Saturday, June 10, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On Interacting With The Arguments of Others)

The following quote was spotted yesterday when taking a breather from business research (and perusing the web):

If it were true that conservatives were racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist, stupid, inflexible, angry, and self-righteous, shouldn't their arguments be easy to deconstruct? Someone who is making a point out of anger, ideology, inflexibility, or resentment would presumably construct a flimsy argument. So why can't the argument itself be dismembered rather than the speaker's personal style or hidden motives? Why the evasions?" [Ann Coulter]

Those who recognize a congruency between the above quote and some recent audiomusings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum on the subject of reason and logic{1} get an extra gold star for paying attention.

Note:

{1} Here is the aforementioned audioposting recorded in recent days:

Miscellaneous Musings on Reason, Logic, and Their Proper Application Thereof (An Audio Post)

Other audiopostings on this subject may be recorded in the days and weeks ahead should your host feel the inclination to do so.

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Prayer Requests:

I noted last week a relative of mine was dying and she passed within a day of that blog posting. Her funeral was last Saturday and yesterday another relative passed on also who had been fighting cancer. (A second cousin I am not even sure I ever met now that I think about it.)

Anyway, please remember Jenny Riley as well as Joanne in your prayers and also their closest family members too. I think Joanne's maiden name was Ripplinger. (I do not know what her married name was.)


[Lord] remember Jenny Riley and Joanne Ripplinger. In baptism they died with Christ: may they also share his resurrection, when Christ will raise our mortal bodies and make them like his own in glory. [Eucharistic Prayer III: From The Roman Missal under Masses for the Dead]

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Greg Mockeridge gets off his blogging keister and weighs in with some apropo observations about June 7th as a "day of infamy" for the Islamofascists

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Miscellaneous Musings on Reason, Logic, and Their Proper Application Thereof

this is an audio post - click to play

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On Freedoms and How They Are Both Earned and Preserved)

[I]t has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag." [Zell Miller]

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Miscellaneous Threads Worth Reviewing:

Your host's comments will be interspersed where applicable.

The Truth about Islamic Crusades and Imperialism (James Arlandson)

The essence of the above article can be summed up in the author's own words from the article:

It must be admitted that there is much to dislike about the European Crusades. If they are contrasted with the mission and ministry of Jesus and the first generations of Christians, then the Crusades do not look so good. But did the Europeans launch the first Crusade in a mindless, bloodthirsty and irrational way, or were there more pressing reasons? Were they the only ones to be militant?

In light of the various strands of propaganda involved on this issue, the above article is a good reminder of who started the imperialist military incursions and I will give you a hint: it was not the Christians. Moving on...

Looking Back at Iraq (Victor Davis Hanson)

The above article contains an important correction on a lot of the absurd moonbat shrieking about the military intervention in Iraq by a credentialed military historian.{1} Also worth considering is the historical parallel that Davis expounded upon in early 2002 in explaining the approach taken to the Islamic terrorists and how it was similar in several respects to how Western Europe and America approached the problem of Nazi Germany in the 1930's.

The New World of Immigration (Victor Davis Hanson)

One of the dark sides of the illegal immigration issue (read: what most people do not care to consider) is touched on in the above article.

Iraq Veteran Sues Moore Over 9/11 Film (Denise LaVoie)

A hat tip is in order to Christopher Blosser for alerting us to the thread. All I have to say about it is "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" because it is about time this modern day Joseph Goebbels gets his comeuppance in one area where he will probably feel pain: in the pocketbook. Hopefully this honourable veteran wins his case and gets what he is seeking. But enough on that for now.

An Assessment of the First Year of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy (Sandro Magister)

Self-explanatory except to note that Sandro Magister's insight on the interworkings of the Vatican is among the finest out there.{2}

Democrats Eye November Landslide (Ron Fournier)

Readers who think this is a pipedream on the part of the Democrats would be advised to consider some of the factors I wrote on in private late last year and blogged to this humble weblog in early spring of this year.{3}

Gore in Hay Climate Change Plea (BBC News)

Am I the only one who when I read the above article has visions of the South Park "Man-Bear-Pig" parody of Al Gore dancing in my head???{4}

Bold Statement on Immigration Shows Off Lady Liberty's Undies (WTOL -Toledo)

My sentiments precisely. The article speaks of Rep. James Sensenbrenner, normally a good barometer on these kinds of issues.{5} However, I plan to blog either tomorrow or later this week (when there is time to finish the draft) on a subject where Rep. Sensenbrenner is mistaken.

We Are Determined: Interview With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

I certainly hope I am mistaken in detecting similar threads of reasoning between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and certain self-styled "peacemakers"{6} -the issue of the Holocaust's existence notwithstanding of course.

The Blogosphere’s own Captain Queeg (Allahpundit)

Having affixed the Captain Queeg label on someone before who was not of the blogosphere in the past,{7} I suppose affixing it to Mary Mapes is also appropriate in light of the argument she is trying to make. Essentially, she is trying to claim that the CBS document forgeries were not forged. I have dealt with some of the key argumentation fallacies surrounding that issue before and do not want to reiterate past bits on it here. However, she is essentially claiming that the documents are true by trying to attack those who have demonstrated otherwise.{8} It is the same kind of idiocy that those who raise the shibboleth of the so-called "stolen elections" of 2000 and 2004 inexorably involve themselves in.

The fallacy is in not making her own arguments to support her contentions. It does not suffice to simply claim that someone is wrong but one must propose their own alternative theory and that means going beyond merely asserting something which anyone can do.{9} In a word: Ms. Maples needs to put up or shut the hell up. I for one would prefer to see the latter but heck, if she wants to establish a theory{10} I and others can interact with, then bring...it...on. For as far as I am concerned, I doubt it will be anything more than illogical solipsistic gibberish as is par for the course with people of her particular weltanschauung. And you can take that prediction to the bank my friends...guaranteed :)

Notes:

{1} I am not by saying this asserting that Davis' arguments are unimpeachable because of his credentials as a military historian as this would be the very kind of argumentation fallacies I dealt with in another military discussion topic that spanned over a month last year and (unfortunately) resurfaced briefly in January of this year. However, Davis' solid arguments for his position are enhanced by his credentials and that is how one should appeal to an authority if they hope to do so in a non-fallacious fashion.

{2} It seems appropriate to remind readers of an excellent piece Magister wrote on the geopolitics of the Holy See

Between Venus and Mars the Church of Rome Chooses Both

The subtitle of the article reads as follows:

The Holy See’s geopolitics analyzed in the light of the dominant doctrines: realism, isolationism, internationalism, and neoconservatism. For Vatican diplomacy, there can be good reasons even for war.

Hopefully it will help in clarifying a lot of the propaganda by certain partisans against our military involvement in the Middle East viz. what the Holy See actually thinks on this matter and why. (In a nutshell: it is not as clear-cut as many have attempted to portray it.)

{3} On Geopolitical Issues, the 2006 Elections, Shifting Voting Demographics, Etc. --Dialogue With Mark Bonocore Parts I-IV (circa March 3-4, 2006)

{4} I refer of course to this on-target parody (quoted script courtesy of Right Wing News):

Students of South Park Elementary...I'm here to educate you about the single biggest threat to our planet. You see, there is something out there which threatens our very existence and may be the end of the human race as we know it. I'm talking of course about...Manbearpig...

It is a creature which roams the earth alone. It is half man, half bear, and half pig. Some people say that Manbearpig isn't real. Well, I'm here to tell you know, Manbearpig is very real, and he most certainly exists. I'm serial. Manbearpig doesn't care who you are or what you've done. Manbearpig simply wants to get you! I'm super-serial. But have no fear, because I am here to save you! And someday, when the world is rid of Manbearpig, everyone will say "Thank you, Al Gore. You're super awesome."

{5} Though I am not sure I have ever mentioned it up to this time, I have over the years used Rep. Sensenbrenner as a kind of "acid test" for initial positions on issues. This has been done primarily on those occasions when I have not had the time to study them myself with the detail required. This has proven to be a good rule to follow but all rules admit of exceptions -one of which I will be writing on soon.

{6} Here are a few threads from this weblog pertaining in some fashion or another to the subject noted above in order from newest to oldest:

Revisiting the Flawed "Chickenhawk" Argument (circa May 1, 2006)

"Vreebird" Dept. (circa March 6, 2006)

Miscellaneous Musings (circa December 10, 2005)

More on Marxists, Their Methodology, and Other Tidbits (circa July 20, 2005)

{7} A subject I do not intend to revisit at this time.

{8} Whatever one wants to say about the merits or demerits of the arguments advanced by those who have asserted that those documents were forged; nonetheless, arguments have been made to sustain the assertion. Ms. Maples cannot claim the same for her own assertions (at least not as of this writing).

{9} The following are two examples of many which could be noted from the archives of this humble weblog:

Preserving the Historical Record (circa January 23, 2006)

Responding to a Rationally Challenged So-Called "Progressivist" (circa May 17, 2005)

{10} [W]hen one is dealing with a theory, they are dealing with both abstract notions as well as coordinating dynamic principles of action. One of the author's intellectual mentors once defined a theory as "a set of non contradictory abstract ideas (or as philosophers like to call them 'principles') which purports to be either a correct description of reality or a guideline for successful action."...

Having established a working meaning of the term theory, it is worth noting also that the word thesis according to the Merriam Webster Thesaurus is related to the word theory. (Both of them having a foundation in the term assumption.) A good way of looking at this in the current context is to view a thesis as "an abstract principle or proposition to be advanced and maintained by argument" and a theory as incorporating a thesis -or a series of theses -with a guideline for successful action. The reason for this is because a theory by its nature must involve either (i) a correct description of reality or (ii) a guideline for successful action. For this reason, any viable theory involves several principles if you will which work together.

Or another way of looking at it would be to consider that a theory is being conceived of a series of non contradictory coordinative theses or points of presupposition. When viewed in this light, a theory clearly is only as strong as the theses which support it. [Excerpt from the Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG (circa January 14, 2004)]

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(A D-Day Rememberance)

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.''

I think I know what you may be thinking right now--thinking, "We were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.'' Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him--Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late,'' as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet'' and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge--and pray God we have not lost it--that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you. [President Ronald W. Reagan (circa June 6, 1984)]

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Miscellaneous Musings on "Stolen Elections"

this is an audio post - click to play

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