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Thursday, November 27, 2014


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Simplifying issues ruins argument






The State News column “Blame unions for failed businesses” (12/4) is a particularly good example of this country’s increasingly deteriorating form of argumentative reasoning.

The problem is taking a complex issue and distilling it down into a simplified version that easily suits your own opinion and/or agenda.

The collapse of Hostess Brands had a variety of contributing factors: the changing eating habits of the American people, corporate mismanagement, poor marketing, labor disagreements, lack of innovation and many others.

Yet all we see is people thoughtlessly selecting their own incomplete evidence. In the case of the offending article, nearly everything was ascribed to unions with little more than equally simplified and logically incomplete arguments and examples for support.

Yet this article might just as well have been centered on high corporate salaries and social inequity. The fallacy still would be the same. Fitting facts around opinions and agendas is the opposite of the correct process. Without careful analysis and valid logic, “being right” is a harmful, meaningless concept.

John Stemler, clerical aide, resource center for persons with disabilities


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