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...the author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself.
—Peter Medawar

Deceit is the misrepresentation of the truth. Deceit can be used for many purposes, some more innocent, some more destructive. Lying, or explicit misrepresentation, is a subset of deceit. Some forms of deceit may be unintentional or the result of a logical fallacy, and don't necessarily mean the speaker intents to deceive (also see Hanlon's razor):


[edit] Common examples

Deceit can take many forms:

  • Lie - The most basic form of deceit, where some sort information is divulged where it is known that is information is in fact not true.
  • Affinity fraud - abuse of the trust of others because you are (or pretend to be) a member of the same socio-economic, religious or ethnic group.
  • Censorship - silencing all dissenting viewpoints.
  • Misdirection - distracting or diverting from the issue at hand in order to avoid further conclusions to be drawn.
  • Quote mining - presenting a real (but "hairdressed") quote, deliberately placed out of context and presented in a new or different context, so as to make it seem like it meant something else than was originally intended. This differs from making a "misquotation", as those are simply mistakenly attributed or phrased wrongly.
  • Obfuscation - nonsensical claptrap, or words without any particular connection to reality.
  • Omission - failing to report something that wasn't specifically asked for (yet perhaps cannot be asked for as, it is an unknown unknown to other people), with the express intent to decieve others via manipulating their perception of the truth.
  • Burning the evidence - attempting to secure plausible deniability by destroying possible trails of evidence that could, if left intact, allow potential investigators to correctly identify the true culprit.
  • One single proof - claiming that without a specific key proof, the whole argument is invalid.
  • Propaganda - affect or control the perceptions and behaviour of a population.
  • Revisionism - revising history to something it wasn't.
  • Self-deception - metaphorically (or literally...) sticking your fingers in your ears and going "Lalalala! I can't hear you!".
  • Statistics - sometimes statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts - for support rather than illumination.

[edit] Deceit in the Bible

Perhaps the best known example can be found in Genesis chapter 27. Isaac is dying, and wants to bless his first born son Esau but needs some munchies first (it would be silly to bless someone on an empty stomach), but Esau's twin brother Jacob overhears, gives Isaac his needed munchies, and receives the blessing instead. Jacob is later renamed to Israel by God (Genesis 32:28) and goes on to become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel and ancestor of Jesus Christ.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

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