News Flash—Glendora, CA, USA
A climactic battle broke out today between two RTB super-scholar heroes—Fuz-Lightyear-Rana and Logic-Samples-Man! The dispute was over which super-scholar possesses the greater inherent powers of manipulative persuasion.
Fuz-Lightyear-Rana launched a preemptive strike that seemed intoxicatingly convincing. Hot air and informal logical fallacies immediately filled the room and fuzzy thinking reigned supreme.
Yet Logic-Samples-Man fought back valiantly, unleashing his arsenal of equivocation, obfuscation, and ad hominem. Red herrings filled the sea and straw men walked the earth.
The amazing result of this explosive encounter was that neither RTB super-scholar convinced the other of his inherent manipulative persuasion. It appears that a cold-war standoff between Fuz-Lightyear-Rana and Logic-Samples-Man remains.
Observers of the historic super-scholar hero clash felt passionately ambivalent and agnostic about just who was victorious in this monumental conflict. Evidence was suppressed, causes were oversimplified, and generalizations left hasty. But this confusion and ambiguity could have been avoided if the super-scholar heroes had abided by the intellectual virtue and core principles of sound reasoning. Critical thinking filters the constant dangers of propaganda, wishful thinking, and fallacies.
Perhaps the RTB super-scholar heroes should bulk up their persuasive abilities with a little Logic 101.
One of the most important skills to master, particularly if you intend to share your faith with others, is how to form a logical argument. Though it might seem complicated, an argument in logic is really a very simple thing. To have an argument you must make a claim (called the conclusion) and provide support (called premises) for believing the claim to be true or correct. To have a good argument (sound or cogent) your premises must be (1) true; (2) relevant to your central claim; and (3) adequate to sufficiently support the conclusion. Continue reading
Common sense says we should consider pros and cons before making big decisions. Imagine choosing a university to attend or deciding to go through major surgery without weighing all the evidence for and against your choices. The same concept applies to intellectual pursuits—in order to maintain intellectual integrity, we must take into account all the evidence for and against our view. Continue reading
Wild goose chase, rabbit trail, red herring—all these idioms refer to diversionary tactics. A mystery writer might use a red herring character to distract readers (and even the detective) from the real culprit. A good plot device for authors, but in logic, using a red herring is a fallacy. Continue reading
From childhood, we’re taught to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as we want to be treated. Jesus Christ included this principle in His description of the greatest commandments: “The second [commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Continue reading
Christopher Hitchens, author, journalist, and one of the “four horsemen” of the New Atheist movement, died December 15, 2011, of esophageal cancer. In his 2007 book God is Not Great, Hitchens argued that religions in general—and theistic religion in particular (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam)—are not only false but also harmful for human society. Ironically, Christopher’s younger brother Peter, also a journalist and a one-time communist, recently converted to Christianity. (See Peter Hitchens’ book in favor of faith entitled The Rage Against God.) Continue reading
This may shock some of you—but I’m not Spock! Of course, I like to think (or, better yet, have others think) I’m as dispassionate and logical in my thinking as was the original Star Trek science officer Mr. Spock. But, then again, I’m not half Vulcan. Continue reading
Posted in Basketball, Fallacies, Logic, Reason, Rhetoric & Debate
Tagged basketball, Bill Sharman, Celtics, Charley Rosen, genetic fallacy, Lakers, logic, NBA, origin, reason, rivalry, Spock, Star Trek, Vulcan
To revise a famous line from The Godfather: “Keep your friends close, but the laws of logic closer!”
In this final article in the series I will address a couple of informal fallacies that can potentially stand in the way of solid and successful critical thinking. Continue reading