Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Jakeman, Jul 20, 2007.
critical thinking stuff
Interesting read. I do have to chuckle though as I can envision that last paragraph as:
AB: "We'll show you to meddle in the middle east! *BOOM*"
GB: "Oh shit son... its on, now we're gonna blow the hell out of you!"
AB: "Well shit, this isn't what I had in mind >_<!"
For me, the higher points of this article help to explain many poor debates where the opponents constantly miss the mark with their attacks. If you will forgive the political example, we see this mistake when dems say:
"We want to pull out of Iraq."
...and Bush says:
"Dems don't support our troops."
The same false correspondent inference exists going the other way too, where dems accuse Bush of not supporting our troops for the same reason.
We see many practical applications of this theory in political debate. In my previous example, the troop argument becomes fodder that is used to distract from the core issue which is the war itself. War is a very difficult thing to debate because of the philosophical and moral questions it raises, so the two sides infer other arguments which are easier to swallow. Patriotic arguments like the "troop argument" are easily inferred and are effective at defacing your opponent's position in the eyes of most people. As the two sides compound the fallacy with continued false inferences, the debate deteriorates into a hostile argument and eventually becomes personal and divisive. It disturbs me that these flame wars in Washington actually produce legislation.
Actually, Jake, the flame wars are for getting elected/reelected (good for your constituents to see you "standing up to the enemy").
Political backscratching gets legislation passed (i.e. I'll put this $20 mil federal grant for an arts center in your state into my bill if you vote for it). There's also political strong-arming (pulling resources away from reelection campaigns, threatening to block amendments during committee hearings, burying appropriations in the ways and means committee). That's real politics for you.
Everything we see on TV is a dog and pony show.
So add a step... you make bad debate to get elected to pass legislation. The relationship between the two still exists. And ignoring that, the back scratching and strong arming you describe is still a far cry from the ideal and is not redeeming of the process (not to infer that you are stating otherwise).
Here is another example from a super far left site that I visit:
We see all kinds of off-the-mark arguments:
Bad republican position:
Brit says dems don't treat the war seriously [because they question the motivations of the administration]. This inference does not follow.
Bad democrat position:
The black guy builds on a prior false correspondent inference (that dems are running scared) and throws the same accusation back at the administration, citing several mistakes that have been made, none of which establish a strong connection to the accusation of being scared.
Bad republican position:
The 3rd guy's position is pretty vague, but I will try my best. He seems to infer the responsibility of the democratic party for the alleged mistakes of the administration which were described by the black guy. He cites the democratic majority in the congress to support this insinuation, an insinuation that ignores the coequal republican role in congressional matters as well as the fact that the mistakes in question span more than just the 110th congress. Then he goes on to cite several recent unrelated politically charged issues being handled in congress to fuel the insinuation.
The debate was so unfocused that it was difficult to identify the points being made. The different sides were just throwing false inferences trying to buff their political party by knocking down their opposition. If you pay attention to the arguments you can see how these fallacies build upon each other and distract from the underlying issues. We had Brit making the false inference that the dems weren't serious about the war. Then the black guy ran with that and argued that the republicans (Bush) were actually the ones that were running scared. Then the 3rd guy ran with that and insinuated about democratic responsibility for the arguments of the black guy. Once again, the underlying issue is the war, but that topic was completely ignored by the debate. The whole thing became personal and divisive which is bad.
Here is your strong arming - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/03/AR2007080302296.html?hpid=topnews
Bush threatened congress with no vacation if they didn't give him the bill he wanted. So what we have here is a bill that was passed to protect the private interests of the legislators, interests that were taken hostage by the opposition. Ignoring the politics of the bill itself, I think there is an obvious problem here.
The logical course would be to amend the system to protect the private interests of our legislators to prevent conflicts of interest like this. We already have this protection in some areas of our government. For example, supreme court justices are appointed for life, the idea being that they will better serve the law if they don't have to worry about that service affecting their job security.
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