Phil 100 F18: Exam 2 Study Guide

PART I: Fallacies. You should be able to explain the following concepts:

  • What a fallacy is.
  • You should be able to identify the definition and identify examples of the following fallacies. A list of the names of the fallacies will be provided on the exam.
    1. Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent
    2. Fallacy of Denying the Antecedent
    3. Inconsistency
    4. False Dilemma
    5. Hasty Generalization
    6. Red Herring
    7. Ad Hominem
    8. Appeal to Authority
    9. Circular Arguments
    10. Post hoc
    11. Ad Populum
    12. Composition
    13. Division
    14. Appeal to Ignorance
    15. Slippery Slope
    16. Straw Man
    17. Appeal to Emotion
    18. False Analogy
    19. Suppression of Relevant Data

PART II: Personal Experience. You should be able to explain the following concepts:
  • You should be able to articulate the problems with perception discussed in class as well as provide an example.
  • You should be able to explain Change Blindness and some of the experiments that demonstrate it.
  • You should be able to explain and give an example of pareidolia.
  • You should be able to explain the difference between a Cold and a Hot Reading, as well as explain the significance of this technique.
  • You should be able to explain the experiments of Elizabeth Loftus that we discussed in class and their relation to the issue of memory.
  • You should be able to explain the Gambler's Fallacy.
  • You should be able to explain the Forer Effect and the experiment that revealed it.
  • You should be able to explain the Milgram Experiments and the conclusions drawn from them.
  • You should be able to explain the Asch experiments and the conclusions drawn from them.
  • You should be able to explain why we are all WEIRD, and why this is a potential problem.
  • You should be able to explain Hume's Maxim.
PART III: Science. You should be able to explain the following concepts:
  • You should be able to articulate the three Foundational Axioms of Science.
  • You should be able to describe and provide examples of the three Methods of Scientific Research.
  • You should be able to explain the five criteria that help us decide between competing hypotheses.
  • You should be able to explain the four components of the SEARCH method for evaluating claims.
PART IV: Essay. Lastly, you should be prepared to write a short essay in which you use the tools developed so far in class to evaluate the following narrative. In particular, you should discuss whether or not one should believe the narrative and be prepared to justify your answer. Here is the narrative (a copy will be included on the exam):

The following account comes from Lori Lothian, who is a professional clairvoyant with clients across the US and Canada. The original version can be found at 

With countless books documenting the history, evidence, conflicting theories and myriad tales of the abduction phenomenon, this article adds but another narrative of this bizarre and ultimately unexplained event. This is my experience and although at 36 years I have had a lifetime of them, this particular account is significant in two ways: This is the first and only encounter with non-human entities in which another adult corroborated the event. And though I would not know it then, it was to be my last abduction experience. 

One month after the events chronicled below, I met a woman--a clairvoyant--who was to become my mentor and friend. During that initial meeting, during a reading, she connected with the alien entities and related that the choice to participate in the alien agenda was mine alone. I had chosen to do so, and could choose otherwise. In that instant, I did, and for three years have been on perhaps a permanent vacation from the sometimes overwhelming onslaught of nighttime encounters that had ranged from twice to six times a year, beginning in childhood. 

In 1994 I attended a small group workshop lead by John Mack, Harvard professor and author of Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. There were 13 of us, all experiencers, Mack's term to replace the victim label of abductees. During that weekend, I realized just how polarized experiencers were, falling into two extreme camps: tormented victim and blissful participant. I was neither. The aliens (or whatever these beings are) were not my angels and saviors, nor my demons and persecutors. I was a minority in another respect as well. I was one of the few who had recalled my encounters without the aid of hypnosis. By the end of the weekend, the victims had rallied together to lick wounds and discuss the evil greys, while the mystics chatted about other dimensions and tall blond angelic aliens. 

To this day, I wonder if there are two camps of aliens or two types of experiencers. In many ways, I could relate to the victim-mind abductees who seemed characterized by an aura of intense fear and shame. When I first began to consciously recall my childhood and ongoing experiences, it was in 1987 at age 25, after reading Communion by Whitley Strieber. To say I was having post traumatic stress was an understatement as memories flooded back and interfered with my daily functioning, then as an editor of a NYC trade magazine. For the first time in my life, I began to have panic attacks. 

Yet by 1992 I had moved past the worst of the fear and into a new stage of experiencing these nighttime encounters as a grand, if sometimes scary, adventure. Meditation, dream work and self-hypnotic suggestions to quell the fear seemed to pave the way to clearer and more vivid recall, and the perception of the experiences as neutral. Fear, I reasoned, created a muddy filter through which an encounter became an abduction and an experiencer, a victim. Most of us would be frightened at encountering a bear in the woods, but that biological fight-or-flight mechanism could not be used as evidence that the bear was malevolent. And over time, experience with bears would lead to a reduced level of fear, and a clearer picture of what the bear was really about. I began to see myself as a field researcher in the realm of non- ordinary reality. Whether about ET type aliens or inter-dimensional beings, I was on a mission to bring back information. 

Although the excerpt you are about to read from my 1996 diary sounds in places as dramatic as a horror movie, this experience was the exception to the majority encounters which had been far from threatening, and in fact, had been downright Theophanous [a manifestation of God or a god-like being to a person]. I've encountered tall white-haired beings that radiate love and short black-eyed creatures that are unreadable; I've been shown places that are wondrous, and instructed in the nature of reality; I've seen the world from space and space from a vantage unlike any on earth. To give this up was not easy. 

February 28, 1996 
At about 3:15 I lay back down with the light still on, and found myself irresistibly tired. Against common sense I let my eyes close-they were so heavy and I was suddenly so tired. I heard noise in the hall, what sounded like Adrian cry out and Audrey's voice, but I could not open my eyes. They seemed glued shut. On the verge of sleep I became aware of a presence rolling me gently from the bed and floating me downward through what seemed the floor of the room, though I wondered if I had in fact gone through a window, then down to the street. My reaction was, "oh shit, why did I go back to sleep, I should have stayed awake." I was too afraid to open my eyes, with the silly reasoning that what I couldn't see, couldn't hurt me. But I must have opened them because I was aware at one point of being beneath a freeway overpass, in the dark, the ground rain-slicked and wet around me. I had the sense we were somehow in a hurry, that my waking up twice had jeopardized some schedule. 

Next thing I know, I am in a room, lying on my back. I feel my right leg being lifted into a stirrup-type position, though I do not feel any actual stirrup. I am aware that I do not seem to be wearing underwear, though I had gone to bed wearing some along with an oversized T-shirt. It seems a while before I also feel my left leg being pushed up, so that I am now in a standard gynecological exam position. I manage to open my eyes at that point. 

My head is turned to the left and I am surprised to see Audrey lying naked on a table nearby. Her knees are also raised up and I see two beings by her head, with one below performing what seems a pelvic exam. Audrey seems to be unconscious as the examiner withdraws an instrument from between her legs--an instrument extracting what looks like a fluid-filled sac with what I assume to be a fetus inside. 

At this point, as in a lucid dream, I begin to think that this is simply too much a scenario from a Bud Hopkins book. I have never been a proponent of the abduction scenario as a harvest of human embryos, which has always seemed far too anthropomorphic an interpretation of alien motivations. I even think: I am only seeing this because it is what I expect to see, because it is what I have read about before. I want to believe that in fact what I am seeing is my brain's feeble attempt to decode an event so non-ordinary that fertility is the closest human symbol for understanding this strange transaction. But even as I think all this, I am still seeing an apparent pelvic exam and gestational sac extraction on my nearby friend. 

My attention turns back to my own predicament, in which I perceive a pelvic exam underway, yet I cannot turn my head, nor sense any discomfort. I am aware of the room being cold, and of feeling cool air against my body. 

My next memory is of being helped into a standing position and leaning over what seems to be a blue-light hole in the floor. The being to my right and slightly behind me puts its hand and arm against my mid-back and gently pushes me into the hole. I feel myself float slowly down in a parachutist's position. Next, I feel my cheek land on the pillow of the bed, facing the wall--the opposite direction from which I had fallen asleep. I wanted to jump up and run to Audrey's room to yell an abduction alert, and to see if she was OK. Yet I could not wake up immediately and instead slipped into a dream. 

In the dream I saw a gaping incision on the back of my left leg, just below my buttock. In the dream, I was going to show this to Audrey as proof of what had happened. Part of me knew I was still lying on my stomach, unable to wake up, though I desperately wanted to do so. 

When I did manage to eventually wake up, I was facing the same direction in which I had fallen asleep. I reached for the clock. It was exactly 4:18 am, only about one hour since I had fallen back asleep and the apparent abduction had begun. I reviewed the events of the night, determined not to forget them. Then, unbelievably, I fell into a dreamless sleep. 

The next morning I checked my leg for a wound, but saw nothing. Nor did Audrey recall anything and so I wondered if I had imagined her participation. She did however, recall waking up in the night and checking the time-she woke up at 4:13 she said. This was too close to the time I also woke from the experience to be coincidental. 

The next day, while taking a shower, I noticed a red mark on the back of my thigh, which had been itchy all day beneath my jeans. Situated in the same place as the wound in my dream, the inch-wide circular patch was speckled and looked like small blood blisters beneath the skin. I showed it to Audrey, just to verify that the strange mark was indeed there. 

I was troubled though by my memory of Audrey being with me that night on the "ship" or in the non-ordinary reality event. Although she claimed no memory of the event, seeing her there had been so startlingly real. Purposely I did not tell her everything I saw happening to her, so that if her own memory returned, it would not be contaminated by my version of events. 

Ironically, later in the week Audrey suddenly confessed she had an unexplained bruise on her right buttock. She showed it to me: it was round and defined, and had turned the yellow-brown of a days-old bruise. It also looked exactly like a fingerprint.