In Short

Why would someone want to use a distracting technique? Perhaps they are faced with an argument they feel they can't win or they are uncomfortable discussing a certain topic. Whatever the reason, techniques such as red herrings, ad hominem attacks, and straw men are commonly used, not only by politicians and pundits, but by schoolchildren, business people, and friends as well. Learning how these fallacies work will hone your critical thinking skills and help keep you from falling victim to their faulty reasoning.

Skill Building Until Next Time

■ Think of an issue you feel strongly about. Now, come up with an argument against that issue that includes an ad hominem attack. Make it as effective as you can. How would you argue against it, without getting defensive?

■ Listen for a few minutes to a radio program known for its controversial host. As the host discusses his or her opponents, note how many times straw men are used. How extreme are these arguments, and what are the real issues they are distracting the audience from?

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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