Clarifying Ad Hominem

Here’s a brilliant piece clarifying the oft misused term “ad hominem.” The key thing here is that an “ad hominem” attack is one in which someone tries to refute an argument. Merely insulting someone does not rise to the level of ad hominem.

One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is “ad hominem”. It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory. They may not have much up top, but by God, they don’t need it when they’ve got ad hominem on their side. It’s the secret weapon that delivers them from any argument unscathed.

In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse. Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker’s argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn’t there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person’s arguments.

Therefore, if you can’t demonstrate that your opponent is trying to counter your argument by attacking you, you can’t demonstrate that he is resorting to ad hominem. If your opponent’s sarcasm is not an attempt to counter your argument, but merely an attempt to insult you (or amuse the bystanders), then it is not part of an ad hominem argument

March 6, 2011 |  Category: Random Nonsense
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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How Billionaires Control The School Systems

Here’s an interesting article from a leftist magazine, Dissent, on how a few billionaires and their foundations are controlling—likely to its detriment—the direction our public schools are taking.

THE cost of K–12 public schooling in the United States comes to well over $500 billion per year. So, how much influence could anyone in the private sector exert by controlling just a few billion dollars of that immense sum? Decisive influence, it turns out. A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested every year for a decade, has sufficed to define the national debate on education; sustain a crusade for a set of mostly ill-conceived reforms; and determine public policy at the local, state, and national levels. In the domain of venture philanthropy—where donors decide what social transformation they want to engineer and then design and fund projects to implement their vision—investing in education yields great bang for the buck.

As someone in the trenches of education, I am absolutely convinced that the nations schools are going backward—not forward—with every new reform. We’ve spent two decades trying all of these new-fangled education ideas dreamed up by ambitious Ph.D.s and power accumulating state and federal bureaucrats and the end result, if you believe these same Ph.D.s and Bureaucrats is that things are getting worse. So much worse, in fact, that we need even more change than before.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Lets go back to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic with traditional teaching methods. That’s the education that the Ph.D.s and bureaucrats received that made them so smart in the first place.

February 5, 2011 |  Category: Education
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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Photographers Rights Grey Card

Here’s a handy gizmo that combines the ever-useful grey card for color balancing with crib notes on the rights of a photographer in case you’re ever challenged.

January 30, 2011 |  Category: Photography
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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Applying Textures To Photographs

Digital Photography School has an instructive article on applying textures to a photograph using PhotoShop.

January 30, 2011 |  Category: Photography
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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Discounts On Cameras and Camcorders

Right now, Amazon.Com is is offering deep discounts on cameras and camcorders

December 30, 2010 |  Category: Bargains
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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the front nine

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the back nine

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