Category Archive: Politics

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Todd Akin: An LSAT Equivocation Fallacy in Action

I don’t think there’s a single person out there with an internet connection or television who hasn’t heard of Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s stunning comments concerning pregnancy and rape. (Here they are, in case you just woke up from a coma.) Not only does it evince a belief in junk science (which, unsurprisingly, is also reflected in his disbelief in global warming), but it gives us a hint into how his flawed thinking on the subject developed.

First off, after being disavowed by the entire Republican Party, Akin was quick to point out that he misspoke, and he actually meant to say ‘forcible rape.’ As any LSAT prep student can attest, that’s a straight up equivocation fallacy; he treated two words as meaning the same thing, when they actually don’t. When a lot of your job is choosing the right word at the right time, it’s problematic enough that you can’t use the right word. But what’s even more scary is the implications of his equivocation.

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LSAT Fallacy Watch: Mitt Romney and His Taxes

As we’ve discussed before, fallacies aren’t just related to the LSAT. They’re all around us. Every day you can see bad reasoning, whether it be in advertising, in politics, or on the news. Many of these arguments look like they could be right at home in an LSAT Logical Reasoning section. So today we’ll be looking at some of the attacks on Mitt Romney relating to his tax returns, and examining them to determine whether or not they hold any water. Arguments such as…

Romney won’t disclose all of his tax information. He must therefore have something to hide.

INVALID. This is something of an absence-of-evidence fallacy. We know that Romney won’t release his full tax information. Could it be because he has some nefarious tax secrets that he’s hiding? Definitely. He may have used numerous loopholes that would make him look bad, and he doesn’t want the American voters to know about this.

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Debt it Out: The Politics of Law School Student Loans

The issue of student loans recently came up in Congress as they considered whether or not to delay (or possibly get rid of) a rate increase on student loans from 3.4% to 6.8%. Both sides acted with their trademark maturity.

A rate increase when so many students are already struggling to make their minimum payments seems cruel, and yet who knows what our Congressmen are going to do. As it stands, though, the student loan debt crisis is definitely weighing negatively on the economy, as recent grads are unable to enter the career-force (I think I just created a new term). Without a large income or job security (such as it is, these days), these young people will start making the large purchases that drive our economy later in their lives. It’s an albatross around a generation’s neck, and it is affecting the entire country.

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New York LSAT Prep Students Should Check Out May Day

Guys, it’s a beautiful day in Gotham – it’s May Day! Why should you New York LSAT students care about a pagan holiday celebrating the arrival of spring and the goddess of flowers? Well, maybe you shouldn’t. But today is also Law Day! It’s the day we’re supposed to stop and think about how important the law is. And should you New York LSAT students care about that? Nah, you’re only going to be becoming lawyers. But today is also Loyalty Day, when you’re supposed to think about how you’re loyal to the United States. And should you… ah, never mind. The point is that there’s a ton of holidays happening today. You can pick your own flavor, but the observance probably most associated with May Day, at least for young educated pre-law types, is International Workers’ Day.

Well, that’s certainly something for you New York LSAT students to take part in, right?

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LSAT in Real Life: Weiner Phallus-cies

Did you hear about Congressman Weiner?

Okay, so if we were the New York Times, CNN, or David Letterman, we would be a little late on the Anthony Weiner sexting and tweeting scandal. We’re an LSAT test prep company. The fact that we’re making crotch jokes to illustrate real LSAT concepts deserves some sort of street cred from the blogosphere, doesn’t it? We know that before class begins, most students have a lot of anxiety, and very little accurate information about what the LSAT really tests. Make no mistake, it’s a difficult exam. It’s also a very learnable exam, and we firmly believe that the next three months don’t have to be a drag. Today, I will cover three of the most commonly tested logical fallacies on the LSAT, all within the context of a disgraced congressman’s bulging embarrassment.

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The State of the Union and LSAT Fallacies

Article by Adam Unger, Blueprint’s LSAT instructor in Boston.

So you’re into politics (or at least appear like you’re into politics), and are watching the State of the Union between rounds of Cool Ranch Doritos™. Inevitably, after the speech and the official responses conclude, the pundits roll in to deliver their own take on what happened, and to try and convince you their opinion is the correct one.

Luckily, you’re also studying the LSAT, and have all the logical tools you need to parse the spin, and spot whether their arguments are valid.

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Our Fallacious World: California’s Proposition 23

When studying for the LSAT it’s easy to think fallacies are akin to other formal definitions and procedures we learn in college; important for a narrowly specified purpose in the short term, but otherwise largely irrelevant to our lives.

At Blueprint, our view is different.  We think fallacious reasoning exists outside of the rarified world of the LSAT and that, at times, it can rear its ugly head and infect even the most level-headed of us.

Various circumstances encourage poor reasoning, but chief among these are politics and religion.  Our etiquette conveniently holds that we shouldn’t talk about such things so that we publicly justify our inchoate intuitions about the existence of god or the wisdom of universal health care.