Tag Archives: Sound of Music

Julie Andrews and faulty logic

8 Jun

Nothing comes from Nothing

“Nothing comes from nothing,” sang Julie Andrews in my favorite film of all time, The Sound of Music.

And that is a true statement! If all there ever was, was nothing, then that is all that would be right now!

Here is the governess Maria’s argument:

No thing comes from no thing

Here is some thing

Therefore, some other existing thing caused this particular thing

But where the Maria character goes with her conclusion is debatable.  And as a Christian, I would assert that it is unsubstantiated and false.

Let’s think about the possible argument setups.

Truth: Nothing comes from nothing

Explicit Fact most would agree with:  Something VERY good is going on in Maria’s life – she has fallen in love with the Captain

Implicit Fact most would agree with: Falling in love and the accompanying joy is not anything that circumstances or another person can give us

Possible Causal Agents for this ‘love’:

a) the Karma principle and Maria’s conclusion – I must have done something good in my youth

b) random circumstances just fell out this way and Maria has chosen to ascribe significance to these particular molecules in motion

c) God is the source of ‘all good gifts’, one of which is ‘this something good’.

  • (James 1:17   Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens)

So which precipitating event for Maria & the Captain’s relationship are you or I going to pick?

It all depends on one’s worldview.  What is a worldview?  It is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.

I’ll leave you to work out your own conclusion.  What astonishes me is how long it took for me to grow aware of the lyrics to this song.  Throughout the numerous times I’ve watched the movie or listened to the music, I remained caught up in the happy evocative sentiments. NEVER did I consider the import of the words. It’s clear that a large portion of our world operates out of a secular worldview, whether material or immaterial.  AND, it’s a story easy to absorb and accept without thinking or questioning.

*Lyrics – [Maria:]

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/s/thesoundofmusiclyrics/somethinggoodlyrics.html



Logical Gal – do rallying cries help?

27 Jan

We know a rallying cry when we hear one!

  • Remember the Alamo!
  • Win this one for the Gipper!
  • One for all, and all for one!

Last week was the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision, Roe v. Wade. In all the publicity from both sides, I read a Washington Post story about one gal’s battle to end the intentional killing of innocent human fetuses.

Lila Rose, 25, was raised in a Christian home-schooling family where she breathed in family values.  Her attitude towards children was shaped by her parents who preached, “A baby is a gift!”  (They raised 8 kids!)

Certainly that is a belief supported by the Bible as well as by other cultures.  But as an argument for the pro-life movement, it doesn’t carry very much weight.  And what I am afraid of is that most people live in the shallows of slogans and battle cries.  They don’t take the time to develop an argument that carries any weight.

Likewise, the other side of the abortion argument hides behind loud jabbing media sound bytes. In the newspaper account of Lila Rose, her tactics of posing as a young teen impregnated by an older man are described.  Her subterfuge is purposefully intended to catch an abortion provider’s reaction and counsel on video. THEIR remarks included the following accusation:

  • Pretending to be pregnant and hiding a camera is ‘unethical’!

Now that would be funny, if it weren’t so sad!  They apparently consider subterfuge ‘wrong’, but not murder.

Again, this slogan isn’t very helpful.  Sound bytes tend to stop a discussion.  But where do you go from there?

Actually, there IS a way out!  As with any discussion, the best place to start is at the beginning.

No, not à la Julie Andrews with her Do-Re-Mi song….

…but with the definition of terms.  What do we mean by GIFT when we say babies are a gift? What do we mean by UNETHICAL?

Once you clear away vagueness and identify pre-suppositions, you can see more clearly how you might carry on with a discussion.

So DON’T shy away from hard topics.  DON’T fear stepping on toes or offending people.  If you ask questions in a non-threatening manner, in a way that shows you genuinely want to know, people will open up. And you’re more likely to actually get somewhere where you wouldn’t by merely  lobbing  slogans or rallying cries.

Question:  Where might you begin?  What is a context or arena that you live in that is dominated by short pithy, but worthless sayings?

Logical Gal asks why when faced with bold claim

13 Nov

Another letter to the editor of our local Asheville paper.  Thankfully, I never seem to run out of material to consider for a logic column!

Here’s the startling statement to consider:

“Good healthcare ought to be a right here as it is in the rest of the world.”

So where does a Logical Gal or Guy start in dissecting this conclusion?

Let’s start at the very beginning!

Logical thinking starts with an examination of terms.  Remember, that HE who makes the claim MUST defend it.  The burden of proof is on the claim-maker to explain his terms and his reasons for how he arrived at his assertion.

Don’t be afraid – you don’t have to know ANYTHING about the intricacies of healthcare to engage with someone like this letter writer.  Asking questions will immediately shift the burden and you will not feel any pressure at all.

Here are a few to get us started:

1. What do you have in mind when you talk about ‘healthcare’ ?  Does that include just emergency services like if you break a leg?  Does it include preventative care like annual check-ups?  How many tests should be provided? Are medications part of healthcare?  What limits, if any, do you envision?

2. And who gets to decide what is ‘good’?  How do you define ‘good’ ?  Are there different tiers of quality or the quantity of services provided?

3. What do you mean by ‘right’ ?  Like civil rights?  Would this be a federal right that would need to begin as a constitutional amendment?  Or are you talking about a state’s right?  Would citizens get to define the right?  vote for the right?

4. Where is ‘healthcare’  a right in other parts of the world?  What kind is provided?  How is it paid for?  What is the tax situation like in those countries?  Are their citizens ‘content’  with the quality, delivery and cost of healthcare?

5. How did you arrive at your conclusion that ‘good healthcare ought to be a right in the US’ ?   What are your reasons?  what research did you conduct?

Do you see how easy it would be to conduct a GENTLE (not a pounding/hounding/beat you into the ground) conversation?

Anyone can write a letter or make a claim.  Opinions are a dime a dozen:

That works out to .83 cents per opinion…

But reasoned, thoughtful discourse is invaluable (and rare).

PS:  Greg Koukl in his book  Tactics Book Link   walks his readers through more questioning practice.  It’s worth studying and internalizing.