“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” Carl Jung

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about equanimity. Let me preface, without writing another sentence, that the secret anxiolytic elixir of life is equanimity. I don’t usually bestow such praise on any one quality but – in the case of equanimity – it is warranted.

What is equanimity?

Equanimity is not a virtue or emotion but instead a skill. Equanimity is the ability to remain stable and composed when under stress. Equanimity is the skill to exercise calmness in the midst of a storm; the faculty to remain balanced in a state of disequilibrium. Equanimity comes and goes but, as you will see below, is a competence worth cultivating because it is essential for navigating the choppy waters that we are sure to encounter. Without equanimity, there is a propensity to slide into reaction without strategy.

Stability Under Stress. Composure Amidst Concern. How do we go about cultivating equanimity? How do we strengthen ourselves to remain stable under stress? How do we exert control to remain composed amidst anxiety and concern?

The strategy I have found to yield the most benefit towards a state of equanimity is summed up as follows: “analysis without judgment”. Take any situation, especially those that cause you to have unpleasant feelings, and you will see that the negativity arises from the emotions we placate on situations. This is happening because, during our analysis of a situation, we judge. Consequently, when we judge, we attribute qualifiers like “good”, “bad”, “terrible” that ultimately spawn anxiety and fear.

Alternatively, exercise the skill of analysis without judgment as follows:

1. Analyze the situation or conflict.

2. Assess the relative consequences possible.

3. Decipher the relative impact of different strategies to a satisfactory resolution.

No need for anxiety, fear or pain in any part of this process. By taking away judgment, you remain with analytic faculties to work out a solution. You will notice that this allows you to remain composed despite chaos and disaster. There is a wonderful Tori Amos quote that I believe sums up this strategy well and I paraphrase to: “It’s okay when everything is not okay.”


MEDICINE & MACULA: Today, Sunday September 24, I have the privilege of walking with my wife Jasmine and my children Max, Leo and Paloma as part of the VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA (VRS) team for the Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk.

Today is the 11th Annual Twin Cities VisionWalk to be held at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis MN. The VisionWalk Mission – Changing Lives One Step at a Time – speaks to the fact that since its inception in the Spring of 2006, VisionWalk has raised over $45 million to fund sight-saving research.

Great time walking with my family and the VRS team for a wonderful cause! Many thanks for everyone who participated!


GRATIS: “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)


My best to you,

David Almeida


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 “Your first ritual that you do during the day is the highest leveraged ritual, by far, because it has the effect of setting your mind, and setting the context, for the rest of your day.” –Eben Pagan


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the concept of a morning ritual. The morning ritual is the practice of having some set approach to the commencement of the day. The morning ritual is a strategy that will support a composed and successful mindset for the day. Despite the challenges, surprises and shortcomings that lie ahead, the morning ritual allows for preparation. From innovators to iconoclasts, found in teachers and thinkers alike, almost all individuals of genuine merit prescribe to some sort of morning ritual.

“Despite the challenges, surprises and shortcomings that lie ahead, the morning ritual allows for preparation.”

What is the morning ritual?

The morning ritual can take many forms: meditation, exercise, reading, journaling, nature walks, stretching, thought exercises are just a few examples. The overarching purpose of the morning ritual is to allow you a few moments of honest self-reflection. In reality, it actually doesn’t matter what your morning ritual is or how you do it; the focus is to have one that allows you to connect with yourself in a genuine manner. Over time, you can hone the morning ritual as a barometer of your willingness and preparedness for the uncertainties that await you.

“The overarching purpose of the morning ritual is to allow you a few moments of honest self-reflection.”

Now, it is important to note that this genuine willingness to look at yourself has much less to do with catering to emotional whims but rather, it is about curating strength in your ability to be ready for what lies ahead. The goal is to be poised and prepared for the traps and trickery that suffocate modern life. Bias, rationalizations, lack of self-control can rob you of effectiveness and leave you to act as a reactionary animal. Use your morning ritual for a measure of peace as you align strategy with execution.

“Use your morning ritual for a measure of peace as you align strategy with execution.”


MEDICINE & MACULA: Last week, I was a guest on the Cognified Marketing & Selling podcast with Joel Gaslin. If you haven’t heard of this podcast before, it focuses on marketing and selling by blending multiple strategies and techniques. I had a great time discussing some of my decision diagnosis strategies as applied to marketing and selling. No matter what your background is, I think you wil find this episode insightful and intriguing.

You can find the entire interview here via the iTunes link.

For other episodes, transcripts and other information, check out the homepage here.


GRATIS: “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha


My best to you,

David Almeida


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“Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.” Billy Wilder


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about hindsight bias. In my opinion, this is one of the more comical fallacies for the degree of rationalization and inaccuracy inherent in its fabric. The hindsight bias, also known as the “knew it all along” effect, occurs when after an event has happened, we purport that we correctly predicted the outcome. However, the fallacy exists because there is no objective evidence for us having predicted the event.

Hindsight bias, commonly referred to as creeping determinism, is the basis for that feeling we get, “I knew it all long…”. For example, a patient presents with loss of vision and the eye physician diagnoses a retinal detachment. In summary, the doctor concludes, “I knew it! I had a feeling it was a retinal detachment”. Or take last year’s dramatic Super Bowl comeback win by the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons. In various debriefs, you heard fans, players and commentators alike with phrases like: “I knew we were going to come back and win” or “I knew we could do it”. In reality, there was no way possible to predict this. Sports and medical diagnoses are areas where the hindsight bias has been extensively studied. You can find a nice summary here by Neal J. Roese of Northwestern University. Hindsight bias is a decision trap because it falsely supports our ability to predict events that cannot be predicted.

In an excellent commentary, from the September 2012 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, psychological scientists Neal Roese and Kathleen Vohs (you can find the article here) show that we bias and selectively recall information that confirms what we know to be true; then, we synthesize a narrative to describe this truth. If our brain has an easy time creating this narrative, then we interpret it to mean that the outcome must have been predictable and we identify with having correctly predicted it.

How does hindsight bias hurt us?

Hindsight bias is troublesome because it limits our ability for introspection. We all have a need for closure and a strong innate desire to make sense of events. Whether they be close relationships, world politics or natural disasters, we strongly want to establish some order and cause to events. This benefits our view of ourselves and the world. However, much – if not everything – lacks any sense or logic. Randomness runs rampant! Hindsight bias limits our ability to learn from events because, if we feel we correctly predicted them, then it follows that we must be in tune with the decision-making process  – which is untrue if this fallacy is present. Contrastingly, with honesty, as witnesses to our errors and miscalculations, we gain valuable insight and maturity in how we come to terms with external stimuli.


MEDICINE & MACULA: I was in Barcelona, Spain this week for the EURETINA 2017 Congress.

On Friday (8 September 2017), I presented a talk on our recent findings and techniques for proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). My talk, Predictive factors for proliferative vitreoretinopathy formation after uncomplicated primary retinal detachment repair (David RP Almeida, Kunyong Xu, Eric K Chin & D Wilkin Parke III) looked at predictive tools for patients who develop this complex condition.

Many thanks for all the interest and international support!


GRATIS: “You can’t operate by hindsight.” -Max Baucus


My best to you,

David Almeida


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“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” -Angela Duckworth


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about grit. A trait commonly alluded to while, at the same time, rarely well-defined or understood. Most people identify grit as a requisite trait for success yet few can define its crystalline qualities. On today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub, let’s deconstruct the quality of grit and find ways which you can develop more of it.

What is grit?

Merriam-Webster defines grit as “firmness of mind or spirit” and “unyielding courage in the face of hardship”. In my opinion, the former definition lacks direction as it tends to imply “strength” without context. However, the latter definition is right on! Grit is the ability to withstand hardship without compromise to integrity, intuition and individuality. Grit allows your character to carry on despite conflicts and confusion. Without grit, you risk being swallowed by the tides of misfortune and disaster. Like the opening quote by Angela Duckworth, you can think of grit as the kind of energy and focus that allows you to push through the pain and fatigue of a marathon; having the dedication and courage to continue when all you want to do is quit.

“Grit is the ability to withstand hardship without compromise to integrity, intuition and individuality.”

How do I acquire grit? How do I get more of this ephemeral quality?

This is a question I am frequently asked. First, I do not believe that you are binary in this regard; i.e., you are either born with grit or not. To the contrary, grit can be pursued the same manner meaning in sought when faced with despair. If grit is the ability to maintain courage and withstand hardship, then surely discomfort is the surest path to this goal. 

How do you know if you have the necessary grit to face hardship? 

Start by reveling in instances of discomfort. If these occur, don’t retreat. Instead, maintain focus on your goals and ensure your objectives remain intact. When faced with a negative fury, brace and stay committed to what brought you there. See it through and you will find that it was grit that accompanied you across the finish line.

“If grit is the ability to maintain courage and withstand hardship, then surely discomfort is the surest path to this goal.”

I do not wish you calamity or disaster, but discomfort is ok. The call to action from today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub is, over the next week, look for instances of discomfort. Identify what makes the situation or scenario uncomfortable. Next, align the original motives that brought you there and make sure you see them through. Take joy in these instances and you will begin to find that discomfort is a challenge with positive consequence irrespective of a negative result.


MEDICINE & MACULA: It was fantastic to be an expert guest on The Don and Gino Radio Show and their new series, Interview With The Giants!

We discussed how to get uncomfortable, leadership and effective management strategies, Citrus Therapeutics and, of course, the effect of procrastination on decision-making. You can find the entire interview here.

You can also find the interview according to 4 topical segments via the YouTube links below. Many thanks again to Don & Gino!!

 Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Segment 4


GRATIS: Happy Labor Day and may you find joy in the celebration of hard work!


My best to you,

David Almeida


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“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the old proverb, “work is worship”. It’s one that my parents taught me and one I echo frequently. However, it is also one that I commonly get dumbfounded and exasperated queries for. It is commonly questioned whether work is not merely some mechanical action relegated to a necessary compromise for material survival. So, on today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub, I will explain how I adapt this ancient teaching into a daily motivator.

1. Your work is about you. Work does not define you but, how you carry out your work, does speak volumes about your character. We need to remind ourselves that our work – whatever it may be – gives us a tremendous opportunity to develop ourselves. When you are working, you are working on yourself: your temperament, patience, equanimity, and problem solving. Therefore, this is why putting in a weak effort is so troubling. When you deny yourself effort and care in your work, you are placating a similar weakness in yourself.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well” (Martin Luther King Jr.). To borrow more from MLK, simply put, carry out your work as the best possible reflection of who you are. This facet of emphasis supports improvement and the creation of a culture of excellence rather than the mere production of tasks and jobs. This is where work, and how you approach it, can facilitate a spiritual connection.

2. Work is work. Sometimes, work is just work. It can be painful and frustrating. This is ok. It does not mean quit your job. It does not mean you are a terrible person. It does not mean you have to replace coworkers. It means that, sometimes, work is work. Don’t deny this feeling but accept it. This provides calm during challenging times. Moreover, it is worthwhile to remember that, if you have the skill where you are paid for a task, then it follows that you should be able to execute certain functions despite frustration and fear.


MEDICINE & MACULA: Many thanks to New Retina MD for showcasing our publication on the cover of the July 2017 Mystery Cases issue.

Our case, The Adventure of the Upstate Traveler: A camper brings home an unintended souvenir from a camping trip (Robin Kuriakose, Lorna Grant, Eric Chin & David Almeida) will have you checking twice after going out in the woods…

Attachment of a deer tick to the conjunctiva is a rare event, with only a few reports in the literature. We report a unique case of tick penetration into the conjunctiva, specifically a black-legged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). You can find the case here.


GRATIS: “The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.” –Robert Frost


My best to you,

David Almeida


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“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the silent act of listening. This underused skill serves us in two major domains.

MINIMIZE SELF-TALK Self-talk comes in many forms – from self-deprecating jabs to words of encouragements – but its utility is limited. More often than not, negative self-talk can give way to dejection and apathy. Instead of turning to self-criticism, look for opportunities to listen to mind and body. This requires inner silence which allows us to gain insight and appreciate our levels of apprehension, anxiety, excitement or joy.

The effort to be silent and to listen to our emotions is crucial if we are to be “in the moment”. The act of being present, requires stillness so that we reflect what our emotions are trying to communicate to us. I have never found self-talk to be of any help. As the quote from Bob Proctor so nicely states, “Don’t be a victim of negative self-talk – remember you are listening.” On the other hand, an ability to remain silent and control reactionary forces is always of use and can guide us through turbulent times.

HAVE COURAGE TO LISTERN TO OTHERS Listening is a difficult and challenging skill. It takes courage to listen to others. Winston Churchill writes regarding this pursuit: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” We have archetypes of action and heroism but, let us not forget, the strength it takes to listen to others. To collaborate and effectively communicate, there must be a desire to genuinely listen, with both attentiveness and care. By the sheer frequency of times we turn to smartphones during encounters, you can see a significant weakness in our ability to connect.

As a call to action, go out this week and fight the desire to interject and interrupt. Be silent and listen, and you quickly come to appreciate the wealth of knowledge available to you. At the very least, follow the words of Epictetus and aim to listen twice as much as you speak.


MEDICINE & MACULA: It was a real pleasure to be on the Savvy Business Radio Podcast! You can check out my interview, which aired on Thursday August 17, here.

We talk about decisions, procrastination and effective entrepreneurial platforms. Check it out as well as all the other excellent past episodes available.


GRATIS: Last Sunday (August 13) Citrus Therapeutics, cofounded by Eric Chin and myself, were selected as finalists for the inaugural ASRS Winning Pitch Challenge.

We presented rationale for our new early phase therapeutic, CTX1, a novel agent for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Although we did not win, we are grateful for the feedback and honored to be on stage with a diverse group of innovative retina specialists. The “Shark Tank” atmosphere with a fantastic panel of judges and investors was a lot of fun and we look forward to more in the future.

For more info, check out the Citrus Therapeutics website here.


My best to you,

David Almeida


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“The arousing of prejudice, pity, anger, and similar emotions has nothing to do with the essential facts, but is merely a personal appeal to the man who is judging the case.” Aristotle


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the logical fallacy of appeal to emotions. This occurs when emotion is manipulated to win an argument. Rather than presenting evidence or facts, emotion is used to persuade a desired viewpoint. In this fallacy of argumentum ad passions, emotion is used to weaponize opinion in place of reason. Consequently, the resultant logical construct lacks validity.

“Appeal to emotions is a logical fallacy that occurs when emotion is used to weaponize opinion in place of reason, resulting in argument without validity.”

Here is an example from the good folks at logicallyfallacious.com“X must be true because imagine how sad it would be if it weren’t true.” In reality, sadness has nothing to do with the statement for X being true or not because statements cannot, in of themselves, be sad (or happy). This fallacy is easy to spot because it will invoke emotions (e.g., sadness) for a belief in place of evidence.

Another example. Politicians argue that if you vote for their opponent, their opponent will cut programs that keep you safe. The appeals to fear and safety are being manipulated. Or, one we have all seen, commercials asking you to donate money as they show you a natural disaster or a scene of poverty. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with helping people after an earthquake or in desperate need; on the contrary, go out and help the downtrodden! But, as far as an argument goes, what you should be considering is the charitable organization, how much of donated funds actually get to the program in question, how well positioned the organization is for outreach in the affected area, etc. Emotional appeal distorts the argument because it preys on our desire to want to agree with a vantage point.

The use of emotion and persuasive language is a deceitful approach to discourse and seeks to succeed on the back of an emotional-based strategy. Don’t get emotional! Emotions are highly personal and, as grounds for an argument, cannot be verified. The biggest perpetrators are appeals to the negative emotions of fear, anxiety, anger and sadness and the positive emotion of hope. These are emotions we strongly associate with and thus create an opportunity for exploitation by those seeking to sway us.

On today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub, the call to action is to recognize that emotions are powerful and can evoke great appeal to your argument; however, it must be in the context of logic and evidence. Together, evidence and emotion are superlative. But, without evidence, you have a baseless appeal to emotion that is devoid of real meaning.


MEDICINE & MACULA: I’m at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) 35th Annual Meeting in Boston this weekend.

Later today, we will be presenting one of our studies: “Efficacy of Intravitreal Sustained-Release 0.7mg Dexamethasone Implant For Diabetic Macular Edema Refractory to Anti-VEGF Therapy: Meta-Analysis”. Alexander Ringeisen, first year vitreoretinal surgery fellow at VRS, will be presenting. Many thanks to our coauthors Zainab Khan, Robin Kuriakose, Maryam Khan and Eric Chin. This study provides further insight into the benefits of multi-modality therapy for diabetic macular edema, the most common cause of vision loss in working age individuals.


GRATIS: Also later today, Eric Chin and I – cofounders of Citrus Therapeutics – were selected as finalists for the inaugural ASRS Winning Pitch Challenge.

This will take place in the main auditorium and we will be presenting our new therapeutic, CTX1, a novel agent for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Stay tuned for updates!



My best to you,

David Almeida


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“Things are not quite so simple always as black and white.” -Doris Lessing


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the concepts of moral relativism and moral absolutism.

Let me digress for a few sentences.

This past Wednesday, I was watching one of my kids play soccer and intrigued by how little the score and the eventuality of a “winner” or “loser” was to the kids playing. Sure, they understood that whatever team scored the most goals was the winner, but the purpose of the event was beyond the outcome of a binary winner and loser.

Moral absolutism refers to a set of ethics or principles that are fixed in time. In this system, there are principles that are always right or wrong and beyond debate. There is always a winner or loser based on defined criteria. Contrasting, moral relativism holds that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong, black or white; winner or loser depends on context. To the relativist, circumstances are crucial to uncovering the character of a person or conflict.

The debate between absolutism and relativism – whether it be philosophical or cultural – is centuries old, and despite our best efforts, we will not solve it here. Instead, the goal for today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub is to make you aware of these powerful differing views that permeate significant portions of our headspace.

On the one hand, the pursuits of life are beyond simply a winner and a loser. Limiting yourself to transactional interactions risks being devoid of fundamental insight into the machinations of motive and meaning. However, at the same time, one must be weary of having no absolute ideals and default to rationalizing any act. The latter has been the calling card of many oppressive societies.

“Limiting yourself to transactional interactions risks being devoid of fundamental insight into the machinations of motive and meaning.”

So, what do we do?  

In my opinion, the sanguine approach is to beware the limits of binary absolute outcomes and embrace the diversity of relative viewpoints. This allows to circumvent the curt effect of a black and white world while at the same time still allow for the questioning and query essential for a just existence.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.


MEDICINE & MACULA: Many thanks to the Journal of VitreoRetinal Diseases and the American Society of Retina Specialists for publishing one of our recent reports, West Nile Virus Chorioretinitis With Foveal Involvement: Evolution of Lesions on Optical Coherence Tomography (Gary L. Yau,  Eric K. Chin,  D. Wilkin Parke, Steven R. Bennett & David R. P. Almeida).

It was published in the March 2017 issue of the journal and describes the clinical course of foveal West Nile virus chorioretinitis.

You can find the publication here.


GRATIS: “Changing the game is a mindset.” -Robert Rodriguez


My best to you,

David Almeida



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“I’m a culture vulture, and I just want to experience it all.” -Debbie Harry


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about what it means to be a culture vulture. This is a term that I have comes to admire with great esteem! I was born in Portugal, grew up in Canada, did a PhD in Hungary, an MD in Canada, and an MBA in the USA. I did my vitreoretinal surgery fellowship in Iowa and now I am proud to be part of VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA and call Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota my home.

Throughout this extended journey, I have had the privilege of experiencing different cultural mores and philosophies. Some that I like and some that I don’t. Parts which I emulate and others I prefer to distance myself from. This has been a wonderful and expanding learning experience allowing me appreciation of cultural breadth. Needless to say, over the years, I have enjoyed being a culture vulture!

Within the Urban Dictionary, one of the  definitions of a Culture Vulture is “a person who loves art, music, movies, and dance, and all forms of culture so much that they consume whatever they find.” The consumption of culture is a bona fide way to open yourself to a myriad of experiences.

Now, there is one issue that we must note; the mass consumption of culture can be confusing if you curate without context. While I have no issue with exposure to all forms of art or culture – both good and bad – you still need to be cognizant of that which you are incorporating into your practices. A degree of discernment, a slice of skepticism, query and questioning always need to be present.

As we close out the month of July, here in the western hemisphere, we find ourselves in the depths of summer. In this season of sun and adventure, I encourage you to enjoy the rest of the summer and be a culture vulture! Go out experience a wide range of contexts. Curate experiences outside your comfort zones. Take bites of the extensive palette in front of you.


MEDICINE & MACULA: A special thanks to Dr Parnian Arjmand MD, a senior ophthalmology resident from the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). She visited us here at VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA in Minnesota in July for a research elective. Dr Arjmand analyzed outcomes in challenging cases of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) which is an ongoing active area of study for us. Additionally, she collaborated on developing a novel vitreoretinal surgical technique for optic pit maculopathy. We will keep you posted on the exciting findings from these studies!


GRATIS: “If your friend is already dead, and being eaten by vultures, I think it’s okay to feed some bits of your friend to one of the vultures, to teach him to do some tricks. But only if you’re serious about adopting the vulture.” Jack Handy (Deep Thoughts)


My best to you,

David Almeida


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“The light obtained by setting straw men on fire is not what we mean by illumination.” ―Adam Gopnik


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the straw man fallacy. This is one of the most common logical fallacies that I see occurring in media, television, social commentary and public discourse. Touching everything from science to religion, entrenched in politics and ethics, the straw man fallacy is a hurtful and dishonest approach to discussion.

The straw man fallacy occurs when someone attempts to rebut a discussion by diverting the argument to an unrelated topic. For example, someone purports that A leads to B. The other person then attacks by bringing forth argument C. The perpetrator of the straw man fallacy, instead of opining about the argument that A leads to B, attacks position C which us unrelated and designated as the “straw man”. In practical terms, the straw man fallacy causes gross distortion of the original position by misrepresenting it with another point.

“In practical terms, the straw man fallacy causes gross distortion of the original position by misrepresenting it with another point.

I am disenfranchised by how often I see individuals attack straw man with loud voices, distasteful words, and erroneous opinions. See, the problem is, people love to attack the straw man because the straw man does not fight back. It is unrelated to the original argument which sometimes catches the first person off guard. Now, the attacker of the straw man proclaims victory in the argument but, all the while, not realizing that the straw man attack is unrelated to the original position. In actuality, the original argument is untouched by the gauche comment.

It is important to realize that, at times, there may be nothing wrong with the argument created by the one attacking the straw man – it might be correct or accepted as fact. However, it is unrelated to the original argument and therefore lacks correct context. The straw man fallacy is an easy logical fallacy to catch and many times takes the form of a counterargument beginning as “well, how about…” or “but, how about…”. What frustrates me most is the few times this logical fallacy is called out.

Now, how can this help your strategy?

When you are faced with someone attacking the strawman, DO NOT shift to their argument. Call out the fallacy, and return the discussion to the original topic. You must avoid the incredulous feelings that give rise to perplexing anger. Simply call out the fallacy and redirect them to the initial point.

This simple tactic will exhaust the ability of your counterpart to attack the straw man by diverting the discussion to the original point. The burden of proof is not on you to defend the straw man because he has no place in the argument. Your gamesmanship is to re-direct the argument to the proper context. Do not fall victim to the straw man!


MEDICINE & MACULA: The power of placebo is a real effect! A 2014 knee pain study found that 74% of patients who underwent placebo knee surgery described deriving some benefit. This was as effective as the actual elective surgery about 50% of the time. The routine of fasting, anesthesia, fake incisions – independent of actual surgery – seems to have a dramatic effect in patients undergoing elective surgery.

FiveThirtyEight.com has a fantastic piece on this (check it out here). You can find the study, Use of placebo controls in the evaluation of surgery: systematic review (BMJ 2014;348:g3253) here.

Sham or placebo surgery is a controversial topic in medical ethics but studies like this show that, without well designed placebo controlled trials of surgery, ineffective treatment may continue.


GRATIS: “A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.” -O. Henry


My best to you,

David Almeida


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