Blog Post 2
“Three Men Make a Tiger” is a chinese idiom that “refers to the idea that if an unfounded premise or urban legend is mentioned and repeated by many individuals, the premise will be erroneously accepted as the truth.”1 It comes from a story that Pang Cong, a trusted advisor to the king, was sent on a mission. Knowing that many people were jealous of his position and that people liked to gossip he told the king a story. He asked the king if he would believe that there was tiger roaming the Capital City if someone told him so. The King answers of course not. Pang Cong asked “what if two people told you so?” The King said that he would surely be suspicious but still would not believe the two men. Pang Cong then asked “What if three men told you so?” The King paused, then told Pang Cong that he would believe it. Pang Cong then explained to him that though there was not a tiger the King would still believe it if enough people told him the lie. Pang Cong told the King to remember this while he was away when others would speak negatively about him. Once Pang Cong returned the King refused to see him because his reputation was still ruined contrary to the story he told the King.2
I chose this fallacy because with the rise of fake news I think it is extremely relevant. One example that came to mind when thinking about this, is the fact that millions of undocumented individuals voted illegally in the Presidential Election. Though the media and professors have asked time and time again for hard evidence showing that people have voted illegally, the White House have provided absolute nothing to support their claim. First Trump said this claim, then Spicer repeated it in a press briefing. After that they sent Stephen Miller on all the networks to continue to tell people that this was the case but continued to provide people with evidence. I have personally ran into people who genuinely believe this was the case for Trump losing the popular vote. Another example of this reminds me of something that happened my junior year of high school. One day my buddy came up to me telling me that his girlfriend broke up with him because he supposedly cheated on her the night before, even though we were working on an Econ project. She heard from a guy in her in chemistry class and he continued to tell others the same story, those that he told it to then shared it with their friends. Those friends continued going up to the girl and telling that they heard that she had been cheated on. For her it seemed like so many people were telling her that there was no way this could be false, however she didn’t realize that there was still only one source of this rumor. No one else knew if the guy cheated on her, they just all heard it from the same source.
1 - Office of Medical and Scientific Justice. (2011, May 18). Three Men Make a Tiger. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://www.omsj.org/science/three-men-make-a-tiger
2 - Three Men Make a Tiger. (2014, January 24). Retrieved May 26, 2017, from https://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/three-men-make-a-tiger