Word Nerd Wednesday: Fallacies

I’m currently finishing Doug Wilson’s Confessions of a Food Catholic (review scheduled for Friday). In it, he references a quote from G. K. Chesterton:

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

We live in a time when fallacies are routinely embraced as fact because, and only because, they have become fashionable. It made me stop and think about the word fallacy and how we are able, despite all evidence to the contrary, to discard empirical truth for the sake of fashion and warm fuzzies. I could go into a long list of examples of the kinds of things I’m thinking of, but what would be the point? Instead, I’ll just begin with a dictionary definition of a fallacy:

  • noun A false notion.
  • noun A statement or an argument based on a false or invalid inference.
  • noun Incorrectness of reasoning or belief; erroneousness.
  • noun The quality of being deceptive.

We have reached a juncture in our social and political discourse where definitions of terms are no more. If you believe that literal, historical, or scientific understandings of words still hold true, you’re in trouble in the public discourse.

Facts aren’t fashionable. Even men and women of goodwill and a general agreement on broad principles stumble to communicate as everyone strives to be superior and the most ideologically pure.

When fallacy is treated as fact, and the truth is subjective, common American culture no longer exists in any meaningful, unifying way.

It’s an unfortunate development.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday: Fallacies

  1. smkoseki says:

    Aw, lighten up ;-)! Enjoyed the post; comments:

    1. GKC quotes in a book about food is…ironic. We are lucky GKC preceded processed food or we would probably lack half his writings.

    2. “….reached a point…direct words…trouble in public” This used to bother me. Lately I’ve become inured to it. Maybe I’ve just read Animal Farm too many times. We’ve had a good run in the US, gorging on cultural unity we didn’t earn, enforced via Inquisitions/Church law hundreds of years ago. We’ve spent this unearned social capital on porn and division; it’s high time we reap the division we have since so nonchalantly sown. Lack of unity has a price. Myself, I look forward to our new Progressive overlords! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKx3JlTnHbc

    3. “Even men of goodwill/general agreement stumble as everyone strives to be superior/most pure.”
    Is this motive of judgmental purity accurate? I think nearly everyone honestly believes they have “goodwill” and fear the moral collapse, even SJWs, and thus everyone holds their moral line, no matter how ridiculous. For one person it’s abortion. For the next, is social justice. The more educated/intelligent go back further, to say marriage or feminism or birth control, but any level of control of enrages modern man. Regardless: once we separate faith from reason, individuality from authority, our faux-unity game in the US is up, and it’s (at best) every family for themselves. I’m good with it, To quote my inner-Recusant: This world is not enough!

    4. “When fallacy is treated as fact, and the truth is subjective, common American culture no longer exists in any meaningful, unifying way.” See above. I don’t think it ever existed; we were just rich kids living off daddy’s largess. It’s time to embrace our inner-Recusant!

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