Main Criticalresearch Failure Discussion

Collapse/Expand Topics

04:43:07 AM Jan 9th 2017
edited by XSpectreGreyX
Copied from Ask the Tropers:

So I added something to the page waaaaaaaay back when, and noticed it had been removed. Checking the history, troper Viira deleted it along with a ton of other entries with the reasoning that if it needs to be explained, the trope doesn't apply. However, many, many examples are explained and aren't exactly common knowledge, and I've been told the trope IS a YMMV thing so the examples shouldn't have been removed. Can I re-add them?
05:48:49 PM Aug 22nd 2016
edited by Naram-Sin
The page in its current state isn't very helpful. As it is now, it's entirely up to the troper to determine what is a critical research failure and what is not. I know I don't care two bits if there was no minieruption in St Helens in the year 50 Shades of Grey says or not. In my opinion, a critical research failure should be:

"An error so massive or so critical to the consecution of a plot, that correcting it would eliminate the plot or alter it completely". In other words, "things you should look up before writing a story about X".

In the example above, the solution would be to change the year to the one the last eruption happened. Or change the volcano to a fictional one. Or assume that it's a fictional eruption for narrative purposes, who the hell cares.

A critical research failure would be something like making a book about an eruption, but the volcano inexplicably spills liquid water instead of lava and the ocean nearby drains. Or Grey is a scientist sent to study that eruption, but instead of a vulcanologist he is a linguist and is told that they don't have anyone else because there are no vulcanologists in America. Or placing St Helens in Mexico and making Grey's need to learn Spanish before he can go there a subplot. Or making up that only women can study volcanoes so Grey must crossdress to do his job. Whatever.
04:33:03 AM Sep 4th 2016
In other words change the trope to something else entirely? If you think we need such trope there is YKTTW for that. Besides i've looke through the page and it says nothing about any minieruption in 50 SOG. All examples you've pointed out would still qualify for this trope, and i see no need to replace this trope with something else entirely.
12:06:18 AM Jun 3rd 2016
  • Insaniquarium has Gumbo, a male, deep-sea anglerfish. There are several things wrong here:
    • Deep-sea fish cannot survive anywhere near the surface, much less in an aquarium.
    • Only females have the classic anglerfish shape and size; males are much smaller.
    • The light is due to bioluminescent bacteria, hence cannot be switched on or off.
When i was i kid i've read a huge book about sea life and i didn't know that anglerfish males and females are significantly different. I don't think this is basic sea-like knowledge it's not like they've mistaken dolphin for a fish. It's too specific and specialistic for casual viewer to notice, i don't think this falls under CRF.
04:46:04 PM Jun 3rd 2016
It can always be put under Artistic License – Biology and Animal Gender-Bender
03:08:27 PM Jun 22nd 2016
Yeah, it can. However it's to specialistic to fit here.
05:24:12 AM Dec 2nd 2015
Under Literature, the Twilight Series: "the distance between Houston and Galveston is 153 miles, according to Google Maps." If so, Google Maps has made a ludicrous error. The distance between Houston and Galveston is about 51 miles — Google Maps shortest driving distance (Directions function) is 50.9 miles, downtown to downtown. This does not change the underlying point — that it's a distance that can't be traveled by horse in one night. Still, for anyone from Texas, it's a "say what?" error.
09:08:13 PM Nov 9th 2015
> In Stephen King's novella The Body, the 12-year-old protagonist wrote a bunch of stories about Americans trying to take a French town from the Nazis... in 1942. Only two years later did he find out that the Allies didn't land in France until 1944

Oh, the irony. 1942 saw an attempt to take a French town from the Nazis which involved the participation of a small contingent from the US Army.
08:39:36 PM Aug 16th 2015
edited by supergod

This makes it look like all examples in the Artistic License pages are critical research failures, when many of those examples are either deliberate or not well known as inaccurate to the average person (or both). I think it should be reworded to say that examples can be found on those pages, but without the implication that all entries on those pages are examples of it.
09:01:34 AM Aug 19th 2014
edited by
"In Moby-Dick, Herman Melville/Ishmael consistently asserts that whales are fish. There's a whole chapter on it. He even goes on to warn of those who might lead the reader astray through talk of mammals and the like, which he essentially counters with "Come on guys, they're totally fish." Although he does acknowledge that they breathe air and give birth to live young, he still insists that they are, somehow, fish. Possibly a deliberate example of Unreliable Narrator, with Ishmael making the error, not Melville. Blurs with Science Marches On."

Clearly not an example - Melville /and Ishmael/ not only acknowledges physiological differences between whales and "other fish", he even refers to the Systema naturae by Linnaeus - his insistent designation of whales as "spouting fish with horizontal tail" has much more common with colloquially widespread referring to any aquatic animal as fish, which his protagonists use. Actually it was quite scientifically acceptable until late 18th century (e.g. Grandfather Clause names such as crayfish, shellfish or now obsolete devilfish), and still more prevalent in common speech in early 19th century. I'm gonna to remove that entry.
09:36:53 AM Nov 24th 2013
This has apparently been reverted back and forth at least once, and I don't want to start or continue an edit war:

  • During their climactic fight in Man of Steel, General Zod yells to Superman: "There's only one way this ends, Kal. Either you die or I do!" Apparently Zod can't count because that's two ways.

This has nothing to do with research. It's simply an example of a character mis-speaking, which happens all the time in the real world. Maybe you could argue that it was out of character for Zod to make a verbal slip up like that, but that still wouldn't make this a research failure.
08:16:31 AM Nov 25th 2013
It's not even really a slip. The "one way" he's referring to is that one of them will have to die.
07:01:35 PM Oct 12th 2013
edited by
Some people seem to think this trope is about characters exposing an ignorance which is appropriate to their character (such as the 40 year old virgin example), as opposed to what it's actually about: the WRITERS exposing their extraordinary ignorance through an ostensibly knowledgeable character. Are there any objections to me going all Texas Chainsaw Massacre on this article to prune these out?
10:44:47 AM Oct 13th 2013
No objections here.
03:53:00 PM Oct 23rd 2013
This trope seems to cover both writer errors and in-universe errors, based on the description. So it may be better served by separating in-universe examples.

That said, there are a LOT of entries here that do not meet the laconic description of "A blatantly obvious factual error concerning common knowledge," and a chainsaw needs to be applied.
04:39:06 PM Oct 23rd 2013
Yes, In-Universe examples are allowed, heck those can go on a work's main page.
01:28:25 PM Aug 4th 2013
This example:

I'm entirely unclear at what the supposed research failure is here. Is it that whoever's asking the question may not have known that Dante wrote Dante's Inferno (which is questionable, as that phrasing can be used for emphasis) or the assumption that Dante is an expert on hell (most of Inferno is from his imagination, not Christian sacred texts)?
08:41:50 PM Sep 24th 2013
There's also the out-of-context problem. Was it meant for comedic or exaggerated effect, or was it being genuinely presented as true? Or as a handwave for some psuedo-science thing? That's the difference between being goofy for a laugh and a CRF.
05:23:05 PM Jul 17th 2013
It is not Critical Research Failure that someone with anemia will have difficulty breathing. While this isn't a common symptom, it's not uncommon, either. I get air hunger when my iron is low, and so do many other people. The fact that a lack of oxygen flow causes someone to feel short of breath shouldn't seem so wacky.
01:33:29 PM Aug 4th 2013
Cut the non-example.
04:28:21 PM Jun 21st 2013
The entry about Wales (first entry in Video Games) is a Critical Research Failure in itself. Wales is a by all means a country. The term 'country' is defined as 'legally identified distinct entity in political geography' that may or may not be independent and may or may not be constituent part of another country (the latter is a case of Wales). The presumed location north of England counts as Critical Research Failure, of course.
01:33:58 PM Aug 4th 2013
Fixed the entry. For future reference, that's a correction which would have been fine for you to do yourself.
05:24:46 AM May 10th 2013
I don't understand why this is YMMV. If something is wrong, and it is obvious that the creators didn't use an Artistic License it's Critical Research Failure. Seems definite to me.
05:36:25 AM May 10th 2013
Theres another thing: This trope is about errors that are obvious to any grown individual with a high school education and/or a cursory knowledge of the subject. If you feel the need to explain why the person has made an error (and it's not some character getting an in-universe fact wrong) then it is not this trope.

The "cursory knowledge of the subject" invalidates the following sentence. What about the people without a "cursory knowledge of the subject", why can't they know why there's an error? An example: the public seems to think that technologists (engineers) are technicians with a degree, everybody with a cursory knowledge about engineering knows otherwise. Another: the World Wide Web isn't the internet, why can't we post the sentence to explain the difference?
03:52:46 PM Jun 21st 2013
It's YMMV because of the 'critical' part. Some errors might be critical to an expert or just a knowledgeable person, but just an common error for common people who do not understand the gravity of mistake. Also, in works of fiction it is sometimes hard to tell (unless Word of God proves that) if this is a mistake of character (that might me deliberate to show her ignorance, a kind of Informed Disability), not of the creators.
08:46:40 PM Sep 24th 2013
^I ran an entry I put in today by my son to double-check it. He could give me two reasons besides the one I originally gave why that CSI: NY example is very much next-to-impossible for it to work. If the kid working on his algebra homework can tell something's wrong, then I think it qualifies. :p
04:35:30 PM Oct 6th 2013
Related to this, there's some disagreement over the Hitman entry under Film: In the Hitman film adaptation, 47 meets with an arms dealer under a false identity. When his cover is secretly blown, the dealer attempts to intimidate 47 by showing off some of his weapons and even threatening to kill one of his prostitutes with a pistol. In so doing he misidentifies aspects of every gun he picks up (such as calling an M 4 A 1 Assault Rifle with an M203 Under Barrel Grenade Launcher as an "M203 with under barrel grenade launcher").

While the error is obvious to someone familiar with guns, "common knowledge" about guns generally does not extend to model numbers.
08:27:28 PM Mar 30th 2013
edited by dm3588
Objection regarding the Red Dwarf example: The source of the confusion is that the line in question is not "I think, therefore I am," but rather "I am what I am," which I'm pretty sure WAS Popeye. Also, it's Rimmer who says it's Popeye, not Kryten. Lister first says it's Descartes, Rimmer corrects him, and Lister later corrects Kryten.
01:33:01 PM Aug 4th 2013
The original example was this:
  • Kryten also believes, "I think, therefore I am" was said by Popeye, not Descartes. This is actually the result of Lister misquoting Descartes and saying "I am what I am", which Rimmer points out was actually said by Popeye. When Lister repeats the quote to Kryten, now attributing it to Popeye, Kryten thinks it was Descartes.

I've pulled it from the page because between the original example and the above statement, I can't make heads or tails of who actually got confused over what.
10:21:54 PM Mar 5th 2013
edited by IraTheSquire
Should this trope go under the "Lack of External Consistency" in Consistency?
07:19:43 PM Mar 1st 2013
From the non-fiction Weird Michigan: "Customers looking for a summer ice-cream treat don’t need to worry; there is no hemlock (the drink Aristotle did himself in with) in the soft-serve cones at the Hemlock Whippy Dip." If you don't already know why this is a problem, see Socrates’ Very Own Page.

Whatever there used to be about hemlock on the Socrates page isn't there anymore. I hesitate to delete the example just because of this, but I don't understand it & I think I'm reasonably well-informed (I know the plant called hemlock on the American continent isn't the same thing & isn't deadly... but I still don't understand if that's what the troper is referring to?)

Anyway, if the original troper sees this, could you fix the example by specifying what's the deal?
12:25:04 AM Jan 10th 2013
edited by irrevenant
  • In "Firework", Katy Perry claims a rainbow comes after a hurricane. In another, she claims hummingbirds make honey.

(1) I assume that first sentence is implying that rainbows don't follow hurricanes? I've been fortunate enough to never experience one but if they come in off the ocean and are accompanied by rain I would expect a lot of residual condensation in the air afterwards which is a perfect environment for rainbows. Here is a photo of one following Superstorm Sandy in NYC. This seems far from a Critical Research failure.

(2) The second sentence appears to be referencing the song "Hummingbird Heart". (Lyrics here).

Shakespeare it's not, but it's also never says that hummingbirds make honey.

(1) For the most part Perry's not saying she is a hummingbird, but rather that he makes her heart beat like the wings of one.

(2) The line "spread my wings and make me fly" is metaphorical, but the line "this is the story of the birds and the bees" allows for her to be (metaphorically) a bee rather than a hummingbird anyway.

(3) The only line about honey is "The taste of your honey is so sweet". Regardless of whether she's a hummingbird or a bee she never made the honey in the song.

(4) In the song, he is analogised a few times to a flower so it's entirely possible the "honey" is not literally honey anyway, but nectar. (Aside: Apparently hummingbirds will eat honey, but it's not a good idea to feed it to them as it can carry diseases to which they are susceptible).

Aaaaand this is perhaps the silliest argument I've ever had to have. >_>

Since the original paragraph falls far short of a Critical Research Failure, can I nuke it please?
11:46:23 PM Jan 9th 2013
edited by irrevenant

"Critical Research Failure" means that Taylor Swift missed the point of Romeo and Juliet. Did she? Keep in mind that the song is not literally about Romeo and Juliet, it is (to quote the other wiki) "about a love interest of Swift's who was not popular among Swift's family and friends. Because of the scenario, Swift related to the plot of [...] Romeo and Juliet".

(1) The lyric is actually ' And my daddy said "Stay away from Juliet" '. In the play Juliet's family hated Romeo (and all the Montegues) so that matches.

(2) The Scarlet Letter reference is a bit wobblier. The scarlet letter does indicate adultery, but its main effect was to mark Hester as an outcast, ostracised by the community. If Swift's family and friends disapproved of her being with a particular boy, she probably felt like this. A bit melodramatic? Yup. Critical Research Failure? Not even close.

As such, I'm tempted to just remove this entire bit, unless anyone has any objections?

P.S. I am slightly irritated at this wiki for making me have to defend Taylor Swift. -_-
01:16:27 AM Nov 26th 2012
edited by
Removed the following examples because they're not "errors that are obvious to any grown individual with a high school education".


Requires knowledge of specific Video Games.

  • In the second Die Hard movie, the villains shut down air traffic control at Washington Dulles International Airport so as to prevent interference with his plot. As a result, planes don't receive landing instructions and have to circle the airport, as their fuel runs out. There's just one problem: FAA regulations state that all airline flights must carry enough fuel to divert to another major airport close by in case of an emergency like the one depicted in the film. There are two major airports in the DC Metro Area, Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and three if you count Baltimore-Washington International Airport, which, as the name implies, is about halfway between the two cities. Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base) could certainly handle a number of emergency landings in a pinch. In short, the suspense of the movie never should have happened. They attempt to Hand Wave it away in the movie by saying that the storm shut the other airports down, but other major airports like Philadelphia, Richmond, Newark, etc., aren't all that far away, and the planes would have been rerouted long before they reached bingo fuel. So that's two CRFs for the price of one.

Requires knowledge of how the U.S. air traffic control system works.

  • Roman Dusk uses the wrong word for Roman underfloor heating. Usually something like this would be a trivial and excusable error - but instead of hypocaust, it's referred to as holocaust. And compounding the Unfortunate Implications, due to the nature of a hypocaust, it's often mentioned in sentences like "...was at full burn". And it's not just a typo - it's used throughout.

Requires knowledge of the correct word for Roman underfloor heating.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the recent season of the American Big Brother, Julie Chen says that that's probably the first time Jordan won Head of Household. Actually; she won Head of Household twice the previous time she was on. Even if you don't count the first time (Which Jeff threw for her), she still won the final one by herself. Normally this wouldn't qualify, but it's their own show.

Requires knowledge of multiple seasons of Big Brother.

  • Reviews On The Run's 2010 Blu-Ray award special gave the best voice actor to Kevin Conroy for his performance in Batman: Under the Red Hood. While Conroy voiced Batman in the DCAU and for some other projects, he wasn't in Under The Red Hood. That was Bruce Greenwood.

Requires knowledge of who was the voice actor for a specific cartoon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The various armor types in Dungeons & Dragons. There has historically been exactly one type of armour made from interlocking rings, and its name is mail. Not chainmail, not ringmail, not splint mail, not banded, mascled or augmented mail but mail. Likewise, the correct term for "plate mail" is plate armor and that of "scale mail" is scale armor. The D&D armor types have, nevertheless, become Common Knowledge, as many more people have played D&D or its various derivatives than have a cursory knowledge of real-world armor.

Requires knowledge of medieval armor.


Requires knowledge of what the X in Mega Man X means.

There were actually more than the above, but these were the ones that were clearly not examples.
07:57:48 AM Nov 26th 2012
The Batman example is still an example. It only requires knowledge of the video he was giving the award for, which should be obvious to anyone who's seen the video. It's not about having some obscure trivia, it's about knowing the name of the star of the movie. It'd be like someone saying that they really liked Gerard Butler's performance as Beowulf in that film.
02:28:54 PM Dec 4th 2012
edited by CarrieVS
I would like to disagree with your deletion of the Roman Dusk example. While the term hypocaust is not, perhaps, quite well-enough known to qualify, I would have thought that most people would be familiar enough with the word holocaust to notice that something was a little off there. As I tried to imply in the wording of the example, it wasn't so much that the wrong word was used as what was used instead that was the critical research failure.
12:06:37 AM Oct 21st 2012
Removed the claim that Australia 'is actually not a continent' because it very much is, as Google and a high school education make clear.
03:33:25 AM Jan 10th 2013
Well, technically it's a continent plus some islands (most notably Tasmania). :) But yeah...
06:36:34 AM Feb 3rd 2013
edited by CarrieVS
You could be excused for thinking otherwise, though, as some people learned in High School that it isn't - I was always taught that the continent is called Australiasia or Oceania, and Australia refers only to the country. Certainly, the country and the continent aren't the same - the continent includes some other countries.
08:56:24 AM Feb 3rd 2013
Continents are made out of granite bases. Ocean floor is made out of volcanic rock that sinks underneath granite, but there is granite underwater that is part of the continent. That is true of Madagascar. Madagascar used to be part of India, but then it split from it. The granite connected to Madagascar underwater slammed into Africa's granite. Therefore, Madagascar is considered part of Africa. It's not hard to see why some high schools would say Oceania or Australasia was the continent.
08:26:46 AM Apr 29th 2012
I've been doing some chainsawing of my own. One entry I chopped is this from Tabletop Games:

  • The 3rd Edition D&D sourcebook, Deities & Demigods, brought us such notables as Odin being good-aligned, when the myths show his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder helped cause Ragnarok due to the number of people he callously and willfully abused in his dealings; and Hephaestus having double human base speed, despite being a cripple who couldn't walk on his own. What makes this especially bad, however, is that the only plausible excuse is that They Just Didn't Care: the writer of the book was a mythologist previous to writing RPGs, and all of the above is relatively common knowledge for anyone studying those mythologies.
    • Zeus being Good-aligned goes all the way back to the 1st Edition Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia.
      • Also Hephaestus having double human base speed is because of the quasi-deity template. Having improved land speed comes with the whole "god" thing in D&D.
    • Set, the Egyptian god of Chaos and general dickery, is represented as Chaotic Evil. Ok, that makes sense. But he's also shown as a great ally of Apep. You know, the evil serpent of Darkness that Set is hired by Re to fight every night? The serpent that Set fights that is the only thing that redeems him just enough for everyone else to tolerate him? Yeah, best buds now.
    • Alternatively, given the majority of Dungeons & Dragons settings are based on Medieval Europe through the eyes of a Heavy Metal band, Crystal Dragon Jesus may be to blame for this oversight. Since the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of England needs a Christian (and often Catholic) analog, one might as well recast gods the players might have heard of instead of making them read sixty pages of exposition on a new setting they probably really don't care about. They'd rather get back to mashing orcs.
    • The Spanish translator of one Dungeons & Dragons book made several sarcastic comments about research errors. One of them talks about the edgeless estoc having the picture of a sabre. Another one points out the author using concepts from the Far West in a Medieval Europe setting. There is another section where the author talks about the law frowning upon those who take it into one's own hands, and the translator points out that is "politically correct"... for the 21st century, but back in that time the author would have not been even close. Oh, and the translator usually remarks that the author is a dumb American.

I think this is really just The Great Character Alignment Debate, but with "official" sources as opposed to random tropers. And mostly not 'critical errors in any event. E.g., the vast majority of modern pop-culture depictions of Zeus *do* depict him as "Good".
08:32:52 AM Apr 29th 2012
And another from Tabletop games:

  • FATAL takes this to new levels by not just not doing any research, but actually doing minimal amounts of research, and then getting the things it researched wrong anyway. For example, "authenticity" is apparently when you take things people used to think were true (like the body's four humors, or men having more teeth than women) and treating them as if they were actually true.

I'm sure FATAL must have tons of CRF, but this version of "authenticity" is quite common in "quasi-realistic" fantasy. The old Darklands game worked on a similar principle, for instance.
03:16:34 AM Mar 25th 2012
I'm going to apply a chainsaw to this, and I'm going to be generous with it.
04:57:01 PM Apr 26th 2012
What does the number of clone troopers have to do with this?
12:58:39 AM Nov 25th 2011
  • This strip from XKCD. Very clever...except remote viewing and dowsing are used by major corporations for oil prospecting, as well as for locating aquifers and mineral deposits. The author also assumes that these two phenomena, which have been repeatedly verified by rigorous experimental research by accredited scientists, are somehow comparable to things like astrology and homeopathy.

A user keeps deleting this. It's valid, and here are some of my sources:

The books Reading the Enemy's Mind by Paul Smith and Superminds by John Taylor

I've never challenged a person's edit before, but it deeply offends me when people with no background casually dismiss science, whether it's parapsychology, climatology, or evolutionary theory.
03:30:23 AM Nov 25th 2011
We could get into a lively and flame-filled argument about the dubious science contained in the above sources... but it's not necessary.

Let's just assume for the sake of argument that you're correct, and that remote viewing and dowsing ARE valid sciences.

The problem is, they're still not TREATED as such by the mainstream. The reasons why don't matter for purposes of this trope. But saying "dowsing is bunk" is not "so egregiously off-the-scale of inaccuracy that anyone with a cursory knowledge of the subject" realizes it's a mistake.

The average person does not unquestioningly and automatically accept the validity of dowsing and remote viewing. People would not have anything like the "Bats aren't bugs!" reaction to someone who doesn't accept dowsing.
03:34:41 AM Nov 25th 2011
Don't you just love the "It must be true cos it says it on a website, which looks all official and stuff" argument

03:38:45 AM Nov 25th 2011
To put it more succinctly, Critical Research Failure isn't just about someone being wrong, it's about someone being obviously and blatantly wrong.
09:50:56 PM Nov 20th 2011
There used to be a page listing the Irate Gamer's mistakes. Why was this deleted? Is it backed up somewhere so it can be reinstated (assuming there wasn't a valid reason for its removal)?
07:24:39 AM Nov 21st 2011
Because it was used mainly to complain, as I'm given to understand.
03:49:45 PM Jul 7th 2011
edited by anonkun
Trojan condoms' slogan "Evolve." Um...

-Well, if you're talking about selective breeding...

—Sorry for explaining the joke, but the problem here is people who don't buy their product are "evolving", in a very loose sense.

-There is also this "Happy family life" condom dispenser in Japan...

—I can think of at least one guy who can see the Fridge Logic in how condoms can create a happy family life.

>—The condoms are not for creating a happy family life, they are for keeping it.

Would it be ok to add the last line, and in that case would someone do it for me? tvtropes is not my first language..
06:43:43 AM Jun 11th 2011
edited by Gaupa2
Well if you are only interested in this trope when it's used in storytelling then change the real life picture

im so sick of the "anti-bile" bullshit on here
09:35:36 AM Jun 4th 2011
"The film version of Ray Bradbury's classic "A Sound of Thunder" has a series of "time waves" mutating all life on Earth, in order, from oldest to most recently evolved. That's bad enough, but a fairly common misconception, and even the baboonosauruses require a certain amount of explanation as to why they're an example of Artistic License - Biology. Then, the scientist tells us that humans will be effected last, being, apparently, the most recently evolved. ACHOO!"

What the hell? How on Earth is this a Critical Research Failure? Man (along with polar bears) is one of the most recently evolved life forms on Earth.
05:15:47 PM Mar 28th 2012
I think they were probably thinking that domestic animals obviously evolved after humans since they require humans to exist.
04:17:15 PM Apr 29th 2011
Is there any reference in the D.Gray Man manga as to Marc actually being Catholic, rather than merely Christian?
03:45:49 PM Apr 12th 2011
Saving the Real Life page. Geez, what is with all these edits lately?

     Real Life 

  • It should be clearly evidenced from reading their works that most science fiction writers obviously aren't scientists. That's why they became writers.
  • The picture at the top of this page is protesting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. To answer the protester's question: Yes. Yes we did. In retrospect, we probably wouldn't now. But even if the Nazi regime had been in control of Germany when the decision was taken in 1931, it's fairly likely that Germany would have been awarded the Games anyway.
  • Turkish President Abdullah Gul really took the cake. During a recent visit to Moscow he eulogized about peaceful and harmonic relations between Russia and Turkey... for the last 400 years. Cheerfully ignoring the fact that for the best part of these four centuries said relations basically boiled down to one barely intermittent war.
  • In the build-up to the Iraq War in 2002, one CBC journalist claimed that "relations between Britain and France were at 'historical lows.'" Except that Britain and France have been at war with each other. Many wars, cumulating decades, even centuries. In fact, the history of Britain and France for most of their existence has been one of merrily slaughtering each other, pausing mainly to rearm. Britain and France being allies is a rather recent development.
    Edmund Blackadder: We hate the French, we fight wars against them! Did all those men die in vain on the field of Agincourt? Was the man who burned Joan of Arc just wasting good matches?
  • At one point in early 2007, a Canadian MP from Newfoundland complained about the European Union's plans to ban the import of seal products (seals are routinely killed and processed in Newfoundland) by saying that "There are two members of the European Union that also kill seals, and those are Russia and Norway". If you're laughing because Russia is obviously not part of the European Union, you might be interested in hearing that Norway isn't either.
  • Jack White of The White Stripes once said, "Think about it: every time there's a list of the 100 greatest records of all time, all those albums were recorded in two days". As Julian Baggini points out, the lists routinely include albums such as Dark Side of the Moon, Pet Sounds and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band which took many months to record and utilized the latest studio technology available.
  • Pop psychologist Cooper Lawrence on Fox News' Live Desk made a very imaginative characterization of video game Mass Effect, claiming it contained an "interactive sex sim" that allowed the player character to rape any character they wish, any time, in graphic detail, all the while the Fox affiliate staff making similarly stilted comments. Later it was discovered that Dr. Lawrence made these statements while in fact being completely and totally ignorant of the game's actual content. There is not doing research, and then there is pulling "facts" right out of your ass. Even notorious video game decrier Jack Thompson called her out on it. She later came out and admitted to the fact that she had not, personally, played the game, and after being talked into it admitted that it was an overreaction and that she was basically going off the research provided to her. So a CRF on the part of the writers, and a "Critical Lack of Fact Checking" on her part.
  • Apparently, two newspapers in Bangladesh picked up and ran a story from a well-known American news outlet, to the effect that Neil Armstrong had finally admitted that the Apollo moon landings were fake. The source of the story? The Onion. Oops.
    • More jarringly, the The Onion article doesn't even say that Armstrong admitted the landings to be fake. It says that Armstrong got convinced by a conspiracy theorist that the landings were faked. Not only does this show a critical failure at making some basic source material research by those newspapers, it also shows a total lack of thinking logically.
    • There have been other cases over the years. For instance, the Beijing Evening News published a story about Congress threatening to move unless they got a retractable dome for the Capitol building (from a story in The Onion satirizing sports teams' stadium demands).
  • In an editorial arguing against universal health care, Investor's Business Daily said "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless." Hawking was surprised at this article, since he is English and lives in the UK. He replied "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS...I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived." Which was then followed up that the claim that Hawking only got the treatment he needed because he was a world-renowned scientist worth a lot of money to the British government. When his ALS manifested, he had only just started on his Ph.D and was just another penniless student.
    • More to the point, who gets what NHS treatment isn't actually decided in shadowy rooms in Whitehall based on whether they're of use to the government or not.
  • An amusingly ironic example appears on a History Channel documentary about 9/11 theories, in which a conspiracy theorist self-righteously compares others' doubting his idea to how Galileo was mocked for saying the Earth was round. Apparently "goes around the sun" sounds like "is round". Or "Galileo" sounds like "popular misconceptions about Columbus".
  • Politifact, a web site that analyses quotes from various U.S. politicians and gives each quote a truth rating, tends to reserve its worst rating, "Pants on Fire," for this trope.
  • After the Matthew Shepard Act passed, affording protection as a class in hate crimes to gay people, Pat Robertson said that there "wouldn't be a chance" that the same protection would be extended to the religious. Yeah, about that...
    • On March 10, 2009, the Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that was designed to ignore the Shepard Act protections. However, the bill cited the wrong U.S. Code section (the section linked to above) rather than the one the Shepard Act added...which would mean that in Oklahoma, hate crime protection isn't afforded to the religious.
  • President Obama received a letter from a health insurance recipient urging the US government to not establish socialized medicine, but above all else, to never touch his Medicare.
  • Fred Phelps: "Homosexuals and Jews dominated Nazi Germany... just as they now dominate this doomed U.S.A."
    • I believe this sums that up quite nicely.
    • Unfortunately, Phelps is not the only one with this belief. See also: Scott Lively, responsible for The Pink Swastika, a "research piece" which claims that the Nazis, rather than kicking homosexuals into the camps, embraced them as an ideal and promoted the "homosexual agenda" as being intrinsic to fascism. He even claimed that the reason the Nazis were intent on exterminating Jews was because Jews were against homosexuality. And he's dead serious about all this.
    • Remember, this is professional Jerkass Fred Phelps we're talking about. He might have meant before the Holocaust, and the Nazis fixed the problem.
      • Or Phelps could be just bat-shit insane.
  • Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia recently expressed concern over a plan to station 8,000 additional troops in Guam...because the island might tip over and capsize.
    • He's since claimed it was a metaphor. Given that he was not using it in the way you might use a metaphor, and it's unclear what it could possibly be a metaphor for, this is apparently a Critical Research Failure as to the definition of the word "metaphor."
      • More recently, he expressed doubts over a plan to stop the summer 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by using a nuclear device to create an implosion that would suck the oil into a hole and collapse it. Was he concerned over the use of a nuke, which would be reasonable as most scientists think it would not only fail but make the spill worse? No siree. He was afraid the explosion would break a hole in the earth and all the ocean water would drain out.
      • Apparently the "tip over" part was the metaphor. He was trying to warn that putting an additional 8,000 people on the island would lead to a "tipping point" that would overburden the island's fragile ecosystem and infrastructure (YMMV on whether he was correct on that point) but his delivery was so deadpan that people didn't realize he was trying to be facetious.
  • So the entire universe is just the size of bowling ball, right? So when we take E=MC^2, we can just remove M, for mass, right? So, then we get E=the speed of light. Highlight of the video: Because all matter can be condensed to the size of a bowling ball, that means that all mass is the size of a bowling ball.
  • Grog XD. A journalist of an Argentinian channel did a report on Facebook, where teens would exchange alcohol recipes. One of such was "Grog XD". Regular internet users would know that XD is a smiley indicating laughter (and obviously sarcasm). Ignoring this however, we have the recipe, which contained ingredients like kerosene, battery acid and SCUMM. Needless to say, it was featured in Tales of Monkey Island.
  • Infamous young-earth creationist and fundamentalist Christian Kent Hovind's "dissertation" is full of this. A clear glance shows that he clearly did not do the research, but then you come across gems such as his claim that Muslims are dogmatic believers of evolution (it's not that there aren't Muslims who believe in evolution—like Christianity, most educated ones have reconciled evolution with their scriptures—but a majority of Muslims hold more or less the same beliefs as Hovind himself).
    • Any dissertation whose first sentence is "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind" is bound to be full of epic research fail.
    • Several other "facts" one could learn from Hovind - before the Biblical flood, every single animal was a vegetarian, eating peach pits can cure cancer and we only don't hear about this because of a pharmaceutical conspiracy (never mind the whole cyanide factor), and animals in nature don't get cancer.
      • The "eating peach pits cures cancer" comes from the quack drug Laetrile.
    • Some other Hovind gems: The Sahara desert has always been increasing in size (as opposed to presently increasing in size because rainfall there is presently decreasing). The oldest trees in the world are dated at 4400 years old (the "Prometheus" tree in Nevada has 4900 rings, and a living one in California has 4600, and there is a tree in Sweden estimated at 9550 years old). People growing old proves that it would violate the second law of thermodynamics for life to become more complex (even though children become more complex as they grow up without any violation of physical law, and the second law isn't a function of complexity in any case). The theory of "evolution" says that the first life forms came "from a rock" (for the actual theory about how electrical currents can cause certain molecules to form into amino acids and lipid bilayers that could become cell membranes, see abiogenesis). Satan wants to limit current human population growth to prevent humans from "stepping on his head" (which is not consistent with any major theologian's interpretation of Genesis 3:15). By the way, most of those were from just the first seminar in his series. Later presentations get into things like how there are dinosaurs hiding in a swamp in Africa and how there used to be fire-breathing dragons and a shell of water floating above the Earth for 1600 years.
    • Hovind blamed the Trail of Tears (beginning in 1831) on Origin of Species (published in 1859). Impressive! Hovind also claims that the only reason scientists deny the existence of Bigfoot is because Bigfoot disproves evolution. This may fall under another trope, though.
      • Being a Smug Snake con-man,it wouldn't be surprising if he intentionally uses this trope
  • Ray Comfort once claimed that the modern banana's user-friendly shape proves creationism. This in spite of the fact that wild bananas are nowhere near as conveniently shaped and are full of seeds; the modern, easy to use, delectable banana we see today was cultivated by humans.
    • Something similar even happened on Seinfeld ("God, he makes the peaches"), but given that it's a comedy... Still that hasn't stopped some creationists from believing that.
    • Not to mention that it's entirely subjective. Bananas are probably among the most inconvenient fruits to eat (of those that can be found in a supermarket), not least because half of its mass is inedible and needs to be removed and disposed of.
      • Maybe you should try opening the banana from the other end Apparently monkeys do it this way, and it's much easier than opening it from the stem.
      • And he's clearly never heard of symbiosis and mutualism if he thinks a neat-fit co-operation between bananas and humans immediately disproves evolution.
    • By his "logic", does the coconut disprove God, or just prove God hates us? In fact, forget the coconut, think about what the pineapple would prove.
    • Responding to someone who used the blind spot in the human eye as evidence against intelligent design, Ray Comfort recently said: "I don’t have a blind spot in my eye. Both of them see very well and I am thankful for the 137million light sensitive cells that make sight possible. Do you have a blind spot in your eye? If you do, I suggest that you see an optician and see if he can either fix it, or get you another eye.
  • The first anecdote on this page:
    The Hampshire emergency planning office said: "Rather than having to rely on telephones, for instance, where lines are at risk in bad weather, we are encouraging the wider use of fax machines."
  • While testifying in front of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Prop 8 advocate William Tam "identified 'the internet' as the source of information connecting same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest." Yes, you read that right. One of the prominent defendants (and one of only two witnesses in the case) of a initiative to ban same-sex marriage cited "the internet" as his justification. And people are wondering why the proposition was overturned?
  • Laura Ingraham, on The Colbert Report, objected to being referred to as "Ichabod Crane's banshee widow", because it was insulting to Native Americans. Thinking of Siouxsie and the Banshees, presumably.
  • The PTC recently claimed that a sexy pictorial featuring two of the actresses from Glee was "borderline pedophilia". Ignoring the fact that the actresses were in their 20's when the photos were taken and were not playing their characters in the shoot.
    • Not to mention the fact that even if they were it still wouldn't be pedophilia. It would be ephebophilia. There's also the fact that each of them have been in far more sexually explicit positions on the show.
  • Britain experienced a recent grass-roots campaign to identify and shame paedophiles (British spelling). A medical doctor came home to find the word "Paedo" painted on her house. Apparently the vandals didn't care to learn the difference between a paedophile (who has a sexual attraction to children) and paediatrician (A doctor who specializes in children). They were also unable to consider that a perpetrator of such an illegal and lewd behavior would not actively advertise it.
  • Columnist Gregg Easterbook of writes a column about the NFL called "Tuesday Morning Quarterback," and in it, he frequently criticizes coaches who have a lead for abandoning the run game (which keeps the clock moving) to keep passing (which stops it whenever someone drops a pass). Unfortunately, he chose to bring up the Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers playoff game from January 2010 as an example of this, criticizing Arizona's coach for continuing to pass even when ahead by a comfortable margin. However, Arizona's quarterback Kurt Warner was having one of the most dominant games by any athlete, ever, in any sport. And from the point which Easterbrook chose to reference, he only threw one incompletion.
  • The 2010 Olympics was given an extra mascot by a Polish newspaper misusing the power of Google Images. Canada was not amused.
  • From this Frank Miller interview:
    Miller: Nobody questions why after Pearl Harbour we attacked Nazi Germany. It's because we're taking on a form of global fascism. We're doing the same thing now.
    Conan: They did declare war on us.
    Miller: Yeah, what I mean is, so did Iraq.
  • In his review of The God Delusion, Terry Eagleton accused Richard Dawkins of this. He compared Dawkins talking theology to "someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds". Dawkins responded to this particular criticism by referring to the Courtier's reply argument and implying that Eagleton might be the one Complaining About Shows You Don't Like or Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch. Since the book's aims and subjects are controversial at best, the jury is still out on which of the two is actually committing the fallacy.
  • For Congressman Joe Barton, apparently, producing less CO2 would starve plants. One wonders how he supposes plants survived prior to the Industrial Revolution.
  • The No2AV (a British group opposing preferential voting) coalition's president, in her first speech in the post, criticised AV because "only three countries use it, and one of them, Fiji, is considering abandoning it". Fiji has been ruled by a military dictatorship since December 2006. The speaker was Margaret Beckett, Foreign Secretary between May 2006 and May 2007.
  • This news report shows reporters and parents being completely ignorant of how console updates work.
  • A ton of the quotes on FSTDT, a humourous website devoted to archiving quotes from fundamentalists (called fundies), suffer from this trope. Some notable examples (which one desperately hopes are poes) are the following claims:
    • Atheism is a sect of Islam. 1
    • Bats are birds because they fly and look like birds, and penguins aren't birds because they don't look like birds. 2
    • Scientists cannot explain why the planets orbit the sun. 3
    • Jesus and Moses would be insulted if someone called them Jewish. 4
      • While the rationale behind this is so unbelievably warped, there is some degree of truth to that particular statement. Jesus would likely have considered himself a Galilean, and Moses would have called himself an Israelite. The word "Jewish" did not exist in Moses's time, and in Jesus's time meant someone from Judea, whereas Jesus was from Nazareth, a city in the Galilee.
    • DNA has not been proven to exist. 5
    • If evolution was real, animals wouldn't need reproductive organs. 6
    • Science cannot explain rainbows. 7
    • Men have one less rib than women. 8
    • There is no such thing as the speed of light because light doesn't travel. Humans can see because our eyes emit beams from our eyes, not because light is reflected off of objects and travels into our eyes. 9
  • Bill Maher defended South Park when they were making fun of Muhammad in the 200th episode, and said this was a case of bad religion. Seth MacFarlane also said that no one was a bigger critic of religion than he was in response. They apparently missed the two-part episode "Go God Go", which very obviously depicts New Atheists as being just as much religious fundamentalists as the creationists they're at odds with, and Parker and Stone's later commentary that they feel physical pain while reading books by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and they blame people like that for the continued public intolerance of atheism in America.
  • You know you're in for a rough ride when a webpage starts out with "medical science has established that we have 2 strands of DNA and 10 strands of “junk” DNA." Whut.
  • Anyone who calls external female genitalia a vagina.
    • To be "fair", vagina is a more recognizable term than the proper one.
      • The proper one that you can use in polite company, that is. The other proper name for it...not so much.
  • In a Daily Mail Article, Janet Street-Porter attacked the Psychological Condition Depression citing it as a "Relatively new trend" before going on to criticize men suffering from depression as "Karmic justice for the years men controlled everything". As those words were written, a psychologist began crying somewhere.
    • There's a high probability that any sentence beginning "In a Daily Mail Article" will describe a Critical Research Failure.
  • Sarah Palin, while urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, decided to ridicule the idea of government spending on "fruit fly research in Paris, France" because it supposedly wasn't concerned with the public good. Little did she know (even ignoring the fact that fruit flies are a very standard lab specimen) that this so called "fruit fly research," which was actually in North Carolina, gave insight into the causes of autism.
  • In at least one of her many hate-filled diatribes well-reasoned opinion pieces on the subject of transsexuality, Germaine Greer claims that no biological males would ever claim to be transgendered if it were possible to implant a uterus into their bodies. For the record, the very first post-operative transwoman in history died as a result of her body rejecting just such a transplant.
  • Joe Biden thinks that the word "jobs" has three letters.
  • A Local TV news program (TV PATROL) in the Philippines stated that Martial Law that was implemented during the Marcos Era lasted for 20 years, It did not last for 20 years. It only lasted from 1972 to 1986 not 1972 to 1992 so that amounts to NINE years only.
  • Conservapedia straddles the line between Did Not Do The Research (because researching is part of the liberal conspiracy), Dan Browned, Insane Troll Logic, and Critical Research Failure with any given article, but the most famous example is its articles on Einstein's theory of relativity, which make the assertion that, basically, "Einstein was wrong because it sounds too much like moral relativism". Or, asRachel Maddow put it, as "E equals liberal plot to encourage godless relativism". Some gems they use as counterexamples to relativity include:
    • Temperature in the universe is uniform. (Disproved by the existence of hot and cold water taps)
    • Relativity has never lead to other scientific insights or applications, or ever saved lives. (Disproved by space rockets and GPS)
    • The change in mass in pieces of metal that have been subject to the elements.
    • Black holes violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    • On the point of Conservapedia, there is also the fine line between not-researching-because-facts-have-a-liberal-bias and not-researching-as-a-form-of-trolling. A great proportion of Conservapedia's editor, including several in Andrew Schlafly's inner circle, are known trolls. However, the above examples are written by Schlafly, so can't be excused as trolling.
  • One common image that's trotted out whenever the seal hunt takes place is that of whitecoats—baby harp seals. Most imagery is aimed at stopping the destruction of these youngsters. Canada outlawed the hunting of whitecoats in the 1980s—but adults aren't as cute. Also, when the seal hunt takes place, whitecoats are able to take care of themselves.
  • Anyone who makes some kind of "Faux News" joke without realizing "faux" is pronounced like "foe".
04:32:46 PM Apr 29th 2011
Because ungoodthink must be shouted down with righttext wherever it is found. Even on the internet... no, ESPECIALLY on the internet, because the business is so serious!
10:23:38 AM Mar 30th 2011
Regarding the singing and dancing rabbi in Babylon Five, I thought that was an interfaith gospel singing (IIRC, Lennier was also there, and I'm pretty sure he's not Christian).
04:15:58 PM Mar 16th 2011
Deleted: Obama example, for natter.

Re-added: Conservapedia (because, seriously, have you seen its articles on relativity)
05:26:57 PM Mar 9th 2011
edited by SantosLHalper
Pulled the FernGully example: deforestation really is a major threat to rainforests.
08:25:42 AM Jan 19th 2011
Will the people that keep deleting the Fox News section please stop, the report by the University of Maryland are accurate and fall under the definition given on this page, for instance a person can see that their income tax did not go up by looking at their paycheck and they can tell there is climate change by walking outside and comparing it to how it was a few years ago. Also there are no credible climate scientist that claim that global climate change is not happening, while there are a handful that go against the scientific consciences and argue that it is not manmade that is a far cry from claiming that it douse not exist
09:37:59 PM Jan 20th 2011
New examples at bottom. It isn't under "live action tv" anyways.

06:23:05 AM Jan 21st 2011
Also, read Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment. Just because you're super-duper-convinced that you're right doesn't make it so. Plus, re-read Critical Research Failure itself again. CRF is for errors that are blatantly obvious to just about everybody, even non-experts. Non-leftists comprise a significant percentage of the population "everybody," even if you think they're all cretinous morons.
09:24:24 AM Jan 21st 2011
I have read it and like I said before the mistakes they made were obvious to anybody that pays attention to things like their paycheck or the weather. I am a politics and policy grad student and work with several right wingers and listen to their arguments. While there might be one or two morons the majority of them are able to make smart and plausible arguments for their way of thinking even if I do not agree with them (I wish fox news could be more like them). While they show me why taxes will go up they admit it has not happened yet, and while they argue that climate change is not manmade they admit it is happening as evidence by the way the weather has changed. Even for right wingers saying these things are Critical Research Failures.
11:48:16 AM Jan 21st 2011
hartbreak, you are missing the point of the trope, and anyway, we don't need to invite flame wars by pushing political soapboxes onto the site. One more time adding this and you'll be wiki banned.
07:19:18 AM Jan 3rd 2011
Could someone just quote me the reason why we don't like justifying edits? It seems like a good way to make sure someone else who thinks the same way doesn't re-add the same incorrect entry.
11:19:36 AM Jan 3rd 2011
Tips Worksheet and Justifying Edit are the references you're looking for, but to be a little more specific, the idea behind articles is that they should look like they were written by the same person all the way through. Justifying Edits by definition defy this bulwark.

As far as the "incorrect entry" thing goes, the best way to deal with that is to identify the Playing with a Trope descriptor that actually describes how the work in question uses the trope, which can sometimes be "such and such work appears to use the trope, but actually". If it's genuinely Not an Example, well, then just delete it and move on. I've found that this works far better than Justifying Edits, which tend to lead to schizophrenic arguments that break the "one person" illusion.
04:44:26 AM Dec 6th 2010
edited by loracarol
NCIS: McGee types faster than Abby, he is the computer expert, not her. That is why he steps in with his own keyboard. He could try more advanced programs while she works on more simple steps. One could be in VMWare, the other on the actual OS. There is no single anti-hacking program that can be operated by two people at the same time. On the other hand, I still have to encounter the first real computer network/server that only allows access for one person.
09:24:06 PM Jan 9th 2013
Good thought, but I've watched this clip on YouTube and they are both blatantly typing on the *same keyboard* (him on the right side of it, her on the left, IIRC), meaning that each of them only has access to half the keys without getting in the other's way. There's no way either of them could be achieving anything practical in that setup...
08:45:38 PM Nov 3rd 2010

Hitler banning Origin of Species — Average people have no idea what books Hitler banned.

Behe's biological assertions — deals with specialist knowledge ("stack of biology books" is a good indicator you're not dealing with anything an average person would know or care about)

Miriam A Ferguson quote about English being good enough for Jesus — Total lack of evidence that she (or anyone else) ever said such a thing in seriousness.
08:28:45 AM Oct 26th 2010
Where to begin with this...

This troper may despise civil rights infractions, but Jim Crow was not a systematic slaughter of blacks. At all. China MURDERS its people wholesale for the sake of ORGAN HARVESTS!!!

Firstly, this troper. Secondly, there's no citation for the China murdering it's own people for the sake of organ harvests and I've yet to see the story in a reputable news outlet. Thirdly, do we really want to get into a whole thing about whose crimes are really the worst? Fourthly, even if we do, there's no need for shouting. And fifthly...well, I would say something about conversation in the main page, but it brings to mind farts and hurricanes.
11:56:56 PM Oct 17th 2010
edited by Durandal
This exchange was written in the page, removing it for the sake of not starting flamewars, problems.

  • A common argument given for atheism is essentially "there is no evidence there is a God, therefore we should assume there isn't one." This only makes sense if the entire philosophical field of theology, and its volumes of ontological and teleological arguments in favor of a divine creator, don't exist.
    • And even if you considered those forged, or fallacious, such an assumption would completely destroy any chance of further scientific developement if applied on that field, as the whole scientific method is based on finding proof for theories not yet proven, without even starting talking about how, always following the scientific method, any theory can't be deemed as right until there's proof of it, and I challenge any scientist deeming God doesn't exist into actually proving it.
    • Uh, no. Obviously you have an axe to grind with atheism, but you're way off. Firstly and most importantly, even assuming the evidence is right, this is hardly 'critical research faliure' given the rather obscure and esoteric nature of complex theology and philosophy. Anselm's ontological argument isn't exactly the subject of everyday dinner time conversation, is it? "So honey, did you realize that God's existence is implied by His conceptual nature? Great taters by the way, is that basil I can taste?". Secondly, the first entry is implying that all the ontological and teleological arguments are correct and valid. This is diputed by atheists (YMMV), so they aren't unjustified in saying 'no evidence' after having done the research. By 'no evidence' they mean 'no evidence that holds water'. Thirdly, in the second entry, saying 'no evidence right now' does not mean 'no evidence and we shouldn't even look for any, ever'. You're also reversing the burden of proof in the last sentence. All in all, frankly this entire segment should be removed as ill-thought-out and unjustified.

I'm the author of the second post, and, uhm, sorry, my entry was thought of pointing out that the "there is no evidence there is a God, therefore we should assume there isn't one." is phallacious according to the scientific method (being taught to most of not every educated child, I thought it was good for critical research failure, expecially since the sentence it's usually said by people of science). The right sentence is "There is no evidence there is a God, therefore we shouldn't assume there's one" Or, from the other viewpoint "There is no evidence there isn't a God, therefore we shouldn't assume there isn't one".

Also, I don't really get the revising the burden of proof means.

  • Frank Mitchell: The "Burden of Proof" in science, most justice systems, and logic in general is generally on the side positing the existence or truth of something. It's impossible to prove a negative conclusively, except by exhausting all logical possibilities; in the real world that's simply impossible. Thus, if there's no evidence for or against the existence of X, the default is to assume X doesn't exist. X, here, is "God", but could also be "eleven shooters in Dealy Plaza", "extraterrestrial visitors", or "a worldwide conspiracy to hide visits by extraterrestrials".

So, some neutral viewpoint so we can fix the entry in such a way it doesn't start a flamewar? If you think it will, I guess it's better to take it out of the entry anyway, as we don't need that in the wiki. Shiroi689

  • My assessment is that citing atheism or theism as a "research failure" does, indeed, open up a whole can of worms. For example, the original argument assumes that some subtle theological argument somewhere proves the existence of God. Some atheists call this "The Courtier's Reply", likening it to a hypothetical courtier in "The Emperor's New Clothes": those horrid Philistines simply don't appreciate the breadth and scope and subtlety of theology/the New Clothes, and can't see its fundamental truth. To which most atheists reply, "Explain it to us". Just because so many people have spent so many centuries on an elaborate belief system doesn't make it true, as defunct religions — or all religions but one's own — demonstrate.
    • I wrote the third entry. The original entry is basically saying "God exists and there is evidence for this, so atheists are wrong when they disagree.". Since the evidence in question is disputed even among experts, including some Theist theologians who don't accept the ontological/teleological argument, I don't believe the atheist in the first entry can qualify as Critical Research Faliure. As I also said, whether they're right or wrong the arguments are rather obscure and not something the average person on the street would know and immediately see as a gaping hole in the atheist's reasoning. I'd have no problem with atheist examples that do meet the trope criteria, I'm sure there are some out there to find, but this one falls down on two counts.
      • Guy who wrote the original entry here: I'm not a theist, I'm a skeptic. My point is that the argument assumes as common sense that there is no rational reason to consider the existence of a divine creator, and so you should assume there isn't one. The description says "anyone with cursory knowledge of the subject" noticing it makes it a Critical Research Failure. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of philosophy knows that there exist philosophers who have argued theism from a rational point of view, and most of those arguments are still at the very least worth consideration. To claim that theism is some random, baseless thought that doesn't even need to be argued against demonstrates a lack of that very basic knowledge.

Also, above my point were claims that not knowing about the references to god in Nazi propaganda, the appearance of wild bananas, or the reducible complexity of the human immune system is a Critical Research Failure, despite all of those being at best as obscure as basic philosophy. And yet you scrolled right over those criticisms of the religious to place a sarcastic, argumentative rant that began with a personal attack on me (ironically making multiple baseless assumptions while responding to my accusation that atheists make baseless assumptions) under my criticism of atheists. You should really take a moment to think about who has "an axe to grind."

  • Ho hum. If you interpreted that as a personal attack then I think you need to try to relax a litte. 'Highly-strung' + 'keyboard' + 'people who don't agree with you' doesn't make for a healthy combination.

  • Onto your points. Firstly I would point out that Tu Quoque is hardly a valid defence; it doesn't matter if there are problems with other entries, they don't justify the errors in your own. I actually didn't even see the other entry you're talking about, but I don't need to defend myself because it has no relevance to the problems with yours. Secondly I'd point out that much of what you are mentioning now was not in the original entry at all. Bringing that stuff in and using it against my original argument could be considered shifting the goalposts. Thirdly, the new points aren't correct anyway, they're assuming a false dichotomy: that an argument is either rational or blithering insanity. This is not the case. One can attempt to make arguments rationally but end up making errors in logic resulting in an invalid argument. Such arguments need not be considered rational, and certainly not 'evidence'.

  • You don't seem to have understood why your entry was misplaced. As was said above, you're basically making the Courtier's Reply. Atheists don't ignore the theist arguments or blithely assume there are none, rather they know of them but don't accept them, don't consider their reasoning to be valid and/or rational and thus don't consider them to be evidence. An atheist can say 'no evidence for god' having researched all the mentioned arguments and dismissed them.

  • At best, and this would be assuming that all viewpoints are equal, this whole subject is so subjective as to not merit inclusion on the page. The other option is that it doesn't merit being here based on the two failings I've already mentioned - that the arguments are largely obscure (e.g modal logic) and that one can claim 'no evidence' having done the research and concluding the pro arguments aren't valid.

You have absolutely no sense of irony, do you?
Me: Atheists are ignoring arguments against them.
You: That entry doesn't belong with the other entries on this page.
Me: But it's exactly like several other entries on this page.
You: Well I haven't seen them and they don't matter anyway.

Unless I missed the election in which you became king of TV Tropes, then yes, it does matter what every other person who has viewed and edited this page apparently thinks belongs here. They've all placed or not deleted entries as or more obscure than mine, because the subjects are people who lack a cursory knowledge of the topic they’re discussing, which as I’ve stated is exactly what the description at the top of the page defines the trope as. I’m not trying to "justify the errors" in my entry, I’m saying that you're the only person who sees that particular error at all.

Also you seem to be acting like we would necessarily need to replace the entry as it was originally written, dismissing my clarifications because you don't see them as the same as that original argument. It was obviously poorly stated, as evidenced by your gross misunderstanding of my intent, and I am attempting to clarify my point.

But back to the subject, while I'm sure many atheists have counters to the common theological arguments, I’m not talking about those atheists. My point is that as a stand-alone argument Russel's Teapot and its variations treat theism as a random thought with no basis to be taken seriously, rather than the collection of rational theories that it is. It doesn’t include any arguments against god, it doesn’t even compare theism to a once-respected but now debunked theory like the sun revolving around the earth, it’s comparing it to a ‘’baseless, clearly insane and irrational guess’’ like a teapot in space or fairies in your garden, and then saying because it’s so irrational you don’t need to argue against it. What you call “the courtier’s reply” isn’t some logical fallacy, it’s exactly the proper response, pointing out that Russel’s Teapot is flat-out wrong in its analogy for theism. When someone then goes on to counter-argue the rational arguments presented for theism, they’re not supporting Russel’s Teapot, they’re moving on from it and creating new, unrelated arguments. There’s a huge difference between explaining that “the bases given to think X aren’t sufficiently proven” and just outright stating that “X is dumb so I don’t believe it.” You’re defending the latter by treating it like the former.

  • Dude, just no. I'm not going over the same ground again and again, or engaging with your increasingly hysterical paranoia and personal attacks. Your lack of critical thinking, your fallacious reasoning, constant shifting of goalposts and the fact that you're trying to turn this into a pure 'me vs you' thing tells me everything I need to know: that you're either a troll or that you're beyond reason, and either way that's just not worth my time. Or anyone else's. Not even yours. Suffice it to say that I haven't been the only one to disagree with you, and that I don't see anyone rushing in to support your points. This isn't going back on the main page, learn to live with it, have a nice day, and do try to chill out before operating a keyboard in future.
    • I "shifted goalposts" once, in going from "no reason" to "no reason worth consideration," and explained it's because my original entry wasn't clear on my point. Furthermore, you're the one who attempted to start a flame was on the article page. It was a guy who agreed with me who deleted it and moved it here to keep your angry rant out of the public eye and keep it from happening again. You are in no place to accuse anyone of trolling. I've proven that your complaint about this not fitting the page is blatantly false, and explained that your disagreements with the point itself are due to my failure to explain my point, and all you've done is get mad that I'm arguing what I actually think rather than what you assumed I thought. Now you're simply ignoring my reasoning and claiming victory though direct insults. I am rephrasing the entry based on your complaints and returning it to the page. If anyone gives me a reason that new entry doesn't belong, I will read it. Hopefully they'll handle it in a more mature fashion than you did.
05:56:32 PM Oct 18th 2010
edited by
08:14:45 PM Dec 4th 2010
edited by JulietWolf
Um, no. Russel's Teapot is not saying theism is "a random thought with no basis to be taken seriously", it's an argument against the idea that "you can't prove god DOESN'T exist, therefore it's valid". Why don't you actually get to know what the arguments are actually about before criticizing them, as someone on the main page accuses Dawkins of...
  • Maybe you should take your own advice and read what you're talking about more closely. The guy's complaint is specifically about "Some people [who] use a variation of Russel's Teapot as a stand-alone argument for atheism" and said in the discussion that those who use it in its proper context aren't wrong in any way. - Juliet
07:22:32 PM Apr 12th 2011
Well it's good to see this 'example' was removed. I would have wiped it myself but with the attitude of its OP the possibility of a silly edit war appeared too likely. I'd rather sit back and wait a few days for the right-minded majority to fix it and keep it fixed, which is just what happened. Frankly it's probably for the best that all the 'real life' examples were taken down actually, though I can't say it's a big deal to me either way.
07:37:53 PM Oct 14th 2010
I think that this page should be moved to Darth Wiki. I don't know how to do that and don't feel like looking it up right now, but I think we can all agree that there is a lot of griping on this page and that this "trope" doesn't really fit into the "tropes are not bad because tropes are tools" generalization.
09:17:12 PM Oct 14th 2010
edited by Thorslund
I would recommend taking something this drastic to the Trope Repair Shop before you do anything. Everyone may not agree. Which happens to include me.
09:11:45 PM Oct 17th 2010
It could use some maintainance I think.
05:30:34 PM Jul 27th 2010
edited by OldManHoOh
  • In an episode of Total Drama World Tour, Chris said the the Amazon river started in Peru. Meh?!?!?!?
    • He also said the pandas come from Japan.

I haven't deleted it, but I'm guessing that insanely obvious in-character uses of this trope are valid too, correct?
05:24:56 PM Mar 9th 2011
The Amazon really DOES start in Peru. It's just that most of it is in Brazil.
10:06:19 PM Jul 25th 2010
edited by joeyjojo
removed Doom. carbon dating is hardly a well known fact and is the least of doom's problems anyway
02:56:27 PM Jul 16th 2010
I'm listing here the reason I removed the latest edit from the page (the addition to the Double Jeopardy entry), as it's not showing up in the history and I'm unable to edit it again, don't know why (possibly the edit reason was too long?). Here it is:

That's a failure because the protection only applies to the very same crime. This means that if Alice is acquitted or convicted of killing Bob on Tuesday, February 31st 20XX, Alice can't be prosecuted again for the crime of killing Bob on Tuesday, February 31st, 20XX. However, if she killed a different person on the same date, or the same person on a different date, it's treated as a different crime, and thus Alice can be prosecuted again. In the specific case of the movie, it's likely that the judge would have acquitted her for killing her husband the first time at the same time he would have sentenced her guilty for killing her husband the second time.
04:03:09 PM Jun 21st 2013
Actually, the character of Ashley Judd could have came unscathed, provided that the first trial was considered a mistrial (which would be prerequisite for the second one because it is impossible to kill a person that is dead) and had her years served deducted from the second sentence. Still, nothing close to double jeopardy clause, this movie is named after.
02:05:11 PM Jul 1st 2010
There was a post from before that read "July 1, 2010. Obama claimed that The Statue of Liberty was set up as an announcement of open borders and welcoming immigration. It was actually a gift to us from the French as a celebration of the alliance during the American Revolution and the declaration of independence. Connecting the statue to immigration did not come until later when immigrants saw the statue and wrote poetry about it on their way into New York."

I had planned on removing it, but someone else did so before me. Before removing, I found evidence against the original troper's statement which will be useful to use if he tries to repost.

First, having read the transcript of the speech ( I did not find any passage that said that the statue was an announcement of an open border. The only part that comes close is at the end, where Obama references the statue and cites the poem transcribed onto it. The only potentially spurious claim that Obama made here was that "And inspired by what she [Emma Lazarus] saw and heard, she wrote down her thoughts and donated a piece of work to help pay for the construction of a new statue — the Statue of Liberty — which actually was funded in part by small donations from people across America." Emphasis added. I went on Wikipedia, on the Statue of Liberty article, and found that "In the United States, benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights assisted in providing needed funds." Which essentially means that the original post regarding Obama's critical research failure is complete bunk.
06:20:37 PM Jun 23rd 2010
edited by joeyjojo
should we keep the real world stuff? It seem too political, Scott Lively for example isn't so much a failures in research as willful ignorance.
10:29:47 AM Jun 24th 2010
As far as "Real Life examples which are an excuse for bashing" sections go, this one isn't that bad. Most of them have a statement, with the fact clearly indicating how it's wrong. A simple cleaning should fix it.
07:16:54 PM Jun 4th 2010
edited by loracarol
The NCIS example sounds to me more like a joke at Abby & McGee's expense than a CRF on the part of the writers. (Especially since the local Memetic Badass cut the knot). Now, if the poster is alleging CRF on Abby & McGee, then it needs to be phrased that way.
04:09:43 AM Jun 6th 2010
edited by joeyjojo
Yes clearly they just panicked.

anyway I think we should avoid Magical Computer examples, it's CRS for us 'cause we are nerds, some one who only uses computers for day to day stuff wouldn't question it.
10:32:03 PM Jan 9th 2013
They didn't "just panic" - if they had, they would've immediately realised their error as soon as they actually tried it. Instead they went for a minute or more. This was a production gaff, not an in-setting one.

You make a point re: magical computer examples, but anybody who uses a keyboard knows this one is wrong, not just nerds...
02:47:56 PM May 27th 2010
A few removals, changes, and comments:

Mass Effect

Struck the bit on Japan. Also, a comment:

  • And let's count the ways that she could have found out whether or not her report would have any accuracy: she could have checked the ESRB ratings that would have told her that the closest thing that the game would feature was partial nudity. She could have checked game designer interviews that would have told her that the game would only have 4 potential relationships, all of them consensual. She could have checked to see who made the game, and finding that it wasn't made by Rockstar Games, would know that it wasn't going to be that controversial. Or she could have used her common freakin' sense, which would have told her that no one would be dumb enough to try and make a game that not one single game retailer in America would sell purely on ethical grounds.

This is actually circular, if only because her argument is. For example, if she's claiming that video-game retailers are depraved and compicit in the violation of children's innocence with rape simulators, it's well within the bounds of reason that retailers would sell it, rape and all. If she's claiming there's a conspiracy to get filth into the minds of children, all the ratings and interviews in the world won't convince her, since they're just the lies of conspirators. Evidence wouldn't help, because she's not arguing from evidence in the first place.

Matthew Sheppard law

Again, no change, but a comment:
  • After the Matthew Shepard Act passed, affording protection as a class in hate crimes to gay people, Pat Robertson said that there "wouldn't be a chance" that the same protection would be extended to the religious. Yeah, about that...
    • On March 10, 2009, the Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that was designed to ignore the Shepard Act protections. However, the bill cited the wrong U.S. Code section (the section linked to above) rather than the one the Shepard Act added...which would mean that in Oklahoma, hate crime protection isn't afforded to the religious.

The spin here, for Rev Pat, could be that look, the Oklahoma legislature indeed eliminated the protections for the religious, in accordance with the gay agenda.

Annexation of the Phillippines

Removed, as Conversation in the Main Page:

  • President William McKinley claimed that God had told him in a dream that America must annex the Philippines to, among other things, 'Christianize' the Filipinos. As one historian commented, "He apparently didn't realize that the Philippines had been staunchly Roman Catholic for more than 350 years under Spanish colonialism".
    • To be fair to him, he was largely a Protestant evangelical at a time when relations between the Roman Church and the Protestant ones were...not as pleasant as they are today, so he may well have seen them as not being "Christian."


Conversation in the Main Page:

  • Is it possible he meant it as a metaphor for military presence driving out the culture that made the island what it is?


This seemed incautiously judged, so I altered it without, I hope, going too far the other way.

  • U.S. President, Barack Obama, has become rather infamous for these sort of blunders.
    • "57 States"?
    • The "Austrian" language? (Austrians speak German).
    • Navy "corpsemen"?
    • "I don't know all the facts, but... police acted stupidly"
      • The first one is closer to a Malapropism than Research Failure.

Also, while the second one was almost certainly a goof rather than cleverer than anyone realizes, the main dialect of German spoken in Austria is noticably different from "standard German."
07:13:07 PM Jun 4th 2010
edited by DonaldthePotholer
Just checked The Other Wiki.... 50 states, D.C, the incorporated district of Palmyra Atoll under the Fish and Wildlife service) and 5 "Overseas" Territories. #1 & #2 are both "too smart by half". #3 is just Rouge Angles of Satin. #4 is also not CRF, as the facts were still being established. EDIT: Maybe it is DNDR, though...
10:01:03 PM May 22nd 2010
edited by joeyjojo
Moved Modern Warfare 2 to Did Not Do The Research, the problems with space nukes aren't blandly obvious. Very few people have actually been to space ya know.
07:59:46 PM Jun 3rd 2010
The fact that there is no air in space however... May also want to note you put something on discussion in the edit reason.
03:59:12 AM Jun 6th 2010
edited by joeyjojo
I did either you are referring to someone else's edit or the history simply lapped over.

Now everyone knows off hand that there is no air in space. However people don't know off hand that you need air for a shockwave, There is no mental connection between the two. It has to be explained for the factual error to be apparent.
04:41:40 PM May 8th 2010
This bit from the Transformers film series.

  • What's worse, in the second movie they order a drop of Optimus Prime in Egypt, then hop on a jeep for a 20 minute ride to Petra in Jordan (which would take DAYS), and then they see the plane that's supposed to drop Prime in Egypt from Petra - which again, is VERY far away.
    • There is a whole 'nother country (Israel) between them.
    • Technically, they never said it was Petra. They (mis)used the Petra location just as everyone has since Indiana Jones 3.

If they never stated the location as Petra, what the hell is going on? "Petra location"? What?
01:09:53 PM Sep 12th 2010
They probably used Petra as a background without stating that it was Petra, i.e. you were meant to assume it was a random temple located somewhere in Egypt. Of course if you know where Petra is actually located, it makes you double take.
09:52:38 PM Apr 26th 2010
Does anyone have any support for the "you cannot see what you cannot comprehend" statement in the film section? I've Googled a little and come up empty and it seems like to absurd a statement to jut throw out with no support whatsoever.
10:23:26 PM Apr 26th 2010
It's the Real Life version/basis for Weirdness Censor and Scully Syndrome. I'm not sure if it should be taken so literally — I'm not certain that that point's truly critical research failure. But...

Well, it's been determined that the number of color words that exist usually match the number of colors ascribed to things. For instance, if there's no word for blue in a culture's language, then all the blue things in the area will get called other colors...

Likewise, if you believe in ghosts, then you might see some things that look like ghosts. If you don't, then you never will — there will always be another explanation. It could always be a trick of the light (or lack thereof).
10:25:47 PM Apr 26th 2010
Bavarian Fire Drill happens when people fail to comprehend that someone who acts like an authority isn't. That does happen in Real Life. It's not universal, but it's common enough....
07:19:46 AM Apr 8th 2010
edited by Naram-Sin
I can't edit this page for some reason but where did somebody get the idea that the Church "had a field day" mocking Collumbus or the idea that the world was round? Collumbus would have never have an interview with the queen of Castile if it wasn't for the intervention of Juan Perez and Antonio Marchena, two franciscan friars from the Monastery of La Rabida where Collumbus lived as a guest for years. The ones that mocked Collumbus were proffessional geographers who knew his idea of the Earth's size was wrong. That the Earth was not flat was common knowledge at the time and AFAIK the Church did not oppose it.
10:26:01 AM Mar 14th 2010
I honestly cannot tell the difference between this trope and "Did Not Do The Research" but more.
12:27:33 PM Mar 14th 2010
The difference is that Critical Research Failure can be pointed out by an average person, while Did Not Do The Research requires you to have special knowledge to notice it.
08:46:11 AM Mar 19th 2010
edited by DesertDragon
But many of the examples do require more than common knowledge. For example, the opening quote with Homer, most people with no particular interest in the Greek literature have no idea he was blind.
08:05:12 PM Mar 20th 2010
Yes, it needs to have major hedge trimmers taken to it. The quote at the top only really works because the example is connected to historians, who would all obviously know that Homer was blind.
04:33:40 PM May 8th 2010
edited by It actually doesn't work at all. Especially if it needs a hottip for specialist knowledge. That's Completely Missing the Point of this trope.
05:31:52 PM Dec 5th 2010
It seems many tropers are treating "Critical Research Failure" as an instance of "Did Not Do The Research" where the error was critical to the story. Maybe we need a split "Critical Research Failure"/"Obvious Research Failure"?

For example, it's not common knowledge that it's known that the star of Bethlehem was not a nova, but the story doesn't work if you know that.
10:07:20 AM Jan 21st 2011
Did Not Do The Research is a Supertrope and an Index. Most examples can and should be put under a more specific subtrope.
03:21:04 PM Mar 6th 2010
Exactly what is the person in the picture protesting, anyway? Vancouver 2010?
10:55:49 AM Mar 11th 2010
I'm guessing Beijing.
04:24:35 AM Mar 14th 2010
Yeah, I keep reading the link, but I'm still not understanding what's the picture about.
11:11:52 PM Mar 15th 2010
12:23:51 AM Jan 6th 2011
who would protest against Canada?
08:46:16 AM Jan 19th 2011
Using that picture is either an example of Did Not Do The Research or Common Knowledge as they did not allow Nazi Germany to host the Olympics. The IOC allowed the Weimar Republic to host the games in 31 and the Nazis took over the country before they started.
10:22:06 AM Jan 21st 2011
...and then they allowed them to host them anyway. If the sign had said "choose" you might have a point.
04:26:49 PM Jun 21st 2013
edited by
They could have always boycotted the Games. They didn't. So, they allowed it, so to speak.
Collapse/Expand Topics