I’m perplexed—(and a bit creeped out)—that it seems increasingly difficult to have a rational conversation with people. Just as an example, during 2020–2022 I sometimes said to friends, “I don’t appreciate the government’s exaggerating/lying about the number of COVID deaths.” And friends would reply, “Well, I know someone who died.” Huh? Knowing 1, 3, or 10 people who died isn’t the same topic as whether or not the government lied. What my friends seemed to be hearing me say was, “There’s no illness and nobody died.” In which case, their response would be legit.
Some of the problem is that we’re not listening well, maybe just latching onto a fragment and not considering the whole? And sometimes we’re responding emotionally instead of responding logically to what the person actually said. But there’s an added complication. Some in the fields of marketing, politics, religion, and medicine deliberately word things in ways that cause confusion or give a wrong impression.
It would be good to educate ourselves in the area of logical fallacies. Those are arguments that seem convincing/true on the surface. But when you stop and examine, you see leaps that don’t land on a legit conclusion, dots that don’t actually connect. Any of us might accidentally commit a logical fallacy. But it’s also done intentionally to manipulate. Check out the Awake the Iron podcast’s episode on logical fallacies for some definitions and examples