Taoism – Part 1/3

March 27, 2012

“Those who know do not say; those who say do not know.” –Lao-tzu

I am no expert on Taoism.  I have a copy of Tao Te Ching and have read it in addition to a few pieces about it, but I was raised as a Christian in a Christian culture.  For this reason, Jean Delumeau, the narrator of the video and an honorary professor of the College de France, will tell you something about this religion.

Delumeau says by the time Buddhism arrived in China in the first century AD, Confucianism and Taoism had been widespread for several centuries.

Taoism was the popular religion of China while Confucianism was the official state religion of the Han Dynasty. In fact, the bureaucracy practiced Confucianism at work and turned to Taoist spiritual practices after work.

Even though Taoism and Buddhism have fundamental differences, Taoism helped spread Buddhism. While Taoism seeks the salvation of the individual, Buddhism seeks an escape from the cycle of personal existence.

However, certain practices of Taoism and Buddhism are similar, which are meditation, fasting, and breathing techniques.

The word “Tao” means both the order and totality of the universe and the pathway or road that allows the individual to enter into the rhythm of the world through a negation of self.

Two opposing but complementary forces of reality are fused in the Tao — Yin, which is passive, cold and feminine and Yang, which is active, hot and masculine.

The moon and the sun are the manifestations of Yin and Yang and all change is a result of these two dynamic forces such as day and night, the seasons, and life and death.

These two principals alternate in the five phases of a cycle, which are represented by water, fire, wood, metal and earth serving to define the five cardinal points, which are north, south, east, west and the center.

A contemporary of Confucius, Lao Tzu’s teachings were compiled in the fifth century BC into a collection called the Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing, which have had a great influence on Chinese thought and medicine.

One example says, “The wise man does not seek to be known as a wise man but of his own free will remains in obscurity. Those who seek much knowledge enrich themselves daily. Those who seek Tao become poorer each day. Eventually, they become so poor they are incapable of action. Without action, nothing can be achieved.”

Continued on February 26, 2012 in Taoism – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on December 5, 2010


Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 10/10

February 4, 2012

On January 1, 2012 at 21:01, in Part One of the China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts, Sid said in a comment, “How can one engage in an ad hominem attack by asking questions? I’m simply trying to get the root of your ideology. What, besides being delusional, would cause someone to come to such conclusions? There had to be an event. If it’s not Vietnam or something to do with teaching (i.e. a lack of respect), it’s got to be something. Something regarding racism, perhaps?

These are loaded questions that achieve a similar goal that ad hominem does but more subtly, and as we’ve learned, they are often used rhetorically, which is a question asked merely for effect with no answer expected, serving the questioner’s agenda.

In fact, rhetorical questions rarely appear in academic discourse because they are logical fallacies.

In these loaded questions, Sid infers that because I do not agree with his opinions of China, there has to be something wrong with me, but as we have learned from Professor deLaplante, this is not the case.

Then the next day on January 2, 2012 at 22:03, Sid launched a series of ad hominem attacks against my character. He said, “You’re a mythomaniac, a propagandist, and endorser of one of the most repressive regimes in the world. And your website is a series of disconnected nonsense decorated by retarded videos. You can’t construct an argument to save your life, and the sycophants who show up here saying, ‘Yes, Lloyd, I agree with you,’ belong in Sgt. McGillicuty’s Travelling Nutbar Show.

“Your ideas are an advertisement for how whacky you are, and you’re so whacky, you don’t even realize it. Ever wonder why no one except other crazies post comments here? I’ll tell you: those thousands of viewers read your posts and think, ‘Good god!’

“Not all the bold font on Earth can make you make sense Lloyd. This China business is a lost cause. I suggest you give it up and get some help.”

After having been slandered once again by Sid, I was curious about his character, since he was so fixated on mine.

I then spent a few days thinking about what makes Sid tick and did some research. I went over his comments and use of logical fallacies, examined how he often diverted the topic when he couldn’t hold up his end of the argument, and on January 14, 2012 at 13:00 in a comment in Part 2 of The Economic Health of BRICS, I suggested that Sid may suffer from “Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder” and provided one of those “retarded videos” that explained what this disorder was in addition to information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library.

Sid’s last response arrived at 20:19 on the same date. “You’re an imbecile Lloyd, a soft headed moron,” which caused me to reconsider that Sid might suffer from “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” instead of “Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder” or possibly a combination of both.

“People with narcissistic personality disorder are typically described as arrogant, conceited, self-centered and haughty… Despite this exaggerated self-image, they are reliant on constant praise and attention to reinforce their self-esteem. As a result, those with narcissistic personality disorder are usually very sensitive to criticism, which is often viewed as a personal attack.” Source: Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Psychology.about.com

Professor deLaplante was right when he said in one of his videos that it was a waste of time debating people such as Sid, which, as you know, isn’t his real name. In fact, SID is an acronym for “Studying Intellectual Dishonesty”.

For more information on Professor deLaplante and logical fallacies, I suggest reading the two-part interview of him on Psych Central’s World of Psychology.

Return to Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 9 or start with Part 1

 

Meet the real Sid and learn about him from his own words and the opinions of others

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 9/10

February 3, 2012

In Part Eight, Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin deLaplante explains in his YouTube video how a good argumentative essay should be written with a logical structure.

An intellectually honest debate/argument follows a similar process avoiding logical fallacies such as Ad Hominem, Red Herrings, Straw Figures, Cognitive Biases, Cultural Bias, Confirmation Bias, Weasel Words, Begging the Question, Appeal to Authority, and Appeal to Ridicule, etc.

Then there is the Fallacy of Many Questions (complex question, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, plurium interrogationum) – someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved.

The loaded question fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda.

In the twenty-three comments that followed the first question of the debate, which was comparing the cultural practice of piety in Taiwan with China, Sid diverted the topic using Red Herrings and Loaded Questions a number of times. This would be a tactic that Sid would use again.

Instead of spending hours showing you, I invite you to enter the debate with the first question.  If you have read this far in the Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty series and have watched Professor deLaplanet’s videos, you should have few problems recognizing Sid’s use of logical fallacies to divert attention away from topics he could not present an argument against.

Professor deLaplante says, “What if you don’t know HOW to respond to the best objections? Answer: Maybe you should reconsider your position, or at least suspend judgment on it.”

When faced with this choice, Sid often resorted to the  use of logical fallacies (especially red herrings, ad hominem and loaded questions).

In fact, Sid didn’t follow his own advice. In an Amazon reader review, he wrote of “Red Capitalism” he says, “There are too many interrogatives; sometimes they come in bunches, and it’s not always easy, or at least for a layperson like me, to know if they’re rhetorical or not… ‘Never form an argument from questions,’ and ‘Avoid asking the reader questions,’ are fundamentals a professor would tell a first-year student.”

An example of Sid ignoring his own advice may be found in a comment he left for The Ignorance Factor of Bias. In addition, in Part 5 of this series, there was a short video that touched on the topic of loaded questions.

Continued on February 4, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 10 or return to Part 8

 

Meet the real Sid and learn about him from his own words and the opinions of others

 

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 8/10

February 2, 2012

That “Dirty Secret” that Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin deLaplante talked about in the Part 6 video was one of the five Essential Components of Critical Thinking, which are:

1. Logic

2. Argumentation

3. Rhetoric

4. Background Knowledge

5. Attitudes and Values

Professor deLaplante says, “While logic and argumentation are essential components of critical thinking, they are not sufficient—not by a long shot. What’s missing is the importance of background knowledge.

“Background knowledge informs critical thinking at multiple levels… but you cannot learn this in a critical thinking class or from a textbook. One of the most important elements of critical thinking cannot be taught—at least not in the way you can teach formal logic and fallacies.

“Background knowledge comes from living in the world and paying attention to what is going on.

“Mastering this component of critical thinking requires a dedication to life-long learning, a genuine openness to different points of view and a certain humility in the face of all that we don’t know.  This isn’t a set of skills you can master with worksheets and work examples. This is a philosophy, a lifestyle choice. Textbooks don’t talk about this or at last as much as they should.”


How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Logical StructureSource: The Critical Thinking Academy

“The ability to evaluate the premise of an argument cannot be taught in a critical thinking class,” Professor deLaplante says. “The reason is obvious. This is a question of background knowledge. Lack of background knowledge causes one to believe in a hoax. All the logic in the world won’t make up for ignorance.… The easy way is to set out looking for weaknesses in an argument. The danger here is the desire to refute another position than to understand it. This is the wrong motive, which is a desire to win an argument.”

In fact, Sid was only interested in winning the argument or making it appear that he had won, and he took advantage of my ignorance of logical fallacies in his attempt to achieve this goal.

Sid did not consider that lifelong learning was more important than my ignorance of logical fallacies.  Lifelong learning never ends unless you shut your mind to it. Even now, I may not know as much about logical fallacies as Sid, since he appears so skilled at using them, but I know more now than when I started the debate.”

Continued on February 3, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 9 or return to Part 7

 

Meet the real Sid and learn about him from his own words and the opinions of others

 

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 7/10

February 1, 2012

In Part One of this series, I said, “Before this series concludes, you will discover that Sid knew about logical fallacies and may have taken advantage of my ignorance.”

In part four of the debate, Sid said, “In addition to directing the reader toward a particular conclusion, begging-the-question language assumes a premise has already been established.”

According to The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Begging the Question is a complicated fallacy; it comes in several forms and can be harder to detect than many of the other fallacies we’ve discussed…”

However, “Sometimes people use the phrase ‘beg the question’ as a sort of general criticism of arguments, to mean that an arguer hasn’t given very good reasons for a conclusion…”

If Sid was aware of the complicated logical fallacy known as ‘begging the question’, we may conclude that he knew what he was doing throughout the entire debate, which may explain why he didn’t answer my question of how many books he had read on logical fallacies and why he avoided answering questions other’s asked.

Then there is this pull quote from a comment of Sid’s I deleted on January 11, 2012 at 12:22. “There is no red herring argument here. A red herring occurs when you divert from the main issue to a side issue. But if a side issue has been introduced (i.e. the boiling of water), you introduced it.”


Critical Thinking’s Dirty Secret – Source: The Critical Thinking Academy

However, Sid was wrong. I was not the one that introduced the Red Herring that changed the topic. Sid did that when he said how contaminated China’s rivers were, which had nothing to do with the topic of that post. The topic of the post was which country was doing a better job supplying water to its people—India, a democracy, or China with its one party republic. The only mistake I made was to swallow the bait of Sid’s Red Herring. After all, the goal of a Red Herring is to divert attention away from a topic that is difficult or impossible to prove wrong.

The Writing Center at UNC says of a Red Herring that “Partway through an argument, the arguer goes off on a tangent, raising a side issue that distracts the audience from what’s really at stake. Often, the arguer never returns to the original issue.”

At 14:17, Sid said, “You can quote or copy-and-paste all the fallacy definitions you wish, but you’ll never be able to employ them in argument or rebuttal. You lack the wherewithal.

However, why would I want to employ logical fallacies in an argument or rebuttal when such tricks are intellectually dishonest?  It would appear that Sid meant I could not match his skills using logical fallacies to decieve people. At least, that seems to be what he implies.

At 19:21, Sid said, “I don’t give a shit what those dictionaries say. It’s not called weasal words. It’s called begging the question language, or begging the question reasoning… You might want to learn what those newfound logical fallacies mean before you copy and paste Lloyd.

In the four previous examples, Sid revealed that he knew exactly what he was doing, and Professor deLaplante, in Part One‘s video, was right when he said, “A fallacy is a bad argument. What makes it bad is certain GENERAL FEATURES that characterize arguments of this TYPE, and arguments of this type can often be MISTAKEN for GOOD argument,” which is what Sid was counting on.

Continued on February 2, 2012 in Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 8 or return to Part 6

 

Meet the real Sid and learn about him from his own words and the opinions of others

 

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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