I follow many bulletin boards and political blogs, and I’m finding it fascinating watch people justify their positions on the Obiden and McPalin teams.
People tend to use inductive reasoning:
I like Obama. Therefore, the “lipstick” comment was harmless and the GOP is just nitpicking.
I support McCain. Therefore, the “lipstick” comment was a not-so-veiled way of calling Sarah Palin a porcine creature.
Problem is, people aren’t aware they are inducing. They think they are deducing.
Deductive reasoning might look like this:
I heard the comment from Candidate A. I imagine Candidate B saying the same comment or its equivalent. I then judge the comment based on the words and meaning rather than on its originator.
In inducing, one moves from the specific to the general: I feel this way about A, so I feel this way about everything A says.
In deducing one moves from the general to the specific: I keep finding evidence in what A says that makes me feel this way about him/her.
Induction masquerading as deduction means that we have a very hard time creating real dialog, because our arguments are supported by opinion rather than by facts. And we don’t realize it. We talk past each other, and we are not open.
I wish I’d taken a logic class so I could explain better what I mean.
Do you see it? Do you do it?