Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Week with Wingnut

Saturday Morning: Check comments at Larvatus Prodeo and learn that "Doink!" - the sound of a wingerang bouncing off Wingnut's head - was once used by Mad Magazine's Don Martin. Oops! What the hell - I'll go ahead with the next episode, more or less as I planned it on Thursday, taking up a suggestion of Zeppo Bakunin's. Time to start drawing up the storyboard.

Instead of starting on the storyboard, I make the mistake of checking out some of the latest links to LP and discover a blog post by a strident fallacist on LP's most recent Flying Monkey incident. Like any fallacist argument, the post is riddled with fallacious reasoning - according to the post author's own taxonomy of fallacies, it's a pretty good example of browbeating. The taxonomy itself proves to be unreliable - it includes, for example, "Moral Equivalence" with this definition:
The advocate seeks to draw false moral comparisons between two phenomena which are not morally equivalent.
Ethics 101: ethics isn't about phenomena but human actions, choices and decisions. If for example, you want to argue that it's wrong to kill Tom, Dick or Harry but OK to kill Ahmed, you have to mount a pretty good case to show that Ahmed is so very different from Tom, Dick and Harry as to justify your position.

I put off the storyboard work to knock out a quick drawing of an arse-clown:

There, that's one distraction out of the way.

Postscript: no Theo, you don't have my permission to use the picture of the arse-clown in future.

1 comment:

Theo said...


An occurrence, circumstance, or fact that is perceptible by the senses.

I’d say that includes human actions.

Ethics 101 thought experiment:

Consquentialists think about the consequences of events, and this would include examples not involving human action, i.e., phenomena.

E.g., the Boxing Day tsunami killed over 200 000 people. This is not morally equivalent to the Bali Bombing that killed about 200 people.

In terms of consequences the tsunami is worse, but not immoral (as an Earthquake is not a moral agent).

The use of the word phenomena is quite deliberate; in order to encompass all situations where an advocate attempts to make a claim of moral equivalence that is not justified. Perhaps you might think this confuses the issue (as only moral agents can be praised or blamed), but the point is to emphasise the fallacy of moral equivalence, rather than explain moral philosophy (ethics).

Finally, I’m not too sure where you see the fallacious reasoning in my post. It actually upsets me somewhat when someone makes as claim like that, but doesn’t explain it? My feelings get hurt…

The invectiveness of my post may have been somewhat over the top; however, I just find the kneejerk anti-Americanism of the pseudo-intellectual left as unattractive as it is idiotic.

My post can hardly be considered browbeating: The advocate is threatening and overbearing in argument and doesn't allow the opponent the opportunity to state his or her case.

The original post and comments at LP has many comments arguing the “Bush is a moron” case.

I’d say I’m more likely to be guilty of Personal Abuse. If you are actually defending the original post at LP, then I’d say you’re guilty of Simple-Minded Certitude.

BTW - nice picture of the arse-clown. I'll use that in the future (with due credit) if that's okay?