Saturday, June 23, 2012

Deconstructing Bullshit With Logic 101: MLMs

So around three years ago, I've written a piece about networking companies. My stance has not changed.

I can't believe someone I know (and trusted, to a certain extent) had the gall to invite me and one of my close friends to a catch-up dinner, only to realize that they were trying to sucker us into one of those. They could have been straightforward, so I could have politely declined them.

The amount of fallacies I heard was off the charts, and it made recall my Logic 101 days. I may not remember every single one (so I'm listing a few from Wikipedia), but I know bullshit when I hear it.

Argumentum ad Verecundiam (Appeal to Authority)
Of course they had to start off by stating that the founder was a recipient of an (apparently) prestigious award in bio-sciences and therefore, he knows his shit.

Unfortunately, a quick Google search turned up three awards with that name. Not only were they being intentionally ambiguous, but it turns out that the founder's name wasn't even in the lists of recipients for any of the three.

Appeal to Celebrity
They also claimed that their products were used by celebrities, hence validating their effectiveness. A problem with people these days is that they automatically consider celebrities authority figures, even if they don't really have the qualifications.

Argumentum ad Consequentiam (Appeal to Consequences)
They stated that their products were tantamount to preventative measures (as opposed to hospitalization). Since prevention was better than the cure, their products were an effective substitute for hospitals.

Argumentum ad Invidiam (Appeal to Envy); Argumentum ad Populum (Appeal to Popularity)
This really ticked me off. They had to show how 'rich' they were by bringing up spreadsheets of their individual monthly profits.

Unfortunately for them, I work because there is a profound sense of accomplishment in doing what I do. Call me idealistic or impractical, but chances are if I envy or admire you, it's probably because there's something I saw in you that I like which no amount of money can buy.

Also, popular is not always right. A lot of people are miserable because their happiness revolved around their ability to spend money.

They also bragged that their time was in their hands. If I had complete freedom over my time, I won't be talking to strangers until midnight on a fucking Friday evening in a room without airconditioning, especially if I had the money I was bragging about.

Argumentum ad Metum (Appeal to Fear)
They had all these diagrams about how cause X leads to Y disease and that what they sold would single-handedly cure or prevent many ailments.

Argumentum ad Odium (Appeal to Hatred)
They just had to bring up everyone's problem with authority figures. What they don't understand is that leaders (or the good ones, anyway) exist because they can handle problems that their subordinates would not touch with a ten-foot pole.

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam (Appeal to Ignorance)
They argued that so far, there have been no claims about the ineffectiveness of their products. They also pointed out that their products didn't have the label 'No approved therapeutic claims', which meant it was effective.

Argumentum ad Naturam (Appeal to Nature)
They argued that their products were completely derived from natural sources. It's really hard to prove that when you're selling tablets and whatnot, especially when you have to buy and sell their products to experience the effects. I believe in placebo to a certain degree, but not if it burns holes in my pocket.

Straw Man Fallacy
They actually had the balls to argue that they had better (not equal) footing compared to those who finished their schooling, and worked their way to Masters, Doctorates and certifications.

I could go on and on, but I realize I've wasted too much time overthinking this. It's sad that a lot of people are blinded by money these days, to the point that they'd immediately ride any bandwagon (hey, another fallacy!) that promises paychecks by using smokes and mirrors. If you have to resort to quick lies and flashism to sell your product, then you need to have a look at how you market your products. It's pretty retarded to state that all you money is spent on research and you have nothing allocated for advertising. For a retail company listed in the NYSE, that's a fucktardedly horrible idea.

Man was given intuition for a reason. The Internet exists for a reason.  Cliche as it may be, there's a reason you have heard the saying 'If it's too good to be true, it probably is.' Please do your research before jumping into these things. There are a lot of things you can do with the money you shell out.

Lastly, if you're planning to con people, at least get your facts straight. If someone says that Windows and Microsoft are separate companies with a straight face, even if she's really pretty (I'm a dude, sue me), it will be hard to sell your stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment