Re: virus: Pedigogical value of fallacious argument

Kevin M O'Connor (
Tue, 29 Oct 1996 00:41:40 EST

David Leeper wrote:

>1] Fallacy of the single cause:
>Not so if it actually _is_ the only cause, which is my argument.
>IMHO, the martyrdom meme is an effect of desperation, not a cause
>of bombings. In another posting on this topic you write:
>: Sure, the Palestinians have it bad. They have been deprived of
>: political autonomy and are subjects of a government in which they
>are not
>: represented. But for the most part, they aren't starving. They're
>: dropping dead from disentary. Lot's of people are, but they aren't
>: ones turning themselves into human bombs.
>...which I'd say actually supports my argument. As you recall, I've
>believe that both the PLO and the IRA have arisen due to threats on
>their homeland from outside forces. No such threat exists for the
>starving people you offer as a counter-example.

If suicide attacks have but a single causal root, i.e. the desperation
induced by forieng ursurpation and no cultural, religious, or historical
factors play a causal role, then the natives of East Timor should have
employed suicide attacks against Indonesia. They have not, even though
their situation is far more desperate than that of Irish Catholics or
disenfrancished Palestinians. You are comitting the fallacy of the
single cause when you assert that this very complex behavior has a single

>3] Like most of Lewis Vaugn's work, this is a third-rate argument.
>Allow me to defend this with some circular definitions:
>Pseudo-Intellectual: See Lewis Vaugn.
>Pseudo-Spiritual: See Lewis Vaugn.
>New-Age Loser: See Lewis Vaugn.
>Feces-Encrusted Thought Process: See Lewis Vaugn
>Can't Get A Date: See Lewis Vaugn.

I don't see how compounding the personal attack in any way justifies it.

Take care. -KMO