Fun with Fallacies: Part 2 – Double-Barreled Question

A few days ago a friend of mine posted this graphic on Facebook:

Comedian quote

Mr. Fugelsang said this line on a 2012 Current TV broadcast where he was guest hosting a show. Actually the order and substance of the list was a little different:

And two, only here in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-torture, pro-euthanasia, pro-drone bomb, pro-land mine, pro-preemptive war and still call yourself pro-life.

Interestingly, the quote in the graphic (posted to his website in 2010) includes more controversial topics (e.g. guns) than the Current TV quote.

Fugelsang’s statement is an example of a double-barreled question. (or in this case many barrels so we’ll call it a complex question) It is an “informal fallacy” meaning that the issue isn’t directly one of logic, instead the statement may throw our ability to reason through it out of whack. The intention of a line like this is to bring multiple questions up but only allow one answer. To restate, he is saying:

If “pro-life” Americans were truly pro-life they would be against the death penalty, torture, euthenasia, drone bombings, land mines, guns, nuclear weapons, and “pre-emptive war” in addition to being anti-abortion. Continue reading

Top 7 Games I Started in 2012

2012 was a weird year for gaming. Major franchises received crucial sequels. Controversy erupted over the ending of one. The end of the current console life cycle looms as one manufacturer became the last to join the current HD generation. Huge indie games made by small teams drew tons of attention. Since I avoid certain games (I have zero interest in Walking Dead, for example), this list will be a little different from what you might be seeing out there. Also I allowed in a couple non-2012 games that I only got around to this year.

Halo 4

A long awaited sequel to Halo 3 that finally put us back behind the visor of the Master Chief. As a long-time Halo fan, I was excited to see what 343 Industries could pull off. Frankie and the franchise team have done a good job shepherding the various stories in the Halo universe. When you are bold enough to say “everything counts” toward canon, and actually follow through with that, that should earn some cred among sci-fi fans, even those who might not be gamers.

As someone who was somewhat familiar with the stories of the two Forerunners who show up, I was not as confused as some might have been. Reviewers complain that the Didact and his actions are not really explained. I dare say that the only reason this is an issue is because the rest of the story, especially the Chief/Cortana relationship, is told so well. If the gamer finds the “terminals” in-game then go to Halo Waypoint to watch the unlocked videos, much is explained. But that should not be necessary, Halo Anniversary handled terminals seamlessly but for Halo 4 they are in a totally different piece of software? Why?

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Really good design is…


“Really good design is evolutionary, not revolutionary” – Quote from Apple today

Wait, no it’s not. It’s a quote from Microsoft, specifically 343 Industries in the new Halo 4 documentary that came out today. Interesting.

(Quote is near the end of the video)

Why I did not go to Chick-fil-a yesterday

SPOILER: It wasn’t the crazy traffic.

I never intended to go. Nevertheless it seemed to be the popular thing to do.

Support free speech!

Support the definition of marriage!

What exactly does what happened yesterday do to help with either of those things? Dan Cathy already spoke his mind on the matter and no one stepped in to stop him. We all have the opportunity in our daily lives, to speak on tough issues in as calmly and lovingly a way as we can. In fact, we are called to do so. So what does buying a chicken sandwich, or organizing this bizarre reverse boycott, do to maintain the right to free speech in the future? Continue reading

Response to one thing Governor Romney said at Liberty

Governor Romney thankfully understood that commencement is not a time for a political speech. His primary focus was on the graduates and on encouraging them as they move into a new chapter in their lives. He talked about family, faith & work. The issues surrounding these institutions are inherently non-political unless government starts trying to invade them.

He also kept it pretty “short & sweet” which is always good when there are  hundreds or thousands of graduates. Continue reading

Tech writer leaves the internet for a year

Today was Paul Miller’s last day on the internet. Until May 1, 2013, that is.

Who is this guy? He was an editor at Engadget and then moved to The Verge (a Vox Media property along with SB Nation and new gaming site Polygon) with Joshua Topolsky & Nilay Patel. I started paying more attention when he said on an episode of their podcast recorded at CES that his Bible app was a top app on his phone. I tweeted him about it and surprisingly it was an ESV specific app, not YouVersion.

Apparently he brought up this idea to his bosses a week or two ago and they approved it. He will continue to write for the site but he will need to bring stories in via thumbdrive. He will continue to use his iPad but not be able to access the web, update apps, or anything else that requires an internet connection. And yes, he really is stopping Netflix, Starcraft 2, and anything else that requires an internet connection. See the video below for some of the preparation he’s been doing.

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Fun with Logical Fallacies: Part 1

In recent years the major atheist talking heads have resorted to a variety of logical fallacies to support their arguments or to tear down theism. A recent example came from a debate between Sam Harris and William Lane Craig at Notre Dame on the question “Are the foundations of moral values natural or supernatural?”. During a rebuttal section Harris said:

Ok given all the good—all that this God of yours does not accomplish in the lives of others, given, given the, the misery that’s being imposed on some helpless child at this instant, this kind of faith is obscene. Ok, to think in this way is to fail to reason honestly, or to care sufficiently about the suffering of other human beings. And if God is good and loving and just and kind, and he wanted to guide us morally with a book, why give us a book that supports slavery? Why give us a book that admonishes us to kill people for imaginary crimes, like witchcraft. Now, of course, there is a way of not taking these questions to heart, ok. According to Dr. Craig’s Divine Command theory, God is not bound by moral duties; God doesn’t have to be good. Whatever he commands is good, so when he commands that the Israelites to slaughter the Amalekites, that behavior becomes intrinsically good because he commanded it.

This is but a small excerpt. Here he is merely arguing that if God exists, then He is a monster. His goal was to argue that science and naturalism alone can give us moral imperatives. Craig’s was to argue that if God exists, then moral imperatives exist. Certainly in the rest of the debate Harris talks about how he thinks science can answer these questions (albeit unconvincingly and certainly not conclusively) but here he is throwing a bunch of “red herrings” at us.

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