Monday, August 27, 2007

Logic is Logic

A recent critic of mine asks "Would you sacrifice YOUR son or daughter to ensure that nine 'bad guys' [in Iraq] were eliminated?" This is pretty much the same question that Michael Moore sprung on unsuspecting conservative politicians in his movie “Fahrenheit 911”. The problem is – this is a false premise. This premise should be stated: “Would you discourage your child from joining the Army (it is all-volunteer, after all) out of patriotism/career choice, when you knew that there was about a 50/50 chance (or a lower probability if he/she were to join another branch of the armed forces) that he/she would be sent to Iraq and, if that happened, there would be about a 1% chance that he/she would be killed?” This is a far different query from the false premises used by both the above mentioned fuzzy thinkers.

And yet Michael Moore was generally hailed for his perspicacity and my blog critic may be hoping that he, too, gets an Oscar. This example of lazy syllogism in our society probably stems from the fact that Logic is seldom taught in our schools anymore. Terms like “ipse dixit,” “tautology,” “ad hominem,” “ad populum,” “equivocation,” “syllogism,” “reductio ad absurdum,” “petitio principii,” “false premise,” and “apiorism” are often responded to with blank stares. Wouldn’t it be nice if our educational system did a U-turn and began teaching our children more how to think and less how to “feel?” If you want more insight into the logical process, visit:

and others:



George W. Potts said...

Another way of "outing" Michael Moore's silly logic (and my friend's) is to spring the following question on unsuspecting liberals (preferably on camera), "Why would you teach your teenager to drive when you know that about 5,000 U.S. teenagers a year kill themselves in auto accidents?"
(This observation is thanks to my wife.)
George W. Potts

DEN said...

I find it tres amusing to watch the writhing conservative response. The original question is crystal clear in it's meaning. I have heard the father of a Palistinian 4 year old boy say thet he would be proud to sacrifice his only son to be a suicide bomb martyr.
But, instead of answering the original question our Master of Logic (Who claims to know that Michael Moore "hates America") indulges himself in the most naked sophistry. He chooses to reduct the question to a version that he can safely rebut.

We are not fooled, nor impressed by a pedantic trotting-out of latin terms sans contexte.
As postscript, he asks "Would you teach your child to drive, despite statistical evidence that it is dangerous, as if this is analogous to the sending your child to war question.
And we are called fuzzy thinkers?