Tag Archives: fallacy

Mario Apuzzo, Esq. Is All Wet!!! (Part I, The Witch Test)

witch ski

Apuzzo Suddenly Realized That He Wasn’t On Solid Ground

Well, Mario Apuzzo, Esq. once again takes issue with my assessments of his arguments. Here is a link to his latest broadside at me, the Artsy-Fartsy Girl Reporter:

The Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the “Natural Born Citizen” Clause:  A Response to Artsy Fartsy Squeeky Fromm Girl Reporter

Artsy Fartsy Squeeky Fromm Girl Reporter (“Squeeky Fromm”) continues in vain to try to persuade the public that she has refuted my position that an Article II “natural born Citizen” is a child born in the country to parents who were its “citizens” at the time of the child’s birth.

http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-constitution-rule-of-law-and.html

For purposes of space, this article will only discuss his syllogisms, or logical form arguments. Part II will cover his substantive arguments. Before we discuss his arguments, let’s do some analogizing about tests! Back in Ye Olde Witch Hunting Days, there was a test designed to determine if a woman was witch. It was called dunking. The alleged witch would be trussed up, taken to the nearest river or pond, and tossed in. If she floated, she was a witch. If she sank, she was innocent. There was usually a rope attached, and the witches, innocent and otherwise, were pulled back up in the boat. This was a respected, and well established test dating back to the days of Babylon. Personally, I think it was more of an ancient form of the Wet T-Shirt Contest, but I believe a lot of Jungian stuff, so who knows.

Anyway, from a modern perspective, we can see that this test had absolutely nothing to do with proving whether or not the subject was a witch, and a lot more to do with Body Mass Index (BMI). A voluptuous, buxom woman, with ample hips, would be more likely to float, whereas scrawny little Girl Reporters would end up noodling catfish on the bottom. Theoretically, it would be possible to rig these tests. For example, if it was me, and a Mob of Angry Birthers said I was a witch, then I would put on my cast iron chastity belt, and slip some diving weights into my undies. I do not put this kind of thing past people in that day, either.

This may make it easier to understand what I was griping about when I wrote my “stabs.” They were in response to an Apuzzo article critical of Jack Maskell, who had written a 50 page memo for the Congressional Research Service, and Bob Quasius, a blogger at Cafe Con Leche Republicans, who relied on that memo to conclude Ted Cruz was most likely a natural born citizen. A copy of Maskell’s memo, and a pdf of it for easier reading, may be found here:

http://birtherthinktank.wordpress.com/natural-born-citizenship/

Apuzzo attacked Maskell by using logical syllogisms.  I counter-attacked Apuzzo by pointing out that syllogisms are basically useless when it is the major premises themselves that are issue. And even more useless when an author plays fast and loose with them. That was the point that I made in my first article on this:

http://birtherthinktank.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/he-says-apuzzo-i-say-a-pazzo/

Perhaps it is my inherent witchiness, but neither that article nor the subsequent rebuttal article sank in.  So, that is why I am trying this analogy. The Dunking Test is a lot like those Logical Syllogisms. Neither are accurate tests of the truth, and both are subject to being rigged. This was the point that I made in my articles.  That syllogisms are as unreliable in determining the TRUTH of an argument, as tossing a witch into yon pond. Take for example this perfectly logically valid syllogism:

Major Premise:   All dogs can fly
Minor Premise:   Fido is a dog
Conclusion:          Fido can fly

While this passes the logically VALID test, in that its FORM is correct, it does not pass the TRUE test. How do we know that it is not true??? We must go outside the syllogism for that. It is our experience, and our judgement which tell us that dogs can not fly. Therefore, facts outside of the syllogism itself are necessary to determine the truth. That was the point I made to Apuzzo. That his methodology was flawed, and that by using syllogisms he would be unable to shine any light whatsoever on the issue, particularly because it was the major premise itself that was the subject of contention.

In the context of determining whether citizens at birth are legally equivalent to natural born citizens, using syllogisms is like using the Dunking Test.  You will get a result, but that result doesn’t mean anything.  But Apuzzo is not keen on the whole judgement external to the syllogism thingy. He complained:

And even though Squeeky Fromm comes to Maskell’s aid, she also does not present any evidence to show that Maskell’s major premise, as reconstructed by me, would be true. What she does in place of presenting any evidence that the major premise is true is just to say that the premise does not strike her “as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue.” From this statement we can see that Squeeky Fromm has very little understanding of informal logic and fallacies. An informal fallacy has the exact facial appeal that she relies upon. But when its underlying truth is tested, it fails

Nope. It is Mario Apuzzo, Esq. who does not understand. As in the Fido Syllogism above, where else could one go if one finds the conclusion that Fido can fly troubling??? And not something you wish to discuss deeply with Mental Health professionals. Here, between the double lines, is what I wrote which prompted that response:

====================

Now, lets assume that Apuzzo is wrong about CABs and NBCs and that they are both exactly the same thing as believed by Maskell and the Great Weight of Legal and Historical Authority. Then let’s put the matter to the logic test in proper logical form:

Major premise:       All NBCs are CABs
Minor premise:      Cruz is an NBC
Conclusion:             Therefore, Cruz is a CAB

Major premise:       All CABs are NBCs
Minor premise:       Cruz is a CAB
Conclusion:              Therefore, Cruz is an NBC.

Yes, I can live with either conclusion. Neither strikes me as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue. It would all depend on the truthfulness of the premises. For example, if a court ruled that all CAB are NOT NBC’s, then Cruz may or may not be an NBC. Which brings you to the second big problem with Apuzzo’s whole approach to this thing. Which is, his whole approach to this thing.

====================

Summarizing this point, to determine whether or not a syllogism is TRUE, you have to go outside the syllogism. While outside, if something looks STUPID, then the syllogism is probably neither TRUE  nor SOUND.  Sooo, Fido can fly . . . strike[s] [me]“as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue.” With Maskell and Quasius, there were no such vibes.  There might be disagreement from the Birthers, but once again, that is why you don’t use syllogisms in situations like this. They are about as useful as trussing Maskell up, and  chunking him into a river to see if he floats.

Now, to discuss Apuzzo’s initial rigging of Maskell’s Dunking Test. In his original article, Apuzzo characterized Maskell’s take on this as:

All NBCs are CABs.
All persons like Ted Cruz (born in Canada to a U.S “citizen” mother and non-U.S. “citizen” father) are CABs.
Therefore, all persons like Ted Cruz are NBCs.

This is the same FORM, as Apuzzo’s Bubbles the Poodle example:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a dog.
Therefore, Bubbles is a poodle.

This is  a NOT VALID form, and it is also NOT the manner in which either Maskell, or the blogger Bob Quasius presented the argument. There was no reason to ever present Maskell’s argument in that particular form, except to set up a straw man.  Maskell’s position could be accurately presented by the two proper forms above. Apuzzo simply slipped some floaties on Maskell, tossed him in the drink, and then hollered, “Witch! Witch!” when Maskell floated to the surface.

That was my point. That was also what I said in my first rebuttal response to Apuzzo:

http://birtherthinktank.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/mario-apuzzo-esq-s-distributed-muddle/

In his latest article, Mario Apuzzo tangentially deals with these criticisms:

Squeeky Fromm tries to persuade that she successfully addressed my criticisms of Congressional Attorney Jack Maskell’s thesis (his major premise) that all born citizens are “natural born citizens.”  From her article we can see that she is starting to understand the world of logic a little better. But she does not admit the blunder that she made with the first part of my logical presentation in which I expose why to argue, that since all “natural born Citizen” are “citizens at birth,” and since Barack Obama is a “citizen at birth,” he is a “natural born Citizen,” is logically invalid.  We have to recognize this argument and show that it is invalid because it is one of the means by which Maskell arrives at his conclusion that Obama is a “natural born citizen.”

Second, Squeeky Fromm, underplays the second part of my logical analysis where I show, by converting Maskell’s invalid argument into a valid argument, that Maskell’s second argument is unsound because the major premises is false.  Maskell’s second argument can only be all “citizens at birth” are “natural born citizens,” and since Obama is a “citizen at birth,” he is a “natural born citizen.”  Maskell’s major premise in this argument would be all “citizens at birth” are “natural born Citizens.” Squeeky Fromm fails to understand the importance of the maneuver of taking someone’s invalid argument and making [it] valid. It is done to show that if the argument is to succeed, then its premises must be true. And it is here that I have shown that Maskell’s major premise is false and therefore also his conclusion that Obama is a “natural born citizen.”

Huh??? Well, if you can wave your hands and, “PRESTO CHANGE O!!!” make the syllogism VALID, why did you ever present the INVALID form??? Because we have already established that the TRUTH of a syllogism comes from outside the syllogism, because the TRUTH of the premises comes from outside the syllogism. Let’s go grab Bubbles, and see how this works:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a dog.
Therefore, Bubbles is a poodle.

Is Bubbles a poodle??? Who knows. The FORM of the syllogism is INVALID, but that does not mean the conclusion is false. That just means that you can’t get to the truth of the conclusion through the argument. Somebody has to outside, in the yard, and check Bubbles. Who may or may not be a poodle.

Now, let’s do an Apuzzo Abracadabra, and make the form VALID:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a poodle.
Therefore, Bubbles is a dog.

Now, the FORM is VALID, but is the conclusion TRUE??? Who knows? Is Bubbles a poodle? Perhaps Bubbles is a cat. The point is, you still have to go outside the syllogism to check whether or not the premises are true. Now, as a matter of Advanced Syllogisms,  I will tell you, that even if both premises are TRUEish, and the form VALID, the conclusion could be false. Here is a picture of Bubbles, the poodle. She is on the right:

lackey

[Robert Byrn (Sir Kay, The Seneschal) and Mimi Berry (Bubbles, Hand-maiden to Queen Morgan Le Fay) in the 1943 revivial of A Connecticut Yankee. Creator: Valente, Alfredo -- Photographer. Created Date 1943.

Because, a poodle is also a lackey, or a servile person.  So, some poodles are dogs. Some aren’t. This isn’t just nitpicking. Syllogisms come in flavors, or moods. About 256 of them, t0 be precise. Out of that 256 possible moods, only 19 forms are considered VALID. Personally, I haven’t counted them.

http://math.fau.edu/schonbek/mfla/mfla1f01syl.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogism

The relevance here is, that there is a very good chance a premise on the Ted Cruz issue would come out as, Some Citizens-at-Birth are natural born citizens. The law is not a real good place for logical FORMS. One reason is that classifications change. Another is that words are often subjective in meaning, or admit to having more than one meaning. For example, is naturalization a statute to be viewed separate and distinct from the Article II natural born citizen characterization, or is naturalization more properly viewed as a process,  complete with citizenship tests. In the law, lines are seldom hard and fast. This is why you have judges and juries. Somebody has to look at laws and decide what the words mean, and how they are to be applied, and to what facts they should be applied.

That was my point to Mario Apuzzo, Esq. Regarding Ted Cruz, the question of whether or not he is a natural born citizen, is open. Most people, myself included, think this will resolve in his favor. But it will not be resolved from presumption and the making of syllogistic premises. It will be decided by going to the law, and trying to decide the meanings of the words, and the intent behind them. If he wishes to be relevant in that process, Mario Apuzzo, Esq. needs to forget Aristotle, and start reading up on case law and statutory construction.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

Note 1. The Image. This is Alfredo Mendoza, a former water skiing champion.

Alfredo Mendoza was the premier male water skier in the world during the early 1950s and he turned his tournament successes into a professional career as a skiing star at Florida’s Cypress Gardens. Mendoza first learned to water ski at Lake Tequesquitengo southwest of Mexico City in 1949. His fascination with the sport, coupled with his viewing of a film of show skiing at Cypress Gardens, convinced him to change from his earlier ambition of becoming a bullfighter. Mendoza captured the jumping and overall gold medals at the 1953 World Championships in Toronto, Canada. He repeated as jumping and overall champion at the world meet in Beirut, Lebanon two years later and added the slalom gold medal to his victory string.

http://www.iwsf.com/halloffame/89AlfredoMendoza.htm


Touche! Birther Report Blog Dissembles Again!!!

She Couched Her Words, But Still Made The Point

Just the other day the Birther blog, Birther Report breathlessly reported that “CBS NEWS” was calling for Obama to release documents and questioning whether he was a foreign exchange student.

(Click on Image to enlarge.)

Come to find  out, Scott Paulson was just another blogger posting at a local CBS news website. I let that one pass.  Now, Birther Report has this story up, wherein Yahoo News is supposedly pimping some silly Birther book:

(Click on Image to enlarge.)

Birther Report isn’t out and out lying, but they are dissembling:

dis·sem·ble (dî-sčmąbel)  verb, transitive 1. To disguise or conceal behind a false appearance. 2. To make a false show of; feign. verb, intransitive To disguise or conceal one’s real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance.

Why would anybody think that Yahoo News had any independent  interest at all in something like this:

Just in time for the 2012 presidential elections, author Bob Gard has released an eBook that sheds light on a controversy that, over the last few years, has become a grim contest of political wills. The book offers a historically verified definition of the term “natural born citizen” as it appears in the presidential eligibility clause in Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution.

With the ponderous but eminently searchable title of “On Gard, Obama, You Are An Unconstitutional President Because You Are Not A Natural-Born Citizen, Which I Shall Prove Beyond A Reasonable Doubt,” this 1,722-page volume lays out conclusive, verbatim evidence that the reader can analyze independently of the writer’s own opinions. Available at Amazon.com, the eBook can be downloaded on PCs in the Microsoft Word™ 2010 “docx” file format. The 175-megabyte file requires a longer-than-average downloading time, and some readers may experience intermittent warnings of “not responding.” Author Bob Gard says, “The wait will be worth it for those who wish to follow a path back to constitutionality.”

http://news.yahoo.com/book-proves-president-obama-not-natural-born-us-150108550.html

If you read it more closely you see that the PRWeb is a  publicity service, wherein the person who wishes to get his story out pays them a fee to publicize the “news.” Here is a link to PRWeb’s FAQ page:

http://service.prweb.com/learning/faqs/

Here is how it works:

(Click on Image to enlarge.)

So, neither CBS News or Yahoo News were behind the respective stories. Yahoo News got it from some third party. Who knows whether money changed hands at that level or not. So why would Birther Report do something like this???  Why didn’t they just run a story about the book without all the Yahoo News gloss???

I think it is for the same reason World Net Daily and all the Birther blogs hopped on the “Israeli science website says” story a few weeks back? It was an attempt to portray a non-existent consensus behind the story. This is a form of logical fallacy:

This type of argument is known by several names,  including appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, democracy, argument by consensus, consensus fallacy,authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin as argumentum ad numerum (“appeal to the number”), and consensus gentium (“agreement of the clans”). It is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal reinforcement and the bandwagon effect. The Chinese proverb “three men make a tiger” concerns the same idea.

This fallacy is similar in structure to certain other fallacies that involve a confusion between the justification of a belief and its widespread acceptance by a given group of people. When an argument uses the appeal to the beliefs of a group of supposed experts, it takes on the form of an appeal to authority; if the appeal is to the beliefs of a group of respected elders or the members of one’s community over a long period of time, then it takes on the form of an appeal to tradition.

The truth is, the only people who really believe the Birther nonsense are other Birthers. When the mainstream press notices these kind of stories,  it is for the same reason they do stories on Honey Boo Boo. So that normal people can marvel at some of the abnormal people who make up the human race.  Or, with Birthers, to drive a few more people to voting for Democrats next month.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

Note 1. The Image. This is one of Anna Held’s fencing girls from the Little Duchess.

The Little Duchess was the next production in which Ziegfeld positioned his wife and star product. The Little Duchess had a similar plot and song format to Papa’s Wife and many of the same cast members. Again Ziegfeld surrounded Held with tall, slim women. This time the show-stealing number featured the chorus girls in an elaborately staged, all-girl fencing scene. It was not the fencing talent of the girls that caused the public to scramble to tickets, but the beauty and sensuality of the all-girl physical number that had people talking (Mordden 63). The production cost Ziegfeld fifty thousand dollars and opened at the Casino Theatre in October of 1901. Ziegfeld and Held had another huge success on their hands. The Little Duchess ran for 136 performances and toured from October 1902 until May of 1903.

http://scholarworks.csun.edu/bitstream/handle/10211.2/1105/Ristaino-Thesis-Ziegfeld.pdf?sequence=1

Note 2. The Image Caption and Easter Egg. In language, to couch is to phrase your words in a certain manner. If you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, you should couch your words carefully when you tell her that her everyone is leaving her party early.

Point : Touche a valid touch; the tip of the sword; an attack made with the point (ie. a thrust)

This is all playing off of Bob Gard’s title, which begins “On Gard. . .”

En Garde :  En Garde also On Guard; the fencing position; the stance that fencers assume when preparing to fence.

http://www.synec-doc.be/escrime/dico/engl.htm

Settee: set·tee, noun. A long upholstered seat for more than one person, typically with a back and arms

Note 3. Links. Here are individual links to the Birther Report stories:

http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2012/10/new-book-proves-obama-not-eligible.html

http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2012/09/cbs-its-obamas-turn-to-release-some-documents.html

 


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