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Sunday, September 7, 2008

NFL Week 1 Predictions

So the first week of the NFL is upon us…finally!

Every week I am going to make my NFL predictions and keep a running total of my prediction Win-Loss ratio at the bottom of the following outcome post every week (like every other NFL fan with a blog). Am I destined for greatness or am I a no talent hack? We shall see…

Redskins @ Giants
While the Super Bowl hangover can be hard to overcome, the ‘Skins are a new team, with a new coach, and too many question marks on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Can Jason Taylor still perform well and provide the pass rush the Redskins so desperately needed last year? Will Jason Campbell be able to pick up his seventh new offensive system and lead his team to victory?
Redskins 14 – Giants 28

Seahawks @ Bills
I have never been high on the Seahawks and think that they play in the weakest division (NFC West), in the weakest conference (NFC). While they do have some weapons, their receiver core has been decimated this year by injuries while the Bills were plagued by injuries and a rookie quarterback under center last year. The Bills look healthy this year, Edwards has more experience, and while Jason Peter will not play due to his recently ended holdout, the news of the holdout ending should boost the morale of the offensive line. Leodis McKelvin is an instant upgrade to the secondary and is a dynamic addition to the special teams.
Seahawks 21 – Bills 24

Buccaneers @ Saints
Last year was a fluke for the Saints and they will be back in step for the NFC South title. A healthy Deuce McAllister will mean Reggie Bush will be hard to contain and Sedric Ellis will center a struggling offense. While Gruden loves his quarterbacks, he has a game manager rather than a game changer in Jeff Garcia. Look for the Saints infamous high powered offense, especially with the addition of Jeremy Shockey, to take over.
Buccaneers 17 – Saints 35

Jets @ Miami
This is going to be the game that everyone is watching and we will have to hear the commentators talk about for the next month because the Jet’s new quarterback’s name begins in F and ends in E. The drama of this story is admittedly good though; Brett Favre leaves his Depends and walker behind with retirement, signs with the Jets, and leaves the Jets starting quarterback Chad Pennington, without a J-O-B. Pennington then signs with the Dolphins who went 1-15 last year. Pennington is the obvious starter and should mentor both Beck and Henne who are the quarterback(s) of the future. While it is almost guaranteed that Miami will double their win amount of last year (2 wins this year!), the Jets have been aggressive in the off-season and look to threaten Buffalo for the second spot behind the Patriots in the AFC east.
Jets 28 – Miami 16

Texans @ Steelers
The Texans are an up and coming team in arguably the toughest division in the NFL while the Steelers are proven playoff contenders year in and year out. The Steelers look to have two good high draft picks in Mendenhall and Sweed that should contribute immediately. While it looks like the Texans have not made any huge splashes in their own off-season, their drafted defense started making waves last year and should improve more this year. Look for this to be a hard hitting, punch you in the nose, run it down your throat game.
Texans 14 – Steelers 21

Jaguars @ Titans
The Jags have proven that they are here to stay with a pretty young team that is extremely physical on both offense and defense. Gerrard, while no game changer, is the perfect manager for the Jags two headed run first and last offense. It looks like everyone is starting to jump on the Vince-Young-is-a-bust bandwagon that I’ve been saying since day 1. Young is a quarterback that plays like a fat running back. While his moves worked great in college, this is the NFL and you need to pass first. His mechanics and stats are both horrible and look for him to be a back-up in 2-4 years. I was hoping that Chris Johnson would be picked up by the Broncos late in the draft but instead he went to the Titans in the first round. While Johnson is potentially a game changer, was he worth a first round pick?
Jaguars 28 – Titans 14

Lions @ Falcons
Ugh and Ugh. I don’t care what people say about the Lions; neither team is very good. The Falcons will be a lot better this year despite what everyone says. The Lions will limp their way to a victory however in a mistake and turnover filled game.
Lions 31 – Falcons 28

Chiefs @ Patriots
While the verdict is still out, it looks like the Chiefs pulled off a blockbuster draft this year and potentially drafted 4 starters in 1 year; that’s huge. The Chiefs will struggle this year but their young team will gain invaluable experience. This one isn’t really a contest at all but the Chiefs may surprise a few people with how well they play.
Chiefs 14 – Patriots 35

Bengals @ Ravens
I really like the AFC North because every time likes to play smash mouth football. While Cincy thinks they can play smash mouth football, it should be fun to watch the Ravens beat up on the Bengals both offensively and defensively. Chad Johnson (I mean Ocho Cinco since he just had his name legally changed) will be hampered as he adjusts to playing with a brace this game but will do fine the rest of the year. Look for Johnson to play all well this year and keeps his mouth shut a little more as he tries to build up his trade value. The Ravens offense is aging but should still beat up an aerial Bengals offense.
Bengals 10 – Ravens 16

Rams @ Eagles
The Rams were a fluke last year and should be back to their normal high powered offense. Look for the play of Bulger to be solid this game and year as a weak performance could prompt the choice of a high draft pick being spent on a quarterback. Who knows what will happen out of McNabb this week / year as his game play needs some Prozac to regulate it; it’s either phenomenal or horrid. While Westbrook is always solid, look for a recently drafted Desean Jackson to help out McNabb but to little avail as Stephen Jackson’s new contract makes him play like a man possessed and the Rams take out their frustrations of last year.
Rams 35 – Eagles 28

Cardinals @ 49er’s
The battle of the 1st round bust quarterbacks. The Cardinals are coming to the realization that Leinhart is a bad choice just as the 9er’s are realizing that Alex Smith is a nobody. Neither quarterback is going to start and look for the 49er’s to draft another one this year and the Cardinals to soften the blow to Leinhart by drafting another one the next year. Both defenses look fairly solid though but while San Francisco has the edge on the defensive side, Arizona has a larger edge with their offense with Warner at the helm
Cardinals 28 – 49er’s 24

Panthers @ Chargers
The Panthers were bad last year and the Charges were great. While the Chargers will never be a dynasty like the Patriots or Colts because of the lack of good leadership on and off the field, they are still good; just not good enough. The Panthers have been running the ball like it’s the new thing to do in the preseason; but against the vanilla defense that everyone runs. The loss of Steve Smith for two games will not be a big of a loss as everyone thinks with the emergence of the running game the Panthers boast. Still, the Chargers are explosive offensively and solid defensively.
Panthers 13 – Chargers 28

Cowboys @ Browns
The Cowgirls are just like the Chargers in loaded with talent, but lacking in leadership. The Browns have really shocked everyone with their play of late but I guess that’s what happens when you have so many high draft choices for so many years in a row. I think that Derek Anderson was a fluke last year and look for Quinn to start towards the end of the season. The Cowboys will still win with a high powered offense and strong defense.
Cowboys 28 – Browns 18

Bears @ Colts
The Bears are looking to be horrible this year and should end up with a top 5 draft choice; hopefully they will spend it on a quarterback as they should have down 2 years ago. The offense is lacking weapons, the line is already crippled with injuries, while the Colts look strong. The only question mark on the Colts side of the ball is Peyton Manning and his recent knee surgery. While Peyton Manning could come off the couch at 50 and play in a Super Bowl, he will not be in top form as he hasn’t practiced at all this year. This one will be closer than people think.
Bears 17 – Colts 21

Vikings @ Packers
The Vikings were solid last year and will be even better this year. While Adrian Peterson played phenomenally last year, he did make some big mistakes that he will not make this year; that’s right look for him to play even better even if his stats don’t reflect it. While Peterson will have less of an individual performance, look for his contribution to team performance to be much better this year i.e. blocking, catching passes, and making smart decisions. The Packers have lost a great quarterback in Favre and just because I like drama, I think that Rodgers is going to struggle and there will be riots in Green Bay.
Vikings 35 – Packers 21

Broncos @ Raiders
What would the week be without some smack talking against the Raiders because I am truly a Raider Hater and I think that the faders are run horrible by the Corpse, a.k.a. Al Davis. The Raiders will struggle again this year and probably fire Lane Kiffin from his head coach position while he has done as best as possible with putting up with Al Davis. The Broncos are a real sleeper this year and everyone is overlooking them. While the Broncos will be without star receiver Brandon Marshall this game, it shouldn’t matter with the emergence of Eddie Royal, a solid receiver core, a vastly improved defense and defensive system, and a beefed up O-Line.
Broncos 24 – Raiders 16

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Discussion Question: Project Management

Think about how we use project management at work and in our personal lives. Is it necessary to plan complex projects differently than simple projects? Why or why not?

Project management is something that everyone uses in their professional and personal lives without even recognizing the use of the skills at the time. At work, even if you are not a project manager, you often manage projects, even if you are simply managing yourself and how the project is completed.

In your personal life, project management can be translated to something such as a move across country. You have a date in mind that you have set when you want to move. In order to meet that date, you need to pack your belongings, arrange for the movement of them, shuttle yourself and family across country. Now in order to make sure that the move across country is successful, you need to make sure that your property is sold or available for rent, you need to have a new residence lined up, and you need to have a job when you get there. Everything that you as an individual need to accomplish to make all of those goals happen is project management.

So far as care taken into planning simple versus complex projects, the approach should be the same, just the workload should be different. That is, the same overall goals are the same regardless of the complexity of a project – budget, success, deadline, and specifications. The only element that changes is the amount of work that goes into planning to make sure these goals are met.

Monday, July 28, 2008

MHR Radio - July 9

I am a fan of MileHighReport. While this is a blog about the Denver Bronco's and probably very biased, for the most part they do an excellent job of objective reporting and their weekly Podcast is pretty decent. Check out the one for the week of July 9, 2009.

icon for podpress  MHR Radio Episode 42 - 7/9/08: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Monday, July 14, 2008

Critical Thinking Assignment: Argument Evaluation

There is an interesting article in the weekly reading titled “Controlling Irrational Fears After 9/11”. This is an essay in which the author is trying to “downplay” the public’s reaction and outcry to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In this essay, the author makes several arguments with the purpose of showing how these outcries and reactions were more than warranted.

On page 456 of the text, the essay claims “It is unlikely, for example, that many Americans remember that, earlier in 2001, an earthquake in Gujarat, India, killed approximately 20,000 people. One might explain the difference in reaction by saying that we naturally respond more strongly to the deaths of Americans closer to home than to those of others halfway around the world.” To preface, the author provides statistics of the 9/11 casualties at 2,800 deaths. The premise of this particular argument is when the author states “It is unlikely, for example, that many Americans remember that, earlier in 2001, an earthquake in Gujarat, India, killed approximately 20,000 people”; the conclusion of the same argument is “One might explain the difference in reaction by saying that we naturally respond more strongly to the deaths of Americans closer to home than to those of others halfway around the world.”

The premise of this argument does support the conclusion of the statement by using several key words. For example, in the premise of the argument the author uses the word “unlikely.” While this is a fallacy in itself, it does pair well with the conclusion of the argument in the way that the author distances the plight of another country – the author states “we naturally respond more strongly to the deaths of Americans closer to home than to those of others halfway around the world. By using words like “naturally” and “we”, the author has separated “us from them” and “drawn a line” in the sand and distanced the reader mentally (rather than the obvious physical distance of geographical location) from the plight of the Indians.

This argument is inductively strong in several aspects. The argument is strong because it is well written and evokes feelings and emotions of patriotism because of the “us and them” aspect of the argument – adding strong emotions to an argument seems to usually make an argument strong. Also, the argument is inductive in the way that it uses the words “unlikely” and “naturally.” These are words used when the reader comes to a conclusion of truth rather than the premise and conclusion being entirely truthful.

Finally, the premise of this argument is plausibly true, rather than being difficult to prove or definitely true. From the beginning of the premise uses the word “unlikely”, it shows that the author does not necessarily have the research or statistics on this claim; if the author did have the appropriate evidence then the word “unlikely” should be removed as it would now be likely. However, this premise is fairly simple to prove or disprove as the author could conduct a simple poll and calculate the findings.

In another argument on page 457 of the text, the author of the essay claims “One might say that it was the malice of the perpetrators that makes the 9/11 deaths so noteworthy, but surely there is plenty of malice present in the 15,000 homicides that occur every year in the United States. And while we have passed strict laws favoring prosecution of murderers, we do not see the huge and expensive shift in priorities that has followed the 9/11 attacks.” The premise of this argument is “One might say that it was the malice of the perpetrators that makes the 9/11 deaths so noteworthy, but surely there is plenty of malice present in the 15,000 homicides that occur every year in the United States.” The conclusion of the same argument is the second sentence: “And while we have passed strict laws favoring prosecution of murderers, we do not see the huge and expensive shift in priorities that has followed the 9/11 attacks.”

While the premise of this argument supports the conclusion of the same argument, I do not feel that it supports the conclusion of the entire message and essay. The premise of the entire essay is all of the evidence, proof, and comparisons that the author makes between other events (primarily automobile casualties) and the deaths of 9/11; the conclusion of the entire message is the claim that American’s reactions are not warranted if strictly adhering to the death count. The author seems to take the opportunity to point out flaws in National Defense rather than support the overall claim that Americans have overreacted to 9/11.

This argument is weak and invalid; the author seems to be picking all of the “beneficial” things that support his claim and omitting the “negative” things that would discredit his claim rather than taking evenly from both positive and negative. The author provides support of the proportion of deaths from 9/11 and the annual homicide death count in the premise but then does not provide any concrete evidence to support the conclusion of “we do not see the huge and expensive shift in priorities…”; there have been in fact many large and expensive shifts in priorities in National Defense – specifically the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

The premise of the argument is true however; the author does provide evidence supporting the premise by quoting the figure of 15,000 homicides annually in the country.

While full of fallacies and slanters, the essay was a very interesting read; the author made many strong and valid arguments supporting the claim why Americans have overreacted to the terrorist of attacks of 9/11.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Critical Thinking Assignment: Argument Validity

Given the premises, discuss whether the conclusion of each argument that follows is (a) true beyond a reasonable doubt, (b) probably true, or (c) possibly true or possibly false. You should expect disagreement on these items, but the closer your answers are to your instructor’s, the better.

1. The sign on the parking meter says “Out of Order,” so the meter isn’t working.
The conclusion of this statement is probably true. While the sign on the meter currently says “Out of Order,” there are few things in life that are true beyond a reasonable doubt. The meter is probably out of order.

2. The annual rainfall in California’s north valley averages twenty-three inches. So the rainfall next year will be twenty-three inches.
The conclusion of this statement is probably true. While the region has averaged 23 inches of rainfall a year, this is just an average. For example, 2 years ago it might have rained only 22 inches and the next it rained 24 inches making it a 23 inch average.

3. You expect to get forty miles to the gallon in that? Why, that old wreck has a monster V8; besides, it’s fifty years old and needs an overhaul.
The conclusion of this statement is probably true. The speaker makes valid points arguing against good fuel economy i.e. the vehicle having a V8 engine, the vehicle is old, and it needs an overhaul. While the speaker’s comments are biased, emotional, and possibly exaggerated, they are most likely true.

4. In three of the last four presidential races, the winner of the Iowa Republican primary has not captured the Republican nomination. Therefore, the winner of the next Iowa Republican primary will not capture the Republican nomination.
The conclusion of this statement is possibly true or possibly false. While some states have more emphasis than others in the primaries, it appears that the winner of the Iowa Republican primary not winning the Republican nomination is more coincidence than anything. It is possible the winner of the primary this year may not win the nomination but not necessarily probable.

5. The New York steak, the Maine lobster, and the beef stroganoff at that restaurant are all exceptionally good. All the entrees are excellent.
The conclusion of this statement is possibly true or possibly false. While the steak, lobster, and stroganoff are all exceptionally good, it does not mean that all of the entrees are going to be excellent. If the chef cooks the steak, lobster and beef stroganoff well, it is likely that they also cook the other entrees well; however taste is a matter of opinion and the reader might not like the same entrees, let alone all the entrees.

6. The number of cellular telephones has increased dramatically in each of the past few years. Therefore there will be even more of them in use this coming year.
The conclusion of this statement is true beyond a reasonable doubt. It only takes one person to purchase and use a cell phone for there to be more cell phones in use than the prior year; the odds of this not happening are astronomical therefore it is true beyond a reasonable doubt (the key word being reasonable).

7. Since the graduates of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and other Ivy League schools generally score higher on the Graduate Record Examination than students from Central State, it follows that the Ivy League schools do more toward educating their students than Central State does.
The conclusion of this statement is probably true. While there can be other variables taken into consideration (i.e. the demographics of the students attending either school or taking the test), there are not enough concrete variables to swing this to either true beyond a reasonable doubt or possibly true or possibly false.

8. Michael Jackson has had more plastic surgery than anybody else in California. You can bet he’s had more than anybody in Connecticut!
The conclusion of this statement is possibly true or possibly false. While it’s not confirmed exactly how much plastic surgery Jackson has had, it is doubtful that no one in California has had more than him. However, it is proven that more people have had plastic surgery in California than Connecticut.

9. Although Max bled profusely before he died, there was no blood on the ground where his body was found. Therefore, he was killed somewhere else and brought here after the murder.
The conclusion of this statement is possibly true or possibly false. Murders are one of the most investigated events in the world; tragically some of societies most creative moments were in murders. There could be any number of reasons to explain why there is no blood on the ground i.e. the victim was killed on a tarp then the tarp removed.

10. When liquor was banned in 1920, hospitalizations for alcoholism and related diseases plummeted; in 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, alcohol-related illnesses rose sharply again. Legalization of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana would not curb abuse of those substances.
The conclusion of this statement is probably true. While you can compare different variables such as the presence of speakeasies was a fraction compared to the current drug and drug trafficking empire, the results are still fairly straightforward.

11. Relax. The kid’s been delivering the paper for, how long? Three, four years maybe? And not once has she missed us. The paper will be here, just wait and see. She’s just been delayed for some reason.
The conclusion of this statement is probably true. While anything is possible and the “kid” could have quit, have been injured or worse, the fact remains that she will likely still deliver the paper. Again, there is little in life that is true beyond a reasonable doubt therefore this is not a satisfactory option.

12. First, it seems clear that even if there are occasional small dips in the consumption of petroleum, the general trend shows no sign of a real permanent decrease. Second, petroleum reserves are not being discovered as fast as petroleum is currently being consumed. From these two facts we can conclude that reserves will eventually be consumed and that the world will have to do without oil.
The conclusion of this statement is possibly true or possibly false. It seems that this text was written before our current oil crisis and in March 2008, Americans drove 11 billion less miles than they did in March 2007 – the largest yearly drop ever recorded since 1942. Also, while reserves are not being discovered as fast as petroleum is being consumed, the reader has to reflect on the age old adage “quality over quantity”. Rather than being concerned with the number of oil fields being discovered, one should look at the size of oil fields being discovered. However, there is no way to tell whether the world will be required to become completely oil free or not.

Critical Thinking Discussion Question: Deductive vs Inductive Logic

Imagine your child is trying to prove that she did not steal chocolate chip cookies from the cookie jar, so she makes this argument: “There are no chocolate stains on my hands, so I couldn’t have stolen the cookies.”

Does this example require deductive or inductive logic? What are the premises? Are the premises stated or unstated? What is the argument’s conclusion? In your opinion, is this a convincing argument? Why or why not?

The above example requires inductive logic rather than deductive logic. Deductive logic is where if the premise is true, then the conclusion must also be absolutely true. Inductive logic is defined as the premise supporting the conclusion rather proving the conclusion.

A premise is the reason to believe the conclusion; therefore the premise of this argument is “There are no chocolate stains on my hands.” The conclusion of the argument is “…so I couldn’t have stolen the cookies.”

Unfortunately, I do think that this is a convincing argument. While this argument is not convincing to me, this type of inductive logic is used every day in business and politics. Take Johnnie Cochran’s famous inductive logic quote, “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit.” Or from my own “neck of the woods”, our North Carolina Governor has recently been questioned on his lavish spending of tax payer dollars - $64,000 for a chauffeured Mercedes on his “recruiting trip” to Europe.
"If you go overseas, that’s what you see. You don’t get off the plane in Rome and tell them you want a Crown Vic. The taxis are Mercedes. Now it sounds like a big deal here. And somebody’s got to drive it. If you’re in Ireland, or Belgium, or England, they drive on the other side of the road. We don’t know how to do that."

The inductive argument is that all they have in Rome is Mercedes and they don’t know how to drive on the other side of the road, therefore they need a chauffeured Mercedes on taxpayer money.

Critical Thinking Discussion Question: Valid vs Sound Arguments

Of the two arguments provided in the digital story, which is valid and which is sound? When you are building an argument for an issue that is significant to you, do you think it is more important to be valid or sound? Explain your answer.

The digital story has both a valid argument and a sound argument. A valid argument is an argument that in which the premise is true, the conclusion is true. In the digital story, the vacuum salesman’s argument was a valid argument.

Anyone who wants a comfortable, clean home needs this amazing vacuum cleaner.
You certainly look like someone who likes having a really clean home.
So, you definitely need this vacuum cleaner!

Another way of looking at a valid argument is to think that if A is true, and B is true, then A+B = C which also must be true.

A sound argument is an extension of a valid argument; not only must an argument be valid in order to be sound, but all the premises of the argument must also be true. The salesman’s argument is not sound because in his first statement he claims that “anyone who wants a comfortable, clean home needs this amazing vacuum cleaner.” That particular vacuum cleaner is not the one and only product a consumer needs in order to have a clean home. The wife makes a sound argument.

Our carpets are clean.
We have a working vacuum cleaner.
We don’t need a new one.

Whether an argument be more valid or sound for an issue that is significant to me is dependent on the situation. A sound argument is definitely more accurate and truthful. However, a valid argument is more persuasive. The type of argument that should be used is dependent on the situation and should be addressed in a case by case basis.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quick Thoughts on Ryan Clady

I just have time for a few quick thoughts on the Bronco’s new starter at Left Tackle, Ryan Clady. The kid’s talent has never been an issue and I am thrilled to think of him anchoring the left side of our offensive line for the next 12 or so years. Mike Mayock was critical of Clady when he was drafted but I think that all of the “negatives” that Mayock talks about are unwarranted. Watch the video first…

Now that you have watched, note these items.
1. In the beginning, Mike shows clips of Clady being beat by pass rushers. This footage is from the first or second game of the year. Towards the end of the clip, there is footage of Clady excelling at pass coverage – this happens to be at the end of the year. What does this mean? Clady learns from his mistakes and improves.
2. Mayock talks about technique issues versus talent issues; you can’t teach talent but you can teach technique. This is legitimate as Clady did have some technique issues but if there is one thing the Bronco’s excel at its taking nobody offensive linemen and nobody running backs and turning them into Hall of Famers. With the talent but lack of technique that Clady has, he should dominate.
3. The most important thing to keep in mind when you watch this video is that Clady was recruited to Boise State as a defensive linemen. He didn’t even play offensive linemen, let alone left tackle which is the most difficult and demanding of the 5 positions until his Sophomore year in college. You see the footage of him being oblivious to the line calling audibles as a knuckle head move but I think that is more of not being familiar with the position. Expect Clady to be on top of things the day the Broncos face the Raiders to open the season.

The thing that I like about Clady is his attitude. Today it seems that so many athletes have this “urban culture” mentality. I don’t agree with many people calling it “black urban culture” because Whites, Mexicans, and Asians are all part of as well – it’s just urban culture. Clady is not like that – he is very humble, soft spoken, and classy. If I had to describe the Bronco’s with only one word, I would use classy. You always see the players joking around and talking with other teams, you never see the Bronco’s talking smack nor having stupid Personal Foul penalties assessed. With so many of today’s emerging athletes having this type of mentality, it’s nice to see the Bronco’s draft someone who already fits the team psyche. Check out this interview of him recently at the NFL combine; none of that urban or thug culture is apparent.

On a side note, did anyone else notice how much he towers over Adam Schefter, the interviewer? In fact with the hair and the deep voice, he is a little reminiscent of another great athlete…

Friday, June 27, 2008

Critical Thinking Assignment: Identifying Fallacies

2. Letter to the editor: “Andrea Keene’s selective morality is once again showing through in her July 15 letter. This time she expresses her abhorrence of abortion. But how we see only what we choose to see! I wonder if any of the anti-abortionists have considered the widespread use of fertility drugs as the moral equivalent of abortion, and, if they have, why they haven’t come out against them, too. The use of these drugs frequently results in multiple births, which leads to the death of one of the infants, often after an agonizing struggle for survival. According to the rules of the pro-lifers, isn’t this murder?”
— North-State Record

I feel that the above question could actually be several different types of fallacies – namely “Poisoning the Well”, “Straw Man”, and “Perfectionist Fallacy.” A “Poisoning the Well” fallacy is defined as “encouraging others to dismiss what someone will say, by citing the speaker’s defects, inconsistencies, circumstances, or other personal attributes” (Moore-Parker, 2007, p. 189). The author discredits Andrea Keene by suggesting her “selective morality.” A “Straw Man” fallacy is defined as “rebutting a claim by offering a distorted or exaggerated version of it” (Moore-Parker, 2007, p. 189). While the effects of fertility drugs are not exaggerated, suggesting that one or more of the infants dies “agonizingly” every time is exaggerated. Finally “Perfectionist Fallacy” is defined as “arguing that we either do something completely or not at all” (Moore-Parker, 2007, p. 189). The author suggests that that even something as seemingly “un-anti-abortionist” as fertility drugs should be outlawed according to abortionist policy.

3. In one of her columns, Abigail Van Buren printed the letter of “I’d rather be a widow.” The letter writer, a divorcée, complained about widows who said they had a hard time coping. Far better, she wrote, to be a widow than to be a divorcée, who are all “rejects” who have been “publicly dumped” and are avoided “like they have leprosy.” Abby recognized the pseudoreasoning for what it was, though she did not call it by our name. What is our name for it?

The above selection is an example of a circumstantial ad hominem fallacy. This type of fallacy is defined as “thinking a person’s circumstances refute his or her beliefs” (Moore-Parker, 2007, p. 189). It seems that the original author had a tragic experience of being divorced – the other author is arguing the side of being a widow. Because the two authors have had different experiences, their personal beliefs should not be refuted.

5. Letter to the editor: “Once again the Park Commission is considering closing North Park Drive for the sake of a few joggers and bicyclists. These so-called fitness enthusiasts would evidently have us give up to them for their own private use every last square inch of Walnut Grove. Then anytime anyone wanted a picnic, he would have to park at the edge of the park and carry everything in—ice chests, chairs, maybe even grandma. I certainly hope the Commission keeps the entire park open for everyone to use.”

This letter to the editor shows an example of poisoning the well. The author is discrediting the advocators of closing North Park Drive several times stating “for the sake of a few joggers and bicyclists”, “so-called fitness enthusiasts”, and “their own private use.” By doing this, the author is making the reader be “against” the fitness enthusiasts and breeding animosity.

6. “Some Christian—and other—groups are protesting against the placing, on federal property near the White House, of a set of plastic figurines representing a devout Jewish family in ancient Judaea. The protestors would of course deny that they are driven by any anti-Semitic motivation. Still, we wonder: Would they raise the same objections (of unconstitutionality, etc.) if the scene depicted a modern, secularized Gentile family?”
— National Review

This selection was almost “fallacy-free” until the author stated that “The protestors would of course deny…” This is an example of circumstantial ad hominem fallacy because the author suggests that the Christian groups “would of course” deny any anti-Semitic motivation because they are Christians. The author continues and suggests that there would be no debate if there were a modern Christian scene depicted.

8. From a letter to the editor: “The counties of Michigan clearly need the ability to raise additional sources of revenue, not only to meet the demands of growth but also to maintain existing levels of service. For without these sources those demands will not be met, and it will be impossible to maintain services even at present levels.”

I do not detect any fallacies in this excerpt. There are no innuendos or subliminal persuasion taking place.

9. In February 1992, a representative of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico gave a radio interview (broadcast on National Public Radio) in which he said that the Church was against the use of condoms. Even though the rate of AIDS infection in Puerto Rico is much higher than on the U.S. mainland, the spokesman said that the Church could not support the use of condoms because they are not absolutely reliable in preventing the spread of the disease. “If you could prove that condoms were absolutely dependable in preventing a person from contracting AIDS, then the Church could support their use.”

This is an example of “Line Drawing Fallacy.” A line drawing fallacy is defined as “requiring that a precise line be drawn someplace on a scale or continuum when no such precise line can be drawn; usually occurs when a vague concept is treated like a precise one” (Moore-Parker, 2007, p. 189). It is common knowledge that condoms, like everything else in life, are not absolutely 100% dependable; however, it is proven that they do help against STD’s immensely. By stating that the Church does not support condoms because they are not absolutely dependable, the spokesperson is drawing a line and creating a standard that will never be met. There will always be a small percentage of failure due to imperfections of materials, improper use, etc.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

IT Communication Assignment: Documentation Conventions

Identify the four most widely accepted style conventions for professional paper documentation. What purpose does each of these conventions serve, and which is most appropriate for technical writing? Explain why.

There are primarily four accepted style conventions for professional paper documentation. The four main style conventions are the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), various Number styles, and Chicago Style.

APA formatting is used in most academic writing and is the most preferred writing documentation style. One of the main stipulations of APA formatting is the use of the author / date system; this is a method of organizing citations in a paper making everything uniform. APA is used for social sciences, biological and earth sciences, education, linguistics, and most importantly, in business.

MLA is a format that is used primarily in writing in the humanities, especially literature and language. MLA is typically simpler and more economical than other documentation conventions.

There are numerous different sub-categories of the number system of citation including the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Council of Biology Editors (CBE), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and finally the American Institute of Physics (AIP). As the title of each organization suggests, these documentation conventions are all involved with math and the sciences with each writing format being curtailed to the specifics of that organization.

Finally, the Chicago style of formatting is a variant of the APA format and is used primarily for the humanities and fine arts.

The style that is the most appropriate for technical writing would be APA format. While this style is used for education, it is also used for many sciences (both physical and social), languages, and is widely accepted in the business sector – where the majority of technical writing occurs.