Saturday, February 5, 2011

Syllogisms vs. Silly-Gisms

Logic tells us of many ‘if-then’ situations in life such as, “If you toss a bowling ball off the roof of a building on Earth it will fall to the ground as a result of gravity.”
Statements that sound logical but under further review are found to be flawed are known as syllogisms.
One of my favorites is, “The American buffalo is a vanishing animal. That animal is an American buffalo therefore it is vanishing!”
And while it is true that all dogs are animals and all cats are animals it is not true therefore that all dogs are cats!
If history is to be used to teach then it must also be used to learn.  And the best thing we can learn from history is that it can be contradictory.
We must learn from history lest we be doomed to repeat it.
But we must also understand that if it happened before it does not necessarily have to happen again.
But the most important lesson to learn is that logic and reason must be used at all times.
Saying that evil people use guns to kill others is true but it does not mean that anyone with a gun is evil.  And it should also be noted that anyone who kills while possibly evil does not need a gun to do so.
Knives can be quite useful in committing that heinous crime.  But of course knives have a few other useful uses as well and therefore should not necessarily be banned.  I do not need the knife manufacturers of America coming after me with samples!
New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy and others are re-introducing legislation aimed at limiting the firepower of guns and the capacity of bullets in their magazines.  Ms. McCarthy is cleverly taking her argument to the schools in an attempt to educate our children!
Her claim is that with fewer bullets in a gun at any given time there will be less shots made before the gun is empty.
This is logical and irrefutable.
But an argument being used against the ban on high capacity magazines is that if someone wants to kill people he or she will find a way to do so and therefore the legislation is ineffectual and a waste of time.
One such logic denier is Budd Schroeder, chairman of the New York Shooters Committee on Political Education who used a faulty syllogism as his proof.  He pointed to the actions of suicide bombers as well as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and said that "the real proof is if somebody wants to get something to cause harm to somebody else, he is going to figure out a way to do it."
The argument is as silly as our original example and is a dangerous one at best.
Opponents of any gun control are very well funded and use their money freely to stop legislation.
They fund ‘testimonials’ about personal protection and rile the gullible public into believing their constitutional rights will be taken away if we allow gun control.
And from whom are we protecting ourselves with all those guns?
Obviously from other people with guns!
The opposition would rather have the entire country, every man woman and child armed with as many guns as possible.  What could possibly go wrong with that?
But if we allow this type of inane reasoning and flawed logic to rule our land then we should extrapolate the argument further.
Since any type of restriction on guns will be in and of itself ineffectual we should get rid of all constraints.
There should be no gun control laws because if anyone really wants to use one to kill he will be able to find a weapon and do the deed so why waste time writing and debating silly laws.
Obviously other items, such as knives may be used to commit violent crimes and there will be some who will use the silly argument that they too should therefore be banned.  But unlike knives guns have no other function than to shoot bullets!
And once we get that one out of the way we have to rid our legal system of all those other nasty restrictions on life as we know it such as driving while intoxicated or under the influence.  After all the law does not stop the vehicular manslaughter before it happens so what good is it?
And according to PT Barnum there truly is 'a sucker born every minute' so why waste time in Congress with laws against fraud?
Isn’t it clear that someone will always come up with a scam to dupe the gullible?
I could go on but the fact is without laws and amendments thereof our nation would cease to exist.  We would deteriorate into a world akin to “Thunder dome” or revert to the days of the Wild West with gunslingers roaming the land looking for and finding easy prey.
Religious people tell us that we are all flawed.  And within each of us is a struggle between good and evil.
In a civilized society we use laws to help us keep the evil side of our personality from gaining the upper hand.  But we must also realize that the dark side wants to be let out.  It will constantly look for an opening or a loophole in order to gain a foothold in our lives.  The best way to stop that from happening is to use logic against their silly arguments and force them into the light of day.
Guns may not actually kill people but people using them most certainly do! Limiting the access to those weapons will therefore lower the body count.  QED.
Simply logical!

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