Friday, August 30, 2013

How To ID a Lie: Syria Edition

A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the [Syrian] chemical weapons attack ~ State Department Report
And twenty-nine. I don't know how many people were killed. Neither does John Kerry.  It would take feet on the ground investigators and many autopsies to determine this with precision. The State Department is guessing over a thousand deaths, give or take a few hundred, rounding up.

And twenty-nine. So, why the very precise number? Details sell the con. Say "fourteen hundred" and people will assume you are guessing. State a specific number and it sounds like you have facts. Make it an odd number because they sound more precise than even numbers. The more significant digits you have the more people will believe you actually did the calculations.

And twenty-nine. When I see a number this precise in a situation where such precision is impossible I recognize it as a lie. Once I recognize a lie I disbelieve everything else that source says on the subject.

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