I have a small-claims matter pending with the courts in my state. Here, self-represented parties are required to attend an information session, which I attended today. During this session the presenter talked about mandatory settlement conferences, in which the parties both present summaries of their cases to the deputy-judge, who then tells the parties how he would rule if he were the trial judge for the matter. The courts operate these conferences to encourage settlement and reduce the number of cases that proceed to trial.
I asked one of the two presenters, "I heard that the settlement-conference deputy-judges usually press the guy with the most money to make the larger concession; is that true?"
She replied, "Well. Hm. Maybe my colleague should answer that." Her colleague answered, "Let's take that to an extreme. If that were the case, then the settlement conference deputy-judges would just look at each person's net-worth and tell the richer person that he expects him to prevail if the matter proceeds to trial." (I accepted his answer, but ultimately, the first speaker conceded that what I heard wasn't entirely inaccurate.)
I thought the second speaker misused reduction to the extreme in a manner analogous to countering the claim that there are aliens living on earth by arguing that if that were true, then there would be so many of them that we would have to stack them face-to-face toward the sky in order to fit them all on our planet.
But if I claimed that relish is a vegetable, one might argue that if that were the case then one could get half a day's worth of vegetables from several packets of relish and ketchup.
That example seems to succeed, but the prior example seems to fail. Why?