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Showing posts from June, 2020
Language, Logic, and Action Pt.3: The Subtle Art of Lawyerizing
by Hiram R. Diaz III
[Continued from Pts. 1 & 2
Under the cover of fighting “fake news,” Facebook is currently attempting to mute views on the COVID-19 “crisis” that are not in lockstep with the popular narrative. Many people understand that the “independent” “fact checkers” are anything but independent,1 and do not actually refute the claims made by many of the posts they mark as containing “false” information. But what isn’t usually discussed, as far as I can tell at least, is their justification for their judgments. 
Here is what usually happens. An article claims that some person or organization has said something about COVID-19, or any of its many tentacles. The article’s claim takes the following form –  Bill Gates says x about COVID-19 treatments. The article is labeled as “false” because it asserts that Bill Gates has said x, when a perusal of Gates’ words does not record him as having explicitly stating x. Rather than treating the asse…
Language, Logic, and Action Pt. 2: Red Herrings and Category Errors
by Hiram R. Diaz III
In part 1 of this series, we looked at how some articles utilize “headlinese” in order to get readers to do the dirty work of committing logical fallacies. The reader, once having committed the logical fallacies, would likely accept the conclusions of their invalid inferences, acting in accordance with their false conclusions. In this article, we will be looking at how some publications use the red herring and category error fallacies to support their narrative and, simultaneously, draw attention away from the truth. The philosophy department of Texas State University defines the fallacy as follows –
“This fallacy consists in diverting attention from the real issue by focusing instead on an issue having only a surface relevance to the first.”1
While valiant attempts were made by “alternative” media outlets (e.g. Project Veritas, Infowars, The Corbett Report), as well as independent …