The hollow man

In general, one commits the straw man fallacy in a situation of criticism–when one challenges someone else's argument in anything other than its true and charitable form, one is in danger of committing the straw man fallacy.  Let me give an Al Gore example. Al Gore argues that curbing carbon emissions is critical to reducing … Continue reading The hollow man

Nowhere man

It’s often difficult to find actual hollow man arguments; what with all of the internet crazies holding these views, you can always find someone to weak man at least. So I wonder, is the hollow man for the extremely lazy arguer?  Or is there some other more nefarious and devious purpose?  Here’s indolent Laura Ingraham, … Continue reading Nowhere man

Civility for jerks

Mallard Fillmore’s got a nice way to capture the civility problem — with a straw man followed by a  tu quoque! If President Obama charged the Republicans with wanting to kill the elderly and starve the poor, I don’t remember it.  In fact, the only kill the elderly lines I remember were the old ‘death … Continue reading Civility for jerks

At least it’s an ethos

The other day George Will countered the claim that high voter turnout is a sign of civic health by reminding everyone that Nazis came to power as a result of high voter turnout.  An observant commenter at Media Matters noted correctly that Hitler’s party lost the 1932 Presidential election 53-36.  More telling, however, is how … Continue reading At least it’s an ethos

[JOHN LAUGHS]

So much garbage to write about that can't decide.  So here's a classic hollow man heard on NPR's fantastic "On the Media" BROOKE GLADSTONE: If you listen to, say, morning radio, one of the most popular shows is Morning Edition, substantive, informative. Would such a program exist, if it were as obsessed with the bottom … Continue reading [JOHN LAUGHS]

An argument that will not die

There seem to be two very crappy albeit popular arguments against increasing marginal tax on people making over a certain very high dollar figure (let's call it "the Buffett rule").  I am not aware of any good arguments against the idea, but if you are, feel free to direct me to them in comments. One argument involves denying that the Buffett rule will … Continue reading An argument that will not die

Bill Maher’s Ham Jihad

Bill Maher thinks there's too much manufactured outrage in our national discourse. When Bobby De Niro recently made a white people joke at an Obama fundraiser dinner, noted defender of the rights of minority groups Newt Gingrich leapt to our TV screens and demanded an apology from the President himself. It is of course absurd … Continue reading Bill Maher’s Ham Jihad

How I know when to stop reading Peggy Noonan

Here is a Peggy Noonan column about how liberals are the real enemies of women.  I knew to stop reading it when I read this line, the first line: There is a war against women. It is something comparatively new in our national life, and we have to start noticing it. Recall that women attained … Continue reading How I know when to stop reading Peggy Noonan

Arguers arguing

My sense is that critical thinking and informal logic classes stress the evaluation of arguments, not arguers.  This is fine as a starting point, but as a long run strategy, it ignores the fact that we have very often to evaluate arguers.  Someone who makes good ones, like someone who can throw good pitchers, is … Continue reading Arguers arguing

Iron man versus straw man

Here is serial straw manner George F.Will on Elizabeth Warren, candidate for Senate in Massachussetts: "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest … Continue reading Iron man versus straw man