Skip to comments.White Like Harry-Lefty Spin On Reid's Comments Wrong In Any Dialect
Posted on 01/11/2010 6:40:52 PM PST by sdkruiser
Let's hope Marc Ambinder is into yoga or he might sprain something after all this twisting.
Trent Lott resigned; Harry Reid should resign.
Logicians call the above remark, from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), an argument from false or weak analogy. In Washington, it happens to be a reflexive, almost instinctive identity protection mechanism.
In this case, it is the effort to analogize the circumstances that led to Trent Lott's resignation as majority leader in 2002 with the remarks made by majority leader Harry Reid in 2008 (and published in 2010). As with most weak analogies, "proof" is induced from a reading of superficial similarities: both men said something about race, both men are majorities leaders. Once the analogy is employed, the events are linked, and disparate treatment could only suggest nefarious motives: media bias, usually, or double standards, or something unfair.
The argument is based not only on illogic but on how easy it is to exploit the tendency among human beings to seek patterns. A priori -- that is, before we get to the facts of the matter, analogies, even when valid, don't provide proof of anything. Weak analogies, in particular, tend to eclipse -- or are intended to eclipse -- a rational assessment of the facts and they obscure meaningful differences in time, place and motive.
Admittedly, it is always fun to trot out the material learned after one's first Logic 101 exam and validate those youthful moments spent paying attention to something. Ambinder makes a fairly decent case about the argument from false or weak analogy if you ignore the fact that he's making an argument from a false premise, which was also on that same Logic 101 test.
(Excerpt) Read more at stephenkruiser.com ...
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