Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Logic, Reason, and Rhetoric

February 8, 2010

I am starting to think that everyone should take a course in logic.  This is not just because I teach logic, but because I am amazed at how commonly fallacious arguments, and weak arguments, are used to convince people to accept certain positions.   

People like to think that they have  good reasons to hold their positions.   They have listened, maybe, to what others have had to say, and are persuaded to believe in something that sounded good, or right,  to them.

Rhetoric, as I am using the term, means using persuasive language or techniques to get people to agree with your position.  Effective rhetoric may use logical reasoning, but it often involves fallacious reasoning, and emotive language.  People are persuaded to believe that something is true, using manipulative tactics.  Sometimes this is unintentional, and sometimes, the individual employing the tactics knows exactly what they are doing. 

If people were trained to recognize good arguments they would be less likely to be persuaded by manipulative tactics, and we would have more rational debates, less shouting matches,  and maybe come to better decisions.

I’m not going to hold my breathe.  I suspect that many people won’t even read this article, after they look at the title.



August 12, 2009

Opponents of Obamacare are focusing on the wrong thing.  There is a lot of noise, literally, being made in opposition to the willingness of congress to include payment for end of life counseling.  What people fail to realize is that this counseling already takes place on a regular basis.  When people are in critical, end of life situations, the doctors go over the various treatment options.  These options are carefully laid out and the patient and family are allowed to choose their course of treatment in an informed manner.  That is a very good thing.  The bill simply allows doctors to be paid for their time when giving these sessions,  especially when they are being performed in non-emergency settings, helping people set up advance directives.

I suspect that the focus needs to be placed elsewhere.  I read the paper regularly and would like to see more debate over the cost and manner of payment.  Also, the need for companies to come into compliance within five years.  The impact on medical treatment and the insurance companies.  This preoccupation with end of life counseling is causing more critical components of the bill to go unchallenged.   

Is it a clever tactic being employed to misdirect attention to something that can be readily explained?  Let’s see some commentary and debate on other aspects of the bill!

It’s Ain’t Over, Till It’s Over

October 16, 2008

This morning I played my usual morning game of spider solitaire as I waited for my internet to connect and my brain to wake up.  The game did not start out very promising, and it appeared that I would be lucky to get anything cleared off at all.  Then with the last set of cards, the pieces slowly started to come together.  One by one, moves were made, and the game was won.  I was pleasantly surprised and once again reminded that it ain’t over, till it’s over.

Actually, I thought about that last night as I watched the last portion of the final debate.  Certainly, it looks pretty good for Obama right now, but it’s ain’t over yet.

In my own life, I am reminded that I should never give up on the hopes, dreams, and goals that I have in my own heart.  It ain’t over yet.

There may be a time when we need to adjust, change or postpone our goals.  There is a difference between quitting and redirecting, as long as the redirection is a conscious decision, made after careful analasis.

As a marine, we were taught that we should never surrender while we have the means to resist, and that meant, if we were still conscious, we could still resist, using any and every means at our disposal. 

Never quit.

Never give up.


That’s a pretty good lesson for life.