Fallacy Friday!

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Straw Man!

(The Straw Person) This fallacy takes the opponents argument and restructures it, creating an extreme version that no one could possib...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When Mormons Abandon Morality

This isn't likely to be my most coherent post. You see, it's 2 am, I've slept for two of the last twenty-four hours, and I'm not likely to fall asleep again for a while. But the nightmares are back, and there's really not a lot I can do about it.

I know I am not alone. So many others like myself are awake with the same fears, repetitions of the same terrors. All uniquely customized to match our individual stories, made-to-order horrors just for us.

The gay couple watching as their house is burned down. 
The Muslim woman attacked in the street as her hijab is ripped off and called a terrorist.
The unarmed black man kneeling as he faces a loaded gun.
The woman reliving her sexual assaults again and again.

As a multiple sexual assault survivor who every day has to tell myself that I deserve better, that This is not okay, that Things will get better, I have to admit that that mantra sounds especially hollow today.

Half of the country doesn't think that I do.
Half of the country thinks that this is just fine.
Half of the country doesn't think that there's a problem in the first place.

When the party of "family values" elects a man who openly admits to sexually assaulting women, who brags about wanting to have sex with his daughter, who has decades of recorded, flagrantly sexist comments, then I don't want your family values. If that's what your family looks like, then I want no part of it.

I get it: you were thinking of other things, other more important things, that you believe somehow balance the scales of justice and morality. Fear of immigrants, concern over the lack of blue collar jobs, hatred of the establishment, worries over Supreme Court justices, abortion. Justified or unjustified, I understand where you were coming from.

But don't ever pretend you were thinking of women. Don't ever act as though we mattered to you.

You just proved that we don't.

And the fact that, according to exit polls, Trump won 60 percent of the Mormon vote nationwide is reprehensible. I thought my religion was better than this. I thought we stood for more than this.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. (Articles of Faith 1:13)

Do we? Are you sure? Virtuous? Chaste? Praiseworthy? Benevolent?

Are those the words that come to mind when you think of Trump?

I understood your issues with Hillary; I did. I would have accepted it if you had voted for anyone, anyone, other than Trump because, while I may disagree with you on platforms, I knew what you stood for - or, at least, I thought I did. I was so glad when Evan McMullin entered the race; I knew Hillary had no real shot of winning Utah, but I was just hoping that Mormons in Utah would vote for him over Trump. At least he offered a moral choice, and I could support you in that choice.

But you chose to abandon God's standard of morality for a worldly one. You became more concerned about what is legal than what is right. When God speaks on a matter of morality, that should end the conversation. You have chosen to abandon God's standard of morality by nominating a man whose platform was built on xenophobic, racist, and hateful language, with a long history of sexism and abuse, so that you could make sure that the laws that you wanted would be put in place.

How disgraceful.

So those of you who supported Trump - Don't pretend to have the moral high ground ever again. You now have to convince me, someone who sits with you in church, who listens to the same talks, who sings the same hymns, that you have a moral backbone. 

At least I can recite the 13th Article of Faith without shame.

Can you?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is... Diminished Responsibility!

This fallacy occurs when we argue that our behavior should be excused because of impaired judgment, e.g. telling your teacher that they should grade your exam leniently because you were hung over and “it’s not my fault.” It is a contemporary fallacy that has arisen out of the misappropriation of the American legal concept, “diminished capacity” (that punishment for criminal acts should be decreased if the criminal’s judgment was impaired and thus would not have committed the crime under normal conditions). While being drunk may mean that you aren’t charged with first degree murder, it doesn’t mean that you are free of guilt or can’t be charged with second degree murder, and it doesn’t make the consequences of your actions any less severe. Likewise, the fact that you were hungover doesn’t somehow make your answers to your test less incorrect, and you must still live with the consequences of failing; your poor judgment in getting drunk the night before the test doesn’t excuse your performance.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Appeal to Spite!

This fallacy occurs when someone uses existing spiteful and bitter feelings in order to dismiss an opponent’s position. Instead of actually evaluating evidence for the opponent’s position, they are exploiting the emotions of those listening in order convince them. We do this to ourselves if we justify disagreeing with someone out of existing spite instead of examining the issues. This is especially useful when combined with stereotypes (the overgeneralization fallacy) toward a particular demographic. For example, saying that you can never vote for a career politician because they are all untrustworthy combines stereotyping (all politicians are untrustworthy) with the appeal for spite (a general dislike for politicians).

Friday, August 26, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...There Is No Alternative!

(TINA , Get Over It, the fait accompli, Taboo, I wish I had a magic wand.)

An extension of the false dichotomy, this fallacy occurs when someone states that a position must be taken because there are no other realistic alternatives, that all other options are irrelevant, or that since a decision has been made, there’s no going back. While it may be that the position being supported is the best position, outright dismissing other alternatives suppresses critical thinking. It relies on the acceptance of the inevitable (regardless of whether or not it is inevitable) by suggesting that we are powerless to do otherwise.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Tautology!

A tautology is a statement that – by it’s construction - must always be true. It uses circular reasoning in that it’s conclusion is its own premise. While this type of logic can be easy to spot (“the Bible is the Word of God because it says so in the Bible”), it can be deceptive, especially when you’re presented with terms with which you are unfamiliar (“therapeutic touch works because it manipulates life force” – the definition of “therapeutic touch” is the alleged manipulation of life force, so it’s like saying that breathing keeps you alive because it exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen). (Note: Definitions and mathematical proofs are not “arguments,” so while they meet the qualifications to be called tautologies, they aren’t tautological fallacies.) Tautologies appear to be explanations but actually provide no useful information. They are also unfalsifiable since they are entirely dependent on their own premise.

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