Top 5 Dumbest Arguments

XKCD – Duty Calls

5. I can’t see the curve

For the past two thousand years scientists have been explaining that the earth is a spheroid. Ancient soldiers needed to keep the curve of the earth in mind when firing catapults, and trebuchets.

But for some reason, to this day, there are people who argue their inability to see the curve of the earth is proof that it must be flat.

We have footage from countless satellites, astronauts, space telescopes, and sports cars in space, but apparently that’s just a giant conspiracy.

4. The devil did it

Science isn’t flawless. History is only a good as the person who wrote it, those that can read it, and the medium it was recorded on. However, we have near certainty that the earth is old. Like really old. Somewhere around 4.5 billion years.

Certain people however think that an allegory can help date the earth and they believe that it’s 6000 years or less. Some believe that dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans two thousand years ago. Others, when asked about dinosaur bones, will reply that the devil put them there to test our faith.

3. Car exhaust is worse

If I’m standing close to a smoker, I start coughing and feeling like I’m going to be sick. We’ve known that cigarettes cause cancer and are bad for people’s health for more than fifty years. Yet smokers still walk around like they own the sidewalk or bus stop.

When smoking is banned, or talked about being banned, smokers start arguing about their rights and there’s always those that argue that you’re getting more harmful chemicals from car exhaust.

As if the fact that car exhaust is bad for us means smoking should be okay… I guess their view is if Rome is burning, they should be allowed to walk around with flame throwers.

2. Bad guys don’t follow laws

When it comes to weaponry, certain people believe that it’s inevitable that the “bad guys” with get their hands on them. No laws or restrictions cans stop that. They use this as an argument against those laws.

We have laws to not only deter, but also prevent. If this statement were true than the rate of drunk drivers wouldn’t go up if there were no laws.

Our laws should be a reflection of our taboos, beliefs, and values. In the case of weaponry, the laws should show that we value well-trained, responsible, and safe weapon users.

1. I’m not/wasn’t/wouldn’t be hurt/offended

I’ve been guilty of this myself, but it’s extremely important that when someone tells you that your actions or words have hurt or offended them that you listen to them.

Just because I wouldn’t be hurt or offended to be called frog, doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t.

If you value the friendship of those around you then you need to value their feelings too. It’s not your place to decide what people should feel or how they should react to something.


Are there any dumb arguments I missed?


Real Conspiracies

X-Files themed button. Now available for commission.
X-Files themed button.
Now available for commission.

On Tuesday I talked about Conspiracy Theories. Today lets discuss real ones. The real conspiracies fuel our natural want to see patterns and be special.

Most of the real life conspiracies are based on not wanting to change the way we do things or products of advertising.

Take Multivitamins for example. They’re not bad for you but they’re not important. This is multivitamins and vitamin boosts. This doesn’t mean Folic Acid for pregnancy, vitamin D for SAD, or Iron for Anemia is bad. When recommended by a doctor they’re great.

Or take bottled water. Many people think it’s better than tap water and the companies selling them certainly want you to think that, but on average they’re not.

These are just a few examples of “real” conspiracies. They are not controlled by a giant body, but by people who want to be rich. There’s no giant Water Bottle Industry conspiracy to make our tap water less safe. That’s caused by human greed, poor management, poor regulation, and stupidity.

How to Avoid Being Duped

There are little conspiracies all over. From wanting the last cookie, to wanting you to BUY OUR COFFEE everyone has an angle or something they want from someone else.

If you want to test if a conspiracy is real or not remember to ask the most important question: Why?

Why would they perpetrate this hoax? Why would they control the world? Why would they try to control humanity with the contrails from planes?

From there, do your research and find out how it could be true. Apply the David Robert Grimes Method. It states that a conspiracy is less likely to succeed, the more people who are involved. Find credible sources and think critically.

Beware Buzzwords

Buzzwords are by far the most dangerous form of conspiracy. They sound good but are vague and never tell the whole truth. They are dangerous if you believe them unconditionally.

Some of the best examples of dangerous buzzwords are found in health. Superfoods, Toxins, Cleanse and Natural are some extremely common buzzwords that literally mean nothing.

A superfood isn’t from Krypton, but something that has higher than normal vitamin content. That’s it. It’s not a cure for cancer, not a cure for the common cold, not a cure for damage. Just a food that’s good for you.

A toxin is “a poisonous substance and especially one that is produced by a living thing” So unless you are eating jellyfish, the chances that your food is filled with toxins is highly unlikely. Everything that goes into your body might have poisons in it, probably in minute amounts. Nature has a way for you to detox that isn’t only free, but easy. It’s called your LIVER.

Cleanses are a way to detox your body. As slang for “Stop eating unhealthily” it makes sense. Of course fake doctors and idiots have commercialised it into something that is dangerous. Let’s make something clear: You can’t eat unhealthily and then “cleanse” to make yourself healthy again. That’s not how our bodies work. These detox cleanse diets aren’t healthy. They are fads that stress your body more than they help. They are the emotionally crippled children of the weight loss fad diets. You don’t need to know the garcinia side effects. Eat healthy regularly and you’ll feel better. Don’t pretend you’re Bacchus and think eating only soup for a month will repair damage.

Natural is a word that has such a vague meaning that it could mean anything. Nightshade is completely natural, as is the box jellyfish, but eating them can hurt you. Using Natural as a word to mean safe is ignorant of how we live our lives and of science. I’ve seen Natural on everything from bacon to tomatoes. It literally means whatever the advertiser wants it to mean.


When you’re trying to figure out what’s real:

  • Think critically about what you do and why you do it.
  • If someone tells you you’re wrong, ask why.
  • Do some research before you believe what your crazy (insert relative) tells you about a miracle product.
  • Remember that we as a species are flawed.

For me I like to follow a few general rules:

  • Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
  • Occam’s Razor: The simplest answer is usually the right one.

And of course


What are your least favourite Real Conspiracies?

Later Days,



Watching the American elections and the rise to power of certain candidates it’s easy to believe that there’s more going on than we see. Maybe a shadowy organization that’s pulling the strings? Evil lizard overlords? Big Pharma? Big Oil? Big Publishing? Landru?

There have been more conspiracy theories than I can name but most of them take Occam’s Razor and toss it out the window. (Insert unshaved conspiracy nut joke here)

I LOVE conspiracy theories, not because I think they’re real but because they are entertaining stories. If you truly think that one organization has guided the history and politics of humanity for the past three hundred years, you have way more faith in humanity than I do. The problem with most of these grand conspiracy theories is the belief that we as a species are capable of keeping secrets.

Take the Moon Landing Hoax; in most variations they faked the moon landing by using Hollywood tricks. We’re talking about an industry that has trouble keeping its movie trailers from leaking. The idea that the proof has so perfectly been destroyed is ludicrous.

Not that I could convince anyone who believes in it. They will misconstrue and misunderstand to the point of believing whatever they want. There are people who believe that the world is flat. Despite all the evidence.

Why are Conspiracy Theories so compelling?

I’m not going into the pathology of mental health and conspiracy theories. That’s a whole other discussion.

I think the answer is simply patterns. We, as humans, are obsessed with patterns. We find them in everything, even when they don’t exist. Seeing shapes in clouds or bathroom tiles seems far off from thinking we live on a planet that’s 5000 years old, flat, and ruled by a secret society of atheistic Lizard-Men but it’s not as far as you think.

Think of the restaurant you dislike the most (no not the one with poor social values) but the one you’ve been to 2-3 times and had bad food or bad service every time. We all have one and we all avoid that restaurant because we assume that they’re always that bad. (I mean terrible not just bad.) We assume that everyone else is wrong when they say the restaurant is ok. So who’s wrong? If the restaurant is still in business there’s a good chance we are.

At this point we have to either accept that our 2-3 experiences are only a miniscule number in a larger series. If the restaurant is open 7 days a week and sees an average of 50 customers a day that’s 18,200 customers per year. So our 3 experiences represent 0.0016% of visits that year.

Or we can assume that it was purposefully done to us. The owners of the restaurant don’t like us.

In the science-ish conclusion we aren’t special, we’re a miniscule example. In the Conspiracy, we’re not only special but persecuted. Naturally, we would prefer to believe we’re important.


What are your favourite Conspiracies?

Later Days,