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Fallacy of Relevance, the Appeal to Fear - Essay Example

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The Pillar of Fire Church paid for, or sponsored, the said cartoon on the said Wikipedia page. The Pillar of Fire Church was founded by Bishop Alma Bridwell White, who has authored over 35 books, including Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty. …
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Fallacy of Relevance, the Appeal to Fear
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1. What organization paid for (or sponsored) the cartoon? The Pillar of Fire Church paid for, or sponsored, the said cartoon on the said Wikipediapage. The Pillar of Fire Church was founded by Bishop Alma Bridwell White, who has authored over 35 books, including Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty. This 174-page book, published in 1926, primarily espouses Bishop Whites deep fear and hatred of the Catholic Church while it also promotes anti-Semitism, white supremacy and womens equality. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klansmen:_Guardians_of_Liberty)
2. Who is the person in the tent?
From the crown that the person is wearing, the pitcher of holy water by his side, the prominent word written on him that says “ROME,” and the facts stated above, clearly, the person depicted in the tent is the Roman Catholic Pope.
3. What is the fear that the cartoon plays upon?
The tent, with the stars-and-stripes design emblazoned on it, depicts the United States of America. The person inside, purportedly the Roman Catholic Pope, represents the Roman Catholic Church. The public school, with the American flag perched atop its façade at which the “Pope” looks upon, represents the American public school educational system. The “Pope” holds a club with “VIOLENCE” written on it. By the tent are a pitcher of holy water and a box labeled “PROPAGANDA”. These images conjure a conspiracy between the Catholic Church and the United States of America, with the latter planning to influence the American public educational system through several methods: violence (the club held by the “Pope”), faith (by the pitcher of holy water to perpetrate the Catholic faith), or by propaganda (by the box which supposedly contains propaganda materials). From the history of the Pillar of Church and its founder, Bishop Bridwell, one can conclude that the cartoon tries to play upon the fear of the Catholic faith and the protection it enjoys from the United States, to the extent that the country condones its plans. It plays upon paranoia of the Catholic faith in general. The sinister depiction of the “Pope” connotes evil intentions, which suggests that the Catholic Church does more harm than good.
4. Are there other fallacies that you think might be at work in this cartoon?
A form of fallacy that could be at work in the cartoon is “the argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam ("appeal to ignorance"). An argument by lack of imagination, or negative evidence, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or is false only because it has not been proven true. The argument from personal incredulity, also known as argument from personal belief or argument from personal conviction, refers to an assertion that because one personally finds a premise unlikely or unbelievable, the premise can be assumed to be false, or alternatively that another preferred but unproven premise is true instead.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ignorance)
The depiction of the Catholic Church as evil in the cartoon springs from the personal fear and hatred of someone who had commissioned the cartoon work, not based on facts and evidence. The same as the depiction of the United States in connivance with the Catholic faith— with all its evil intentions—as purely a product of personal conviction, not hard facts and evidence.
References
“Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2009.
“Argument from ignorance.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2009. Read More
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