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Cross Cultural Communication

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Brad Nguyen HM 202 Interpersonal and Cross-cultural Communication

ID Number: 49747-0014

FALLACIES IN COMMUNICATION

According to Wikipedia, the term fallacy is often used more generally to mean an argument which is problematic for any reason, whether it is a formal or an informal fallacy. Among the most common fallacies is Hasty Generalization, which involves drawing a general conclusion on the basis of possibly inaccurate evidence. Examples:

"I've never done well in my math classes. I just don't have a "math brain"

"Two 747's were involved in air disasters in the past year. It must not be a safe plane."

Another example I want to share is a really new one I have just witnessed during the Baisi ceremony, a religious procedure of the Visasa day (Freshy day) at Dhurakij Pundit University on July 15th 2007. The incidence happened during the praying part of the ceremony. While the nuns were reading loudly the prayer-book, some students suddenly screamed and failed to control their actions one after another. Meanwhile, others, especially girls, became pale and fainted. This accident is really serious since there were dozens of students encountered the same phenomenon. They were all brought to the medical center with almost the same "believed-to-be" religious reason: it was their unstable mind during the ceremony that the spirit made them suffer from such things.

Therefore, many students whose friends fainted or screamed just kept praying the Buddha or put the Buddhist images on the "victims'" front heads. Others used the sacred water got from the ceremony to drop on them with a great hope that it would help recover. The incident took almost three hours for all the students to return to normal and go back home or continue to join in the concert that night. After the incident, I was still very surprised and actually curious about the reason for that phenomenon. I began to ask my Thai friends and they all thought that the problem was normal. In fact, they do believe in the existence of the spirit which caused all other students to suffer from such mysterious incidence. As for my IHOST friend, who fainted, I came to ask her and received the same answer. She also believed that it was because of the spirit. Another classmate told me like this: "Why do you still not believe in the spirit?...There were so many people suffering from it"

After that, I happened to know this incidence is not difficult to witness, especially in big ceremonies like this. In psychology, it is the tendency to follow the group. Another reason is that the "Baisi" took place under the rain and many students, especially girls, were already tired from all the activities during day time. Also, they became scared when seeing their friends go out of control. So, they felt exhausted and fainted. As a result, there are two fallacies that I believe most students made. The first one was the hasty generalization because the students I asked assumed that the spirit did the whole thing but they did not take into consideration other factors. It may be true that the spirit did exist in some students at that time but not all. Many others fainted or went out of mind because of their unstable physical and mental statuses. In other words, they were not healthy, felt nervous and tended to follow the group at that time. The second fallacy is the appeal to popularity, my IHOST friend and many others, who fainted, believed that it was excusable since lots of their friends doubtfully experienced and believed in the same supernatural thing. As a result, the same reason was given: the spirit did it.

The fact that this example is suggested in the paper does not mean I disrespect religion but just to see how often people make a fallacy in their daily life and fail to explain things reasonably before jumping into conclusion. In contrast to fallacies is valid reasoning. Reasoning involves evaluating claims and drawing conclusions

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