There are 2 principles followed here.

  1. Avoid fallacy
  2. Fact-check

A fallacy is an error in reasoning. This differs from making a factual error, which simply means that you are wrong about the facts. We can be wrong about the facts (as we often are) but still correctly use our ability to reason.

Fallacy Example: Red Herring
  • We should convict john for murder because John is a terrible person. He actually supports the new tax cut for the rich.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that John’s opinions about taxes have nothing to do with his guilt on the murder charge. His tax opinions are irrelevant. They are a red herring.

In reading any materials, whether political or not, we must never be swayed by such errors in reasoning. What makes us rational animals, and what sets us apart from ‘lower’ animals, is our ability for strong reasoning — abstract thought, if you will. Let’s never be swayed by fallacy, and base our opinions on rational, logical thought.

Quite apart from this, there is the issue of fact-checking. Without facts, there cannot be a justified opinion.

Keeping these 2 main points in mind, we can be sure to live up to our reputation as an intelligent species.


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