(I wrote this in a comment yesterday, and I’ve decided to bring it out here for future reference.)
There’s a situation in chess called an “impasse:” an ending in which a player who is not in check cannot make any legal move. The game is over, but no one has won or lost. It’s a form of a draw, a tie, so to speak.
Consider the opposite: the player has lots of legal moves he could make with every piece but his king, which is in check and has nowhere to escape. That’s checkmate. The game is over and the player has lost.
Now imagine that player saying, “Hold on, the game is still on. I can move my knight! I can move my bishop!”
That would be a case of a player acting as if he were playing chess, not knowing enough about the game to recognize that he didn’t know enough to know he didn’t know how to play.
The player who doesn’t know he doesn’t know how to play may very well sit there and move his knight and his bishop. If the other player gets up and walks away, he’ll probably declare himself the winner.
But his king is still in checkmate.
Sometimes the same kind of kind of thing happens in arguments here: the person has no idea that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Sometimes I’ll get up and walk away.
The other person may declare himself the winner.
His king is still in checkmate.
Update October 5: I’m thinking the best name for this might be the Fallacy of the Incompetent Impasse.
“Engaging … exhilarating! … This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year.” — Lee Strobel
Too Good To Be False is coming out soon! Sign up here for updates on the book and the blog, and receive a free preview chapter!