What is a Fallacy?

[What is a Fallacy?  This is the question for Writing 101-Poetry course.]  Here’s the list I prepared to use as my outline for writing the post:

What is a fallacy?
Something widely believed but false.
No basis in fact
Cut from whole cloth
A rumor
An old wives’ tale
A lie?
Stretch of the imagination
Mistaken notion
History is full of fallacies.

Christopher Columbus Discovered America.
He didn’t — but most think he did.
Children learn this “fact” early in school
and it is never corrected
fallacies can’t be “unlearned.”
The best verification : “My teacher told me.”

SO…continuing with the writing prompt for today… I read some of the great entries of my classmates.  They were all correct, of course, but the definitions were ringing a bell in my head.  (whatever…lots of bells.)

So did a search of the word, and read theWikipedia definition and some others…which seemed close, but well, incomplete.  When I couldn’t find my hard-back dictionary I went on a search for it.

Went looking for my dictionary
heart-pounding, breath imprisoned,
silent voice whispering “Websters”
in plaintive and slightly panicky tones–
Where could it be?   Where has it gone?

Sorry to break the anticipation and tension, but I’ll cut to the chase.  Went downstairs to my “old” work station and (still holding my breath) spied my Random House Webster’s College Dictionary stacked unceremoniously in a pile with my well-beaten-up and strapping-taped paperback copy of the University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary, and a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style.    There was a pang of nostalgia from seeing these old pals sitting there all dusty, mixed up with umpteen drafts of my unfinished dissertation.

Any way,  <sniff>, back to the future here… I  find with relief that my definition of Fallacy is still accurate and current.  My faith in my spelling prowess is resored!    Apparently the definitions in the online-dictionary have just been updated to include numerous other shades of meanings–all of them correct, I hasten to add.

At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur tapping away at a stone tablet with a chisel…I will offer my definition (which, not coincidentally, is the same as Webster’s.)    Simply put:

When a falsehood  is accepted as truth,
it follows that any subsequent argument
or opinion based on it is rendered void.
This =  a Fallacy.

If someone tells a deliberate lie,
and others believe the lie and
and proceed to repeat and elaborate on it–
the result is: a Fallacy.
Any embellishment or embroidery of the
information, no matter if the re-teller
believes he is repeating the truth,
based on the original falsehood…
it remains false: a Fallacy.






What a Single Word Can Do

The Washington Post, this morning had a headline that caught my eye–one that demanded that I drop everything else on my docket and publish a post that I had scribbled in my night-time notebook.    I had been waiting to fall asleep, and  thinking about Writing,  and the World, and Worry…and the News Media.

The Post article stated that the recent world summit on climate control, held in Paris last week, nearly got sabotaged by a single word: In the final draft, someone had substituted the word “shall,” for the word “should.”

This gigantic error, if that’s what it was, could have proven monumental.  The Word shall denotes mandatory compliance; should provides a host of wiggle-room and interpretation.   Well happily, they fixed the deal-breaker word and passage of the legislation followed.

There should be a link here…if not please stay tuned.  🙂  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/anatomy-of-a-deal-how-the-climate-accord-was-won–and-nearly-lost/2015/12/13/2a9b3416-a1df-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html?wpisrc=nl_rainbow

My poem follows:


Semantic Dilemma

Sometimes when writing
a message of great importance,
designed to affect the very life
of the Universe…

… the missive halts in mid-sentence
to provide time and opportunity
to ponder the intricacies
of grammar and punctuation.

As the fate of the species hangs in the balance,
we pause–or stop short– to contemplate
implications of the use of a colon (or semi-)
or to insert an apostrophe… or elipses.

“Is it shall, or will…?” a dilemma which
has brought many a public meeting to a
screeching halt while consulting
a man of the Law.

To complicate the process of proper transcription
is the issue of gender.  Is it “he, she, or they?”
The cause of Political Correctness
directly affects what separates or connects us.


Freedom Primer

[Day 5, Writing 101-PoetryFreedom]

Do we have Freedom?
Oh yes, in theory we all have our guaranteed freedom
even if we can’t count on all things when we need them.
Some have to fret that they can’t pay the rent;
and regarding their children–how to feed them?

Freedom of Speech:  But of course!
Say anything at all–there’s no limitations.
No problems of saying just what we think or how we feel
when the words in a dictionary all will be perfect….
as long as the vocabulary is politically correct!

Cuss at the police?  Why not?   Just be careful
to be sure there are plenty of witnesses
that will swear the speech is respectful.
Remember well  what we learned from our mothers–
the fact remains that Some of Us are more free than others.

Free to Bare Arms:   Bare even more of our girlish charms!
decency is optional for comely young (and not so young) Lasses.
But beware: Laddies with wandering eyes, staring is frowned on…
or even forbidden,  regardless of what is on display–
so don’t take a chance–it’s far better to look the other way!