Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Begging the question . . .

. . . It's not what most people think.

Most people think "begging the question" (petitio principii) is synonymous with "raising a question." It is not. Begging the question is a logical falacy wherein a questionable premise is used to validate a conclusion. Here's one:

From CNN's Jack Cafferty
Race is arguably the biggest issue in this election, and it's one that nobody's talking about. The differences between Barack Obama and John McCain couldn't be more well-defined. Obama wants to change Washington. McCain is a part of Washington and a part of the Bush legacy. Yet the polls remain close. Doesn't make sense…unless it's race.

While there may in fact be a racial component, a close look at the logic of this piece indicates that Mr. Cafferty has a bad case of cranial rectitis* in trying to prove it it.

Premise: Obama and McCain have clear ideological differences, and the polls are still close.

Conclusion: the only reason is race.

Stupid. Racist in its own way.

I would quit obscessing about the election, except: a) I'm really concerned about this election, and b) No one reads my blog anyhow, so what does it matter.

* The technical term for Asshat.