The fallacy embedded in a truth

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Comment on an article by Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo


The mathematics professor at UFSCar, Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo, in an attempt to save his colleagues, historical supporters* affiliated with PROIFES-“Pelegação”, plays with data that he, due to his knowledgeable training in the exact field, must master very well. good. And this dominance towards the analytical or specious side, can lead the unwary to make a mistake regarding the facts of this movement of federal education employees, forced to go on strike by a government that seems to have, contradictorily, disliked university education personnel.

Because on the one hand it has already financed and still finances the expansion of the system and on the other it contains the purchasing power of workers at Federal Educational Institutions. Not only the purchasing power, but the salary that becomes a resource to finance much of their research, their laboratories, their publications.

Unless I know better, I start with what is correct and honest in the article by Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo. The number of members in each Andes union is 46.280 and in Proifes 17.238. From then on, it presents correct proportions, 72,9% for Andes and 27,1% for Proifes 63.518. I start here with confidence in the data released by the professor, but duly recalculated.

I note that in view of the electronic pages of both entities the numbers differ, being around 70 thousand for Andes and 20 thousand for PROIFES. But the numbers provided by Gil Vicente are more than enough to reach the conclusion that, at the very least, there is a mistake in the data analysis carried out by the professor whose source is Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo's own text.

Later, it compares correct data in numbers – provided by Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo in the cited text –, but in a malicious way in analytical form, as it compares different data in its context, in its scenario. Because it puts the number of teachers who would have attended Andes assemblies (10.000) against its affiliates (46.280) reaching the result 21,6%, very well.

Here comes the trick that leads him to the fallacious argument, comparing the alleged 7.000 consulted electronically against his number of members (17.238), resulting in the spectacular number of 40,6%. Such a result would put an end to the face-to-face assemblies held by Andes and also Sinasefe, Fasubra or any other entity that adheres to this analogue and perhaps anachronistic form of meeting and consulting their colleagues. I use this last term trying to think inside Gil Vicente's box.

But, repeating to remember, Gil Vicente's discursive characteristic is the fallacy of argument. Supported by numbers that can be contested, but in principle using the presumption of trust.

It's a fallacy because the experienced, smart professor Gil Vicente compares garlic to bugs, compares people consulted electronically against people consulted in the physical environment of assemblies. Why doesn't math professor Gil Vicente just compare the numbers of people present at physical assemblies of both unions? He should compare the electronic consultation data against another consultation of the same nature. It turns out that as far as we know until the end of editing this message, Andes does not have a cultural or statutory habit of carrying out surveys or electronic consultations.

It is known that in Salvador, for example, there are even babalorixá who provide consultations via Instagram, prescribing their advice via electronic media, charging via Pix. A modality that on an individual level or for small groups can work well. However, mass electronic consultation is not used by most unions.

Truth table

The propositions posed by Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo are factors of a logical expression called conjunction. For the first proposition, pAndes = (No. of gifts at the meeting/No. of members) x100% eqProifes = (No. of consulted electronically / No. of affiliates) x100%. At a glance, everything was fine with the expressions, but no. The numerators are different and incomparable. Those who make the effort to go to an assembly hall is very different from the effort of those who go to a keyboard to press a digit or two, confirm and finish.

The effort to organize and move is geographically and politically different. Since one of the factors of the expression is false, the result of the conjunction is false with a 75% chance of being false, taking into account the combinations in this table.

The teacher who emphasizes analysis of objective data subliminally subjectively subjectively makes his arguments as if they were juggling, until one falls on his face.

Aggressions in assemblies

The professor states that many choose not to go to these face-to-face meetings, especially when it comes to debating and voting on controversial issues. He gives us an example to give us an idea of ​​the level of tension that can occur, mentioning that in a recent assembly a professor who defended the non-acceptance of the government's proposal attacked another, who was in favor, with a punch in the eye, saying that The incident was recorded on video and published on the internet/social media. And he expresses his opinion on the matter: “Therefore, the positions of the 'category' defined by the ANDES methodology refer to the majority opinions of the activists who go to the assemblies”. The fact of placing the expression category in quotation marks already reveals your doubt regarding who one entity or another represents, in my opinion.

I will contrast this fact with another that also happened at a later date, in an assembly of the Apub of UFBA [affiliated to PROIFES] held in a mixed way, in person in the auditorium of the Rectory of UFBA and virtually via an electronic transmission platform with teachers from Vitória da Conquista. At a certain point after the vote, when those present were waiting for the result to be announced, the expression “…I think there are some teachers here who are already brain dead and are still here working, for the love of God, give the place to people work people!…”.**.

Coming either from the in-person environment in the auditorium or from the virtual environment of Vitória da Conquista, or from another place where there was an open microphone available for this person who attacks their fellow human beings in the assembly with words. Are we then going to prevent electronic transmissions from taking place? Or prevent individual collective participation from a distance? For the aggression that someone carried out using the same electronic means?

So, based on the example given by Professor Gil Vicente and the one I present, are we going to invalidate this method of transmitting assemblies or are we going to restrict these manifestations, whether physical or virtual [electronic] within the appropriate legal system?

Alert, in passing

I want to make this alert because and passant Gil Vicente seems to be right, but he is not. It is a very artful maneuver using his experience as a teacher and as founder of the Proifes 'pelegação' to save it from the fire to which it is subjected.

I even believe that comrade Valter Pomar could use his previous article to counter this one by Gil Vicente, as Professor Valter Pomar's solid argument remains in time and in the case.

All support for the strike and mobilization of the Servants of Federal Institutions and also for the Servants of Paraná who fight against the privatization of public schools and the improvement of working conditions and salaries.

*Manoel RC Paiva, degree in Science qualified in Biology is a retired professor at the State University of Londrina (UEL).


* tail, in the old sense of those who carry the train of the garments of ecclesiastical characters.

** from 1h50min of this video available on the Apud YouTube channel:

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