Friday, January 24, 2014


This past week on Facebook I posted on the story of Freedom Industries, and how they fouled the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians. I discussed how Freedom Industries is now hiding behind bankruptcy laws to both avoid responsibility for what they did, and to squeeze their creditors out of what they are owed.

Pretty simple, right? No so fast Sherlock.

I have a Facebook (FB) friend who sees things differently. No surprise here. He believes liberals in general are ignorant, lazy and the root of all that is bad with our country. He also has a severe case of ODS, or Obama Derangement Syndrome. He decided to respond to my Freedom Industries post with this slippery slope argument:

Where is my freedom when I am financially burdened by the lazy liberals who don't want to work? Maybe if they did work, there would be a larger tax base for the lazy gov't to get off its ass and inspect these companies for safety, etc. so these terrible environmental disasters don't happen.


If I've got this right, according to my conservative FB friend, Liberals and the government are to blame for Freedom Industries fouling up the water and stiffing their creditors in West Virginia because, well, he says so. Evidence be damned.

How do you argue against this logic? Actually, you can't. Ever.

Like many other people I know, my FB friend lives in an alternate universe where he can make outlandish connections that only a Direct TV ad script writer could appreciate.

You know the ads. One innocent act spirals illogically out of control towards a succession of remotely plausible but outlandish developments that leave you chuckling, but scratching your head over the absurdity of it all ...

At the end of the day trying to make my FB friend's logic work makes my brain hurt. Perhaps a Direct TV ad script writer could make my FB friend's logic work, but I can't (unless, of course, I start drinking my lunch).

I'm sure most of you have friends and family members who use the same distracting logic - often referred to as slippery slope fallacies, or reductio ad absurdum arguments - that my conservative FB friend uses. The logic, unfortunately, is quite common and embraced by those who need to make unreasonable logical jumps (to distract). It's also embraced by those who don't care for the facts (habitual liars).

In either case - as I discuss when we go over the scientific method in class - it helps people believe what they want to believe. Facts be damned.

Sigh ...

- Mark 

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