In a Science and Society class I took entitled “Terrorism and War,” we learned about the common characteristics of bogus arguments as put forth by Carl Sagan in his book A Demon Haunted World. While reading Dave Karimi’s letter to the editor, “Marijuana column not irresponsible,” I noticed it contained aspects identified by Sagan as signs of a mislead argument.
The first “bogus” aspect is the fact that Karimi attacks the arguer instead of the argument. In his first paragraph he goes to denounce Cheng as being biased because he is in the department of land, air and water resources. Not only is this a severe generalization, it also carries no real weight, as attacking Cheng does not affect the
validity of his argument.
Observational selection, assuming the answer and jumping to conclusions, plague Karimi’s second paragraph. Karimi chooses to neglect the fact that Cheng doesn’t even mention morality in his original letter, yet he brings it up as a counter-argument to Cheng’s
statement that marijuana is still illegal. This is at best jumping to the conclusion of, and assuming Cheng’s possible response to why marijuana is still illegal.
Karimi continues on to have a confusion of correlation when he relates marijuana to Viagra. Viagra is used to treat, if not a disease, at least a dysfunction, while marijuana is used (as considered in all opinions so far) as a recreational tool. To correlate promoting Viagra as a reason to promote marijuana can only be made with a confusion of correlation between the two.
Please don’t take this the wrong way, Mr. Karimi. All I seek to do is better inform the reader and simply, “call it like I see it.”
Sophomore, aerospace science and engineering