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Showing posts with label Logical Fallacies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Logical Fallacies. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Great Words

From a recent comment thread on Quora...

Thanks Mark, I worked out pretty quickly that it was a waste of time...pedantic, semantic arguments seem to the weapon of choice ( pun intended ) for Kevin. I just find it odd, that there are people out there that see nothing wrong with innocent bystanders dying, so others can exercise their right to own and carry a gun.... Thanks again...

Pedantic, semantic arguments combined with wacky ideological nonsense pretty much sums up today's conservative. Of course, that's the result of a baseline of insecurity and inferiority hence the need to "win" all the time:)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Your Logical Fallacy Is....

Recently, Kent from Minnesota wrote me.

Hey, Mark, what's the deal with these standard responses that your commenters always quote. Aren't those all ad hominem? 

Yes, Kent they are. It should also be pointed out that ad hominem is part of the genetic fallacy family of logical fallacies. Kent also sent along this link which I found to be most helpful.

ad hominem

You attacked your opponent's character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone's case without actually having to engage with it. 

Example: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn't married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

And...

genetic:

You judged something as either good or bad on the basis of where it comes from, or from whom it came. This fallacy avoids the argument by shifting focus onto something's or someone's origins. It's similar to an ad hominem fallacy in that it leverages existing negative perceptions to make someone's argument look bad, without actually presenting a case for why the argument itself lacks merit. 

Example: Accused on the 6 o'clock news of corruption and taking bribes, the senator said that we should all be very wary of the things we hear in the media, because we all know how very unreliable the media can be.

Click here for more illustrative examples of how the TSM commenters consistently use ad hom and genetic fallacy. As to why they do it, they are obviously insecure about their own arguments. This explains why they only criticize and never make any of their own, living in a constant state of terror that they might be "proved wrong."

What a sad and pathetic way to live your life...

Saturday, December 07, 2013

'Tis The Season

It's the holidays and that means it's time to give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. With this spirit in mind, I thought I would answer all of the questions that a commenter (Not My Name) has been asking this year and give not only him a Christmas present but the four people that read his comments a gift as well. I've already answered many of them in posts or comments previously but he seems like he needs the attention and is lacking something pretty significant in his social life to spend as much time as he has writing in my comments section. So I thought one post with all my answers would be a great way to lift him out of his depression.

Question: Is the Constitution law? 

The context of this question was the 2nd amendment and I have already answered it pretty thoroughly. Yet there is a more concise way to answer...

Answer: Yes, the perfectly legal to amend and continually open to interpretation, as evidenced by 200+ years of tort, United States Constitution is law.

Question: Why would an uninsured person going to the ER cause insurance rates to go up?

Answer: Because they often can't pay and due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a law signed by Ronald Reagan and a bipartisan Congress, every person must be cared for regardless of their financial situation. The story of Sharon Ford was a primary driver behind this law. Note the pro life tone to what transpired and consider this recent post of mine. As the link notes, taxpayers pick up the cost via public dollars or raised rates that stem from cash strapped hospitals picking up the tab.

Here NMN assumes that he has led me down a path that will show me that the government is the problem. Yet this same government stepped in to pass this law so we could save lives. Would NMN get rid of this law and let unborn babies like Sharon Ford's child die? I suppose only he can answer that but a reversal of this law would save taxpayers money so I guess he has a real puzzler on his hands. Maybe he should consult the Bible. On second thought, maybe not, as we can see from the next two questions.

Question: Faith in what? 

Answer: Your faith in Jesus and God. It's very, very weak. That's why you need others to believe exactly as you do lest you be tempted to stray from Republican Jesus. You claim to be a "rugged individualist" yet positively can't stand the fact that someone might think differently than you not just with your religious faith but your political faith as well. Like the communists and socialists you decry, you want everyone to believe exactly as you do otherwise you condemn them. You also make the mistake of having faith in conservative political leaders and ideologies. Faith is reserved for spiritual matters not for issues like the economy or health care. Even here your faith is weak as well. I'm not responsible for your insecurities. You are. And Jesus is very clear about people that judge and cast the first stone.

One other note on this question. NMN has refused, despite repeated queries, to outright reject the various sects of Christianity that don't conform exactly to his warped version of it. He's certainly rejected my Christian beliefs. I wonder why he hasn't rejected the Unitarian Church, for example. Or the peace churches.

Primary Question: Authors of words have a meaning they intend to communicate, and that meaning is the only valid "interpretation" of any writing. Do you agree or disagree? 

Related Questions: What makes you think God is UNABLE to do what mere humans can do—get someone to write what they want written? So you're claiming that the Jeremiah 31:33-34 prophecy has already come to pass? That every single person in the world sees and accepts Yahweh as his/her God, even Juris Imprudent? That there is no disagreement about God because we all know Him directly?   

Answer: As a writer myself, I say no to the primary question because maybe someone else can dream up something even more wonderful than I intended. Being a reflective person, I welcome it, of course:) Perhaps I could inspire someone to a higher meaning, right?  The other day in class I was offering a critique of John Maynard Keynes and a student raised his hand and said, "It seems that you are saying that Keynes' theories are too psychologically based." I hadn't actually said that but he took what I was saying and brought it to a higher level. It was magnificent. But really, it depends on the author. Bob Dylan would say yes. John Lennon would say no. NMN also seems to be lacking here in his understanding of the use of metaphor. Perhaps he doesn't understand symbolism either.

Anyway, the context of this question and the related ones is the Bible and the author's intent. As with all of his Bible, legal, constitutional, and morality related questions, NMN assumes he is the authority on the author's intent and proceeds (as always) with great hubris. He recently intimated that he is a more valid interpreter of the Bible than the pope. Wow, he's smart!

So, the question he lacks the courage to ask is "Am I the authority on Biblical interpretation, constitutional interpretation, and morality in terms of spiritual and civic law?" Or, more briefly, "Do I know what God is thinking?" The answer is no (and it's no for me as well) because he continually makes false assumptions based on emotions and a completely instransigent ideology. The failure is not with the authors but with NMN himself because he misinterprets, either purposefully, through ignorance or both, the author's intent. And, as I have mentioned far too many times, he also purposefully misinterprets what I say and turns my writings into gotcha questions (so, how long have you been beating your wife?) in order to go for the win and show off for the TSM people that read his comments. Does he know any other way? Thus far, the answer is no.

Primary Question: Do you think it's okay to punish a child for the parent's crime?

Answer: No, but I wish it were OK to punish parents for children's crimes. There would be a lot less gun deaths and spree shootings if that were the case. Perhaps parents would think twice about having guns in the house with their mentally ill child if their asses were on the line.

The background to this question is abortion and NMN falsely assumes (more on false assumptions aka lying below) that the moment of inception equals a child. It does not. Science (remember facts, evidence and logic?) shows us that there is not a fetus until the 10th week of development. The link above has detailed images of development and people can judge for themselves as to what constitutes a "child." For me that's towards the end of the first trimester which is why I have no problem with a federal ban on abortion extended to include the 2nd trimester. I'd even consider going back earlier with a ban when brain, heart and lung functions are more fully developed. A question that NMN or other pro life folks need to answer...is something human if it has no heart?

Of course, there is no such thing as compromise in NMN's world. Even I have to consider that my views may be wrong. Can the child survive outside of the womb? When? What of the mother's rights? Is her body now a ward of the state? This is a gray area because it's not as cut and dried as human-not human. And the Right doesn't do well at all with gray areas. It's not a person at every stage of neonatal development and even when it is in my view, should the fetus really be granted 14th amendment rights? Consider as well that the same argument against banning guns (only criminals will have guns) applies here. Only criminals will provide abortions and there will have to be funds for enforcement and personnel assigned to police it. Who is going to pay for it? Imagine what happened during Prohibition with liquor happening with abortion in terms of crime. Witness what is happening now with drugs. It would be a nightmare. NMN, like many on the Right, don't really think before they bloviate about nearly all of the issues facing our country today. Recall this as well. 

If we left behind the rock solid stubbornness of both sides in the abortion debate, we might actually be able to solve this problem. Abortion is not birth control and it should be harder to obtain. Single woman in their 20s are the group that need to be targeted as they have the most abortions. At a certain stage (earlier than what is legal now), they should not be allowed to have an abortion unless their life is threatened. If they are raped or a victim of incest, they should use the day after pill or terminate in the first couple of weeks. Family planning and sex education need to be improved. People have to behave more responsibly when it comes to sex. Overall, there needs to be societal shift so demand for abortion is reduced it not all together eliminated. As with most issues, the Right can't help but focus on supply when they should be focusing on demand. Get rid of the demand and you get rid of abortion.

Primary Question: Is "false" equal to "truth"?

Related Questions: Even Joe Biden admits that the administration's gun control actions won't stop the shootings. So why do those things? Since the leaders of the Democrat's effort to implement universal background checks say that "any bill without a records provision would be as toothless as an honor system", do you still assert that "[n]o one is talking about universal registration" and/or that it can be implemented without registration?

Answer: No, false does not equal truth and NMN does an excellent job of illustrating this given the content of the primary question and the related questions. Honestly, all of his questions are, in one way or another, based on false assumptions about the issues of the day or, in this case, me and what I am asserting. With me, that's part and parcel to his childish games.

The context of this specific line of query (along with all of the other gun questions he asks) is based on the false assumption and an inconsolable paranoia that the federal government is out to get our guns. For NMN, any changes to gun laws will result in tyranny. Our system of checks and balances make this highly unlikely. Consider how difficult it is to pass something as simple as a budget let alone a new law on the regulation of guns. A tyranny assumes swift and decisive action not government by sedimentation which is what we have now. He pulls half truths, spins, or simply lies with this category of questions.

Joe Biden's comment is quite different than what NMN has described and essentially (and hilariously) asks, "Why even have laws?" In fact, this very question is at the root of conservative whining. Like the adolescent that simply can't take the rules of the house, conservatives grouse about having to follow rules they don't like. New rules are the worst, man! They suck, and like, the Right doesn't want to do them and stuff. Of course, the rest of the adults in our country recognize that as our society evolves, problems arise and sometimes need to be addressed with (gasp!) new laws. Pretending that a problem doesn't exist or will magically go away (the conservative go to thinking these days) doesn't work.

The background check question is a half truth at best and based on opinions and heresay, not the actual law or an evidence based argument. The Manchin-Toomey bill is available here for review and a Google search (unaided by someone as biased as me:)) will show the full story on his related questions. And why can't we figure out a way to improve gun safety while honoring the 2nd amendment? We are the greatest nation on the planet, aren't we? I find it amusing that someone such as NMN decries those who "hate America" yet appears to be doing just that. Clearly the thinks very little of the leaders of this country and the people in it but that's the adolescent problem with authority again. Equally as amusing is the fact that NMN spends a lot of time and energy debunking things that Democrats say, accusing them of being incompetent liars, but on the issue of universal background checks, they are now suddenly "telling the truth." Wow...it's a Christmas miracle!!

Will NMN accept this gift in the spirit of the season and be gracious? Will his obsession with me continue? Or something else? Or will he reject my gift, take it back, psychotically keep asking the questions over and over again, circle jerk for juris, GD, 6Kings and Larry, and pretend that I never answered the questions? Honestly, it doesn't really matter.

Because in the final analysis we will never, ever see the kind of our nation he claims he wants. The trajectory of our country is evolving to fit the age of globalization and leaving behind backwards, hateful, and ignorant thinking. NMN's comments and questions are great examples of the fear that only comes with the realization that old ideologies are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Logical Fallacies

I came across this site the other day after one of my ex-students (who reads this blog and Kevin's blog) pointed it out to me. She told me that the posters there and here can be characterized by this photo and the caption below it.


























MY DAUGHTER NEVER GAVE BIRTH TO A PLATYPUS AND THAT'S WHY YOU SHOULDN'T MAKE CHEESE IN CANADA!

Sadly, that's what it feels like at times.