Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Free Speech vs Common Sense - SportsLetter


Here goes that slippery slope thing again. And I hear it's such a fallacy (see below), but on the one hand we tolerate the abhorent behavior in the first example demonstrated below and yet the second one is somehow just so intolerable. To a teeny - tiny minoity. Call it the Tyranny of the Minority, the Naked Public Square, the Slippery Slope -- you can call it whatever you want.

What is it going to take to figure out:
--  something is clearly wrong
-- something is just not working out the way we were told
-- we might need to change course before we get really, really lost?

What is it going to take?

from Sports Letter Blog:
Free Speech vs Common Sense - SportsLetter:

"Free Speech vs Common Sense"

A girls high school basketball coach in Matteson, Illinois, resigned as coach after the contents of his "graphic" self-published, self-help book on sex, women and empowerment resulted in him being placed on paid administrative leave from his job as a school guidance counselor pending an investigation.

Some of the "racier" details of Rich Central High School girls varsity basketball coach Bryan Craig's book, "It's Her Fault," were published online Friday by The SouthtownStar.  According to the article, the point of the book "was to give women a 'road map to having the upper hand in a relationship with a man.'"

The SouthtownStar quoted from Craig's book:
“I coach girls basketball, work in an office where I am the only male counselor, and am responsible for roughly 425 high school students a year, about half of whom are females,” Craig wrote. “Suffice it to say, I have spent a considerable amount of time around, and with, the fairer sex.”"

and

“The easiest kill for a man is through the young lady with low self-esteem,” Craig wrote in the book. “Of course some will feel this is taking advantage, and yes it is. The ultimate goal for a man is to do all he can to eventually be able to commit and submit to a woman’s power.”And from the Chicago Sun-Times:

“In some cases, strippers and dancers show the overall dominance a woman can have over a man,” Craig wrote. “Not to say that stripping is what has to be done to truly establish dominance, but these women’s mind set is in the right place in order to meet the true potential of the point of this book.”According to SouthtownStar Rich Township High School District 227 Supt. Donna Simpson had known about the book and its contents for nearly a week but had said that Craig “has his constitutional right to free speech.”

From the Sun-Times:
“Please don’t tell me anymore,” said Rich Township High School District 227 School Board President Betty Owens when told of the book’s racy details by the SouthtownStar ...“It’s distasteful, it’s inappropriate, and it wouldn’t be on my list of things to read,” Owens said.The district now is "investigating" the 44-page book, available on Amazon.  We wonder if the district will buy each board member a copy.


Kountze cheerleaders told no Bible verses on signs


from ABC Local:
On one side is the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wis.-based nonprofit that challenges any religion in public schools.

"I've never heard of this kind of school problem, this kind of a violation at a public school where students would be expected to run through Bible verses to play football," said the foundation's president, Annie Laurie Gaylor. "It's a new and creative way to work religion into our public schools."

On the other side is the Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based nonprofit law firm that says on its website it is dedicated to "restoring religious liberty across America."

"It's an important and fundamental freedom students have to engage in free speech," said Mike Johnson, senior counsel for the institute. "They are not asking anyone to believe in Christianity or accept the faith. They are just well wishes."

But Tanner Hunt, attorney for the Kountze Independent School District, believes a Supreme Court decision in 2000 that barred prayer at the start of a high school football game sets the precedent.

"This is pretty much a white horse case," Hunt said. "The answer was clear: they must cease and desist."



Logical Fallacy: Slippery Slope


 http://www.fallacyfiles.org/slipslop.html

Form:

If A happens, then by a gradual series of small steps through BC,…, XY, eventually Z will happen, too.
Z should not happen.
Therefore, A should not happen, either.

Example:

If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After [a]while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.
Source: Clarence Darrow, The Scopes Trial, Day 2
This type is based upon the claim that a controversial type of action will lead inevitably to some admittedly bad type of action. It is the slide from A to Z via the intermediate steps B through Y that is the "slope", and the smallness of each step that makes it "slippery".
This type of argument is by no means invariably fallacious, but the strength of the argument is inversely proportional to the number of steps between A and Z, and directly proportional to the causal strength of the connections between adjacent steps. If there are many intervening steps, and the causal connections between them are weak, or even unknown, then the resulting argument will be very weak, if not downright fallacious.
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