Wholly Misleading Half Truth: Not all National Emergencies are Equal


The problem with this list is that usually a National Emergency declaration is used to justify economic sanctions on foreign persons who do something opposed to US foreign policy (see https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/list-31-national-emergencies-effect-years/story?id=60294693). Here, it’s going around the budgetary process.


Bad Analogy: Involved vs. Uninvolved Victim


Bad analogy. Obesity kills people who choose to participate (by overeating). Gun violence kills innocent victims. Not many of them, most gun deaths are suicides and most of the rest gang warfare, but some.

Note: Vince Campanile make the important distinction that childhood obesity does involve people who haven’t made that choice for themselves.

Edit: Apparently it’s part of a more complex argument. You can see that argument here.

Bad Inference: Car Registration


The legal requirements to drive a car (license, registration, and insurance) aren’t required to drive a car. They are required to drive a car on public roads. As in, the roads that the government maintains. The government is in the position of a property owner, which has the right to charge for the use of the property and determine under which conditions that use is allowed.

If you own property where you can drive a car, for example a farm, you don’t need license, registration, or insurance to drive it. The car’s ownership is not the matter, but the license to use it on somebody else’s road.

Faulty Analogy: Pork vs. Abortion


There are two problems with this analogy.

The first is a minor problem. Judaism doesn’t teach that gentiles should abstain from pork. The Jewish belief is that pork in malum prohibitum for Jews, that it is only forbidden for Jews because God forbade Jews to eat it. But that’s a minor point. We can replace eating pork with idolatry, which Jews believe is universally forbidden, and the logic would remain the same.

The major problem can be seen from this analogous reasoning:

7. It was legal in Nazi Germany to kill people for being incurably sick

8. The Christian religion is against killing people for being incurably sick

9. Christians could not (but did) demand that the rest of Nazi Germany be against the killing of the incurably sick

Most people will reject the inference 7-9, and agree that it was morally right (if very dangerous) to protest Aktion T4. Why? What is the relevant difference between eating pork and killing people who are incurably sick?

Clearly, the difference is in the people being affected. When a person eats pork, the effects are on that person. When a person kills another, the person being killed (say, the one judged incurably sick by a Nazi doctor) suffers the effects.

Of what type is reasoning chain 4-6? That depends on whether you consider a fetus a human being with rights, or a morally meaningless clump of cells to be disposed of as the pregnant woman desires. The analogy between 1-3 and 4-6 presupposes that the fetus is a morally meaningless clump of cells that can be disposed of for any reason or none. But the entire abortion debate revolves on that specific point. To silently assume one position makes for an argument that only appears valid to those who were already holding that position.

Note: Please do not debate abortion here. That debate has been done to death and beyond, and there’s almost nothing interesting to say about it. This blog post is for debating the logical form of argumentation on display here.



Factually wrong and lacking in common sense: Black Friday

Ignorance can be excusable, but this fails on common sense grounds. It may be true that plantation owners need more helpers for winter (although considering they tended to live in the south, it is probably false). However, when you have a limited supply and a higher demand, do you give a discount?

This is also factually wrong. SeeĀ http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/28/news/black-friday-history/index.html, for example.