NOM BLOG

Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse

 

Logic and reason show us that there is only one definition of marriage--and defending marriage means persevering against emotional arguments and ad hominem attacks.  Opponents of marriage often try to change the subject, make illogical arguments and false promises about "equality," and personally attack those who defend marriage.

Hysteria surrounding Arizona's recent religious freedom bill and increasing cultural hostility toward defenders of marriage are two examples of lack of logic from the anti-marriage crowd.

Marriage

Randall B. Smith at Crisis Magazine writes:

Logic...is the glue that holds human discourse together.  Logic is what keeps us “on track” in a conversation and helps us to keep checking back to make sure both of us are talking about the same thing in the same respect.

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It’s not just politicians who have lost the ability to argue, rather than just fight (I’m surprised there aren’t fist-fights on the floor of the Congress every day, given how they talk to one another); it’s a general malaise of the country’s intellect and spirit.  A quick glance at the “comments” section of any on-line site will quickly reveal the severity of the problem.  Most people just don’t know how to make arguments.  They seem to think that merely disagreeing (and sounding disagreeable) is the same as arguing, but it’s not, any more than throwing a soccer ball at someone’s head is the same as playing soccer.

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There are many sorts of logical fallacies, and we’d all benefit from remembering them when we read or listen to the news...

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These are technical logical fallacies, of which there are many.  But there are other sorts of errors one can commit as well.  One common one is to mistake wit for argument, and then to mistake snarkiness for wit.

One of the problems in America today is that everyone thinks he’s a wit, and that wittiness is a fit substitute for logic.  It’s not.  If you doubt it, try watching John Stewart or Stephen Colbert for a week.  What these two men repeatedly prove is that any and every thoughtful person in America can be made to look stupid by a person who sets out to make him or her look stupid.  The post-modern conceit is that they’re “just pretending” and that none of what they do is “serious,” when we all know that they’re not pretending at all, and that they’re trying to convince young people of certain positions, not by logic, but just by making other people look “uncool.”  It’s high school all over again, only this time with more at stake than who gets to sit at what lunch table.

And of course the quality of public discourse in this country would change radically—and I mean radically—if we could just convince people that ad hominem attacks are not really arguments at all...So let’s get past all the mud-slinging, which tells us exactly nothing, and get to the real substance of the argument.

Logic is missing from the marriage debate every time advocates of redefining marriage personally attack anyone who disagrees with them.  It is missing from the marriage debate every time advocates of redefining marriage side-step questions about the effect growing up without a mother or father has on children.

Logic and reason are powerful weapons marriage defenders can use when explaining the uniqueness of a man-woman union.  Let's not be afraid to use them!