Essay on How the Oatmeal by Matthew Inman Made You Feel

5 pages
1144 words
University of Richmond
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Critical thinking
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Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal has been employing a smart, funny and relevant look at how human construct their beliefs and build their reality tunnels. It also tries to explain why human beings react forcefully in case their belief system's core assumptions are threatened. This comic tries to explain how it is to argue facts with a person who would not accept them. Many people have strong beliefs concerning social issues such as immigration, police brutality, and abortion or being gay among others (Inman 1). The question is if one would change these beliefs when presented with inarguable information that is considered factual and contradicts those beliefs. Most people's answer will want to say yes despite in reality the answer by most of them is going to a no.

The comic by Matthew Inman explains a phenomenon referred to as backfire effect. The backfire effect is a psychological behavior that entails the rejection of information that question beliefs (Inman 1). The information strengthens the belief we hold. It can feel almost impossible to change a person's mind and have them rethink their current position. We would like to think that the ubiquity of information should help in the resolution of all arguments. However, the opposite has been experienced in which facts polarize people instead of bringing them together. Francis Bacon who was an English philosopher articulated that the human understanding once taken an opinion draws everything to support that opinion.

After watching The Oatmeal by Inman, the backfire effect can best explain my feeling. First, Inman led me to the backfire effect by starting an explanation on George Washington's teeth, and this fact was easy to accept. He explains that George Washington had teeth made from lead, gold, hippopotamus ivory, and donkey and not from wood. Inman cites sources that claim George Washington was in possession of another set of dentures curved from slaves' teeth. I had two different feeling about the two sets of information provided. At first, I believed the first fact about George Washington not have wooden teeth. But when Inman mentioned the second part especially on teeth made from slave teeth, I was made to question that information and checked the sources. I felt Inman just thought his leaders were a collection of gullible people. I got keen on what Inman would mention in the other parts of the reading.

After reading the entire Oatmeal comic, I realized I held my beliefs so strongly that I did not care to evaluate information when a contrasting piece of evidence is presented. Instead of making an informed analysis of the evidence presented, I rejected the new information and strengthened my belief. After an in-depth research, I learned that the backfire effect which I experienced was part of the human nature that influences our response which can either be fight-or-flight. To explain this, when our strongest beliefs are threatened, the brain perceives them as a threat to our survival. In conclusion, I feel that we need to change the unconscious tendency to safeguard our beliefs when they are challenged. To do this, we need to remain logical by ensuring facts support our strongest beliefs. Instead of waiting to be challenged by outsiders, we need to challenge ourselves. This is because carrying out an investigation ourselves does not present the same threat of a person's self-worth as compared to an external challenge.

How it made you feel that your parents are your real biological parents

The knowledge about my parents being my birth parents obviously fills me with joy and appreciation. The presence of facts that your parents are your real biological parents is a relief and strengthens the bond. However, we can look at this statement critically and reason it out. The statement can be discussed using forms of valid reasoning. There exist two basic forms of valid reasoning namely the deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. Just by evaluating some previous facts it is possible to deduce a conclusion. To determine how I feel about my parents being my real biological parents, I had to use logic. Simple defined logic is critical and using observation and skilled listening, one can collect information thereby coming into accurate conclusions. Using intuition is essential, but there is need to support it using logic and factual analysis. The utilization of gut feeling and not consulting facts might lead to speculation. Using deductive reasoning, we start with a general hypothesis or a known fact and then continue to make a specific conclusion for the hypothesis (Schechter 2). This is in contrast to inductive reasoning with entails coming to a conclusion from a set of observations. It is not always considered a valid method of proof since just because someone observes a various situation and sees a pattern does not mean the patterns is collect for all the situations.

In this case, I am going to use deductive reasoning to point out how I concluded that my parents are my real biological parents. In deductive reasoning, there is need to have a premise, evidence, and conclusion. The premise in this form of reasoning entails the definition of a fundamental fact or reality (Schechter 1). In this step, there is the need for a reason and the basic idea that will be the basis for my conclusion. The premise, in this case, is imagined to be true and there is no possibility that the conclusion can be incorrect. The premise is that my parents are my real biological parents. The next step is the provision of evidence or proof that supports the premise. My parents are the people I have grown around my whole life. They have also provided the quality of care only parents can provide to their biological child. I have also taken up my family name, and we resemble each other in most ways. For instance, I take my mother's complexion and my father's intelligence and athleticism. Also, there is a video proof showing my mother giving birth to me and pictures as I grew up. In conclusion after the deductive analysis, I can point out that my parents are my real biological parents. Basing my argument on this conclusion, I am proud of my parents, and I feel gratitude for everything they have done to the point I all was grown. The quality of life that I have lived cannot be understated. I feel love for them due to the moral values they have imparted to me ensuring that I am a loving and a caring human being. This conclusion supported by the evidence confirms that my parents are my real biological parents.

Work Cited

Inman, Matthew. "You're Not Going to Believe What I'm About To Tell You - The Oatmeal." The Oatmeal, 2016,

Schechter, Joshua. "Deductive Reasoning." Brown University,


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