FLS: University professor must have hoped no one would notice

Craig Vasey is one of the best professors at UMW, so I forward this letter to the reader a bit tongue in cheek. Still, the points it makes ring true:

Asserting that the argument of the editorial is inconsistent, the professor drops the name of several com-mon logical fallacies (hasty generalization, petitio principii , ad hominen , red herring).

But that’s all he does–just drop the names. Thus the professor himself is committing the ipse dixit fallacy (“It’s true because I say it is”), asking the reader to accept his assertion just on his say-so.

Dropping the names without explaining also has the effect of what Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute (my apologies for the ad verecundium ploy here, professor) calls the “every schoolboy knows” fallacy.

It’s based on the assumption, or at least hope, that people won’t challenge what you say for fear of sounding uninformed or ill-educated.

Great letter! Substantiation above all else, what a great letter.

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