No matter where I look on the internet lately, I find people making complete arses of themselves.
I recently reviewed a book in which the writer had based his entire premise on a data-set which didn’t actually prove his hypothesis. Instead of wondering if the lack of supporting data indicated that his hypothesis might be flawed he worked with the 25% of the records which did support it and ignored the rest. Now, I can see the problem here; you can see the problem here… poor bloke. A whole book.
YouWriteOn’s ill-advised publishing scheme provided several excellent examples of odd logic with (among other things) its insistence that all rights would be returned if the writers chose to cancel. It was kind of them to make this offer: but it’s nonsensical, because you can’t do the same thing more than once and consider it a first time each time; so they couldn’t return first rights to any of the books that they published no matter what they promised.
The discussion which followed this blog post over at the Guardian relied very heavily on sweeping generalisations, opinion presented as fact, and assumptions based on untested or pick-and-mix data; and it spilled over in a little way to a post on this blog, where a well-meaning self-published writer tried to support her argument with facts that didn’t actually prove what she thought they did.
I could go on: I have hundreds more examples, but I think you’ve got my point.
I am so tired of watching these lapses ooze across the internet that I have decided to write the occasional post here about logic, fallacies, and proper research.
What has this got to do a with publishing? A whole lot. When a writer relies on fallacies to make his point, and cannot support his assertions with solid research, he not only makes himself look foolish: he ensures he’ll never get his work published by any reputable press.