Friday, March 25, 2016

Of Scarred Hands and Wounded Feet

You're not strong enough. 

You're not trying hard enough. 

You must have done something wrong. 

You deserved this. 

These are the messages we hear, day in and day out. The admirable qualities of self-reliance, working hard, and trying again becomes twisted into one of prideful judgment: 

If you need help, you’re weak.

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Just Because!

(trust me, mother knows best fallacy, because I said so, you’ll see)

This fallacy occurs when, instead of giving valid reasons or evidence for a position, someone says, “Because I said so” (or some variety). This is a type of appeal to authority because the individual making the claim is essentially stating that their position, who they are, is enough of a reason for compliance, regardless of whether or not their position is valid. These arguments are completely unhelpful because they neither elicit understanding from the other person nor do they reach mutual acceptance.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The LDS Church Endorsed Socialism: What Policies in 1939 Mean Now

While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is politically neutral, leaders have spoken out on political matters at different times for different reasons. During the Red Scare, it wasn't uncommon to hear leaders speak out on the evils of socialism (comments that were not endorsed as doctrine of the Church and which were often met with rebuke from the other leaders). 

What most people don't know is that during the Great Depression, the Church advocated socialistic principles. In 1939 under the direction of President Heber J. Grant and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Church published an official course manual titled "Priesthood and Church Welfare." In it, the Church advocated for the "socialization of our service institutions through a system of progressive taxation based upon ability to pay...taking the bulk of their [captains of industry] profits to finance free education, free libraries, free public parks and recreation centers, unemployment insurance, old age benefits, sickness and accident insurance, and perhaps eventually free medical and hospital service."

You read that right. The LDS Church was feeling the Bern.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Hypothesis Contrary to Fact!

(counterfactual fallacy, speculative fallacy, "what if" fallacy, wouldchuck)

This fallacy occurs when someone argues that their specific prediction about the present would be true or accurate if a past event had happened differently. It’s fallacious because the premises are based on speculation, not fact or evidence, essentially drawing conclusions from a hypothetical situation as fact. For example, the claim, “If only you had learned how to play the piano as a child, you would be a concert pianist today” is untenable; there’s no way to guarantee that they would have continued playing throughout their life, have the talent and skill to perform at a professional level, or would not suffer a serious injury that would impede that goal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

An Evil Unchecked: Warnings from the LDS Church on Income Inequality

“One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously, and which they bequeathed to us as a priceless legacy, are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few individuals and a few powerful corporations. By its seductive influence results are accomplished which, were it more equally distributed, would be impossible under our form of government. It threatens to give shape to the legislation, both State and National, of the entire country. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not be taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the nation is liable to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin.”

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How to Survive the Election Season

Dear friends,

This political season is bad enough already. Please, for the sanity of all involved, if you're going to post something political, try to follow these guidelines:

Friday, March 11, 2016

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 possibly agree with, and then dismisses it because it is absurd. It is a fallacy because you are not actually confronting the opponent’s argument; you are claiming that it is something it isn’t and then dismissing it. By turning the opponent’s argument into a weaker, “straw man,” version of itself, you are being dishonest, and fabricating, misrepresenting, or exaggerating someone else’s argument just to make yours look better will actually result in the opposite – they will wonder what is so weak about your argument that you have to result to poor logic to defend it. Straw man arguments often include the phrases, “seem to think,” “probably believe” or otherwise imply a position that the opponent doesn’t actually suggest (i.e. “Evolutionists seem to think that humans just crawled out of the goo" or "Conservatives want children to suffer.")

Friday, March 4, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Shifting the Burden of Proof!

(related to “appeal to ignorance”)

This fallacy occurs when the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side of an argument. In a logical argument, the “burden of proof” lies with the individual making the claim; in other words, if you claim something, you need to provide the evidence for that claim. When you “shift the burden of proof,” instead of providing evidence to support their claim, you challenge your opponent to disprove it, believing that the inability to disprove it then means that your argument is credible. What we don’t know cannot be used as evidence for or against anything. Absence of knowledge is not knowledge, or as Martin Rees put it, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."