Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2012

Marriage debate

July 19, 2012

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To the editor:

Americans certainly do persist in the grand tradition of logical fallacies, and it is unfortunate that Isaac McPheeters (Public Forum, July 11) must resort to one in lieu of actually defending his position against the legalization of same-sex marriage. McPheeters’ fallacy is dubbed “tu quoque” (pronounced too kwo-kwee, for any of you fortunate enough to not have studied debate), which does not roll off the tongue as easily as “ad hominem,” but is just as reprehensible.

Translating to “you too,” McPheeters’ fallacy resorts to pointing his finger across the aisle instead of providing any compelling reason to deny homosexual couples rights afforded to every other American — in this instance specifically, the right to marry. He insists that some terms used by those in favor of same-sex marriage are inaccurate and inappropriate. Although we also think that his discussion on the evolution of language is interesting and that the new use of the word “homophobic” is worth defending, that’s a topic for another time.

Right now, we’d like to try to avoid any more fallacies and dodging of questions, and bring up an actual talking point. Discrimination is inexcusable and has no place in public policy. And to be fair, this too constitutes a logical fallacy, wherein we are presenting only two positions — also known as a black-and-white fallacy. But until McPheeters can provide his own logical rationale for inequality, as far as we are concerned, there is no fallacy in deeming him discriminatory, and more specifically, homophobic.

Comments

cato_the_elder 2 years, 11 months ago

Actually, "tu quoque" is properly pronounced "two kwo-kway." The authors were apparently not fortunate enough to have studied Latin.

Peter Macfarlane 2 years, 11 months ago

"I'm going to start calling my Lawn Boy Mower a Pony cuz I like ponies better." Can you phonetically spell "non sequitor"?

Brock Masters 2 years, 11 months ago

Isn't the point of labeling McPheeters a homophobe to ostracize him and thus a form of discrimination?

Why is discrimination as practiced by the LTE writer acceptable? I don't think it is but I suppose the LTE writer has no problem with a double standard.

Also I went back read McPheeter's letter and I don't see the tu quoque that he is accused of. Heck my post here fits the definition better than what McPheeter wrote.

And so does this LTE.

Brock Masters 2 years, 11 months ago

Nice attack my reading comprehension ability right from the start. People can't interpret the written word differently and yet be able to comprehend it equally?

The letter isn't about same sex marriage but the attacks he receives for his view so it was not necessary for him to detail the reasons he is against it but only to state it once as the basis for the attacks against him.

So let me ask you if you feel it is productive and appropriate to label people in a negative manner because they have a differerent view than you? What about tolerance and civility?

I find it much more productive to "attack" the view or position of another instead of attacking the person. Personal attacks cause a person to become defensive and attack back and thus do nothing to solve a problem or persuade someone to look at an issue differently.

Just like your post. Instead of leading with hostility you simple shared your point of view it might have lead to a constructive dialog that persuaded me you are right.

So in the future you may want to decide if you just want to be right or if you want to be persuasive.

George Lippencott 2 years, 11 months ago

I appreciate this letter as it does not disparage anybody while addressing an oft addressed issue in these pages in a less demeaning manner. However, one does need to remember that the prohibition against same gender marriage is in the law. Just exactly why have our lawgivers become involved in such personal issues?

I can understand the need to protect people from each other. There does need to be legal protection within the context of relationships such as marriage. I have more trouble with why our lawgivers have moved beyond that into the issue of who can be with whom, or the structure of that relationship, or decisions about the structure of the family.

Perhaps those of you seeking equal treatment for same gender relationships might expand your advocacy to equal treatment for all families. Preferential tax treatment of married couples or families with children could easily be perceived as a form of discrimination. Perhaps by allowing the government to involve itself in such personal decisions we empower it to insert itself into other personal relationships - such as who can marry whom.

gr 2 years, 11 months ago

"Discrimination is inexcusable and has no place in public policy."

Yes, the letter writer and those in agreement with him would not stand behind his statement. Just a few simple questions will have them discriminating most anyone other than themselves.

Some have called it a "slippery slope" fallacy. Yet, California stands as proof it's not a fallacy.

Timmy has 10 dads and 20 moms.

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