It’s not rare to find yourself in the middle of futile arguments with irrational people. How do you deal with them? Well, here’re some most common arguments made by irrational people, according to Scott Adams in his book The Joy of Work. Scott advises us to refer this handy reference admist the argument, circle that applies to the situation and give a copy to the person who is bugging you. Or make a quick check if any of these applies to you as well. Do this first, before you do the former, by the way!

You’re wrong because #

  • Amazingly bad analogy —
    You can train a dog to fetch a stick. Therefore, you can train a potato to dance.

  • Faulty cause and effect —
    On the basis of my observation, wearing huge pants makes you fat.

  • I am the world —
    I don’t listen to country music. Therefore, country music is not popular.

  • Ignoring everything science know about the brain —
    People choose to be obese/gay/alcoholic because they prefer the lifestyle.

  • The few are the same as the whole —
    Some Elbonians are animal rights activists. Some Elbonians wear fur coats. Therefore, Elbonians are hypocrites.

  • Generalizing from self —
    I am a liar. Therefore, I don’t believe what you’re saying.

  • Argument by bizarre definition —
    He’s not a criminal. He just does things that are against the law.

  • Total logical disconnect —
    I enjoy pasta because my house is made of bricks.

  • Judging things without comparison to alternatives —
    I don’t invest in U.S. Treasury bills. There’s too much risk.

  • Anything you don’t understand is easy to do —
    If you have the right tools, how hard could it be to generate nuclear fission at home?

  • Ignorance of statistics —
    I’m putting ALL my money on the lottery this week because the jackpot is so big.

  • Ignoring the downside risk —
    I know that bungee jumping could kill me, but it’s three seconds of great fun!

  • Substituting famous quotes for common sense —
    Remember, “All things come to those who wait.” So don’t bother looking for a job.

  • Irrelevant comparison —
    A hundred dollars is a good price for buying a toaster, compared to buying a Ferrari.

  • Circular reasoning —
    I’m correct, because I’m smarter than you. And I must be smarter than you becuase I’m correct.

  • Incompleteness as proof of defect —
    Your theory of gravity doesn’t address the question of why there are no unicorns, so it must be wrong.

  • Ignoring the advice of experts without a good reason —
    Sure the experts think you shouldn’t ride a bicyle into the eye of a hurricance, but I have my own theory.

  • Following the advice of known idiots —
    Uncle billy says pork makes you smarter. That’s good enough for me!

  • Reaching bizzare conclusion without any information —
    The car won’t start. I’m certain the spark plugs have been stolen by rogue clowns.

  • Failure to recognize what’s important —
    My house is on fire! Quick, call the post office and tell them to hold my mail.

  • Inability to understand that some things have multiple cases —
    The Beatles where popular for one reason only. They were good singers.

  • Judging the whole by one of it’s characteristics —
    The sun causes sunburns. Therefore, the planet would be better off without the sun.

  • Blinding flashes of obvious —
    If everyone had more money, we could eleminate poverty.

  • Proof by lack of evidence —
    I’ve never seen you drunk, so you must be one of those Amish people.