Monday, 7 May 2007

What is the context?

Merchant claims the Swindle documentary appeals to authority and lack of context. Slide 27
How the GGWS persuades
  • Powerful, professional, polemical
  • Half-truths
  • False dichotomy
  • Selective (distorted?) data
  • Ad hominem attack
  • Appeals to authority
  • Quoting out of context
While true lack of context is a problem as is appeal to authority, mostly the program doesn't do this. In terms of appeal to authority, the program does have scientists on it but it goes on to explain why the things it is claiming to be true are true. Appeal to authority is, "Professor X said this so it is true." The program explained what and why and how. Interviewing scientists is not appeal to authority unless it leaves it at that, which it doesn't.

As opposed to the global warming proponents who say things like, "All scientists now agree so we don't need to discuss it" which is a form of this fallacy.

Context means everything. And a quote out of context can have a completely different meaning. There have been some concerns raised by Carl Wunsch that what he said was used out of context.

But Merchant has to give examples. Blaming lack of context is a easy way to disparage your opponent. I disregard his comment unless he gives examples so I can assess whether the context was adequately addressed.

People who are quoted in a medium that opposes their overall viewpoint don't like this; but if what they think on a particular issue is used in context, that is, not out of context, they are being used as a hostile witness—this is acceptable.

I do think it is gentlemanly when quoting your opponent to make it clear what their belief is. Creationists quote evolutionists to show up evolution, but they don't (or shouldn't) imply the person is a creationist. But then why would you? an argument appears very persuasive when believed by your opponents!

2 comments:

  1. just from skimming through your blog it is a very well-written, intelligent blog. I came upon your blog via vox popoli. I've always enjoyed your posts the most, along with Mark Call as it is evident you always put great thought into what you write. I shall read all of your posts soon and will continue to look forward to your posts at Vox Popoli. Peace and blessings to you Bethyada.

    ReplyDelete
  2. People believe what they want to believe or what they have been told to believe.

    We have an activist media in the US that leans heavily left. Once they choose to believe something it becomes true for society because society will be told that it is true on a regular basis.

    Truth, facts and science have little to do with it.

    Many, maybe most, people believe homosexuals are born that way. Not because of proof, but because it has been stated so frequently by a media that has chosen to believe it.
    Of course, they may simply be telling a lie that they consider beneficial.

    A media that lacks any shread of professionalism is very dangerous to a society.

    ReplyDelete

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