As a child, I found myself preoccupied with topics such as archeology, paleontology, and astronomy. One of the most influential of all perhaps, was Egyptian history and culture. Fascinated with everything Egypt from its architecture to its polytheistic belief system, it quickly became an obsession. My family was never very religious to begin with, but the notion of more than one deity, especially to a child growing up in suburban southern California, intrigued me. I remember telling myself that the existence of more than one supreme being was complete nonsense. Continue reading
As a requirement for my honors philosophy course a few semesters back, I was given the task of examining arguments presented by Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz, and Baruch Spinoza both of whom asserted that god must necessarily exist. While their conclusions were in agreement, the premises for both arguments were very different. Leibniz favored teleological reasoning, asserting that nothing may exist as a brute fact, rather that the existence of a thing is entirely dependent upon its reason for being. Spinoza argues from a more mechanistic approach to the universe. Continue reading
Author Andrew Sullivan of The Dish appeared on The Colbert Report yesterday evening, where he brought up an interesting point with respect to the growing phenomena of automatically labeling conservatives as “bigots.” In light of the recent resignation of Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich, due to his participation in Proposition 8, Sullivan argues that someone being fired from a job for a belief or political view (at least in California) would be illegal. Back in 2008, Eich donated $1000.00 to support California’s Proposition 8 which of course was designed to ban gay marriage in the state. Earlier this week, Eich’s role in Prop 8 resurfaced, and following surmounting pressure from Mozilla employees, gay rights activists, and developers, he decided to resign. While he wasn’t fired, the growing adversity left him little choice but to leave his post. Some activists call it a victory, but Sullivan asserts that we stormed the castle with pitchforks and torches; I concur with Sullivan. This is not to say that I agree with Eich’s actions or credence, rather, that our casual application of the word bigot to anyone who opposes the LGBTQ community with their own beliefs, is itself an act of bigotry.
Do you ever find yourself wondering why your life means so little? Why people don’t treat you with the respect you’re entitled to? Do you feel persecuted, isolated, disenfranchised, demeaned, neglected, shamed, or ridiculed? If you’ve answered yes to one or all of these questions, you’re probably not gay. According to a number of Republicans and Christian apologists, gay people are entitled to “special rights.” These rights essentially place gay well-being over the well-being of every other person in the country. As a non-gay, here are a list of special considerations to which you are not entitled:
“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” “The day flew by.” “Life is like a box of chocolates.” I consider myself a fan of metaphors and similes. These rhetorical devices are often useful in literary works to help a reader better envision the story the author is trying to convey. Speech writers, news anchors, and politicians also employ the use of rhetoric in order to make a point that an audience can visualize and relate to. Sadly, rhetoric is often misused to purposefully distort reality in an effort to rally people around, what i would argue are, misguided ideologies. Continue reading
This past Tuesday, February 4 2013, I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the long-anticipated conversation between Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and Answers In Genesis founder Ken Ham, in which each man presented his case for evolution and creationism respectively. More specifically, it was a platform upon which both men argued the for the validity of each discipline as a viable scientific model describing our world. While many secularists and religious people have argued that this conversation was long past due, I am inclined to side with Dan Arel, contributing writer for Richard Dawkins’ website, when he suggested that Nye should not debate with Ham because it lends a level of credence to the argument that creationism qualifies as science. As expected, Nye outlined his argument with scientific evidence, while Ham attempted to discredit it through the written word of the bible and distortion of fact. In every sense of the word, the exchange was nauseating. Not only did Ham fail to formulate a valid argument for creationism as a science, he contradicted his own claims and failed to substantiate his claim that students were being misinformed by learning evolution.
Whether over gay rights, education, religion, or some other firmly rooted conviction, at some point in our lives we have no doubt engaged with one or more people in a debate. Such discussions can be a healthy way of offering people an opportunity to see our side of things, as well as defending our own positions. The quality of the debate depends on our ability to argue logically; in other words, the soundness and strength of our argument resides in our ability to arrive at a conclusion by way of correct reasoning. Conversely, fallacies are claims or responses that lack merit because they do not satisfy the conditions of a logical argument – they are an error in reasoning. Recent headlines demonstrate these flawed arguments are becoming more common, or at the very least, reveal just how frequent and pervasive they are. The most recent example comes from billionaire Tom Perkins in his letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, in which he equates the alleged persecution of the 1% of wealthy Americans to Kristallnacht, or the “night of broken glass.” – the event that preceded the round-up, exile, and extermination of millions of Jewish people in Germany during WWII. The use of fallacious reasoning to effect real change has become a disturbing trend pervading a growing number of wealthy citizens and elected officials. While I realize that Perkins’ statement is tactless and indeed offensive to many, this essay aims to address the logical shortcomings of his argument.