For the logic challenged...greenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Wild Wild West : One Thread
"Penetrating the Rhetoric by Thomas Sowell
1. All statements are true, if you are free to redefine the terms. 2. Any statistics can be extrapolated to the point where they show disaster. 3. A can always exceed B if not all of B is counted and/or if A is exaggerated. 4. For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert, but for every fact, there is not necessarily an equal and opposite fact. 5. Every policy is a success by sufficiently low standards and a failure by sufficiently high standards. 6. All things are the same except for the differences, and different except for the similarities. 7. The law of diminishing returns means that even the most beneficial principle will become harmful if carried far enough. 8. Most variables can show either an upward trend or a downward trend, depending on the base year chosen. 9. The same set of statistics can produce opposite conclusions at different levels of aggregation. 10. Improbable results are commonplace in a country with more than a quarter of a billion people. 11. You can always create a fraction by putting on variable upstairs and another variable downstairs, but that does not establish any causal relationship between then nor does the resulting quotient have any necessary relationship to anything in the real world. 12. Many of the "abuses" of today were the "reforms" of yesterday."
At first glance, the argument over the impact of Y2K (the wellspring of this forum) was a triumph of good logic over bad. In reality, the debate was mostly trench warfare between established positions rather than true discourse. Some of the pollyannas who were correct about Y2K have shown little analytic ability in discussing subsequent issues (Cherri, Doc Paulie). Few of the doomsayers have shown any insight into how they grossly overestimated the impact of Y2K.
One sees this same lack of critical thinking in the recent bickering over American political leaders. Mssrs. Clinton, Bush and Gore are drawn as two-dimensional cartoon characters. Attacks on all three are cut and pasted to the forum without any explanation or insight. This is nothing more than a bandwidth war between individual collecting partisan editorials from both ends of the political spectrum... quite reminiscent of the bickering from earlier forums.
In a larger sense, republicans and democrats symbolize a larger political dialogue. What is the role of government in American society? What is the balance between individual liberty and the commonweal? What does history teach us about collectivism? socialism? capitalism? These are serious questions and require serious thought... something more than the latest accusations about stolen furniture.
-- Jose Ortega y Gasset (email@example.com), February 12, 2001
"Painful social situation ("problems") exist not because of inherent limits to knowledge or resources or inadequacies inherent in human beings, but because other people lack the wisdom or virture of the anointed.
Evolved beliefs represent only a "socially constructed" set of notions, not reflections of an underlying reality. Therefore, the way "problems" can be "solved" is by applying the articulated rationality of the anointed, rather than by relying on evolved traditions or systemic processes growing out of the experiences of the masses.
Social causation is intentional, rather than systemic, so that condemnation is in order when various features of the human experience are either unhappy or appear anomalous to the anointed.
Great social or biological dangers can be averted only the imposition of the vision of the anointed on less enlightened people by the government.
Opposition to the vision of the anointed is due not to a different reading of complex and inconclusive evidence, but exists because opponents are lacking, either intellectually or morally, or both."
Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed.
-- Jose Ortega y Gasset (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2001.
What is an ointed person?
-- (email@example.com), February 13, 2001.
Sowell-brother, you are right. We are superior to the bourgeosie. We do know best. It is only fitting and proper that the simple folk defer to our superior mentality and morality.
Fear not sheeple, we will care for you and look after your every need. All that you do is bend over and receive our loving discipline.
-- (Liberalism@mother.church), February 13, 2001.