I enjoy random Dilbert cartoons that speak to logic or more familiar topics than corporate America, but the setting just isn’t something that I associate with, so I don’t read it regularly or even irregularly, but I know who Scott Adams and Diane Rehm (of NPR) are, and I thought this affliction was a farce as I started reading this article. Sounds weird, but interesting…I call it the “I am Waiting to Declare that His Name Shall be John” disease.
Archive for October, 2006
I have never seen a John Wayne movie. Really. I owned one once….until we lost all of our DVDs this summer!?!? No one has ever taken the opportunity to tell me how important it is that I spend some time with the American icon…perhaps when I am old and need to spend time sitting in a large leather chair…in between re-readings of the most-treasured tomes. Either way, I like this Wayne quotation and try to use it to settle people down sometimes. It doesn’t really work, but I like saying it.
“If you get nervous, count your toes. Let me do the masterminding around here.”
After a class and a test that were more difficult than I was expecting, I have earned the right to use the following logo behind my name… =)
…I have begun walking my boys through the long land of Narnia. I would say leading them, but I have never been here before (only on short journeys). Spurgeon said the best education is an education in the best things. Literature is one of those lands that is easily neglected, and we lose the benefits when it is not present. In fact, I hope that literature has a profound presence and influence on my boys. The lessons we can learn in Narnia can have significant implications in molding men. Positive and negative traits can be internalized and learned.
So we begin in the chronological beginning. We’re three chapters into a very long adventure. Karsten is 4. Haddon will be three on Sunday. Lincoln will be one next week. I know my boys will profit, though they will profit more when we read it through again and again.
At the same time I am appreciating Lewis’ colorful and precise descriptions and engaging setting and build-up, my boys are meeting a boy named Digory, who is showing them a pattern of doing right because he ought to. While Uncle Andrew shows me my own menacing, self-serving pride, he shows my boys an evil, repulsive, unkind, woman-despising bent.
Uncle Andrew in typical haughty and despicable language says…
“‘Rotten?’ said Uncle Andrew with a puzzled look. ‘Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I’m sure, and I’m very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys–and servants–and women–and even people in general, can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who posses hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boys, is a high and lonely destiny.’”
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”
“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”
Lessons in Logic
Fallacies of Distraction
Fallacy #2 – Ad populum
Ad populum is an appeal “to the people”. It occurs when when an argument depends upon swaying the emotions or prejudices of the crowd. It is sometimes called bandwagon or the “everybody else is doing it” fallacy. Such as…
“Over 190 million drivers have switched to Progressive; we can’t wait for you to call, too.”
“You should support Stephen Douglas for office. Polls show him far ahead of Abraham Lincoln.”
“Sony. Ask anyone.”
Sometimes this takes the form of an appeal to pity or fear…
“I deserve an A in your class. If I don’t get good grades , my parents won’t let me drive the car.”
From real life…
As a form of sordid humor, I frequently call on people (primarily educated adultish people) to do things simply because “everybody’s doing it.” Usually this occurs when the person is reluctant to make a decision and I want to pull them to my side. Such as if they are wavering between two entree choices or whether to attend an outing or not. This isn’t high form humor (but the polite guffaws continue) but it’s ironic to hear the obvious fallacy presented as a reason to do something so mundane.
Beware the ad populum.
Also, I would welcome you to comment with any ad populums of your own.
Try explaining to a 4 year old and 2 year old that stealing is ok in baseball.
I write as I experience a rooftop experience…literally. I am reclining on the church/school rooftop, resting in a valley…staying tuned to the foreboding radar picture…rain is 80 miles away.
I am the reward. The students in my school raised the funds (actually more than doubled what was needed to put me on the roof for this afternoon) last week to help build a website for our ministry.
Down below, they have come and cheered; they have been thrown their candy. Now they are back to class, and I get the quiet…my reward. They are below, quietly studying I presume (or initiating a coup). I am sitting above on an overcast fall day with my four layers protecting me from the 52 degrees of Fahrenheit. The fall colors cheer my soul. I look forward to delving soon back into my book…if they would stop coming out to enjoy their reward.
The newspaper guy will be here soon.
I was surprised how loud I gasped when I saw the moon this morning. It was spectacular, large, reddish and almost full (tonight is full I think). It was only a brief glimpse as it was so close to the horizon; I had to drive out of my way to find another glimpse of it. Wow! What a great God!
On Tuesday, as our family was in the car on the way home, we were enjoying a beautiful evening sky (it had a tempestuous and wildly unsettled look to it); Haddon inquired why God made it like that. My reply was that He made it just for us to enjoy. If no one else in the world stopped to notice it, my family had amazement in our eyes as our “wows!” and “that’s so cool” were glorifying God and drawing the attention to Him. We do that with the sky and animal books and cool trees and ants and answered prayers.
Karsten and Haddon and Lincoln are my future men. Right now they have two primary jobs (they’ve always known the first one but the second one was formally added in September). Job #1 is to obey. Job #2 is to be sweet. We find these rules to be quite comprehensive.
Chrissy and I have jobs too in our family, and one of our primary jobs is to “in all our ways acknowledge Him.” We find this rule to be quite comprehensive, too.
According to the Talmud, there are four types of students…
- The sponge which absorbs everything
- The funnel which absorbs nothing
- The sieve, which catches the illustration, but misses the point
- The winnow, which blows away the illustrations, but gets the point
From The Defense of the Use of Bibles in Schools, a tract by Dr. Benjamin Rush…
“I wish to be excused from repeating here that if the Bible did not convey a single direction for the attainment of future happiness, it should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.”
Fallacies are one small part of logic. We as students (most certainly, we are all students) need to study logic to the praise of good logic and the rectification of bad logic. Studying fallacies (despite some of their irksome labels) is a fun and easy way to be able to sort through the arguments of our times. As I post the fallacies from time to time, my meaning will become more clear as you are introduced to the terms, see how they are used, and can begin applying them to life.
I will start by naming some fallacies of distraction. These occur when someone misses the point or draws his hearers away from the point he is trying to make. Later, if you prefer, we will address fallacies of ambiguity and form. Further, the fastest way to fry your modem is to point out my own faulty logic.
Lessons in Logic
Fallacies of Distraction
Fallacy #1 – Ipse Dixit
Ipse dixit is the “because I said so” fallacy. It occurs when when a non-authority is cited as the reason for something. The fallacy takes this form, “[Respected person] says [fill in the blank], therefore it must be true.” Such as…
“Of course Mountain Dew causes cancer, my teacher told me so.”
Now, unfortunately, the statement above may true, but not because a teacher said so. Generally, teachers are not trained in oncology or interplanetary life or end times. This is not to promote a distrust in teachers or dads who talk big with their kids (i.e. Calvin’s dad–of Calvin and Hobbes) or spouting preachers getting waaaay off topic. It’s simply a statement that just because it’s said by an authority does not make it truth.
From real life…
When I was in high school, a visiting evangelist came to my school’s chapel and declared the date which Christ would return. I remember how unsettling that was to me because it was, like totally, just a short time before I was supposed to graduate.
I don’t doubt that the evangelist was an authority in certain areas, but I am skeptical that he has sat with the Trinity at a calendar meeting.
Beware the ipse dixit.
Also, I would welcome you to comment with any ipse dixits of your own.
Karsten called us into the living room today after having spelled his name correctly for the first time…
…and then Haddon showed us his creation…
Afterwards, Lincoln just rolled his eyes.