Unless you are slobbering neanderthal (a creature that most certainly did not exist… EVER!) you ought to be very frustrated with American political discourse, and equally, evangelical discourse on political America. With the constant stream of opinionating and commentating on the opinionators coming from politicians to the media, to major evangelical mouthpieces, it is almost impossible to find a cogent argument these days that isn’t riddled with fallacies.
So when I discovered The NonSequitur it was like finding the stash of Christmas presents in my parents’ closet still unwrapped. Here’s an excerpt from the site’s “about” page:
The political media is in the business of persuasion. It generally falls to the columnists, the editorialists, and the pundits to draw inferences from the facts, to argue for opinions, and to persuade the readers by the strength of their reasoning. But, for their arguments to be of any value, for their reasonings to command our assent, they must not only have a clear basis in fact, but more importantly, they must have a cogent logical structure.
It is, thus, one thing to have one’s facts straight and one’s sentences grammatical, but how one alleges that the facts are connected is often simply ignored as outside the realm of the editor’s responsibility: A matter of debatable opinion, they say, let the reader sort it out. Let the reader judge the author’s arguments.
Errors in grammar may produce laughable incoherence, errors in fact produce fiction, errors in logic, however, produce simple nonsense. Unlike grammar and facts, logic is not a matter of debate: Reasonable people cannot, in fact, disagree.
Doesn’t that make you feel all warm inside like a nice slice of apple pie. The first day I found this sweet delight I ate myself sick.
I don’t know how we have ended up in such a deteriorated state of logic. Perhaps it’s the schools or the TV or that infernal Nintendo. In any case, I wouldn’t want to end up committing a Hasty Generalization, so I won’t attempt to make an argument as to why logical fallacies seem to abound these days like never before.
One thing I know for certain, logical fallacies know not race, religion, creed, age, education level or any other demographical distinction. And it’s high time democrats, republicans, evangelicals, readers of Patrol and all sentient human beings fill the gaps in our understanding of, and ability to critique and use, logical argument.
So, your next assignment is to study that blog, learn how to make a better argument and spot fallacious ones, and in doing so, make our world a sweeter place to live.
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