10 Self-Defeating Ideas You Should Probably Stop Believing

Skeptics keep us honest.

Coffeehouse Questions

The idea of a two-edged sword, or a sword that cuts both ways, has a storied history. The analogy is somewhat problematic, as swords always have two edges anyway, and it is in doubt that a trained swordsman is going to be constantly cutting himself with his own sword. But regardless, we know what it means. It’s a self-defeating or self-refuting idea, where an idea basically falls on its own sword (OK fine, I’m done with the sword puns). My contention is that these ideas are more common than we probably realize. I believe it’s important, for the sake of a better-informed society and more intelligent conversation, that we drop some of these ideas.

So what makes for a self-defeating idea? Let’s look at 10 examples:

1) All truth is relative.

If all truth is relative, then this statement is also relative, and can’t apply to anything beyond itself. The…

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