(Readers, feel free to share this helpful, Reader-Digest-esque post next time you encounter a feminist making some outrageously logic-free claim)
"I'm a feminist, don't oppress me with your patriarchal construct of 'logic'"
Are you a feminist? Are you forever showing yourself up at dinner parties with your lack of critical thinking? Do you embarrass friends and family with lapses of logic that would even make a small child cringe? Do your parents regularly facepalm with frustration and disappointment as you trot out the latest in a long line of idiotic claims?
Fear not! The Cool Tools for Men guide to basic logic for
Before you put your fingers to keyboard, or open your big mouth next time, run your argument through these simple filters.
Logic mistake 1: The non-sequitur
Common feminist usage: Focusing only on the men at the top and ignoring those at the bottom
See if you can spot the error common to the following statements:
A. All goats have hoofed feet, I'm currently looking at an animal with hoofed feet, therefore it must be a goat
B. All the people who've walked on the moon were American, therefore all Americans have walked on the moon
C. A majority of leaders are men, therefore a majority of men are leaders
Did you spot it? Yes, that's right, this mistake involves making one statement and then assuming or implying it to prove another, when it clearly doesn't. This logical faux-pas is often made by feminists in pointing to the high preponderance of men who are either wealthy or employed in high positions of organisational leadership. This is then used to imply that the society in which it occurs is biased against women and therefore...something must be done! However, if we were to take a proper look at the distribution of people's jobs and standard of living in that society we'd typically find most people at the bottom (homeless, unemployed, etc) are men, and that women are over-represented in many middle class, steady/predictable income positions such as teachers and other public-sector positions. Therefore we could equally make the statements that most no-income people are men (implying that men are on average poorer than women).
Another more dodgy version of the non-sequitur that feminists are fond of is:
All rapists are men (itself a questionable statement) therefore all men are rapists.
Next time consider the existence of different distributions across the whole of the two populations (male and female) before you make this embarrassingly dumb mistake. The non-sequitur.
"It's gotta be true, I was told it in women's studies class."
Logic mistake 2: The false dichotomy error
Common feminist usage: For any time of crime or mis-behaviour committed predominantly by one type of group, only people outside that group can be the victim. i.e. a group is either a victim group or perpetrator group but it can't be both.
This is a tough one for feminists and other logic-challenged individuals to get their heads around, so I'll take it nice and slow for you.
Think of the following: in schools we have two types of people: adults (the staff) and children. Now, for the sake of simplicity, lets think of child-on-child bullying. With this type of bullying, all the perpetrators are children, and all the victims are children. Now, does it make sense to make this into an 'adult Vs child issue'? Does it make sense for the child victims to be told "This is a child issue, don't complain to adults about it."
Now lets nuance this example a little bit, and make it more 'real world'. Now, as well as child-on-child bullying, lets assume there is a small but significant amount of child-to-teacher bullying, and a slightly smaller, but still significant amount of teacher-to-child bullying going on in our school. Remember, the majority of bullying is still child-on-child, but there is some child-on-teacher bulling, and a bit less teacher-on-child bullying.
If at the teachers' union meeting they talked about bullying only in terms of teachers Vs children, and only highlighted child-on-teacher bullying, you'd think this was a mistake, right? It would be a warped way of looking at the issue as a whole. Now imagine that the teachers union regularly go to the mass media and run awareness-promoting campaigns, issuing surveys and statistics that they've compiled on the numbers of teachers that are bullied by children. Further, imagine that the teachers union manages to convince or bully the government into running poster campaigns to highlight the issue of child-on-teacher bullying, and they manage to convince or bully TV drama producers to run storylines on child-on-teacher bullying.
Firstly, I think its pretty obvious that one consequence of this would be to stir-up a lot of hatred and distrust of children in general, and a lot of sympathy. Now, imagine that the opposite - teacher-on-child bullying - is hardly ever shown or discussed, likewise the most prevalent type of bullying - child on child - is either hardly ever talked about, or shown in a context in which the victim deserves it.
This would further cloud the reality right?
So, in a situation where you have two groups, its perfectly possible for one group to contain the largest percentages of both victims and perpetrators. But making it into a one-group-Vs-the-other-group issue will then serve to hide the reality, and put a lot of victims at risk because they are hidden. For example, we can imagine situations in a particular city where the following might be true:
A. Blacks are the most likely to be perpetrators of drug-related crime, but they are also most likely to be the victims
B. Poor people are the most likely to be perpetrators of theft, but they are also most likely to be the victims
C. Men are most likely to be the perpetrators of violent crime, but they are also most likely to be the victims
Now imagine that we hide the second part of each statement, and only promote the first part in the mass media. i.e.:
A. Blacks are the most likely to be perpetrators of drug-related crime.
B. Poor people are the most likely to be thieves
C. Men are most likely to be physically, criminally violent
This would be highly misleading, and also pretty evil as it would stir-up hatred against one group whilst simultaneously hiding the victims within that group.
This is EXACTLY the trick that feminists have pulled by turning violence into a male Vs female issue. It hides the fact that men and children can be victims of domestic violence. Arguably even more importantly, on a global scale, it hides the huge issue of male-on-male violence. This error, this mental-block MUST be removed if we are ever to have peace on Earth. As long as we hide male-on-male violence or show it ONLY in the context of a man deserving it, we will not cure the problem. So if you are a promoter of the dichotomy error, congratulations you are part of the problem. Idiot.
"Feminism, all men are rapists, all men are violent, herpy-derpy derpy-herpy derp..."
Logic mistake 3: Selectivity bias
Common feminist usage: Only focusing on the facts that fit your theory, then using them to prove your theory is right.
A simple one, yet so widespread. For example, a feminist claims that in her personal experience she only has seen evidence which supports her feminist belief system, and never any evidence to the contrary, or evidence that might lead a reasonable, rational person to a more nuanced understanding of the world. This selectivity bias may extend to over-estimation of how often they have witnessed something. For instance, a feminist sees a builder wolf-whistle at a passing woman once or twice. She is outwardly angry at this, but inwardly rather pleased because its a nice juicy piece of evidence to prop-up her world-view. In her mind, these one or two incidents become exaggerated into her reporting to people that she 'sees it all the time' or even that she 'can barely walk down the street without seeing it'. Is it surprising that people who base their thinking on a pre-defined 'ism' like communism, or feminism are forever finding evidence to support that view, whilst quickly forgetting evidence to the contrary.
The same logical mistake is committed by people who swear that they are always seeing evidence of the paranormal all around them. They say things like "Every time I think of someone, the phone rings and its them!" But, of course, the reality is that they merely remember the times when this happens, and conveniently forget the far larger number of times when they think about someone and they don't phone.
Selectivity bias also relates to the psychological phenomenon known as priming. An example is when you buy a new car or a new item of clothing and suddenly you see that same model of car, or same colour and brand of clothing everywhere you go! What happened? Your attention just became primed to notice it more, and you fell victim to the selectivity bias.
Man struggles in vain to find logic or common sense in the Guardian's gender section
Logical mistake 4: The mis-attribution error
Common feminist usage: if a behaviour is observed in men one motivation is assumed, but if the same behaviour is observed in women, a different, more favourable motivation is assumed.
This is a version of the fundamental attribution error in psychology. Essentially its an error whereby if they see someone doing something, they assume the behaviour is explained by the type of person they are, their personality and other internal factors, and not just the situation they are in or environmental factors.
The key point is that people tend to commit the fundamental attribution error more when explaining the behaviour of others compared to explaining their own behaviour.
The feminist version of this is to attribute pathological personality motives to any bad male behaviour, whilst assuming external environmental forces pushed any woman into acting when they perform the same behaviour.
For example, a father who is violent towards his family is an evil person, a mother who is violent towards her family has been suffering in a stressful environment. A man attending a strip show is an evil pervert, a woman attending a strip show is just enjoying some downtime. A man who has sex with a 15 year old is a disgusting paedophile, a woman who has sex with a 15 year old was a victim of depression and of the cunning wiles of the seductive teenager.
Non-feminists, remember: Logical errors are not merely the domain of the mentally challenged, but also used by con-artists, manipulators and hate-stirrers. When you constantly see feminists propagating these errors over and over again in public forums, you need to ask yourself: are they just stupid, or evil?
Feminists: If you are using any of the above logical fallacies to promote your ideology, its time to get honest with yourself. Have you genuinely, honestly made mistakes in your thinking, or are you knowingly using deceptive arguments to mislead and trick people? If its the latter, firstly you should be ashamed of yourself, and secondly you should consider that whilst you may fool some gullible people or those who are not paying close attention, eventually people will realise what you are doing, and they won't be too pleased.