What could I be lacking in my perspective?

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MG100
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What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by MG100 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:20 pm

Hi all,

I am a newbie here and would like to get some feedback on my thinking style. I will be giving an example for you to assess. I am doing an online critical thinking course and the assignments are peer reviewed. In this case, we had to come up with arguments to support a given conclusion. Here is the argument I created:

Premise 1: Certain tree species are declared protected when their existing amount is at or below the level required to maintain a natural environment.
Premise 2: They take decades to mature but only minutes to remove or harm.
Therefore, generally
Conclusion: you shouldn’t cut down protected trees.


Then I came across the following argument from a peer.

Premise 1: Protected trees are protected for a reason. Perhaps they’re very beautiful or rare, or serve a particular purpose, e.g. as homes to wildlife
Premise 2: Protected trees are often particular to New Zealand and are therefore important for preserving our native flora.
Premise 3: There are often very heavy fines for people who cut down protected trees
Premise 4: Many people care passionately about protected trees and cutting one down will not help you in the popularity stakes
Conclusion : Therefore, you probably shouldn’t cut down protected trees


I realized that her premises about the fine and other people's feelings about the trees, never came to my mind when I was trying to come up with my argument.

I was wondering what are some areas I need to focus on to improve my critical thinking.

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by landrew » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:51 pm

The difference is focus. The first one is motivated by social responsibility towards the environment. The second is motivated towards social acceptance and personal non-gratification.
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Aztexan » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:38 pm

It hurts the trees, you insensitive fleshbags!
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:58 pm

Aztexan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:38 pm
It hurts the trees, you insensitive fleshbags!
How wood I know this? Shall I axe them?
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 pm

MG100 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:20 pm
Hi all,

I am a newbie here and would like to get some feedback on my thinking style. I will be giving an example for you to assess. I am doing an online critical thinking course and the assignments are peer reviewed. In this case, we had to come up with arguments to support a given conclusion. Here is the argument I created:

Premise 1: Certain tree species are declared protected when their existing amount is at or below the level required to maintain a natural environment.
Premise 2: They take decades to mature but only minutes to remove or harm.
Therefore, generally
Conclusion: you shouldn’t cut down protected trees.
Not bad. The point about trees being quick to remove is irrelevant. The relevant bit is the decades to mature. The irrelevant bit does not hurt your argument, but such bits potentially can lead to fallacy.

eg: 1. Tree species are declared protected when their population is at or below sustainability
2. It only take s few moments to take down a tree
conc. One should not cut down protected trees.

This a non-sequitur fallacy
Then I came across the following argument from a peer.

Premise 1: Protected trees are protected for a reason. Perhaps they’re very beautiful or rare, or serve a particular purpose, e.g. as homes to wildlife
Premise 2: Protected trees are often particular to New Zealand and are therefore important for preserving our native flora.
Premise 3: There are often very heavy fines for people who cut down protected trees
Premise 4: Many people care passionately about protected trees and cutting one down will not help you in the popularity stakes
Conclusion : Therefore, you probably shouldn’t cut down protected trees


I realized that her premises about the fine and other people's feelings about the trees, never came to my mind when I was trying to come up with my argument.

I was wondering what are some areas I need to focus on to improve my critical thinking.
This is also a valid argument. There is no reason why yours should be the same. Your stated objective is to make a logically valid argument, not to list all the possible reasons that might justify refraining from cutting down protected trees. So, maybe the lesson is focus on the objective, and not let side issues intervene.

There are quite a few members who are familiar with the rules of logic. If you join in discussions on topics of interest, most of them will be happy to 'correct your errors' of logic and/or fact.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Aztexan » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:55 pm

I saw what you did there.
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by MG100 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:04 pm

Thanks folks.

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Gord » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:36 am

Aztexan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:55 pm
I saw what you did there.
Can we please prune these cutting remarks?
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Aztexan » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:11 pm

Hey bud! I wood but I can't!
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:59 pm

Are you stumped?
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Wordbird » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:21 am

I like your first argument better. Some people care deeply about people, but of course those should be cut down because they're hurting the trees.

Maybe it's a bad way to make it, but my point is that caring can't be a trump card, because sometimes great masses of people care about diametrically opposed things.

Let's say there's one very precious Rishkala egg - the best cooking ingredient in all the known universe that will make any dish made with it delectable beyond imagining - left in all the galaxy, and the Mimelions want to make it into a cake because they care deeply about cake, but the Blutherans want to make it into pudding because they care deeply about pudding.

Caring does not mean you should get your way, because others, you see, might well be caring against you, so that's impossible.

The logical thing to do is try to hatch the egg and get a live Rishkala to make more eggs.

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Tom Palven » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:03 am

Wordbird wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:21 am
The logical thing to do is try to hatch the egg and get a live Rishkala to make more eggs.
Sounds like free enterprise.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Wordbird » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:16 am

Tom Palven wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:03 am
Wordbird wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:21 am
The logical thing to do is try to hatch the egg and get a live Rishkala to make more eggs.
Sounds like free enterprise.
Actually, Tom, that's the opposite of free enterprise, because it requires everyone claiming they own the egg to give up their precious property rights for the greater good.

It doesn't always work this way in practice, but besmirching theory by pretending every good idea must be a capitalist one is not helping you out here.

Regardless, my point was simply that large amounts of people caring about something doesn't mean they should automatically get their way. It can't, because often large amounts of people care about incompatible outcomes. A shark might kill a man, and as many people care for the sharks, there are that many who want a shark hunt.

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:07 pm

Wordbird wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:16 am
Tom Palven wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:03 am
Wordbird wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:21 am
The logical thing to do is try to hatch the egg and get a live Rishkala to make more eggs.
Sounds like free enterprise.
Actually, Tom, that's the opposite of free enterprise, because it requires everyone claiming they own the egg to give up their precious property rights for the greater good.

It doesn't always work this way in practice, but besmirching theory by pretending every good idea must be a capitalist one is not helping you out here.

Regardless, my point was simply that large amounts of people caring about something doesn't mean they should automatically get their way. It can't, because often large amounts of people care about incompatible outcomes. A shark might kill a man, and as many people care for the sharks, there are that many who want a shark hunt.
[Aside]Free enterprise would be selling the eggs. Capitalism would be investing in a factory farm to exploit the rishkala market.

A lot of people seem to make the error of equating free enterprise and capitalism. Free enterprise has been here as long as barter has been. Capitalism is an invention that grew out of the mercantilism of the middle ages.[/Aside]

Caring is a poor vehicle to attach a logical argument to because it can't be precisely defined. Lack of precise definition can lead to logical fallacies, especially the fallacy of no middle term. Charles Dodgson's classic example:

A cat has 1 more tail than no cat.
No cat has 8 tails.
Therefore, a cat has 9 tails.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Major Malfunction » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:11 am

Where I live, there's a lot of extinct volcanoes. I can see six from where I'm sitting.

They spewed-out huge rocks all over the place. The chain-gangs came along and moved all those rocks to build farm walls and make the soil tillable.

But they left some spots for some reason, so you can see all the rocks just lying around on the surface. And there are some places that collect the rocks and sell them. I tell my kids they're rock farms. You plant a pebble, and they grow into giant boulders, then you harvest them. So they planted some pebbles. :)

And on thread, colonists, with just axe and saw, chopped down 95% of the forest in my state in just 100 years. They were industrious buggers in those days.

So, yeah. The last 5% needs protection.
This being was produced using the same process as other beings, and therefore, may contain traces of nuts.

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Gord » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:37 pm

Major Malfunction wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:11 am
And on thread, colonists, with just axe and saw, chopped down 95% of the forest in my state in just 100 years. They were industrious buggers in those days.
Wow, that's pretty fast for colonists in your state! (I assume the state to which you were referring was the state of inebriation, right?)
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:37 am

MG100 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:20 pm
Hi all,

I am a newbie here and would like to get some feedback on my thinking style. I will be giving an example for you to assess. I am doing an online critical thinking course and the assignments are peer reviewed. In this case, we had to come up with arguments to support a given conclusion. Here is the argument I created:

Premise 1: Certain tree species are declared protected when their existing amount is at or below the level required to maintain a natural environment.
Premise 2: They take decades to mature but only minutes to remove or harm.
Therefore, generally
Conclusion: you shouldn’t cut down protected trees.


Then I came across the following argument from a peer.

Premise 1: Protected trees are protected for a reason. Perhaps they’re very beautiful or rare, or serve a particular purpose, e.g. as homes to wildlife
Premise 2: Protected trees are often particular to New Zealand and are therefore important for preserving our native flora.
Premise 3: There are often very heavy fines for people who cut down protected trees
Premise 4: Many people care passionately about protected trees and cutting one down will not help you in the popularity stakes
Conclusion : Therefore, you probably shouldn’t cut down protected trees


I realized that her premises about the fine and other people's feelings about the trees, never came to my mind when I was trying to come up with my argument.

I was wondering what are some areas I need to focus on to improve my critical thinking.
I think your assignment dealt more with rhetoric than logic. I would have interpreted it as an instruction to sway public opinion rather than to find out the truth. Any time the conclusion is fixed in advance (for example, in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas), the resulting argument is sure to be a form of special pleading, as it is here.

The other argument you looked at gave reasons aimed at different segments of the target audience. Premise 1 is aimed at aesthetes and nature lovers. Premise 2 aims at the same audience and adds an appeal to patriotic pride. Premise 3 is aimed at people who mean to obey the law, and also at those who don't care about the law, but have an interest in avoiding unnecessary pecuniary losses. Premise 4 aims at the rock-bottom social need everyone (Trump and followers excepted) feels for the approval of the people around them. As I've argued elsewhere, that need is innate in nearly everyone and is the mechanism by which all morality is learned. (It comes down to learning as a powerless child what those powerful adults around you will put up with and what they won't.) In any case, the argument is intended to persuade, not convince. The difference between the two is substantial: the former involves emotions, the latter only logic.
"We survivors did not seek death. We did not take to the streets when our Jewish friends were taken away. We didn’t raise an outcry until we ourselves were being annihilated. We preferred to remain alive, with the flimsy though accurate excuse that our death would not have helped. We are guilty of being alive."

Karl Jaspers (1883–1968), at the re-opening of Heidelberg University, 1945

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:44 am

Wordbird wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:21 am
I like your first argument better. Some people care deeply about people, but of course those should be cut down because they're hurting the trees.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
"We survivors did not seek death. We did not take to the streets when our Jewish friends were taken away. We didn’t raise an outcry until we ourselves were being annihilated. We preferred to remain alive, with the flimsy though accurate excuse that our death would not have helped. We are guilty of being alive."

Karl Jaspers (1883–1968), at the re-opening of Heidelberg University, 1945

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:55 am

Major Malfunction wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:11 am
Where I live, there's a lot of extinct volcanoes. I can see six from where I'm sitting.

They spewed-out huge rocks all over the place. The chain-gangs came along and moved all those rocks to build farm walls and make the soil tillable.

But they left some spots for some reason, so you can see all the rocks just lying around on the surface. And there are some places that collect the rocks and sell them. I tell my kids they're rock farms. You plant a pebble, and they grow into giant boulders, then you harvest them. So they planted some pebbles. :)

And on thread, colonists, with just axe and saw, chopped down 95% of the forest in my state in just 100 years. They were industrious buggers in those days.

So, yeah. The last 5% needs protection.
In the eighteenth century, Vermont (where I live) was a howling wilderness of conifers. By mid-nineteenth century, it was 75% deforested. Today it's only 50% deforested, but the conifers have given way to deciduous trees, which turn gorgeous yellow/orange/red in October and bring in bucketfuls of money to the tourist industry here.

So, the nature/human interaction has been interesting. The first thought of the pioneers here, after they confined the Abenakis to a few settlements at the mouth of the Missisquoi River (where it debouches into Lake Champlain) and along the Connecticut River on the eastern side of the state), was to get rid of the damn trees and raise crops and livestock on the land. This was a very bad idea, economically, as the climate was quite severe, and underneath all those trees, the topsoil was at most one meter thick (and right underneath it was solid rock!). This hit home in 1815, when Mount Tambora erupted halfway across the world. There was no summer in 1816 in North America and Europe. Vermonters in large numbers lit out for the Midwest, where the power of the native populations had been broken by "Mad Anthony" Wayne some 20 years earlier and the topsoil was two meters thick with a layer of subsoil underneath it and the land was so flat that the first thing to arrest your attention when you looked out was the horizon (as George Carlin remarked). Who knew then that eventually the state would prosper with niche industries like Ben & Jerry's, ski resorts, and the Long Trail? (northern end of the Appalachian Trail that thousands of fools love to hike every year)?
"We survivors did not seek death. We did not take to the streets when our Jewish friends were taken away. We didn’t raise an outcry until we ourselves were being annihilated. We preferred to remain alive, with the flimsy though accurate excuse that our death would not have helped. We are guilty of being alive."

Karl Jaspers (1883–1968), at the re-opening of Heidelberg University, 1945

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by landrew » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:52 pm

Since we're storytelling now...
Midwest soils were too sticky for the plows brought across from the 13 colonies. John Deere was a blacksmith who solved the problem by observing that his mother's sewing needle moved more easily through fabric when they were polished. His polished plowshares were a big success in the Midwest, and his name lives on today as one of the top godless corporations on the planet.
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 am

landrew wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:52 pm
Since we're storytelling now...
Midwest soils were too sticky for the plows brought across from the 13 colonies. John Deere was a blacksmith who solved the problem by observing that his mother's sewing needle moved more easily through fabric when they were polished. His polished plowshares were a big success in the Midwest, and his name lives on today as one of the top godless corporations on the planet.
Indeed it does. And here in Vermont also, where a plaque in Middlebury commemorates the shop where John Deere was apprenticed, before he too lit out for the Midwest.

This didn't always work. Jason Chamberlain, a professor of classics at the University of Vermont, took up the practice of law in 1815, when the University, essentially bankrupt, closed down and rented its buildings to the US Army, who wanted to annex Quebec (that didn't work out, did it?). After the year without a summer, he took off for Missouri/Arkansas, which were still territories. (Missouri came into the Union as a slave state in 1820, to balance Maine, which was generously donated by Massachusetts as a free state; Arkansas became a state in 1836.) But on 31 July 1820, Chamberlain's life came to an abrupt end at the age of 36. As reported by the Arkansas Gazette on 12 August: "Drowned about the 31st in attempting to ford Eleven Point in Lawrence County in this Territory, Jason Chamberlain Esq., a very respectable attorney at law of Jackson, Missouri. Mr. C was a native of Vermont but has resided in Missouri for the last few years." Chamberlain exchanged several letters with Thomas Jefferson, which are on-line. His daughter, born in 1815, lived until 1895.
"We survivors did not seek death. We did not take to the streets when our Jewish friends were taken away. We didn’t raise an outcry until we ourselves were being annihilated. We preferred to remain alive, with the flimsy though accurate excuse that our death would not have helped. We are guilty of being alive."

Karl Jaspers (1883–1968), at the re-opening of Heidelberg University, 1945

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by landrew » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:28 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 am
landrew wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:52 pm
Since we're storytelling now...
Midwest soils were too sticky for the plows brought across from the 13 colonies. John Deere was a blacksmith who solved the problem by observing that his mother's sewing needle moved more easily through fabric when they were polished. His polished plowshares were a big success in the Midwest, and his name lives on today as one of the top godless corporations on the planet.
Indeed it does. And here in Vermont also, where a plaque in Middlebury commemorates the shop where John Deere was apprenticed, before he too lit out for the Midwest.

This didn't always work. Jason Chamberlain, a professor of classics at the University of Vermont, took up the practice of law in 1815, when the University, essentially bankrupt, closed down and rented its buildings to the US Army, who wanted to annex Quebec (that didn't work out, did it?). After the year without a summer, he took off for Missouri/Arkansas, which were still territories. (Missouri came into the Union as a slave state in 1820, to balance Maine, which was generously donated by Massachusetts as a free state; Arkansas became a state in 1836.) But on 31 July 1820, Chamberlain's life came to an abrupt end at the age of 36. As reported by the Arkansas Gazette on 12 August: "Drowned about the 31st in attempting to ford Eleven Point in Lawrence County in this Territory, Jason Chamberlain Esq., a very respectable attorney at law of Jackson, Missouri. Mr. C was a native of Vermont but has resided in Missouri for the last few years." Chamberlain exchanged several letters with Thomas Jefferson, which are on-line. His daughter, born in 1815, lived until 1895.
A great deal of lost history existed in the interior from the time it was occupied by France. After the British conquered Quebec in 1759, and later after the Louisiana purchase, much of it was destroyed. Forts and records were burned so that they would afford no advantage to the English. French place names live on throughout the continent, although the pronunciation has been distinctly Americanized.
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:50 pm

landrew wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:28 pm
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 am
landrew wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:52 pm
Since we're storytelling now...
Midwest soils were too sticky for the plows brought across from the 13 colonies. John Deere was a blacksmith who solved the problem by observing that his mother's sewing needle moved more easily through fabric when they were polished. His polished plowshares were a big success in the Midwest, and his name lives on today as one of the top godless corporations on the planet.
Indeed it does. And here in Vermont also, where a plaque in Middlebury commemorates the shop where John Deere was apprenticed, before he too lit out for the Midwest.

This didn't always work. Jason Chamberlain, a professor of classics at the University of Vermont, took up the practice of law in 1815, when the University, essentially bankrupt, closed down and rented its buildings to the US Army, who wanted to annex Quebec (that didn't work out, did it?). After the year without a summer, he took off for Missouri/Arkansas, which were still territories. (Missouri came into the Union as a slave state in 1820, to balance Maine, which was generously donated by Massachusetts as a free state; Arkansas became a state in 1836.) But on 31 July 1820, Chamberlain's life came to an abrupt end at the age of 36. As reported by the Arkansas Gazette on 12 August: "Drowned about the 31st in attempting to ford Eleven Point in Lawrence County in this Territory, Jason Chamberlain Esq., a very respectable attorney at law of Jackson, Missouri. Mr. C was a native of Vermont but has resided in Missouri for the last few years." Chamberlain exchanged several letters with Thomas Jefferson, which are on-line. His daughter, born in 1815, lived until 1895.

A great deal of lost history existed in the interior from the time it was occupied by France. After the British conquered Quebec in 1759, and later after the Louisiana purchase, much of it was destroyed. Forts and records were burned so that they would afford no advantage to the English. French place names live on throughout the continent, although the pronunciation has been distinctly Americanized.
"Distinctly Americanized" is right. Fifty-odd years ago, I was living in Nashville, Tennessee (teaching at Vanderbilt) and engaged to be married, with a fiancée (now my wife) who was teaching at Purdue. Telephones were very primitive back then, and while Nashville had long-distance direct dialing, West Lafayette, Indiana did not. In order to talk with my fiancée, I had to phone an operator in Nashville, who would phone an operator in West Lafayette. What I most remember is that the operator, a southern belle who worked for Southern Bell, would say, in the most charming accent, that she wanted to call "West Luh-FAY-yut" Indiana. (There actually is a Lafayette Street in Nashville, and that's they way they pronounced it. There's another city in mid-Tennessee called Milan, and pronounced "MY-lun.")

But I love the southern accent. There's a southern lawyer who advertises on XM radio that he has been able to get hundreds of his "clonts" out of their "Tom shares." I always amuse myself wondering how Tom gets shared.

Just south of where I now live, is Charlotte, Vermont, and you can always tell the "flatlanders" who come to town, because they sensibly pronounce it with the stress on the first syllable, while the natives tend to make it a one-syllable word that sounds like "shlot."

(Apocryphal story: A stranger comes into town and stops at the local grocery store to ask for directions. He asks how to get to "SHAR-lut". The grocer says, "Do you mean "shar-LOT"? The guy says, "Yeah, that must be it." The grocer says, "Don't move an inch.")
"We survivors did not seek death. We did not take to the streets when our Jewish friends were taken away. We didn’t raise an outcry until we ourselves were being annihilated. We preferred to remain alive, with the flimsy though accurate excuse that our death would not have helped. We are guilty of being alive."

Karl Jaspers (1883–1968), at the re-opening of Heidelberg University, 1945

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by landrew » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:45 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:50 pm
landrew wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:28 pm
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 am
landrew wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:52 pm
Since we're storytelling now...
Midwest soils were too sticky for the plows brought across from the 13 colonies. John Deere was a blacksmith who solved the problem by observing that his mother's sewing needle moved more easily through fabric when they were polished. His polished plowshares were a big success in the Midwest, and his name lives on today as one of the top godless corporations on the planet.
Indeed it does. And here in Vermont also, where a plaque in Middlebury commemorates the shop where John Deere was apprenticed, before he too lit out for the Midwest.

This didn't always work. Jason Chamberlain, a professor of classics at the University of Vermont, took up the practice of law in 1815, when the University, essentially bankrupt, closed down and rented its buildings to the US Army, who wanted to annex Quebec (that didn't work out, did it?). After the year without a summer, he took off for Missouri/Arkansas, which were still territories. (Missouri came into the Union as a slave state in 1820, to balance Maine, which was generously donated by Massachusetts as a free state; Arkansas became a state in 1836.) But on 31 July 1820, Chamberlain's life came to an abrupt end at the age of 36. As reported by the Arkansas Gazette on 12 August: "Drowned about the 31st in attempting to ford Eleven Point in Lawrence County in this Territory, Jason Chamberlain Esq., a very respectable attorney at law of Jackson, Missouri. Mr. C was a native of Vermont but has resided in Missouri for the last few years." Chamberlain exchanged several letters with Thomas Jefferson, which are on-line. His daughter, born in 1815, lived until 1895.

A great deal of lost history existed in the interior from the time it was occupied by France. After the British conquered Quebec in 1759, and later after the Louisiana purchase, much of it was destroyed. Forts and records were burned so that they would afford no advantage to the English. French place names live on throughout the continent, although the pronunciation has been distinctly Americanized.
"Distinctly Americanized" is right. Fifty-odd years ago, I was living in Nashville, Tennessee (teaching at Vanderbilt) and engaged to be married, with a fiancée (now my wife) who was teaching at Purdue. Telephones were very primitive back then, and while Nashville had long-distance direct dialing, West Lafayette, Indiana did not. In order to talk with my fiancée, I had to phone an operator in Nashville, who would phone an operator in West Lafayette. What I most remember is that the operator, a southern belle who worked for Southern Bell, would say, in the most charming accent, that she wanted to call "West Luh-FAY-yut" Indiana. (There actually is a Lafayette Street in Nashville, and that's they way they pronounced it. There's another city in mid-Tennessee called Milan, and pronounced "MY-lun.")

But I love the southern accent. There's a southern lawyer who advertises on XM radio that he has been able to get hundreds of his "clonts" out of their "Tom shares." I always amuse myself wondering how Tom gets shared.

Just south of where I now live, is Charlotte, Vermont, and you can always tell the "flatlanders" who come to town, because they sensibly pronounce it with the stress on the first syllable, while the natives tend to make it a one-syllable word that sounds like "shlot."

(Apocryphal story: A stranger comes into town and stops at the local grocery store to ask for directions. He asks how to get to "SHAR-lut". The grocer says, "Do you mean "shar-LOT"? The guy says, "Yeah, that must be it." The grocer says, "Don't move an inch.")
The French are quite particular about how their words are pronounced. Don't try mispronouncing French names in Quebec.
Boise (Boy-zee) would be "bwoz" in French, and Detroit, well they have sounds unique to their own language, so it's not worth trying.
The job of a skeptic is to investigate the unexplained; not to explain the uninvestigated.

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Austin Harper » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:24 am

A fun bit of trivia, Boise comes from the French word boisé (/bwɑ.ze/ bwah-ZAY), which means wooded. Detroit comes from the French word détroit (/de.tʁwa/ day-TWAH), which means river straight.
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:55 am

Vermont, where I live, boasts that it has the only French name among the states. Possibly true, though it's a bit hard to see. If it means "green mount," (variants of which provide the names for numerous locations and businesses here), it would be mont verde in French. Some say the name actually came from Québec, as "vers [les] monts," which means "toward the mountains." If you drive to Montréal from here, you notice that the land gets very flat just as you cross the border, so that name has some plausibility. The state was known as North Connecticut until 1777. In that year, it stated its own declaration of independence. During the colonial era, both New York and New Hampshire claimed this territory as their own. Parliament eventually came down on the side of New York, but by then it was too late, as both New York and New Hampshire had declared independence. Most Vermonters had land titles issued by Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire. They hired a crew of enforcers, headed by the famous Ethan Allen, to run off settlers from New York. (And they were not gentle about it! Pfui! How I wander! But as long as I'm doing it, I'll mention that Connecticut, the River that forms the eastern border of Vermont, comes from the Abenaki language: kwini tekwa (long river). OK, I've rambled long enough. Just one final note: I've been watching French TV for decades, and the newscasters and announcers really do speak good French. What is spoken on the streets and in the countryside, however, is Joual, and it is opaque to me. Fortunately, we can communicate in one direction, as they do understand me when I speak French.)
"We survivors did not seek death. We did not take to the streets when our Jewish friends were taken away. We didn’t raise an outcry until we ourselves were being annihilated. We preferred to remain alive, with the flimsy though accurate excuse that our death would not have helped. We are guilty of being alive."

Karl Jaspers (1883–1968), at the re-opening of Heidelberg University, 1945

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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by Major Malfunction » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:22 pm

Gord wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:37 pm
Major Malfunction wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:11 am
And on thread, colonists, with just axe and saw, chopped down 95% of the forest in my state in just 100 years. They were industrious buggers in those days.
Wow, that's pretty fast for colonists in your state! (I assume the state to which you were referring was the state of inebriation, right?)
I'm just not going to reply to anyone anymore. Think I'll just slink away.

I hope you all have happy fun times, my friends. But I just carn't be bothered figuring out this BS quotage crap.
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Re: What could I be lacking in my perspective?

Post by landrew » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:54 pm

Deforestation is a fact. Most of Europe was forested before agriculture dominated. North America too, except for the Great Plains which were kept bare by regular wildfires. Trees have actually increased substantially in those areas.
But trees are a sustainable resource. They can be used before they fall down and rot. Forests and woodlots can be sustainably managed. No need to ban paper, a certain amount is just fine.
The job of a skeptic is to investigate the unexplained; not to explain the uninvestigated.