Law of Attraction Arguments, Part 14: “Anecdotal Evidence”

Titlepic: Law of Attraction Arguments, Part 14: 'Anecdotal Evidence'

How does the ‘Anecdotal Evidence’ argument against the Law of Attraction work? Does it conclusively prove that the Law of Attraction is false?

KEYWORDS: achieving goals, anecdotal-evidence, arguments, evidence, failure rate, goals, law of attraction, philosophy, psychology, success rate, thinking, thought.

SEE ALSO:
Articles
All Content

Note: This article is part of a series on arguments against the Law of Attraction. All articles in this series are available from the overview page called “Law of Attraction: Is It Real?

This is my fourteenth and last article on Neil Farber’s arguments against the Law of Attraction (see his post “The Truth About the Law of Attraction“). This time I am covering the “Anecdotal Evidence” argument.

I am going to proceed in two steps. My first step is to understand the logic of his argument, in terms of how each proposition is related to the other propositions. And then I am going to reformulate what he is saying (and is not saying) so that we will have a reconstruction of the whole argument.

And after that reconstruction is done, I will then look at each of the propositions to see if they are true, as well as relevant to the whole argument. So the big question is: Does Farber have a good argument as a whole here? Is it valid? Is it sound? Let’s find out!

PART 1: THE ARGUMENT

Here is the “meat” of Farber’s “Anecdotal Evidence” argument:

“Evidence that the LOA is an effective way of attaining goals is anecdotal, nonscientific, and self-reported. This fact does not prove it doesn’t exist. But closely scrutinize whether you want to invest time, money, and energy into something that is ineffective and potentially harmful.”

What we can understand from the above quote is that Farber’s main idea is that it’s just not worth it: trying to master the Law of Attraction is just a waste of time, and can even be “potentially harmful”.

And to support that claim, he also talks about the “statistics” of the Law of Attraction. Not only is it easy to give an impression that the Law of Attraction works much better than it actually does, but there is also the “fact” that the actual failure rate is huge.

So it’s time for the reconstruction. Let’s go!

Argument 14: “Anecdotal Evidence”

Here is how I have reconstructed Farber’s “Anecdotal Evidence” argument (Argument 14):

P1.There is evidence indicating that the Law of Attraction is an effective way of attaining goals. But that evidence is anecdotal, nonscientific, and self-reported.

P2.This, of course, does not show that the Law of Attraction is not true.

P3.It is easy to portray Law of Attraction as being more efficient than it really is. And we also have to understand that the failure rate is huge.

P4.And that means that there is a very high risk of wasting time and being disappointed.

P5.Therefore, it is best to avoid practicing the Law of Attraction.

PART 2: MY RESPONSE

Here in Part 2 I am now going to analyze the reconstructed argument. I will check each proposition to see if they can be considered true or not. And at the end, I will evaluate the argument as a whole. Is it valid and sound?

Proposition P1: Anecdotal and Nonscientific

So let’s first start with proposition P1. It goes like this:

P1.There is evidence indicating that the Law of Attraction is an effective way of attaining goals. But that evidence is anecdotal, nonscientific, and self-reported.

There are many stories about how certain people have succeeded in manifesting great things (cars and condos, etc.), or demanifesting certain illnesses, some of which were life-threatening, etc.

But as Farber indicates, such evidence is not really scientific or thoroughly documented. We often do not get “the whole story”: how hard or easy has their life been before this?

What exact method or technique were they using, and for how long, etc.? Did they have money before so that they could buy their Rolls-Royce once they found one with the right color? Or did they manifest one, although they were practically broke?

So I think this is a good proposition. Thus, I consider P1 to be true.

Proposition P2: No Proof of Non-Existence

This is proposition P2:

P2.This, of course, does not show that the Law of Attraction is not true.

This is a good point. Proposition P1 (“Anecdotal and Nonscientific”) gives us no reason to doubt the existence of the Law of Attraction.

Therefore, proposition P2 is true.

Proposition P3: Failure Rate Is Huge

Here is proposition P3 in Argument 14:

P3.It is easy to portray Law of Attraction as being more efficient than it really is. And we also have to understand that the failure rate is huge.

As Farber points out, it sometimes is easy to “sell in” the Law of Attraction by formulating oneself in one way rather than in another. So instead of talking about the 2,000 people that Farber was thinking about who did not call, it sounds much better starting from the two people who did call. And since Farber thought of both of those, the success rate was 100%.

Of course, it is nothing new that one can use statistics in different ways and thereby “spin” one’s story in a certain desired direction. That is done in many circumstances, including in politics and science.

And then we have the whole issue of “failure rate is huge” in terms of particular manifestations. Here I take it that Farber is talking about those things that most people want to manifest: millions in their bank account, a new luxury car, a beautiful wife or a handsome husband, etc.

The success rate reported by John Assaraf (Farber does not give any references to that info) is about 0.1%. This number is accepted by Farber as being correct.

So the idea then is that only one person out of a thousand gets those manifestations (or demanifestations) that he or she wants. The other 999 persons do not get that which they want. So the failure rate is 99.9%.

Actually, I think the success rate sounds a little too high. My own estimation would be more like 0.01% or even 0.001%.

My reasons for these numbers are many. First of all, most people are not using the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction, so they don’t know all the details. Also, most people are not detailed-oriented anyway. So even if they knew all of the details, they still wouldn’t be able to do it. And there are many more reasons.

In any case, I accept proposition P3 as true. For the failure rate is huge. [notes 1 and 2]

Proposition P4: Wasting Time

Proposition P4 in Argument 14 goes like this:

P4.And that means that there is a very high risk of wasting time and being disappointed.

I think this is a true statement. It is certainly not easy to learn how to manifest things, if that is one’s primary concern. So I accept P4 as true. [note 3]

Proposition P5: Avoid Practicing Law of Attraction

Here is proposition P5 in Argument 14:

P5.Therefore, it is best to avoid practicing the Law of Attraction.

Proposition P5 can be evaluated in two ways.

In scenario 1 we can understand proposition P5 to be talking about “most people”. So for the average person who is interested in starting to learn the Law of Attraction, for him or her it would probably be better to not do it, in terms of the potential “zero result” that most likely will be the case.

In scenario 2, however, we are considering the “0.1%” type of persons who are not “most people”. These are the ones who can “live” the Law of Attraction, and who will be able to create a great life for themselves. And for those, it would be foolish to avoid the Law of Attraction. So for those, proposition P5 is false.

CONCLUSION

Farber’s “Anecdotal Evidence” argument (Argument 14) does make sense as a whole. It is basically valid and sound. For it will turn out to be a waste of time for most people to try to learn how to use the Law of Attraction. Why?

Because most people typically do not follow all the recommendations that are given in the authorized accounts of the Law of Attraction. And there are several reasons for this. One reason may be because they do not even know which the authorized accounts are.

And then, even if they could locate a bona fide book on the Law of Attraction, most people will not follow all the small details that are needed to actually get the desired effect that they are looking for. And most people are also not willing to wait (they don’t understand that the typical waiting time for “big” manifestations that they previously have been struggling with can be years).

In order to succeed with the authorized account of the Law of Attraction one must put happiness and joy in one’s daily life before everything else. Those who are merely interested in some impressive manifestations will mostly not be successful. Why? Because they are not happy most of the time in their daily life.

So if one can instead understand the huge value of getting happier every day, and fully appreciate exactly where one is right now, then manifestations must come automatically, without even focusing on them in any particular way.

Summing up: This is probably one of Farber’s best arguments, if not the best one. Nevertheless, as he says himself, he has not disproved the existence of the Law of Attraction itself. So the Law of Attraction can still be 100% true. And it certainly is.

Chris Bocay

NOTES

  1. Here I have understood the idea “the failure rate is huge” as indicating that most people will not succeed in manifesting gross physical things such as Bentleys, luxury homes, Miss World girlfriends or Mr. Universe boyfriends. However, if they instead were focusing on fine-physical manifestations (good-feeling thoughts, good-feeling emotions), they would typically be much more likely to succeed. But most people are not interested in “just” happiness and a wonderful time; they want “real” manifestations to show off to their friends and family, so that they can feel “important” and “successful”.
  2. There is no “failure” for a person who is following the authorized teachings of the Law of Attraction. Since life is never done (we are eternal), we have an unlimited number of attempts to try to manifest that which we want to manifest: “You knew that you would never get it done and that you would never get it wrong . . . for, since it is never done, there is room for the Eternal alignment” (The Astonishing Power of Emotions, p. 237). And: “But we want to remind you that you cannot get it wrong, and you never get it done. So relax and allow yourself some leeway in all of this” (The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent, p. 285).
  3. So to focus on gross manifestations is most probably a waste of time for most people. But that would typically not be the case if they focused on fine-physical manifestations (good-feeling thoughts, good-feeling emotions), for those are much quicker and easier to manifest.

REFERENCES

  • Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2006), The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing. Foreword by Louise L. Hay. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
  • Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2007), The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]

Copyright © 2022 by Chris Bocay. All rights reserved.

First published: Mon 19 Sep 2022
Last revised: Mon 19 Sep 2022

NOTE: By using this website you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy, and other policies.

Leave a Reply

Up ↑