Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reduction to the Absurd

I read this term as part of Supreme Court Justice Scalia's legal argument that equates murder and sodomy.  He responded to a college students question about this view.

Said Scalia - "It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd, .....If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?" 

The term and the use of it in terms of Gay issues caught my interest.  Because a Supreme Court Justice was using this as support for his legal take on sodomy, I thought I better check up on what I thought Reduction of the Absurd was.  I had been rudely taught the lesson by my English teacher when I participated in the Debate team for a brief moment or two back in high school.  So I googled it.  

Wiki folks had this:

"form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result"

It was as I remembered it.  I had been participating in a debate practice and had made some outlandish claim with no evidence to back it up.  Teach hit me hard in Latin with  "Reductio ad absurdum".  He was a snobbish know it all.  But to be fair to him, he was one of the best teachers I ever had.  He demanded my best.  He would not let me be lazy.

So here is Supreme Justice Scalia using this fallacious argument to support some of his views on things legal.

And Scalia is supposed to be one of our go to "wise men" we rely on to keep our laws fair and balanced?  He must have fallen back on this argument back in 2000 when he and his robed cronies gave the Presidency to Bush ll.  It was most certainly an absurd decision.



BBC said...

I think I'll have a beer.

Kulkuri said...

The FuckingRepublicans have been using that tactic for decades. I seem to remember hearing how "If we don't fight the heathen commies in Vietnam, we'll be fighting them on the beach in Long Beach!!"

Randal Graves said...

At least he's mildly entertaining, unlike that Seymour Skinner imposter, Clarence.

Ol'Buzzard said...

Morality is a subjective view of other peoples behavior...We should not be legislating or adjudicating morality...

Christians long for an American theocracy.

Who knew! The Spanish inquisition!

the Ol'Buzzard

MRMacrum said...

BBC - Add in a shot just to really blunt that edge.

Kulkiri - To be fair, the Dems have pulled this tactic out of the stupid side of their tactic quiver also. But you are right. The GOP and the Right in general has lifted "Reduction to the Absurd" to a high art form.

Randal Graves - Mildly entertaining as mild dose of hemorrhoids I guess.

Ol'Buzzard - It is beyond me why humans can even consider theocratic rule. Yet, it is still alive and well in many parts of the world and in the minds of the drooling faithful.