critique

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"Truth Is In The Ear Of The Beholder", written by collumnist Gregory Rodriguez, was published on September 28, 2009, in the Los Angeles Times newspaper. In this article, Gregory Rodriguez tries to persuade his readers that "Rumors and conspiracy theories can only thrive in the minds of people who are predisposed to believe them". One query addressed is whether people who believe rumors, against all evidence, are undereducated. Rodriguez refutes such a possibility with a 1994 survey that disproves the assumption . The survey discovers instead a corelation between insecurity and belief in illogical rumors. Rodriguez also introduces a 2004 experiment which shows that efforts at correcting rumors can sometimes backfire. After sharing legal scholar Sunstein's views on holding rumor-mongers accountable and dangers rumors pose to democracy, Rodriguez finally reveals his own solution which is "to do away with the insecurity and uncertainty that feed rumors in the first place." While Rodriguez presents an interesting and perhaps reasonable thesis, his argument to persuade the audience of this thesis is not a successful one. In addition to questionable accuracy and unfair use of cited information, Gregory rodriguez's argument falls victim to several logical fallacies. The first criteria used to assess Rodriguez's argument is accuracy of information. His argument uses one 1994 survey on conspiracy theories which found insecurity about employment to be a factor in whether people believe rumors against evidence. The accuracy of this survey is questionable due to the fact surveys are often guilty of misguiding questions, biased samples, overgeneralization, and possibly discarded unfavorable data. Rodriguez also employs the theses of ps... ... middle of paper ... ...xhibited in "Truth Is In The Ear Of The Beholder", I find it safe to say that Rodriguez has made an unsuccessful argument to persuade. In this particular case, I believe Rodriguez would have failed even if he had made a valid argument for his thesis. My reasoning behind this is the tendency of people to deny being "predisposed to believe" anything, making Rodriguez's job of persuasion immensely difficult. While I personally believe that rumors thrive in the minds of those predisposed to believe them, I do not believe that to be the "only" place or reason they thrive. Also, I highly dissaprove of the 1994 survey meant to show no link between lack of education and belief in illogical rumors. It is fairly simple to think of at least one rumor that could thrive mostly due to lack of education, and therefore I am obligated to call into question the details of this survey.
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