Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Reading: The Great Exchange

It's the end of the school year. Graduation was last week and it was wonderful. The music was a gospel/blues version of "What a Fellowship," (complete with sax) the sermon was a lovely law/gospel call to a "Hermeneutic of Joy." The faculty and graduates formed a colorful parade and the leaves and grass were an answering bright May green.

Each school year we used to have an ending/commencing event called "The Great Exchange." This "free" rummage non-sale was a chance to leave your cast-offs and take your needs and wants. No charge, no limits, no rules.

It was a dim-mirror-image of the "real" Great Exchange between humans (creatures, made, and saved) and God (creator, begotten/maker, and savior).

Here's the trade in the "real" exchange:

We cast off/he takes our:

He gives us instead, his:

living water

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Logical Fallacies: TOP TEN LIST

A logical fallacy is a false argument. It is used to divert, undermine or create support for an idea based on irrelevant information. Logical fallacies are often used by advertisers and by campaigning politicians. They are the enemy of clear, honest and objective thinking because they cheat. They mimic the truth and twist the facts. Steer clear of these bad boys in your writing and class discussions. Find and expose them where you can, in service to humanity.

Here is a TOP TEN LIST of my personal (not-so) favorites:

10. Red Herring (see illustration above): The introduction of a diverting, unrelated topic. Example: I know I dented the car, but last year you broke the chain on the bike.

9. False Dilemma: A choice is presented as either/or when in fact there are numerous options. Example: Do you walk to school or ride the bus?

8. Poisoning the Well: Presenting a negative comment before a person speaks, to discredit their idea. Example: Joe seems to think he is an expert on this. Let's hear what he has to say.

7. Guilt by Association: Rejecting an argument because the person proposing it is connected to someone disliked by the hearer. Example: Your cousin is in a cult, so I cannot believe anything you say.

6. Genetic Fallacy: Endorses or disqualifies a claim based on its connection to a (negative) history. Example: We can't use the U.S. Constitution, because some of the founders were slave-holders.

5. Non sequitur: Conclusions that do not follow from the premise. Example: Since we have no money, it is important to boost our spirits by going out to dinner.

4. Begging the question: This assumes that the thing you are trying to prove is true. Also called a circular argument. Example: Barth has the best theology because Barth is the most influential theologian.

3. Appeal to pity: Accepting an argument because of sympathy or emotional appeal. Example: You should buy this newspaper subscription because it will help keep kids off the streets.

2. Appeal to the popular: Accepts popular opinion as an automatic reason for change. Example: Students don't like to receive grades, therefore they should be eliminated.

1. Special Pleading (double standard): Applying special status to the validity of an assertion because of the status of the person promoting it. Example: You cannot refute what I claim, because you are not: a woman, the boss, etc.

If you like these, there are many more! Search for Logical Fallacies on your computer.