Appeal to Novelty

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    /wiki/Appeal to Noveltywork

    Arguing that one thing is automatically better in every way than another because it is newer. See New and Improved.

    This argument is often made with regard to technology, where it is often supposed that anything "high tech" is automatically better than anything "low tech." Technology is all about fulfilling requirements, however, not just about cross-board improvement; for example, while a modern tank is faster and has a much more powerful gun than a World War 1 tank, it has inferior obstacle crossing abilities because its design represents a trade-off between visibility and obstacle crossing. C. S. Lewis called this fallacy "chronological snobbery".

    This fallacy is the polar opposite of Appeal to Tradition.

    Also called

    • Appeal to Youth.
    • Chronological Snobbery
    Examples of Appeal to Novelty include:

    Advertising

    • One ad for a home pregnancy test uses this fallacy when it says "ClearBlue Easy is the most advanced piece of technology you'll ever ... pee on." The whole ad makes it rather clear that it's being done at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek, though.
    • Multi-blade razors also rely on this fallacy. If two blades are good, three blades must be better, and five plus a moisturizing strip better yet. See also Shaving Is Science.
    • A car ad that mentioned that the vehicle in question gathered a lot of data about the road surface. And then said absolutely nothing about what it uses the data for.
    • An ad for a cell phone company that depicted James Earl Jones asking, "Talk talk talk pay, or pay talk talk talk?" He never explained why you would prefer the latter.
    • Infomercials rely on this fallacy. "The old way" of cleaning/exercising/brushing your teeth (which is usually a Strawman to begin with) is represented by black and white footage of people Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket, while the new way is backed by dubious science, claims of cutting-edge technology, and being in color.
    • Whenever a new iteration of an electronic device comes out, be it cell phone, media player, gaming console, TV or whatever, you're guaranteed at least one company or line talking about the "new technical innovations" of their product; they of course conveniently don't point out that either those "innovations" have been standard for everyone but them for several years, or that the changes have little or nothing to do with the effectiveness of the product (i.e. a "new and improved grip" for a product that has to be set down to be used.)

    Live-Action TV

    • British Television Quiz QI is extremely guilty of this trope. The entire premise of the show is turning "popular" knowledge on its head or proving old preconceptions wrong. As a result, lots of people believe the alternative, not for the inherent value of the statement, but because it's different..
    • How I Met Your Mother: Barney believes that new things are always better. Ted then buys ten year old scotch and makes Barney buy the newest scotch in the bar.
    • On Bones, Temperance Brennan several times called marriage an "outdated" institution(before getting married in later episodes of course). Of course to make that statement you have to assume all of the purposes of marriage are obsolete. For instance, Americans no longer have large familes with distinct corporate policies and property is not normally entailed making the use of marriage as a negotiating tool obsolete. Which does not eliminate such goals as say, the emotional satisfaction of the partners, the assurance of care for children, the religious need for a public declaration of a relationship, etc.

    New Media

    • Many a firearm featured on Forgotten Weapons was designed around new and innovative features without really having a practical use for them (and often not working consistently compared to the reliable ones). Given the channel's name, it's no surprise that most didn't work out that well. Note that some of these chose this route due to the reliable systems all being under patent protection.

    Real Life

    • The dot-com bubble was caused by many investors believing this fallacy; the new technology often blinded them to the unfeasability of many dotcom startups' business plans. Similar market bubbles have been associated with other new technology industries, including railroads, automobiles, radios and transistors.
      • And tulips, yes, tulips. When tulips were first imported to the Dutch during the Dutch Golden Age, there was a massive craze for the new flowers. Prices for rare bulbs rose to (relative) heights that would make any dot.com millionaire seem like a pauper. The ensuing financial havoc after the bubble popped was devastating.
    • Robert Lewis Dabney's observation[1], on which he based prediction that the suddenly-fashionable suffragettes will win in United States: the main reason is simply that anything goes, as long as it's "new".
    Cquote1.svg

    This is foreshadowed by the frantic lust for innovation which has seized the body of the people like an epidemic. It is enough with them to condemn any institution, that it was bequeathed us by our forefathers; because it is not the invention of this age, it is wrong, of course. In their eyes no experience proves anything, save the experience which they have had themselves. They do not suppose that our fathers were wise enough to interpret and record the lessons of former experiences. That certain things did not succeed in our forefathers hands is no proof that they will not succeed in our hands; for we are “cute,” we live in an enlightened age, and understand how to manage things successfully. The philosophy of the Yankee mind is precisely that of the Yankee girl who, when she asked for leave to marry at seventeen, was dissuaded by her mother that she “had married very early and had seen the folly of it.” “Yes; but, Mamma,” replied the daughter, “I want to see the folly of it for myself.” Your Yankee philosopher is too self-sufficient to be cautioned from the past. He does not know history, he would not believe its conclusions if he did; he has no use for its lights, having enough “subjective” light of his own. To such a people the fact that a given experiment is too absurd to have been ever tried before, is an irresistible fascination: it is a chance not to be neglected.

    Cquote2.svg
    • A common thing in the more simplistic accounts of tactical theory. Supposedly the new idea is the "wave of the future" and those who use the old specialty are "hidebound." In fact there are often a lot of complications. For instance it is often said that there was an obsessive feud between carrier men and battleship men and the carrier men were always right. In fact battleships found a new niche in shore support and anti-air. Furthermore surface action heated up in the Pacific toward the end of 1942 when everyone's carriers were sunk or in for repairs. Finally relations between the specialists in each were not always bad, and several officers of the old specialty adapted to the new quite well.
    • Fascist-style government was appealed to widely in the thirties as the wave of the future as compared to democracies, or monarchies (constitutional or otherwise) which were called decadent. However in the most important area Fascists gave for their reason for being, the ability to make war, they found themselves decidedly inferior to more conventional styles for states except in the raw tactical sense and not always there. Both America and Britain gave superior performance to Germany and Japan in strategy let alone logistics. And of course they won the war though this was muted by the fact that they were allied to a dictatorship.
    1. from essay Women’s Rights Women in The Southern Magazine, 1871