Wikipedia:How many legs does a horse have?
|While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement the Wikipedia:Verifiability page, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one.|
|This page in a nutshell: Simply saying that a horse has five legs doesn't make it true – calling a horse's tail a leg does not make it one.|
Jack and the Five Legged Horse
My uncle once said, "Boy, do you see that horse?"
"How many legs does that horse have?"
"Now what if I say that a horse's tail is a leg, too?"
"If I call a horse's tail a leg, how many legs does that horse have?"
"Boy, will you never learn? It doesn't matter what you call something. That horse still has four legs."
Sometimes when confronted with a difficult challenge we reply, That's not true! We say, That's not a (vanity page)/(rant)/(personal attack)/(tail); that's a (noteworthy article)/(discussion)/(polite comment)/(leg). But this changes nothing.
It's never enough to reply to a comment by saying You're wrong! That's not true! If it really is a leg, then show us how.
When arguing, make sure you add really new legs to your stand.
My uncle was wrong...
Very well, you say it does not have five legs: I say it has nine!
- No horse has five legs.
- Any horse has four legs more than no horse does.
- Therefore, a horse has nine legs.
A horse has, in fact, an infinite number of legs
- We first must establish that horses have an even number of legs - yes?
- A horse has forelegs and back legs.
- It has two back legs.
- Four plus two is six, thus it has six legs
- Six is an odd number of legs for a horse to have
- But the number must also be even!
- The only number which is both even and odd is infinity
- Therefore, a horse has an infinite number of legs
The longer you count, the more legs a horse has
- A horse has four legs
- Also, it has two forelegs at the front and two hind legs in the back. This makes it 8.
- It has two legs on the left side and two legs on the right side. This totals 12.
- It also has four perfectly visible legs from below. Now we have 16 of them.
- And we haven't even started counting legs on each corner!
Beating a dead horse
Some editors are so convinced that the horse has five legs that they will continue to return to the issue long after everybody else has accepted the consensus view that horses have four legs. Many of the most dedicated proponents of the five-leg school will assert that fivelegism is as valid a view as fourlegism, and that fourlegism is only a point of view. Often they will continue this to the point where they are, in truth, beating the bloody smear where the dead horse once lay.
On the other hoof...
If someone is writing about a horse that has five legs then, as tedious and boring as it may be, it is a good idea to check the references and reasons they have written about it. It may just be there was a genetic manipulation, or surgical graft, or something else altogether. Just because the only horses you have encountered have had four legs, doesn't mean that a five legged horse might not exist. Some deer have five legs.
- Logical fallacy
- Wikipedia:You are probably not a lexicologist or a lexicographer
- Wikipedia:Call a spade a spade
- Wikipedia:Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass
- User:Jnc/Astronomer vs Amateur
- Hardcastle, Joseph (1883). "Criticisms on "A Criticism on Averaging Accounts."". American counting-room (Counting-Room Co.) 7–8: 79.
Jack! Suppose a horse's tail a leg, how many legs would it have?" "Five." "No." "How's that ?" "All your suppositions would not make the tail a leg." But if Bill had said to Jack: "Jack! Suppose a horse's tail is counted as a leg, how many counts, as legs, would there be for a horse ?' "Five." "Quite right, Jack.