Thursday, March 18, 2010

President Obama's Logical fallacies.

Very tough but informative interview yesterday between Bret Baier of Fox News and the President. Long time readers of this blog know that logical fallacies are sort of an interest of mine particularly in debate and discussion, so my ears really perked up when I heard the President make use of the Logical Dilemma Fallacy!

At about 1:31 President Obama asserts that a yes or no vote is a yes or no vote for or against health care reform. It's a fallacy because it maintains that this bill and only this bill is capable of bringing about health care reform. It also implies that if you are against this health care reform bill then you must oppose health care reform which is also not true. For example, I believe that there has to be some sort of health care reform, but I oppose many provisions in this bill, as do many other Americans. By stating and reiterating this vote as an all or nothing, I believe the president is falling into a blatant logical fallacy.

He falls into it again at about 2:10 when the President states that the American people are only concerned about their premiums going up and not the process. Again it is possible to be concerned about both but the President pretends that isn’t even an option.

The false dilemma fallacy appears to be his favorite when he uses it again at about 3:33 by framing a vote on the bill as a vote for the status quo or for health care reform. That’s not true. Again to reiterate, one can be for health care reform but not think that this is the best way to go about it. If this bill fails it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other bills that could be drafted that would be more reasonable and more likely to pass muster with the American people and get votes in congress.

Although I'm sure this is a frequent political ploy, I was actually a little surprised to see this particularly fallacy used this frequently by our Harvard-educated, former law professor, President.






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