12 Surefire Ways To Drive Logical People Completely Berserk

Logical people are incredibly easy to irritate. They think and approach problems a particular way, and get flustered when others do the opposite.  

Felix Salmon pointed out a recent thread on Quora that asked ‘what are some good ways to annoy extremely logical people?’

Here are some of the best answers.

#1 Let “intuition” decide
Quora user Michael Wolfe gives an example of some other things that infuriate logical people, an appeal to emotions, referring to “nature” and a touch of conspiracy, via the example of the anti-vaccination movement: 

“My intuition just tells me that vaccines are bad for you. Native people have lived just fine for centuries without putting “toxins” in their bodies — they are more in tune with nature. I also have a friend whose son became autistic after he was vaccinated. The doctor said it wasn’t the reason why, but he has a typical western medicine mindset and must be taking money from the vaccine companies. I don’t want to argue about it – it makes me so angry!”

#2 Spout facts, but don’t cite them  
From Quora user Catherine Goodman, an artist who grow up around science majors: “Know things without consciously learning them. Spout out information without having any idea where you gleaned it from. That one really makes ’em squirm.” 

#3 Hugely inflate and exaggerate their position in order to pick at their defenses
Quora user Joey Frey suggested trying the tips from Arthur Schopenhauer’s essay, “38 Ways To Win An Argument.” Anyone who’s watched a debate or pundits on TV knows that facts and logic don’t often win an argument. 

Here’s one of Schopenhauer’s 38 suggestions:

“Carry your opponent’s proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent’s statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow his or her propositions remain, the easier they are to defend by him or her.”

#4 Cite irrelevant experts like they’re authoritative, and do it incorrectly. 
Jason Baker provides a particularly grating example, when people say something like “didn’t Turing prove this decades ago?”for something that has little or nothing to do with computer science. 

#5  Conflate correlation and causation
Also from Wolfe. This is one of the most common errors that drives logical people crazy. Just because two things happen at the same time does not mean that one causes the other.   

#6 Draw conclusions from personal anecdotes
Via Michael Wolfe. This is linked to correlation vs. causation. Just because something happened to you or a friend or a friend of a friend does not make it a universal truth. 

#7 Have really poor email etiquette
Andrew Boysen: “Be the 20th person to reply-all to a mailing list message, asking people to not reply-all and/or to remove you from the mailing list that only you can remove yourself from.”

#8 Misuse terms or badly cite logical fallacies in an effort to prove a point. 

People love to accuse people of “begging the question.” They’re usually using it wrong.

Via Justin Liu:
“The phrase is now used pervasively to mean something like, “What you’re saying leads to the obvious next question . . .” This is not its original (and I would say accurate) meaning. In fact, question begging refers to a logical fallacy where a premise assumes the proposition to be proved. For example the following argument begs the question: Raising taxes is wrong because it makes people pay more money in taxes.”Use terms that are ambiguous and hard to nail down

Via Quora user Paul Clarke: “The best way is to use loosely-defined terms in questions. See ‘good’ and ‘logical people’ as examples in the question above.

#9 Make unfalsifiable claims
  An example would be “Loch Ness contains a giant reptile.” All you’ll ever find is an absence of evidence, so it’s impossible to disprove to a true believer. “Bonus points for stating that the logical person is wrong because they can’t falsify your unfalsifiable claim,” Quora user Sean Rose writes.

#10 Make irritating writing mistakes
Poor grammar, especially splitting infinitives, bad spelling, especially confused contractions, and redundant or inappropriate qualifiers (“it was a very unique piece.”)

#11 Cite examples from movies or television like they’re facts
Via Quora user Makema Kromah

#12 Ask stupid questions

Even the thread’s author is not exempt. Via Quora user Nicholas Chavez:  

“Using an adverb like “extremely” as an accelerating modifier to an adjective such as “logical” when “logic” is a binary trait best categorized as a noun.”


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