Facing Ridiculous Claims

In the **The Daily Show: John Oliver Investigates Gun Control in Australia**, John Oliver shows a good way to disarm ridiculous claims.

In the first part alone, he does it twice: the first occurence is at 3:44, the second at 3:58. What John Oliver does is brilliantly simple. Reformulate the ridiculous claim as a counterfactual:

so unless we Y, we should not X

where the Y is ridiculous and X is not. In other words, John Oliver repeats the claim where the ridiculous part of the claim is emphasized. In less than 15 seconds, Philip van Cleave’s position is KO’ed. He can’t face his own ridiculous claim.

Ridiculous claims bear repeating.


  1. Thank you (Colbert along with John Stewart and Chris Hayes* are useful indeed)

    *All In April 25, 2013
    "The untold story of deregulating chemical plants under the Bush administration
    "Chris Hayes tells how the Bush administration helped move chemical plant oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Homeland Security."


  2. An application of that ClimateBall (tm) technique:

    So let me get Douglas' argument. Unless one can prove that it's impossible to find a counterexample of a better fit to the data, any choice of model is unjustified. Is that what Douglas and Nullius are arguing here?

    A "yes" would suffice. A "no" would not. A "no" would need to be padded with "here's my or Douglas' argument", followed by an argument, not textbook platitudes.

    Source: Bishop's.

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