Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Bill of Rights- Ninth Amendment

The ninth amendment is a catch all.

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This amendment basically says that the rights of the people are not limited to those outlined in the constitution as it is written. We have more rights than are outlined here. The rights of the people to be free shouldn't be infringed upon, and the constitution felt the need to say that this document wasn't conclusive. There really isn't much to debate in this one.

I do feel that 2nd amendment supporters should actually use the 9th amendment instead. The wording of the second is unclear as to whether or not we should be armed to have a well regulated militia or if everyone has the right to bear arms for any purpose. This one says that the the amendments are not conclusive, so they could protect the rights of the citizens to protect themselves. Just my two cents worth, though. ;)

Logical Fallacies- False Dichotomies

False dichotomies are related to being black and white. They are also either or. It is a fallacy of limitations, though. Many people do not see the shades of grey in the world, and that is the fallacy of seeing things as black or white. There is also the dilemma of limiting one's choices. Like the example of conservative or liberal that was the black or white debate, this one is popular in politics as well.

During the last presidential election, people were hellbent on choosing between republican or democrat. Maybe they were the two most likely choices, or the ones with the most viable candidates, but they weren't the only choices. Many people believe that voters either voted for Hillary or for Donald. Well, that's simply not true. Many states have provisions for write in candidates (NC has restrictions such as you must be registered as a write in candidate) and almost every state has provisions for third party candidates. If a candidate files in a state prior to their deadlines, and following their rules, many parties may be represented on a ballot.

Take Randolph County for instance. There is an upcoming sheriff's election. There are two parties with candidates running before the primary. The Republican Party may choose from Greg Seabolt or Robert Graves. The Libertarian Party has Eric Hicks and Adam Brooks for candidates. Eric Hicks is actually a republican, but thought he would ensure his nomination by switching parties for the primary. This way he would make it on the final ballot in November, but Adam Brooks entered the race. Now, I am not sure why Hicks chose Libertarian, as I have not followed him that closely, but I imagine it has to do with the fact that it's not one of the "two major" political parties in the US, so he thought there would be less likely a challenger. We still have two parties to choose from, but they aren't the parties that most people would consider. It would seem that we only have two choices.

We have more than two choices now, as we did in November of 2016. In November of 2016 we could vote Democrat (Clinton), Republican (Trump), Independent (Johnson), Write-in (Stein), or not voting. See in NC, You have to register as an optional write-in candidate. Jill Stein was the only NC candidate to do so. BUT we still had more than two options. People kept complaining about the two options, but didn't want to take the time to actually vote for/ campaign for another option. People complain about there being only two choices, but there are not. It's a false dichotomy. Nothing will change because the democrats won't vote republican and vice versa. Well, What if people start electing not Democrats or Republicans? But they won't.... oops that's circular logic. We'll discuss that one next. We have limited ourselves by devising a dichotomy and living by it, when it doesn't really exist. We have more choices, but we can't see the forest for the trees.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Logical Fallacies- Genetic/ Origin Fallacy

This fallacy bases it's argument on the origin of the argument. This one is popular in political circles. Donald Trump said it; therefore we know it's crap. Hillary Clinton said it, so it must be evil. While I don't like to accept anything Donald Trump says at face value, it isn't wrong just because he said it. For example, like him or not, heck, like Hillary or not, he was kind to her back at the debates when he said she was a fighter and not a quitter. I don't necessarily agree with everything Hillary says or does either, but she is a fighter. I had definite reservations about her being president. This isn't about her politics, or his. What this is about is that no matter how you feel about someone, they may have a valid point. Dismissing a valid argument because the person with the idea is an enemy or you don't like them, is a fallacy in itself. His point, in this case, was valid and true. I cannot dismiss it just because he says it.

This one is difficult at times. Donald Trump, in my opinion, is a bigoted misogynist. I don't trust most of what he says. That said, I can't dismiss an argument just because he says it. I fully believe that we should validate, research, and explore his (or anyone's) arguments before believing them as fact. I also believe that we shouldn't believe anything based upon origin, either. People shouldn't believe everything anyone says. Not even our parents or friends. I mean, look at the whoppers our parents told us in childhood. ;) I love my dad, but basing an argument on things he says could be dangerous. He tells a great story. That doesn't mean they are 100%true.

People are often wrong, and often right. We are fallible, and should investigate all claims. Accepting or denying claims based upon the genetic origins is ill advised.

The Bill of Rights- The Eighth Amendment

This amendment keeps us from being held with excessive punishment.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

This means we cannot be put to death for stealing a loaf of bread. We also can't be held on a million dollars bond for that same loaf of bread.

Most Americans agree that the punishment should fit the crime. Petty theft shouldn't carry decades in prison. Rape should carry more than 6 months.

Most of the time when this particular amendment is debated, we tend to be angry about the lack of punishment. We tend to be discussing how an accused rapist is later discovered to be wrongly convicted, but the accuser isn't charged, or the punishment is lighter.

Another debate is how one person of a certain race is given a lighter sentence than those of other races. Punishments must all fit their respective crimes regardless of skin color or gender.

This amendment is supposed to keep us from being punished harshly for a minor crime, though. There are other laws that are meant to handle punishments being different for groups based on gender or race.

The Bill of Rights- The Seventh Amendment

The seventh amendment, again, is a little debated amendment.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This is just saying that in civil suits worth more than $20, the defendant has the right to a jury trial. This doesn't mean that a jury trial is required, but people can elect to have a jury trial, rather than rely on the judge to determine whether or not the defendant must pay. That's basically this amendment in a nutshell. 

We can't be forced to have just one person determine our fate in civil court. That's great news!

Logical Fallacies- Black or White

This logical fallacy seems to be a favorite on Facebook. It is also one of the dumbest arguments I see. Rarely is anything cut and dry, black and white. Just because I believe in one thing, doesn't mean I can't acknowledge belief in something else. Just because I like purple, doesn't mean I hate green. Two things can occur simultaneously. Not all liberals believe in banning weapons. Actually, very few people believe in an all out ban on firearms. Not all conservatives believe that everyone should be armed. Some actually believe in gun laws that work. Also, just because one has a conservative belief, doesn't mean that they are conservative in all their beliefs, nor vice versa.

This meme keeps going around:

Image result for meme conservative pissed off liberal pissed off
Which irritates me either way. First, not all liberals believe in not owning guns, and higher taxes. I know more liberal gun owners than people obviously think. I also know more "conservative" potheads than not. Actually, most of the people trying to push for legalizing Marijuana on my social media networks are ultraconservative, anti-abortion, pro-gun, self-proclaimed rednecks. I rarely see middle of the road people advocating for any of this. Belief in one of these things doesn't make on completely liberal or conservative. Most of us have both liberal and conservative beliefs. The world is not black and white. Stop putting people in categories and trying to piss one another off, and actually start listening. Some conservatives have good ideas, and some liberals do too!

Very few things are cut and dry. People aren't entirely liberal or conservative a lot of the times.

Theft is wrong. Starvation is also wrong. There is a grey area where people sometimes justify theft because the thief was starving and was desperate. Others see theft as always wrong. The world is full of grey. Not everything is one or the other. I love George Jones. I also love Eazy-E. I cannot discount one genre of music because I prefer another. Each has its own merit. The world isn't black and white.

Logical Fallacies-Bandwagon/ Fallacy of popularity

This fallacy hinges on the belief that if everyone is doing it/ believes it then it must be true. Think of lemmings. One jumps over a cliff and more follow. Many of our moms would say "Well, if Johnny jumped off a bridge would you do it too? I don't care what Johnny is doing."

There have even been a few social experiments that have proven that people will believe things just because others do. Telling people 74% of Americans believe XYZ can make some people believe it as well. For example, if I tell people that 84% of Americans wear green on Tuesdays, people will begin to believe that wearing green on Tuesday should be a thing. I mean 84% of people think it's okay. It must be. This is a simple belief that will not affect much other than laundry, but there are debates that can be much more significant.

Most of these revolve around belief in a deity or religion. "You can't tell me that 3/4 of the world's population is wrong. There is a higher power." Now, I am not actually going to debate whether or not God or a god exists. What I am saying here is that God doesn't exist simply because people agree that He does. To further that, I am not going to say that He doesn't exist simply because large numbers of people say that he doesn't exist. The world isn't round because lots of people say it is. The world is round because it can be scientifically proven to be round. I don't care how many flat earthers say that the world is flat. Their agreement doesn't mean that it is true.

Also, be careful about jumping on a bandwagon. Slavery was popular amongst Southern plantation owners in 1785, but that doesn't make it right. It was still wrong and harmed thousands of Africans and African Americans.