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.