Things that are impossible, or should be impossible.
    Example1: Free fall acceleration with fire collapse.
    Example2: Magic bullet.
    Example3: Undamaged Passports.
    Example4: Russia hacked the election-machines.

    5. Unknowns.
    I could even split up in: “known unknowns and unknown unknowns.” but my general idea is that we do not know every detail. Nor are we able to research everything. We do not know the future.
    Yet the fact that something is unknown is used as evidence both for and against a certain idea.
    Example1: Pizzagate / Satanic rituals,
    Example2: UFOs.

    There are probably more.

    • What you found are not fallacies, they are claims that are either supported by evidence or not.

      For example: 3. Manipulation of evidence.
      Example1: Climate gate.

      This is not a fallacy. One claims that climate change, for example is human caused. Another claims it is not. ANY claim must be supported by evidence or, in the alternative, it is an assumption.

      What the human mind does not usually do is recognize its assumptions and then distinguish them from fact. And this mans that often people make claims that have no evidence but which they have calcified into fact.

      It is important that one have a clear conception of what a fallacy is. Again, a fallacy is a mistake in reasoning, either conscious and intentional or unconscious and unintentional.

      Assumptions are not fallacies.

      • I still think it is a fallacy, not to put evidence on first place.
        Without evidence or agreed facts everything is just talk.

        But that is probably because I am more scientific oriented than the
        philosophers that listed these fallacies.

        What fallacies are in:
        “Are you sure the patient was dead?”
        “Well his brains were removed for more research”
        “But is there any chance that the patient was still alive?”
        “Maybe if he was a lawyer.”

        • These are not fallacies.

          Are you sure the patient was dead is a question that yes, requires evidence to answer.

          None of these are fallacies save the last.

          “Well his brains were removed for more research”
          “But is there any chance that the patient was still alive?”
          “Maybe if he was a lawyer.”

          The last one is an ad hominem fallacy.

          You see, fallacies are an attempt to avoid reasoning or thinking critically.

          We have to make assumptions which in your field are called hypothesis or we cannot live. The issue is do we have methods, as scientists do, to examine our assumptions and those of others?

        • zyxzevn says:
          “Well his brains were removed”
          “But is there any chance that the patient was still alive?”
          “Maybe if he was a lawyer.”

          That’s funny.

  8. Excellent video! Thanks, James, I like Keith….he has really come into himself and I’m happy for him. Great conversation, though, and fun to sit in on the sidelines. Thanks! Hope you have more conversations soon.

  9. David Knight would be proud of most off what you know and I wonder if you could fill in for him on the [EDIT: no email addresses in the comments please – JC] ?
    Beyond that the great fallacy that I missed is the Big Lie ! How is this not a concept not addressed ? oh well back to the wine !

    • A Big lie is a claim that is not based on fact or disputed by other facts. This is not a fallacy

  10. Thank you for doing this. I will forward the link.
    3 big ones that I expected, but didn’t get favored treatment here, are
    the false dilemma,aka either/or fallacy,
    the straw man,
    and circular logic. These are the basics, that I run into all of the time.

    PS RE: The fallacy fallacy. I also mention this first, if I am explaining this subject to someone. I simply point out that logical fallacies do not actually prove, or disprove, anything. So, when they are used to try to prove something, they have no logical standing. But catching that does not necessarily disprove it either.

    PPS On the other hand, our youth, and others, are currently in such an extremely irrational and muddled state, I just wonder if we can bring proper respect to logic, itself.

    • “are used to try to prove something, they have no logical standing.”

      That is why there is no such thing as a logical fallacy. Fallacies are irrational and not based on any evidence.

      Logic is really not the issue, the issue is critical thinking which is based on reasoning. It is reasoning that has been decimated.

      I can claim:

      The earth revolves around the moon.
      This is why we have high tides.
      Therefore, changing how the earth revolves around the moon is necessary to control tides.

      This is completely logical. However, it is irrational.

      Why? The premises are false thus the conclusion must be false.

      Distinguishing logic from rationality or irrationality is the key and thus one can be logical and irrational.

      Distinguishing what we know from what we want or are told to believe requires identifying assumptions and then examining them.

      But the mind would rather believe than know. Why? It is easier. Thinking is hard work, that is why people outsource it and do not want to do it.

      Developing a questioning mind means that one is more focused on questioning answers than answering questions.

      Youth today are not taught how to think but what to think. And the whole culture of fallacious thinking supports this irrationality.

      Welcome to the Digital Dark Ages

  11. Have the Keith Knight on again – or is it James who is “on” Keith’s program? – his youthful enthusiasm alone revives old geezers such as I.

  12. “Tyler Durden” of Zero Hedge makes a good argument against a very important, but fallacious government economic report.

    (My note: I know most folks find this type of ‘economic’ subject matter dry, but it does tend to shape the landscape of our lives.)

    In a recent government report for the third quarter of 2019 (Q3), it shows that consumer spending has been increasing. This stat is significant, because it communicates ‘hope’ to the markets that the economy is doing well. The U.S. is, in large part, a consumer driven economy.

    10/30/2019 – Zero Hedge
    For The Second Consecutive Quarter, This Is What Americans Spent The Most Money On
    …But what was the main driver of spending in the third quarter? …recreational vehicles. …

    …Why is this especially bizarre? Because exactly three months ago when doing the exact same analysis we found that in Q2, Americans spent the most on – are you ready for this – recreational vehicles!

    …So for two consecutive quarters, US GDP only beat declining expectations because American consumers inexplicably surged to buy RVs? Is everyone cooking meth now?

    But wait, there’s more.

    As regular readers will recall, the past two quarters are hardly an outlier for this particular segment – RV goods and vehicles – to emerge as a surprise top spending category: both two and three years ago, in Q1 of 2016 and then again in Q1 of 2017, Americans inexplicably again splurged on RVs (both of those times, there was a political prerogative to show GDP growth as strong as possible… just as there is now)….

  13. LOVED this podcast. I want to hear more fallacies and examples of how they are used. Do another show like this one, please……

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