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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Classic Education

It was not until I was in my 40's that I appreciated the fact that my boredom in school led to much dictionary and encyclopedia reading.  Because of my love of reading and just learning I was educated in a way most people can't even begin to understand.  I learned things for the sake of wanting to learn more, not because it was being force fed to me to pass some state mandated test to make my teachers look good. Thank God we did not have standardized testing when I was in school.

It was not until last week that I realized that even obviously educated people have entire chunks of learning absent from their logic center.  It started with someone pointing out his online attacker's ad hominem attack.  I made the point that his nemesis probably did not even know what argumentum is.  Or quite literally "For the sake of argument" or for an appeal to logic.  There are so many types of argumentum that they have been defined and categorized.  Students on the debate team at your local high school know the "Argumentums".  They can list them but I would venture to say, not any of them understand them, because their teachers have no idea who Aristotle was. A really is A.  I looked it up.

We are most aware of argumentum ad hominem - (logic) A type of fallacious argument in which the attempt is made to refute a theory or belief by discrediting the person(s) who advocate that theory or belief; an ad hominem argument. (thank you Wikipedia).  This is pretty much the MO of any Liberal Alinskyite. Easily refutable and typically ends with the attacker being embarrassed publicly.  And I'm pretty OK with that.

The second most favorite tactic of the Left is the popular argument of tyrants everywhere, Argumentum ad baculum -A fallacious logical argument based on argumentum ad baculum generally has the following argument form:
If x accepts P as true, then Q.
Q is a punishment on x.
Therefore, P is not true.
This form of argument is an informal fallacy, because the attack Q may not necessarily reveal anything about the truth value of the premise P. This fallacy has been identified since the Middle Ages by many philosophers.

This is a special case of argumentum ad consequentiam, or "appeal to consequences".  (Again, thank you Wikipedia for the best understandable definitions of complex concepts)  The best example of this argument type would be:
     Public: But we don't want government run health insurance.
     Government: Then we will tax and penalize you until you do.

Which leads us to the most used argumentum in the arsenal, argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance" (where "ignorance" stands for: "lack of evidence to the contrary").

Carl Sagan explained it thusly, "Appeal to ignorance: the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa. (e.g., There is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore, UFOs exist, and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Or: There may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we're still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

There are several other types of debating argumentums that  are easy enough to look up on Google and Wikipedia.  When you learn them well enough and read several examples you can become very good at spotting them in discussions.  I hear people say "ad hominem attack" all the time and I often see that it is not ad hominem, but one of the other fallacy arguments used when the logical mind cannot face the truth.  It's not like you have to immerse yourself into that line of logic to know a bad argument.  If you are a rational human being you know that the only reality you have is this one and so you must objectively understand the world around you. 

I give you this example, calling something by another name automagically changes it in the minds of Liberals.  Just because they embrace unity through diversity (once again the objective meaning of words escapes them) does not mean that it changes anything.  They can't offer "patronage via slavery" to blacks so they put them all in the African-American victim boat, and put them on the government plantation of Affirmative Action, Title IX, Welfare, Medicare, Housing Projects, etc.  Is this because they really feel some sort of guilt for something they never did?  That a great many of their ancestors never did?  No, because they think that they are better because they are white and therefore privileged. They believe the blacks of America cannot possibly have the brains or wherewithal to learn anything and deal honestly without lowering the bar so they can get over it, instead of making them keep trying until they get over it. Affirmative Action is nothing more than telling someone that they cannot do it, period, that they only way you can "get over" that bar is for it to be lowered.  What a hateful message and yet it's the banner cry of all Liberals, their touchstone.

Each time I see a Liberal talking head on TV I have to laugh.  No one challenges these chuckleheads or their stupid assertions.  It's like somewhere in debate class someone told all the Juris Doctorates with their over-sprayed skin and hair that it is possible to point out the fallacy of your opponent's argument without losing the high ground of your own.   We have raised two entire generations of people who think so politically correct that they cannot correct someone who is wrong, because it might hurt their feelings.

I get the feeling that I would scare the living hell out of them.  Andrew Breitbart showed me that much.

And thanks for the inspiration for the blog, Ladd.

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