-I'm a confirmed liberal, just to put the discussion in some context,
and the folks I was talking to are conservatives-
A friend posted a link on FB with this headline: "New leaked email shows Paul Ryan collects Clinton Cash days ahead of WI Primary". I clicked through, read the article, and responded by saying that the actual article didn't make that claim but only said Ryan "may be" accepting "Clinton Cash". I asked if there was any evidence at all that he actually had. These were the responses I got:
- Usually, where there is smoke, there is fire!
- Well if it walks like a duck quakes like a duck and swims like a duck. Guess what ???
- Open your ears!
Now whether you are a liberal or a conservative, surely we can all agree that these are not sensible reasons for believing a claim. That #ManyPeopleAreSaying a thing doesn't make the thing true. Facts and evidence are important. So, I think, is the ability to participate in a reasoned discussion explaining your own beliefs and the reasons for them and pointing out reasons you don't believe the other person's.
I've found this wonderful 6-session course on critical reasoning. I wonder if it would be of use.
This free course on Critical Reasoning for Beginners is offered by Oxford University. This is the description of the course:
Are you confident you can reason clearly? Are you able to convince others of your point of view? Are you able to give plausible reasons for believing what you believe? Do you sometimes read arguments in the newspapers, hear them on the television, or in the pub and wish you knew how to confidently evaluate them?The first video lesson is The Nature of Arguments and can be viewed at their site or here:
In this six-part course, you will learn all about arguments, how to identify them, how to evaluate them, and how not to mistake bad arguments for good. Such skills are invaluable if you are concerned about the truth of your beliefs, and the cogency of your arguments.
All this emotional reaction to the current presidential candidates seems to miss the point to me. I would think a bit more logic, a few more facts, and a little less vitriolic attack might aid our understanding of the issues.