May 31, 2011

Logic Lessons: Introduction

Buona sera. In the past, I have shown some horrible logical fallacies that I have endured. So, I've decided to use them to inform and edjamakate people. 

To facilitate that metric (wait, I can't stand that expression) help achieve this goal (there, much better), I thought it would be good to show errors of logic. No, I am not into the "hardcore" stuff, with mathematics and such. Instead, this will be what real people use. Sometimes I will use the Latin terms, but not always. Some fallacies are blurred, combined and overlap, so I will simply describe what is happening and how to avoid being tricked. When you see these schemes and errors for what they are, you are less vulnerable.

There have been many times that I have seen logical fallacies utilized by leftists and atheists to further their ends, and felt that I could have a separate Weblog devoted to such irrational "thinking". (Conservatives and Christians are not immune, however. In fact, there were times I would watch Hannity in a discussion, and wished for a direct line so I could say, "Sean...don' shouldn't...") So, I am hoping that I can help people spot errors in reasoning and avoid being manipulated by them, but also to be able to avoid giving enemies a reason to reject our message (1 Peter 3.16 applies somewhat).

In addition, good reasoning will be very useful in the upcoming presidential campaign season. Well, such skills are always useful when subjected to politics, but even more so these days.

Don't make the straw man fallacy and assume that I think that I am perfectly suited to the task, never making a mistake. (In fact, that is one of the most common fallacies that I encounter. I hate it. And I refuse to defend statements that I did not make or positions that I do not hold.) There is one particular logical fallacy in which I have deliberately indulged several times, and nobody has pointed it out to me yet!

If you were paying attention, you may have realized that I just taught you something. Ain't I clever?

After all that introduction to the series, here is the first actual lesson. Fortunately, it's short.

When I have written in Weblogs, forums or whatever about Christians being persecuted, I have received responses along the lines of, "Other people get persecuted, too!", or, "If it had happened to a (fill in group member here), what would you think?"
Ignoratio elenchi. Sounds like an Italian food. Well, sorta. It's also called red herring, a diversionary tactic. (I prefer my red herring smoked, with lemon juice.) I have noticed that diversions like this lead to further diversions, and then you're left defending something that has little or no resemblance to the original topic. Further, it is often used to ridicule the original point. I have been engaged in "discussions" about the appeal to Christian women for modesty, and have been called upon to be shamed for my views because I am "repressing" women because of my own immaturity. Sorry, Sherlock, not falling for that nonsense. The article was an appeal to Christian women, and not an effort to make anyone do anything.
So, there's your introductory lesson. I hope you liked it, and that future illustrations can be interesting and entertaining. After all, this Weblog is to not only inform, but entertain. Occasionally, it can be both at once, capice?

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