A Black Sheep Baba

Image result for black sheep"Ba Ba Black sheep, have you any wool?"

"Yes Sir. Yes Sir. Three Bags full."

"One for my master, one for my dame."

"One for the little boy who lives down the lane"


Now this was a good sheep who willingly gave away all it had. But what if this were the proverbial black sheep that sought to deny its wool to us humans.

He would have answered. "No Sir. No Sir. No bags wool."

On being challenged on his claim of lack of wool, he would have attempted an argument from ignorance and asked you to produce evidence of his having wool in his possession?

Or he would do a hypothesis contrary to the fact and claim that if he had been fed better quality grass he would be having wool now?

Or he might let the question go begging with, "No sheep black or white would  deny if but he had the wool."

Or try to exploit the straw man fallacy with an aggressive, "Are you trying to stereotype all black sheep as dishonest?"

If all fails there is a recourse to pity. "Please spare me. I am but a poor little sheep. Why would I keep my wool hidden?"

Or on the contrary if you don't look too strong and the sheep is endowed with nice sharp curved horns, it might brandish them at you and say, "You dare call me a liar? Do you want to feel the sharpness of my horns?"

And then there is this approach of  reification. "My ovine sensibilities do not allow me to indulge in a prolonged discussion on the topic of wool."

And if you try to argue, the sheep is only too fast to call the fallacy.

"Every other Sheep I asked said they had wool. Why only you are refusing."

"There you go my friend. That is Post Hoc fallacy. You are assuming, your asking a sheep causes it to come into possession of wool."

"No. Nothing of that sort. All the sheep most likely had wool already. They only admitted to me when I asked."

"And how many such sheep admitted to be in possession of wool?"

"Around 50 of them. You are the first to deny."

"There you go. That's a classic case of hasty conclusion. How could you have come to an universal conclusion about sheet just based on such a small sample?

By now the man is tired of all these arguments. "Why all this unnecessary talk. I can clearly see the wool on your back. I just need to get the shear to relieve you of it."

"Wait, wait my friend. Can you really trust the evidence of your senses? Maybe your mind is playing tricks with you and you are seeing only what you want to see."

"Well. I can reason it as well. All sheep produce wool. You are a sheep. So it follows you must be having wool. Now do I get to go at you with the shear."

" Not so fast, my friend. Your rationale is built on two assumptions - that I am a sheep and all sheep have wool. Let's take the second one - what makes you conclude that all sheep have wool."

"All sources of authority make the claim."

"What sources of authority?"

"Books written by scholars who have interacted with numerous shepherds and by zoologists as well. And none of these accounts disagree."

"Fine now, lets move on to the other claim. How do you say I am a sheep."

"I know a sheep when I see one."

"You mean an intuition?"

"Yes. But I have corroborated by intuition with logic. You have all characteristics of a sheep - four legs, 2 horns, the right height. Also you responded when I addressed you as Ba Ba black sheep. "

"Now you have me cornered. Ok I admit it - I have wool. But what's the point. There is none for you. You are neither my master nor my dame. Nor are you the little boy who lives down the lane."

"Well - at least I learnt about all the fallacies."

"That was just nine. There are hundreds more. Even if you knew what would you do?"

"I can now go and apply them in win arguments on social media."

"You can never win arguments against sheep."

"But I just won against you. I mean you still didn't give the wool but at least I got you to admit you had wool."

"That is because I am a black sheep. Social media however is full of ideological sheep who will keep bleating what their ideology states. They will beat you with sheer persistence if not through personal attacks."

"Ok. I give up now. What do I do now?"

"Close down all your social media accounts and spend your time on something more productive. Like say getting me some fresh grass. And a tub of clean water while you are about it."

6 comments:

Jayashree Srivatsan said...

Oh yes its black sheep everywhere and these pens (aka letters from keyboards) are sharper than swords if not mightier !Nice to be back here Karthik !

T F Carthick said...

Nice to catch up with you after such a long time, Jayashree. Hope to be writing something more regularly in the coming days.

Umashankar said...

The allegory of the sheep is sheer brilliance. The index of bogus intelligence in humans is rising in a proportion that is directly inverse to the loss of simplicity. I am afraid it is a state of affairs where Charles Darwin is in imminent danger of losing his prominence to Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. We could be stretching our argumentative neck beyond reason at our own peril.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Umashankar. Indeed. We don't know where our civilization is headed towards.

mahesh said...

No wonder, mutton biriyani is becoming so popular - all the black sheep are being slaughtered :)

T F Carthick said...

Ha Ha, Mahesh. Hope you enjoyed a good Bakrid.

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