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Slippery Slope

CONTENTS

Zen & Understanding the Middle East

Introduction
Sellers' Market
Will to Believe
Rules of Thumb

"The truth is out there "
Use & misuse of words
False information signals more false information
Technical whiz-bang
Understand the Context
Lies, More Lies, Damn Lies and Newspapers
Beware of Generalizations
Theology and scripture
Misleading Statistics
Smoke in your eyes
What is Missing?
Myth versus fact versus narrative
The past was not like the present; the future will be different

Fallacy Recognition in the Middle East

Fallacies and Arguments
Cause and Effect
Slippery Slope
Gambler's Fallacy
Ad Hominem
Authority
Beliefs
Appeal to Novelty
Appeal to Emotion
Appeal to Tradition
False Dilemma or Black and White Thinking
Special Pleading
The Spotlight Fallacy
Who is to Say?

Fallacy Handbook

Slippery Slope

Reference: Slippery Slope

This line of reasoning says, "if we allow X, it will lead to Y." The "domino theory" was an example of that sort of reasoning. If South Vietnam fell, we were told, all of East Asia would fall to the Communists. South Vietnam fell, but East Asia did not fall to the Communists.

In general, there is "no reason" why any event has to follow from any other, because there is no proven logical basis for induction. However, in exact sciences we can make predictions with a fair degree of confidence because:

1. We are usually judging individual cases and basing our predictions on a huge sample of other cases.

2. Laws of physics, chemistry and biology are accepted or rejected based on predictive validity - the laws are accepted because they are able to predict what will happen, therefore they are probably useful for making predictions, regardless of whether or not they are "true" in some absolute sense.

For example, "If you jump out the window you will inevitably fall and not fly" is a fairly safe prediction unless you are talking to Clark Kent (Superman), and it is true whether or not they fall because of Newton's law, Einstein's law or a different explanation. On the other hand, when exact sciences try to predict unique events such as global warming or a giant meteorite crashing into the earth, the predictions are less certain.

In history and sociology we are always trying to predict fairly unique events based on an insufficient sample. Many such arguments have been used in the Middle East and elsewhere and have proven false. Experts predicted that the Zionists could never create a state, that no Jews would come to it, that it would be economically non-viable, that it would be wiped out by Arab adversaries, that it would fall apart because of internal splits between Jews of different origins or that it would be swamped by the demography of more numerous Arabs. None of these predictions came to pass. "Experts" now predict that a Palestinian Arab state would "inevitably" be a terrorist state, and other "experts" predict that the Israelis will wipe out the Arabs of Palestine. There is no certain basis for either of these predictions, even when they are backed by supporting verbiage. The figures and facts amassed to support them are always dubious and biased, and the conditions change too rapidly over time to allow prediction.

Previous: Cause and Effect  Next: Gambler's Fallacy


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Copyright

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MidEastWeb  History of Israel Palestine and the Middle East Conflict conflict   

MidEastWeb Middle East News, Views, Maps and History

Zionism  Definition and Brief History  A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs,  Jewish antiZionists.

Labor Zionism   History and Critique  Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.

Concise Guide to IsraeliZionist CyberSpace

Israel-Palestina  (Dutch) Middle East Conflict, Israel, Palestine,Zionism... Israël-Palestina Informatie gids Israël, Palestijnen en Midden-Oosten conflict... Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a European perspective  Dutch and English.

English  Israel-Palestine.info Guide to the Middle East Conflict (Peace, Zionism, antiSemitism ...)

Advocacy

Active Zionism  A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links

PEACE Watch  Middle East Dialog and Peace Process

Pnews  Progressive Views on Zionism Israel Jews & AntiSemitism

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