Problematic Argument Styles Being Used These Days

101775-you-don-t-have-to-win-every-argument-agree-to-disagreeAbout a week ago, Rebekkah and I were talking about problematic argument styles and how pervasive they’ve become on social media because of this election. I thought it would be a cool subject to write about here but when I began to study the various fallacies, I realized two things. One, there are too many of them and two, they are rather boring. The list is here if you’re interested.

Instead, I’ll just write about a few really popular ways for people to disagree with each other on Facebook that is making my head hurt.

Distraction Fallacy

These days, you literally can’t voice any complaint about how Trump is running our government without someone pointing out something about Obama. This is called a distraction fallacy. This type of argument makes me nuts because a) I didn’t vote for Obama, and b) just because someone else did it, doesn’t make it right.

One way of winning an argument is to distract the person from the real point, leading them up the garden path of a side issue or something completely irrelevant to the real subject. The main argument may thus never be completed to a logical conclusion, especially if agreeing with the side issue can be substituted for the real agreement. courtesy of changingminds.org

For example:

Statement: President Donald Trump’s constant tweeting on Twitter about 412d25f78aeccf940a630c8e7a6137c5perceived wrongs makes him appear to be thin-skinned.

Distraction Fallacy Argument: Obama was was a self absorbed narcissistic racist who had no problem doing the same things you accuse Trump of.

Breakdown: One has nothing to do with the other. Maybe they were both thin-skinned. Maybe neither of them are. One statement does not add any proof whatsoever to the subject of the original statement.

False Dilemma Fallacy

The false dilemma fallacy is the assumption that you must choose A or B; that both statements can’t be true at the same time. False Dilemma Fallacy

raise-your-voiceFor example:

Statement: I believe America should help refugees from Syria.

False Dilemma Fallacy: You don’t care about our veterans more than helping refugees.

Breakdown: A person can easily care equally about refugees as well as veterans. In fact, a person with a generally caring nature will probably care deeply for all kinds of oppressed or neglected groups. It’s actually more probable than for the people who only care about the group they themselves belong to.

I hate this argument for so many reasons. Both of my parents were

Dad in the USMC
Dad in the USMC

Marines. I have a brother and sister that were in the Army, two ex-husbands that served in the Army, and my daughter is in the Air Force. Of course I care about our veterans! I also still think that we, as a rich, fat nation have enough resources we can comfortably share what we have with people from war-torn countries.

Appeal to Ridicule Fallacy

Mock and ridicule another person’s claim and argument.

Seriously, this one just amazes me. Instead of just presenting facts, and debating the merits of an argument, we just attack the person’s credibility instead.

For example:

its-hard-to-win-an-argument-with-a-stupid-person-but-it-is-impossible-to-win-an-argument-with-a-stupid-person-funny-quoteStatement: Trump lies a lot.

Appeal to Ridicule Argument: He’s not lying; you’re just stupid.

Breakdown: This argument is a way to bully someone into shutting up because you don’t have a defendable position. If the debate has disintegrated to the point that one person is calling the other one names, you’ve both lost.

Repetition Fallacy

This one is one of Trump’s favorites. If he says something enough, it will become true. If enough people believe something, it has to be true.

The repetition fallacy is when you say something often enough, and enough people pick it up and repeat it, it takes on a “truth”-like feel to it. Trump really relies on this method, as is evidenced on his many interviews, when he refers to “many, many people have said this”.

2016-08-13t22-54-09-9z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600Statement: 3 million votes were cast by illegal immigrants in favor of Hillary Clinton. Not one of those fraudulent votes was for Donald Trump.

Repetition Fallacy: Because Trump said it many times on tv, and because I see it repeated over and over again on the internet and cable talk shows, it must be true.

Breakdown: A fact is simply a fact, and it doesn’t matter how many people believe otherwise, it does not change. If you’re being honest, you know — 3 million illegals did not vote for Clinton this past election.

Most people at one point believed the earth was flat. It’s always been round, no matter how many times people said otherwise, or how many of them truly believed it was really flat.

Conclusion

It’s probably silly to write a whole post on a subject that people probably d8999c751aecf3a354efc28b385aa1b5don’t care about, but I’m a nerdy intellect and I know there have got to be other nerdy intellects out there that are finding all of this kind of juvenile and unenlightened. I love a good, well-crafted debate. I really do, but I get disappointed when people use ineffective tools to argue their points.

So, to quote one of my favorite Facebook pages, Weird Nature:

There. That’s a thing you know now. 🙂

~ Bird

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Enlightenment – Do Drugs Help?

addictionOccasionally, I’ll look at the dashboard of this site, and one or more of the search terms will catch my eye. Mostly, even after the awful year I’ve had, the search terms that are the most likely to drive traffic here are “three boobs”, “motorcycle gangs”, and my personal favorite, “nipple shirts”. Let’s face it. Three Boobs and Nipple Shirts are subjects that aren’t really good foundations for a serious conversation about life. It’s just appalling to me that men wear shirts that show their nipple. Ugh. “Motorcycle Gangs” is more interesting, but again, I doubt I have much to contribute to that subject anymore. But today, I found one in my little collection that made me stop and say “hmmm”. The term was this:

meth spiritual enhancement

So, to the person who typed in this awesome search term, this one’s for you.

In my quest to understand what Chef was going through, I studied everything I could find about this creepy drug. What I found out could fill up volumes, but for this discussion, I’ll boil down some things I understand about the drug that I believe should be considered directly in connection with spiritual enhancement, or any kind of enhancement, for that matter….physical, academic, cultural, etc. Enhancements when you are high are only Huge Brain Farts when you sober up again.

To my understanding, the drug affects the pleasure center of your brain. This magnificent computer we carry around inside of our skulls works like a file cabinet, storing and categorizing things constantly. If a memory makes you happy, it tends to store that memory close by for future reference. If some memory makes you sad, it cleans up that cluttered file up, and safely keeps moving it back into the recesses of your brain. It’s the same for things that give us pleasure. It’s stored safely with reach. That being said, I do wonder if people actually stop and really examine what we each have stored there. If singing show-tunes on top of your roof in your birthday suit for the entire world to see is something that you derive real pleasure from, chances are this drug will enhance that desire in you, and your filter which considers consequences of such an action will be bypassed. You’ll dance, sing and traumatize the neighbors to your heart’s content, and you’ll feel good about it… “I finally get to be me!” you’ll be assuring yourself. Until your filter comes back to life again when you sober up, and you’re in jail for public nudity holding an eviction notice in your hand, and the creepy cat lady down the street is suddenly in love with you has baked you a cake with a shank in it. Suddenly, the problems you were trying to escape from in the first place don’t seem as bad as the ones you’ve just created during your “mental vacation”.

See how that works? If God, spirituality, religion, or some such thing is something you get pleasure from, you bet your booties, it’ll come up when you are high. I know, because when I used this drug, God was foremost in my thoughts and actions. And yet, even in my intoxicated state, while I felt like God appreciates all the publicity He can get, my conscience kicked in at the same time, imploring me to wait until I was sober before launching into whatever ridiculous thing I was poised to do for Him, like what I’d learned about Him while I was high. I’m pretty sure He’s grateful I didn’t try to “help” the cause during those moments.

It is my opinion that most people, especially men, tend to have sex in their pleasure centers, and women love. Meth is considered a sex enhancement drug, but it didn’t work that way for me at all. Because of my complicated relationship with sex, it didn’t actually take up residence in the pleasure center of my brain; but love did. As long as Chef made me feel like he loved me…high or not…I was on board with the sex thing. But if he didn’t, he was on his own. Meth is a very selfish drug. Right there, you can almost see why this crappy drug ruins marriages. One person wants to feel loved; the other wants pure, animal sex. And for most people, there is the ability to love someone without having sex with them, and to have sex with someone you don’t love. Hence, breakdowns occur.

I’d always be very careful about anything that you “learn” on meth, or any drug. Without that consequence filter, we are susceptible to accepting lies, and turning them into truths in our own minds, which invariably leads to being slapped on the side of the head with our “Oh-Crap!-What-Have-I-Done” brain-gag reflex instead. Can you learn spiritual truths when you’re high? Sure. You can probably learn anything on dope if it’s important enough to you.

Once upon a time, God made a donkey talk but just because you see Donkey jabbering at you while you’re high, it doesn’t mean you actually a) saw a donkey physically speaking to you or that you’re a character on the next Shrek, or that b) all donkeys secretly know how to talk and are laughing silently at us clueless humans, or even that c)  God had something special to tell you from this lively donkey. It just means you burned your brain a tad too much, and you’ve hallucinated a donkey sing a Tina Turner song  to you.

Render that little nugget of experience to the mental trash can it probably deserves to be in. If it was so important that God get a message to you that He’d use a donkey  or even more unbelievable, a Tina Turner song, He’d have probably waited until you were sober and there could be no question it was a miracle of God instead a miracle of Dope. We all look for reasons to excuse something we’re doing that we know we are wrong to do, by finding something positive enough to justify it to others, and mainly ourselves. I’ve found that the “I’m spiritually awakened” excuse is pretty common amongst those of us that tend to like to have a little chemical uplifting from time to time, and frankly, it’s a pathetic one.  Here’s life choices in a nutshell — you don’t owe anyone a reason or excuse for what you do or want to do; but by the same token, you’re the one stuck with the consequences, so don’t be surprised when you’re eating a bucket-full of guilt, shame, and general self-loathing. Own your crap, pay your dues, learn from it, and start a blog or something. Most importantly, forgive yourself and move on.  Don’t waste a whole lot of time on coming up with an acceptable reason or excuse that people will buy. Nobody really cares about that but you anyways.

I’ll leave you guys with one more observation that I’m pretty sure everyone can identify with. By a show of hands, how many of us know at least one old hippie-wanna-be who’s burned out his/her brain so much, we roll our eyes when they head down Enlightenment Lane?

Yeah.

Don’t be that person. Find your enlightenment and spirituality with a full set of brain cells working. That way, you’ll be prepared to defend your opinions and views, and not have people rolling their eyes as you walk away, telling their little children to stay away from you because you think you’re Shrek or something.

I’m just saying…