Let’s find the similarities in all these comments: “You should be able to grasp my
next point”, “Studies have shown”, “Everybody knows that...”,"America, love it or leave
it", "We've got to stop them from banning pornography; soon they’ll be burning all the
books” and “After treatments with the drug, one-third of the mice were cured and one-
third died” (The third mouse escaped).
Here’s more: “collateral damage” and “adult language”, “Pork-the other white
meat", and my favorite, “I'm not sure if I fail to disagree with that or not" Huh?
A conga line of candidates are trying to tap dance away with our vote. As a doc, I
wish I had antidotes for the anecdotal, euphemistic, fallacious or destructive reasoning I
hear from many of them.
The above phrases are well studied examples of stinking thinking. All have fancy
pants Latin names and are lecture topics in Logic, Critical Thinking and Argument and
Debate classes, which most candidates never took
We rarely teach clear thinking. Not what to think, not spiritual and personal
values systems; just how to do the voodoo we humans do so well which separates us from
primeval slime. As a species, we are pretty adept at lust, greed, envy, anger, passion and
pathos and a host of others. Yet when we ignore the noble notion of the thinking beast,
it’s our bacon in the frying pan causing stinking thinking.
Clear thinking is an E ticket pass to ride the carnival of life. Daily interactions,
life altering decisions and deciding what and who to believe all benefit when our brain is
well tutored and strapped on tight. In upcoming local and national elections, the stink of
the lack of think can drive you to drink. So what to do?
We can all be like treasury agents and train to recognize counterfeit thinking by
its flaws. I suggest we cast our first vote into the ballot box of our brains and smarten up
on common counterfeit ways of “crapping on the cortex”. There is plenty of political
pooh to practice on. Just listen critically to many local and national candidates, read
editorials and columnists, watch council meetings and admire post presidential debate
media spin-meisters make leprechauns green with envy.
Over the next few weeks, as we sashay up to the ballot box, let’s use this column
to dust off the ole library of logic and together walk past the wall of shame of the most
common types of conversation killers, assassinations of accurate analysis and rapes of
reasonable thought that are practiced by politicians, in particular.
Here is my invitation to gather round the fireside with family and friends, listen
to the news, read the daily paper or visit its web site, watch the debates and use the tools
we will go over in the next few columns to show you just how smart you really are; and
then vote that way.
I call our little project the “Go Forth and Ceribrize Citizens Survival Guide to
Sound Reasoning”; a primer on how to amaze your friends and families by using your
minds better than the politicians. This was Part 1.
In Part 2, “No Mothers, Man”, we will look at the techniques of personal attacks
and cheap shots, a favorite of some local politicos. Part 3, “Mental Magicians Using
Slight of Mind” illustrates types of air headed appeals and famous fallacies of reason
often used to support arguments and win and influence people. Part 4, “Give Em the Ole
Razzle-Dazzle”, addresses the ploys of distraction, delay and exaggeration; favorites of
adolescents and politicians alike. Finally, in time to wow them at the ballot box, Part 5,“Go Forth and Ceribrize’’ summarizes your head start for a heart-felt finish of thinking
more clearly and knowing stinking thinking and “cortical ca ca” when you see it.
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