This is a new category, and will be updated from time to time.
The subject matter will focus on current issues, and how many of those who give opinions and commentary in Public Forums often violate the basic rules of Logic and Critical Thinking. Often this is done so casually, that it implies a disdain for proper intellectual discourse.
All examples are not meant to be considered true to life, they are being used for illustrative purposes only.
Some of the definitions I will use are my own, others can be found in Textbooks, Websites and Essays that are used to teach Logic and Deductive Reasoning. If a definition is of my own creation, I will indicate it.
Lets get started.
TOPIC- Gun control laws.
Reporter- "Senator, results from National Crime Reports indicate that your State, has one of the highest rates of violent crime and murder convictions in the nation. Do you think that your States Gun Laws are responsible for this, and what changes would you support to bring these rates more in line with the national average."
Senator- "My Constituents believe that the Second Amendment is essential to guarantee the Freedom of all Americans. If we start taking away Guns from law abiding Americans, then only the Criminals will have them."
This is what I label as a case of:
1) A QUESTION IS ASKED ABOUT A CERTAIN TOPIC.
2) THE ANSWER, WHILE STILL ON TOPIC, DOES NOT
ADDRESS THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE
3) INSTEAD, THE RESPONSE ATTEMPTS TO TURN THE
CONVERSATION INTO AN AREA OF THE TOPIC NOT
COVERED BY THE INITIAL QUESTION.
This is a Tactic of many politicians, who want to avoid controversy by not taking a stand that may upset a certain portion of the electorate.
Why do I call it MISDIRECTION?- Those of you familiar with Stage Magicians know that the success of many illusions relies on getting the audience to pay attention to what one hand is doing, while ignoring the other. It is this hand that is actually performing the necessary work to make the Trick believable.
MISDIRECTION in the above example, (Gun Control Laws), is an attempt to draw attention away from what is actually asked, and focus it on information that has nothing to do with the question. Since it remains on Topic, the answer is the deception to draw attention away from the initial question, and focus it on unrelated information.
Scroll down for future posts.
IT'S NOT JUST FOR VULCANS, AND VIEWERS OF
"THE BIG BANG THEORY." #2.
To further introduce this new category, I am following up the initial addition with an example that may be more familiar to my readers.
How many times have you heard or read something similar to the following;
Question: What do you think of Obamacare? Do you think the Affordable Care Act is good for the Nation?
Sometimes you'll get answers like the following;
"Another Government Program promoted by our Socialist President."
"As usual, the Republican Party is trying to block anything that
doesn't benefit the Rich."
While the answers above are from both sides of the Political Spectrum, they
are examples of perhaps the most common type of Logical Fallacy:
AD HOMINEM- WHICH TRANSLATES, "TO THE PERSON."
Basically, it is when a judgment is made about a Law, Program or Activity etc,
not on the merits of the specific subject, but on the person or persons promoting or criticizing it.
In the above example, the question is asking for an opinion about Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. In neither answer is there any reference to the new Health Care Law, on whether or not it is a good or desirable program. Instead the comments are directed at the President and the Republican Party. This type of answer imparts no useful information, and generally means;
- That the responder probably doesn't really know why they are either for or against Universal Health Care.
- That they have not gathered enough information to make an informed decision.
- They are accepting at face value what is being said or written about in the Media Outlet of their choice.
In the end, society will reap the kind of reward it deserves, and that may be the consequence of how much effort the average American takes to understand the Laws and Policies that impact society as a whole.
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IT'S NOT JUST FOR VULCANS, AND VIEWERS
OF "THE BIG BANG THEORY." #3.
In the following two examples, we are faced with the same category of flawed reasoning.
A) Statement- "I think Same- Sex Couples should have the same Rights and Opportunities as Heterosexual Couples."
Answer- "So I guess we have to allow Brothers and Sisters to get married, or let children get married no matter how old they are. Even worse, such a thing as Bestiality must be legalized."
B) Statement- "Churches enjoy Tax Exempt Status, that is why they cannot endorse any Political Party, Candidate or Platform."
Answer- "Really, Priests and Ministers can't be allowed to vote. If they do, it would be illegal, and the State will shut them down."
The above are actual examples I took from talk radio, but this Logical Fallacy can be found all across the Media. They are both examples of STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS.
A Straw Man argument takes a proposition or assertion, and refutes it by misstating or misapplying what was said. Often this is done by claiming to argue against something that was not part of the original content, and attempts to create a position that the opposing side never proposed, endorsed or even addressed.
In the first example, the initial statement only proposed that Same- Sex couples be given status equal to that of Heterosexual couples. Since Heterosexual couples have restrictions that may or may not allow them to Legally Marry, ( i.e. Age, Bloodlines, Freedom of Choice without Coercion, Bigamy etc.), these would also apply to Same- Sex couples. There is no reason to think that legalizing Homosexual Unions would exempt them from the guidelines already established for Heterosexual Couples.
The second example applies to Public Political Behavior that occurs at Church Sanctioned Activities, and behavior that is private in nature. Church officials can express their opinions freely, and legally comment on any part of the Election Process, as long as it is not done at an official event that acknowledges their Authority or Capacity within the Church. Also, I am unaware of any Law that prevents a member of the Clergy from voting, apart from guidelines established for every citizen.
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