Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bill Bennett Uses a Logical Analogy--Getting Himself Into Trouble

Probably the worst thing you can do in this country is use a logical analogy. Most people can't follow logic. It's a sad commentary.

Example: Person X says that whatever is consentual between two adults shouldn't is moral when they are arguing the moral merits of homosexual sex. Person Y points out that that would mean incest between two conscenting adults would be OK too. Person X says "don't equate the two. That's insulting."

I WASN'T SAYING THEY WERE THE SAME. Your argument is faulty.

So what did Bill Bennett say:
Conservative commentator William Bennett yesterday defended comments he made on his radio talk show suggesting that aborting black children would reduce crime, saying he was merely musing about a hypothetical argument and he made plain to listeners that he was not stating his own position.

Which sounds bad, until you actually place it into context.
The combative Bennett, whose syndicated radio show airs on the Salem Radio Network, offered no apologies. He explained that his comments came in response to a caller who suggested that Social Security would be in better financial shape if abortion were illegal, leaving more people to pay into the system. Bennett cautioned against making such far-reaching arguments and drove home his point by offering what he called "a noxious hypothetical analogy" to reducing crime by aborting black children.

So at least this reporter understands logic. And I would suspect the Democrats do as well. They either don't understand logic, reacted to a quote out of context, or are race-bating demogogues.

Bennett was knocking down an argument from a pro-lifer by using the reductio ad absurdum logical falacy to the same pro-lifer.

It is not the problem of logic in your country but of remembering history ( George Santayana said those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.) So the lessons of introducing democracy to Japan in 1945 have been forgotten. Democracy is not a present from America - it is an awakening of the people to themselves. First practice what you preach. For whatsoever you sow you reap.
Actually, it's perfectly logical not to equate incest, mostly because incest almost always involves pediphilia of some sort, meaning that the younger person can't really be said to be consenting.

If it is a true case of two adults who want to marry, let me ask you what is wrong with an incestuous marriage? There is ample evidence that the risk of birth defects is vastly overblown. So what exactly is the problem?

Also, I would hardly call some of your political arguments logical. You do a typical Fox News argument where instead of thinking your way to a conclusion, you first take a standpoint and then rationalize your way up to it. Doing that, it becomes quite easy to dismiss facts, logic, evidence, etc. that counters your viewpoint. Case in point: I believe the Iraqis have WMDs, now show me evidence to prove it.
Oh, and I've heard the entire context in comment. He quite firmly said that he "knows," not believes, but knows that aborting black babies would drop the crime rate. Why can't people fess up and state that they genuinely believe that? There are plenty out there who do. I've always said that if you feel you have to hide your viewpoint, either you need to look at the environment you're in, or you need to look at your viewpoint.

You don't need to equate something to have an analogy. It is a proper method of argumentation which people don't comprehend. Analogy does not equal equation. That was my point.

People reason from the bottom and top of an argument towards the middle most of the time. That doesn't matter. What matters is that the argument is valid and the premises are true. Now, the brightest among us will make logical errors or errors ascertaining facts. That's why we have arguments to point things out, either logical mistakes or facts.

The overall point on this topic was that people don't understand the structures of arguments employed against them. It's hard to have a back and forth when a person doesn't even understand the reductio ad absurdum argument or even understand that an analogy doesn't make things equivalent.

Now, as to the African American community and crime rates, that can be proven either way statistically. Take the African American population out of the stats. Are overall crime rates higher or lower? The authors of Freakonomics have been making the argument about abortion and crime rates as well. They argue more about economics and fatherless households than skin color.

Hwang, I notice that you didn't attempt to appeal to any statistics or facts to overthrow Dr. Bennett's assumption. If he his assumption can be disproven, disprove it.

There are other analogous examples to give, but given the emotions involved I'd rather not give them.
Nor did he, or you provide any stats to support it. That isn't really my point. You made the claim that his statements were taken out of context in order to try to mitigate it. I'm saying that the context makes his statements all the worse. Are crime rates higher in black neighborhoods? Absolutely. The thing that you and he, and others like you, don't seem to want to acknowledge is that racism, or attempts to indirectly mitigate or rationalize it, may very well be the reason why black neighborhoods are so high in crime.

I would go with fatherless households as the primary culprit. And the roots of that are complex. Some would even blame the welfare state for helping causing that.
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