Argumentative Reasoning

June 1, 2011

Argumentative reasoning is a hot topic just now.

Essentially it is the idea that we make our decisions based on immediate, unconscious emotional reaction; then, equally unconsciously, we select arguments or proofs that support our emotional bias.

As far as I can tell, this idea explains all of the global warming controversy in this country. If people actually looked at the facts… well, let’s not get optimistic.

Cherry-picking evidence is the great boon of the internet. Instead of being alone in your head, you can click away until you find myriads of like-emotioned people to support any ol’ whacky premise you can devise.  And plenty of political groups who are pretending to agree with your views so they get your votes.

What would happen if people actually analyzed the track records of the people they vote for? But then, I keep wondering why any woman would support fundamentalists, of any religion. Do they really think their whole purpose of living is to be a slave? Domestic servitude, domestic prostitution,and a brood-mare to boot. What sane person would *choose* that life for themselves and their daughters? And yet, women follow fundamentalism and its political arms, such as the tea party.

I cannot see a good argumentative reasoning for that. Which, of course, exposes my confirmation bias. But I will keep trying. I want to understand how people come to the conclusions they do, and what would convince someone their life is *systematically*  without any value.

If the tea party got into control, how long do you think women would be allowed to hold public office, let alone have the vote?

Humor can sometimes open a crack in a closed mind. With that faint, wistful, wishful hope, here’s three comics from Non Sequitur:

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202234.gif

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202235.gif

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202220.gif

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3 Responses to “Argumentative Reasoning”

  1. Posky Says:

    You’re a pretty good writer, for a cat.

    Also, I’ve known people that went to school for philosophy and considered themselves critical thinkers that still made calls entirely on their immediate emotional investment. Nobody is as clever and objective as they think. It’s unavoidable, but I would still like to see people try to think more critically.

    I liked what you said here.

    • mhilm Says:

      I keep thinking there has to be a way to teach people how to question their own motivations and beliefs. But its more fun to talk than to think, and easier to be right than skeptical.
      On the other hand, there’s people like you who can think and still find the humor in life. I’m enjoying your blog!


  2. […] the final three comics in Non Sequitur’s week long exploration of Argumentative Reasoning  (first three here)  or: why we have so many problems understanding […]


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