snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Fun House

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 14 May 2014, 01:44 PM
she-geek's Avatar
she-geek she-geek is offline
 
Join Date: 12 April 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 588
Default Sherlock Holmes sucks at deduction

"Until [Sherlock's fourth season], we have Pete Holmes' very funny send-up of the character... but also of the show: the sketch is shot in the style of Sherlock, with the detective arrogantly rattling off his chain of reasoning in rapid-fire sequences. Unfortunately, said reasoning is not just elementary but completely wrong."

Much as I love the show, there are times when I just WTF? at the character's fondness for jumping to premature conclusions based on flawed hypotheses. One in particular comes to mind: Sherlock's assertion that a gunshot would couldn't have been self-inflicted because the wound was on the right side, but the apartment was set up for someone who was left-handed. Because apparently left-handed people are incapable of shooting right-handed.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 14 May 2014, 02:21 PM
Elkhound Elkhound is offline
 
Join Date: 09 October 2002
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 10,676
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
Because apparently left-handed people are incapable of shooting right-handed.
It depends on how strongly left-handed the person was. (I'm a leftie myself, and while I don't shoot, given my lack of dexterity--no pun intended--with my right hand I don't think I could do it right handed.)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 14 May 2014, 02:27 PM
she-geek's Avatar
she-geek she-geek is offline
 
Join Date: 12 April 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 588
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
It depends on how strongly left-handed the person was. (I'm a leftie myself, and while I don't shoot, given my lack of dexterity--no pun intended--with my right hand I don't think I could do it right handed.)
I, too, am one of the Southpaw Legion. I couldn't vouch for my marksmanship if I were shooting right-handed, but if the muzzle of the gun were resting against my own head I suspect that missing the mark wouldn't be much of an issue. For that matter, IIRC John Watson is left-handed in the show, but shoots right-handed.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 14 May 2014, 03:47 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,783
Baseball

I write and throw with my right hand, and do just about everything else with my left.

I'm a left handed mouser, left handed golfer, left handed batter, left handed eater, left footed kicker, left eye dominant, left handed snow shoveller, deafened in my right ear (true), and a natural left handed shot.

However, when I joined the military, I switched to the right for one reason and one reason only. By shooting left handed, I was getting hot casings ejecting into my body and head. They hurt like hell.

So, I'm now a right handed shot. Still feels awkward.

I've never seen an episode of Sherlock, so I can't comment on that. However, it seems to be on par with the writings of Doyle.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 14 May 2014, 03:51 PM
Johnny Slick's Avatar
Johnny Slick Johnny Slick is offline
 
Join Date: 13 February 2003
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 11,628
Default

Wasn't Conan Doyle also, to some extent, writing the Sherlock Holmes stories as a kind of parody of hyper-rationalist thinking? I know that a lot of people take it another way but, well, a lot of people took "Wall Street" to mean that greed is actually good.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 14 May 2014, 07:06 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,365
Default

Near the beginning of The Sign of Four Holmes admits to Watson that he doesn't really expect to be right all the time based on his more tenuous deductions - although he is, generally, because he's written that way...

Quote:
"Then how in the name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely correct in every particular."

"Ah, that is good luck. I could only say what was the balance of probability. I did not at all expect to be so accurate."
I'm sure there's another bit in one of the later stories where he says the same thing, and also that there are other explanations which would also have fit the facts and he just picked one of them and happened to be right, but I can't find it so I might be misremembering.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 15 May 2014, 01:48 AM
Zylly Zylly is offline
 
Join Date: 24 June 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I'm sure there's another bit in one of the later stories where he says the same thing, and also that there are other explanations which would also have fit the facts and he just picked one of them and happened to be right, but I can't find it so I might be misremembering.
There is also The Adventure of the Yellow Face, where Holmes proves to be utterly and completely wrong in pretty much every possible way.

"Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 15 May 2014, 04:25 AM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,750
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
It depends on how strongly left-handed the person was. (I'm a leftie myself, and while I don't shoot, given my lack of dexterity--no pun intended--with my right hand I don't think I could do it right handed.)
When Dad was in the police, he used to impress his colleagues with how well he could shoot his revolver with either hand. Dad was a leftie, but had it beaten out of him by the nuns.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 15 May 2014, 09:00 AM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,365
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
"Until [Sherlock's fourth season], we have Pete Holmes' very funny send-up of the character...
Ha, I just watched the OP clip and the bit with the phone at the beginning is actually a send-up of the very exchange with Watson that leads to the bit I quoted from The Sign Of Four...! In the original it's Watson's watch that Holmes is looking at but the other bits are the same. (It had a winding key in place of the charger.)
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 17 May 2014, 04:29 AM
JoeBentley's Avatar
JoeBentley JoeBentley is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2002
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 21,796
Default

It's not just the show, it's Doyle's original character.

As much as I absolutely adore the character of Sherlock Holmes in many of his various incarnations his whole shtick could only work in a fictional world where the author controls the variables of the whole world.

And yes shooting a weapon strong and weak handed is generally one of the first things anyone that handles a weapon learns to do.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 17 May 2014, 04:33 AM
JoeBentley's Avatar
JoeBentley JoeBentley is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2002
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 21,796
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Slick View Post
Wasn't Conan Doyle also, to some extent, writing the Sherlock Holmes stories as a kind of parody of hyper-rationalist thinking?
I don't know if that's true but it would hardly surprise me. Given Doyle's tendancy toward Woo Slinging and the fact that he openly hated the character at times it wouldn't surprise me if he was a sort of anti-intellectual Mary Sue.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 17 May 2014, 03:30 PM
she-geek's Avatar
she-geek she-geek is offline
 
Join Date: 12 April 2009
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 588
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I'm sure there's another bit in one of the later stories where he says the same thing, and also that there are other explanations which would also have fit the facts and he just picked one of them and happened to be right, but I can't find it so I might be misremembering.
It reminds me of the scene in Heroes where Hiro concludes that he can stop time itself because he managed to stop a clock with his mind. He turns out to be right, but really all the clock thing actually proved is that he could stop a clock.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 17 May 2014, 06:27 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
I, too, am one of the Southpaw Legion. I couldn't vouch for my marksmanship if I were shooting right-handed, but if the muzzle of the gun were resting against my own head I suspect that missing the mark wouldn't be much of an issue. For that matter, IIRC John Watson is left-handed in the show, but shoots right-handed.
Eldest daughter is right handed, but because of a nerve injury when she was born, she has reduced strength and mobility in her right shoulder. So, she does things that requires strength with the left hand, but uses her right hand for most other tasks. So, she hammers with her left hand, but shoots with her right.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 19 May 2014, 12:30 PM
Blatherskite's Avatar
Blatherskite Blatherskite is offline
 
Join Date: 06 February 2006
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 3,918
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I don't know if that's true but it would hardly surprise me. Given Doyle's tendancy toward Woo Slinging and the fact that he openly hated the character at times it wouldn't surprise me if he was a sort of anti-intellectual Mary Sue.
I've only read Hound of the Baskervilles and a collection of short stories, but I noticed very little woo in the stories themselves (excluding some Victorian 'science'). In fact it surprised me to learn that Doyle was a spiritualist! Doyle claimed he based the character on Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn, both surgeons and forensic scientists. Doyle seemed to admire and learn a lot from these two, so I doubt Sherlock was written to mock them.

I also find BookSherlock's skills of deduction a tad more realistic than the seemingly magical powers of TVSherlock. In Hound of the Baskervilles he rattles off a description of the pet dog a man owns, apparently based on studying the walking stick the man left behind, and when asked about it he confesses that he's looking directly at the man and the dog out of the window. He also asks a lot more questions and does a lot more snooping, rather than relying on one perfunctory glance like TVSherlock does. TVSherlock's 'genius' is just that he's always written to be right about everything . It's the easiest way to write a genius, because you don't have to be clever enough to think up anything clever for him to do or say (see also: House).
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 19 May 2014, 09:55 PM
TB Tabby TB Tabby is offline
 
Join Date: 13 January 2004
Location: Bolingbrook, IL
Posts: 1,759
Default

The Discworld book "Feet of Clay" has a well-written dismantling of the Holmes method.

Quote:
Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues.

He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way.

And he distrusted the kind of person who'd take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, "Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times," and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man's boots,when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he'd been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen* and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!

It was the same with more static evidence. The footprints in the flowerbed were probably in the real world left by the window-cleaner. The scream in the night was quite likely a man getting out of bed and stepping sharply on an unturned hairbrush.

The real world was far too real to leave neat little hints. It was full of too many things. It wasn't by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of eliminating the possibilities. You worked away, patiently asking questions and looking hard at things. You walked and talked, and in your heart you just hoped like hell that some bugger's nerve'd crack and he'd give himself up.

*These terms are often synonymous.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 19 May 2014, 10:32 PM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,167
Icon102

Hasn't this been the staple of just about every Sherlock parody ever? Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Without a Clue, Deduce, You Say!...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sherlock Dasla Amusement Bark 60 05 February 2014 12:11 AM
Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules snopes Moot Court 5 01 January 2014 05:39 PM
Having no power sucks dungeondragon18 SLC 16 26 December 2013 02:49 PM
Oliver Wendell Holmes shook hands with JQA and JFK? snopes History 15 22 February 2013 10:41 PM
The Truth About Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes snopes Entertainment 22 21 April 2009 07:53 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.