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  1. Brian Klein
    Latest Entry

    By Brian Klein,

    A fallacy is an error in reasoning or a false assumption sounds impressive, but, proves absolutely nothing (. Sometimes these fallacies are completely unintentional, but more often than not, they are used by individuals in debates, arguments, or presentations to mislead you into thinking, acting or believing a certain way. Typically, when people are losing an argument, because they realize they don't have anything rational, factual, or logical, to say, they resort to logical fallacies. Like epidemics, fallacies sometimes "burn through" entire populations, often with the most tragic results, before their power is diminished or lost. A good scholar’s purpose is always to identify and unmask fallacies in arguments. 

    1. The Ad Hominem Argument (also, "Personal attack," "Poisoning the well"): The fallacy of attempting to refute an argument by attacking the opposition’s intelligence, morals, education, professional qualifications, personal character or reputation, using a corrupted negative argument from ethos. E.g., "That so-called judge;" or "He's so evil that you can't believe anything he says." See also "Guilt by Association." The opposite of this is the "Star Power" fallacy.  Another obverse of Ad Hominem is the Token Endorsement Fallacy, where, in the words of scholar Lara Bhasin, "Individual A has been accused of anti-Semitism, but Individual B is Jewish and says Individual A is not anti-Semitic, and the implication of course is that we can believe Individual B because, being Jewish, he has special knowledge of anti- Semitism. Or, a presidential candidate is accused of anti-Muslim bigotry, but someone finds a testimony from a Muslim who voted for said candidate, and this is trotted out as evidence against the candidate's bigotry."  The same fallacy would apply to a sports team offensively named after a marginalized ethnic group,  but which has obtained the endorsement (freely given or paid) of some member, traditional leader or tribal council of that marginalized group so that the otherwise-offensive team name and logo magically become "okay" and nonracist.   
    2. Star Power (also Testimonial, Questionable Authority, Faulty Use of Authority, Falacia ad Vericundiam; Eminence-based Practice): In academia and medicine, a corrupt argument from ethos in which arguments, standpoints and themes of professional discourse are granted fame and validity or condemned to obscurity solely by whoever may be the reigning "stars" or "premier journals" of the profession or discipline at the moment. E.g., "Foster's take on Network Theory has been thoroughly criticized and is so last-week!.This week everyone's into Safe Spaces and Pierce's Theory of Microaggressions. Get with the program." (See also, the Bandwagon.) Also applies to an obsession with journal Impact Factors. At the popular level this fallacy also refers to a corrupt argument from ethos in which public support for a standpoint or product is established by a well-known or respected figure (i.e., a star athlete or entertainer) who is not an expert and who may have been well paid to make the endorsement (e.g., “Olympic gold-medal pole-vaulter Fulano de Tal uses Quick Flush Internet--Shouldn’t you?" Or, "My favorite rock star warns that vaccinations spread cooties, so I'm not vaccinating my kids!”). Includes other false, meaningless or paid means of associating oneself or one’s product or standpoint with the ethos of a famous person or event (e.g., “Try Salsa Cabria, the official taco sauce of the Winter Olympics!”). This fallacy also covers Faulty use of Quotes (also, The Devil Quotes Scripture), including quoting out of context or against the clear intent of the original speaker or author.  E.g., racists quoting and twisting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s statements in favor of racial equality against contemporary activists and movements for racial equality. 
    3. The Straw Man (also "The Straw Person" ""The Straw Figure"): The fallacy of setting up a phony, weak, extreme or ridiculous parody of an opponent's argument and then proceeding to knock it down or reduce it to absurdity with a rhetorical wave of the hand. E.g., "Vegetarians say animals have feelings like you and me. Ever seen a cow laugh at a Shakespeare comedy? Vegetarianism is nonsense!" Or, "Pro-choicers hate babies and want to kill them!" Or, "Pro-lifers hate women and want them to spend their lives barefoot, pregnant and chained to the kitchen stove!"  A too-common example of this fallacy is that of highlighting the most absurd, offensive, silly or violent examples in a mass movement or demonstration, e.g. "Tree huggers" for environmentalists, "bra burners" for feminists, or "rioters" when there are a dozen violent crazies in a peaceful, disciplined demonstration of thousands or tens of thousands, and then falsely portraying these extreme examples as typical of the entire movement in order to condemn it with a wave of the hand. See also Olfactory Rhetoric.
    4. The Argument from Ignorance (also, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam): The fallacy that since we don’t know (or can never know, or cannot prove) whether a claim is true or false, it must be false, or it must be true. E.g., “Scientists are never going to be able to positively prove their crazy theory that humans evolved from other creatures, because we weren't there to see it! So, that proves the Genesis six-day creation account is literally true as written!” This fallacy includes Attacking the Evidence (also, "Whataboutism"; The Missing Link fallacy), e.g. "Some or all of your key evidence is missing, incomplete, or even faked!  What about that? That proves you're wrong and I'm right!" This fallacy usually includes fallacious “Either-Or Reasoning” as well: E.g., “The vet can't find any reasonable explanation for why my dog died. See! See! That proves that you poisoned him! There’s no other logical explanation!” A corrupted argument from logos, and a fallacy commonly found in American political, judicial and forensic reasoning. The recently famous "Flying Spaghetti Monster" meme is a contemporary refutation of this fallacy--simply because we cannot conclusively disprove the existence of such an absurd entity does not argue for its existence. See also A Priori Argument, Appeal to Closure, The Simpleton's Fallacy, and Argumentum ex Silentio.
    5. Either/Or Reasoning: (also False Dilemma, All or Nothing Thinking; False Dichotomy, Black/White Fallacy, False Binary): A fallacy of logos that falsely offers only two possible options even though a broad range of possible alternatives, variations and combinations are always readily available. E.g., "Either you are 100% Simon Straightarrow or you are as queer as a three dollar bill--it's as simple as that and there's no middle ground!" Or, “Either you’re in with us all the way or you’re a hostile and must be destroyed!  What's it gonna be?"  Or, if your performance is anything short of perfect, you consider yourself an abject failure. Also applies to falsely contrasting one option or case to another that is not really opposed, e.g., falsely opposing "Black Lives Matter" to "Blue Lives Matter" when in fact not a few police officers are themselves African American, and African Americans and police are not (or ought not to be!) natural enemies. Or, falsely posing a choice of either helping needy American veterans or helping needy foreign refugees, when in fact in today's United States there are ample resources available to easily do both should we care to do so.  See also, Overgeneralization.
    6. Circular Reasoning (also, The Vicious Circle; Catch 22, Begging the Question, Circulus in Probando): A fallacy of logos where A is because of B, and B is because of A, e.g., "You can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without a job." Also refers to falsely arguing that something is true by repeating the same statement in different words. E.g., “The witchcraft problem is the most urgent spiritual crisis in the world today. Why? Because witches threaten our very eternal salvation.” A corrupt argument from logos. See also the "Big Lie technique."
    7. Alphabet Soup: A corrupt modern implicit fallacy from ethos in which a person inappropriately overuses acronyms, abbreviations, form numbers and arcane insider "shop talk" primarily to prove to an audience that s/he "speaks their language" and is "one of them" and to shut out, confuse or impress outsiders. E.g., "It's not uncommon for a K-12 with ASD to be both GT and LD;" "I had a twenty-minute DX Q-so on 15 with a Zed-S1 and a couple of LU2's even though the QR-Nancy was 10 over S9;" or "I hope I'll keep on seeing my BAQ on my LES until the day I get my DD214."   See also, Name Calling. This fallacy has recently become common in media pharmaceutical advertising in the United States, where "Alphabet Soup" is used to create false identification with and to exploit  patient groups suffering from specific illnesses or conditions, e.g., "If you have DPC with associated ZL you can keep your B2D under control with Luglugmena®. Ask your doctor today about Luglugmena® Helium Tetracarbide lozenges to control symptoms of ZL and to keep your B2D under that crucial 7.62 threshold. Side effects of  Luglugmena® may include K4 Syndrome which may lead to lycanthropic bicephaly, BMJ and occasionally, death. Do not take Luglugmena® if you are allergic to dogbite or have type D Flinder's Garbosis…"
    8. The Bandwagon Fallacy (also, Argument from Common Sense, Argumentum ad Populum): The fallacy of arguing that because "everyone," "the people," or "the majority" (or someone in power who has widespread backing) supposedly thinks or does something, it must therefore be true and right. E.g., "Whether there actually is large scale voter fraud in America or not, many people now think there is and that makes it so." Sometimes also includes Lying with Statistics, e.g. “Over 75% of Americans believe that crooked Bob Hodiak is a thief, a liar and a pervert. There may not be any evidence, but for anyone with half a brain that conclusively proves that Crooked Bob should go to jail! Lock him up! Lock him up!” This is sometimes combined with the "Argumentum ad Baculum," e.g., "Like it or not, it's time to choose sides: Are you going to get on board  the bandwagon with everyone else, or get crushed under the wheels as it goes by?" Or in the 2017 words of former White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, ""They should either get with the program or they can go," A contemporary digital form of the Bandwagon Fallacy is the Information Cascade, "in which people echo the opinions of others, usually online, even when their own opinions or exposure to information contradicts that opinion. When information cascades form a pattern, this pattern can begin to overpower later opinions by making it seem as if a consensus already exists." (Thanks to Teaching Tolerance for this definition!) See also Wisdom of the Crowd, and The Big Lie Technique. For the opposite of this fallacy see the Romantic Rebel fallacy. 
    9. The Red Herring (also, Distraction): An irrelevant argument, attempting to mislead and distract an audience by bringing up an unrelated but emotionally loaded issue. E.g., "In regard to my several bankruptcies and recent indictment for corruption let’s be straight up about what’s really important: Terrorism!  Just look at what happened last week in [name the place]. Vote for me and I'll fight those terrorists anywhere in the world!"  Also applies to raising unrelated issues as falsely opposing the issue at hand, e.g., "You say 'Black Lives Matter,' but I would rather say 'Climate Change Matters!'" when the two contentions are in no way opposed, only competing for attention. See also Availability Bias, and Dog Whistle Politics.
    10. Political Correctness ("PC"): A postmodern fallacy, a counterpart of the "Name Calling" fallacy, supposing that the nature of a thing or situation can be changed by simply changing its name. E.g., "Today we strike a blow for animal rights and against cruelty to animals by changing the name of ‘pets’ to ‘animal companions.’" Or "Never, ever play the 'victim' card, because it's so manipulative and sounds so negative, helpless and despairing. Instead of being 'victims,' we are proud to be 'survivors.'" (Of course, when "victims" disappear then perpetrators conveniently vanish as well!)  See also, The Passive Voice Fallacy, and The Scripted Message.  Also applies to other forms of  political "Language Control," e.g., being careful never to refer to North Korea or ISIS/ISIL by their rather pompous proper names ("the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" and "the Islamic State," respectively) or to the Syrian government as the "Syrian government," (It's always the "Regime" or the "Dictatorship."). Occasionally the fallacy of "Political Correctness" is falsely confused with simple courtesy, e.g., "I'm sick and tired of the tyranny of Political Correctness, having to watch my words all the time--I want to be free to speak my mind and to call out a N----- or a Queer in public any time I damn well feel like it!" See also, Non-recognition. An opposite of this fallacy is the fallacy of Venting, below.

     

    Sources:

    Discussion Topics:

     

  2. Brian Klein
    Latest Entry

    By Brian Klein,

    We are constantly trying to find ways to better enrich our lives at Humanastory. One of those key ingredients, in our opinion, is how to be a happy person in a world where most people act and speak so negatively. Most of this information might be common sense to you; but, how often to you assert happiness into your daily lives to try and enrich not only who you are, but how you live.

    It is not always easy being a positive person, to look at the light off in the distance and call it what it is, a light that is seemingly to far adrift. But does it really hurt you to try? We completely understand it, negativity sells, which is why it is so much more popular, and we've always lived by the rule, if it is popular, go the other way. Besides do you honestly think your life is fulfilled with this, your current way of thinking before you even attempting to be positive?

    Happiness

    While the issue of happiness is a complicated one, too many people report being unhappy with their lives. A study of American adults, for example, showed that their Happiness Index number is a mere 31 out of 100. Of course, several stressors come into play: money worries, work problems, health concerns, political anxiety, among many other issues that might keep us from being happy. The truth is, none of that is what’s holding us back from our happiest lives.

    According to psychologist Shawn Achor, even when we are successful and things are going well, we aren’t happy. Instead, we believe we always need more to be happy. As he puts it,

    Quote

    You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change it.

    And the end result?

    Quote

    We’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon, as a society.

    If we continue with this way of thinking, nothing we do will ever be enough to make us happy.

    Don’t worry, though—happiness is within your reach. You don’t have to be stuck in this pattern of thinking, although creating change and a new way of being does require some effort. One key component is the power of positive thinking.

    Positive Thinking

    It’s not what you’re thinking about—it’s how you’re thinking about it. Or, in Achor’s words,

    Quote

    90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.

    The way you think about things matters, and it can change how you feel about your life. Take your stressful job, for example. You might think that your circumstances make it difficult, but Anchor found that 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat. Those are all things within your power to modify. Thinking about your job with optimism and initiative can change how happy you are.

    Positive thinking can do more than help you hate your job less. Research shows that positive thinking helps you see more possibilities in your life. That means you can see your potential, you can build new skillsets, and you can create the life you want to live. If you adopt a mindset of positive thinking, you’ll be able to apply this to all areas of your life. Even if your job isn’t ideal or if money is tight, positive thinking will help you identify the parts of your life that are indeed good and working for you.

    It might appear that this is easier said than done. It’s one thing to say you want to think positively, but it’s another thing entirely to put it into practice when you get a flat tire, your heel snaps off in the street, and you get splashed by a car driving by. So how do you cultivate positive thinking?

    Gratitude

    It turns out that simply expressing gratitude daily can make a big difference in the way you perceive the world. Achor goes so far as to say you can

    Quote

    actually rewire your brain

    in as little as 21 - 27 days, if you’re training it correctly. His method is simple: each day, record three things you’re grateful for. Do this for 27 days. It might not sound like much, but Achor reports that the results are impressive: participants do this for 27 days, and

    Quote

    their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.

    They train themselves to think positively—in other words, they train their way to happiness.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that gratitude can have that kind of effect. Research has shown incredible benefits from expressing thanks, including better sleep, improved physical health, and stronger self-esteem. When you’re thinking positively, happiness is bound to follow. There are plenty of other ways to express gratitude. What matters is that you’re doing it consistently and daily. Try setting a reminder on your phone if you need to. In fact, try incorporating gratitude into your morning routine, before you ever get out of bed. 

    Do whatever it takes to express gratitude—you might be surprised at how different you feel in three weeks.

    --- Miscellaneous Information ---

    Editorial Commentary:

    • Happiness won’t just happen to you, and no one can give it to you—that power lies within you alone. If you’re ready to love your life, then start today! Express gratitude, change the way you think, and live happily.

    Sources:

    Discussion Topics:

  3. Kristina Klein
    Latest Entry

    By Kristina Klein,

    We had to admit, while this one will never be the Chinese delight we all have grown to love and respect; we feel you will not be disappointed. This recepie was found while looking up show ideas, a completely random process. We've learned doing this line of work that some of the best things in life are completely unexpected. Tell us what you think.

    Ingredients:

      • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
      • 1 lb. Flank Steak, thinly sliced
      • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
      • 1 small Onion, chopped
      • 4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
      • 4 cups Broccoli Florets
      • 2 Tbsp. Flour (or Cornstarch)
      • 3/4 cup Water
      • 1/3 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
      • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
      • 1 Tsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
      • 1/8 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

      Equipment Needed:

      • Large Skillet

      Preparation:

      • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned (6-8 minutes), remove from the pan when done and set aside.
      • In the same pan add garlic and both kinds of onions to the beef drippings. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add broccoli and cover for 5 minutes.
      • In a small mixing bowl, combine water and flour and mix until no longer lumpy. Combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
      • Remove cover from pan and add sauce. Cook until sauce starts to thicken (3-5 minutes).
      • Add beef back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
      • Serve over Brown Rice or Quinoa if desired.
      • Enjoy! 
    1. I am reminded of that momentariness of the journey, that lonely walk; we all will take at some point in our lives. I am reminded of this perversion of life, on a daily basis. Most people will never experience the daily reminder of how precious they really are, or how life really is - this amazing journey through what can only be described as the cavern of time and space.

      Today we send our love and respect to Helen Taft, the loss of a monument of experience, and life; an elderly woman not known to many, but she affected everyone who had the pleasure to meet and get to know her intimately, in some way. To me, she was a pillar of life; I will remember her laugh most of all. The laugh of an angel who endured life and kept on, keeping on, rest well Helen.

      Not two days ago her son came to me requesting I speak with my connections in getting her into Hospice. I knew, at that point, it was only days. She was well aware of her cancer, and by now, this being the fourth fight with, her demon, cancer; by now she was exhausted from the fight, having gone to her house to make sure the request asked of me, was indeed, the one she wanted, I watched as she had a hard time gasping between breaths. I won't claim to understand her thoughts, but I do understand her plight, having had this monster twice myself by 18, and don't get me wrong; I question why i am even alive on a daily basis, because even I should not be here.

      If I could relay just one message to anyone who hears or sees the daily content we provide it would be that while you sit here reading this entry - Think on the positive nature of life and remember that life is to be cherished. And for the love of all that is alive; Live, love, laugh (A lot) and, know you are loved. This life is short, and you are here only the blink of an eye, understand this well.

      Remember to reflect on your own timeline. What have you done to improve yourself in the eyes of others? It is their memories of you that will endure the passage of time. It is how you lived that will reflect on how people remember you.

      Helen you will be missed, but may Mark escort you to peace, the relaxing adventure awaits. You both are greatly missed.

      On a small side note I would like to throw in the Suicide Prevention information in the Sources, having only heard of this today, a gentleman a few days back, shot himself in desperation and had no one to talk to. Remember these feelings are only temporary. George, may your soul find peace.

      Sources and Discussion Topics:

    2. Kristina Klein
      Latest Entry

      By Kristina Klein,

      Day 5 - Sedona Arizona

          We loved the town of Sedona so much that we decided to stay another day and enjoy the scenery and relaxation of the red rock town. We woke up in the morning to all the rooftops covered in snow and the brisk chill throughout the air. There is a certain feel about the town and its people that leave you with a permanent smile on your face as you walk through the shops and enjoy the views. Of course because we are all coffee lovers and on vacation we could not start our last day without a good cup of Joe. Our boy was so excited that he grabbed my coffee as well and we snapped a shot of him in his coffee lover moment...

      day5 (2).png

          With our caffeine in hand we decided to take a little drive through the town. Back behind the shops and eateries there are some beautiful little houses tucked away throughout the trees that still get the best views of the amazing red rocks. There is a wide variety of homes to big and fancy all the way to a quaint little trailer park. The air is quiet and the people truly seem to enjoy the spirit of Sedona as they keep everything nice and tidy and all the places have that sense of "home".

      day4 (9).pngday4 (8).png

          After driving through the hidden parts of the town we decided to check out the rest of the little shops that we had missed the day before. There are so many tucked away throughout the town that they are easy to overlook. From places that offer tours, to many different places to eat and try snack foods, to the local stands where people sell their home made shirts, jewelry, and of course sweets. It is hard to resist all the amazing trinkets and savory treats that Sedona has to offer. Make sure if you are planning a trip that you have plenty of cash on hand if you decide to do shopping as it is a touristy town and you will pay extra for taking money from the available ATMs. We stumbled across an inner mall of sorts where there are several inter-connected shops that are filled with shirts, hats, and all the insects sealed in amber that your heart could possibly desire. Mark even made himself a friend that he tried to take home with us...

      day4 (5).png

          There are so many things to see and do when visiting the town of Sedona that we barely got to see the majority of it in a couple of days. Had we known what a beautiful place it was when we started this vacation we would have devoted more time to this magical place. We spent the rest of our day relaxing, taking in all the views and sealing in our memories with some great pictures so we would never forget the awesome time we spent here.

      day4 (6).pngday4 (7).png

           I would love to revisit Sedona just to take in all the beauty once again. Especially the time of year when the breeze has that extra freshness to it after the snow has fallen. We recommend coming here and just taking some time to relax as this is a perfect place for it.

          Thank you for coming along with us on our adventure through Arizona from the busy streets of Tucson, to the haunted mountain village of Jerome, and then to the tucked away beauty of Sedona. We will see you on the next Humanastory vacation.

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