Curt Schilling and Logical Fallacies

 

CurtSchillingTweetFormer star major-league pitcher and current ESPN broadcaster Curt Schilling found himself running afoul of proper online sensibilities today when he tweeted (and then deleted) a picture comparing Nazis to contemporary Islamic extremism.

Naturally, outrage followed, particularly from Gawker Media’s Deadspin, which referred to Schilling as a “big idiot.” (Watch out, Oscar Wilde!) As expected, Schilling was savaged in the comments, and the discussion quickly turned to how Republican presidential candidates are roughly as extremist as Islamic terrorists.

What most pointedly caught my attention was the casualness with which critics changed the analogy that was being made by the graphic Schilling tweeted.

The point, quite obviously, is that only takes a small percentage of a group to create an evil that is so powerful that the world must confront it.

Breaking it down further, the construction of the proposition is as follows: A small percentage of “X” are “A.”  A small percentage of “Y” were “B.”

This is crucial, because “A” is being compared to “B.”  Schilling’s critics are stating matter-of-factly that he compared “X” to “B.”

But let’s never let logic or facts get in the way of social-media outrage.

A quick check of Twitter shows prominent voice after prominent voice ignoring the essential “extremist” portion, and simply claiming (lying) that Schilling compared “Muslims” to “Nazis,” rather than comparing extremists to Nazis, which is what actually happened. Examples of this spin can be found here, here, here, and here, among other places that have slammed Schilling as “racist” or “Islamophobic.”

As expected, ESPN has condemned Schilling’s “totally unacceptable” tweet without explaining exactly what it was that was unacceptable. Is it because they think he said all Muslims are Nazi-like? Or that he said extremists are Nazi-like? Or that they interpreted his comment to mean that 5% to 10% is low?

Whatever the specific reason, ESPN has seen fit to pull Schilling from coverage of the Little League World Series. There’s at least a decent chance he’ll lose his job over this.

I have a few questions to ask the left-leaning writers who have called Schilling a “bigot”:

  1. Do you agree that there are violent Muslim extremists in the world?
  2. Do you agree that they are, in an organized way, making territorial advances and committing heinous acts of violence in the Middle East?
  3. Given those similarities, do you agree that, like Nazism before it, the world must confront this evil if it is to be stopped?

If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” then the objections to Schilling are hollow. If the answer to any of the three is “no,” then critics’ footing in reality is not as firm as they might suppose.

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There are 43 comments.

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  1. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Mike LaRoche:ESPN once again proves itself to be the MSNBC of sports. What kind of a white guilt-ridden, self-hating poltroon must one be to think that there is anything wrong with comparing Islamic extremism to Nazism? There is even a historical connection between the two.

    Poltroon is such a great word.

    • #31
  2. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    EJHill:Dana JacobsonESPN has a long history of punishing conservative political views. See Limbaugh, Rush and Azinger, Paul.

    If you’re a liberal you have to do something really outrageous like pee out of a window on to a cop, publically yell “F*** Notre Dame!”, or be caught on video berating a towing employee.

    Most other suspendable or firing offenses are limited to insulting other ESPN employees or – GASP – having a non-flattering opinion about Roger Goodell.

    ESPN has long been a joke, though.  Anyone who truly loves sports wholly ignores it.

    • #32
  3. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Herbert Woodbery:(((A similar switcheroo happened with Donald Trump.He said, taking his words at face value, that most illegal immigrants are rapists.That got twisted into him saying that most Mexicans are rapists, which is a worse thing to say.)))

    Actually he didn’t use the modifier “illegal”.He said “when Mexico sends its people”….. They’re sending people who have lots of problems….

    Herbert, you’re sneaky.  It is really hard to argue with that avatar.  It’s just  … so … reasonable!

    • #33
  4. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    Ryan M:

    Herbert Woodbery:(((A similar switcheroo happened with Donald Trump.He said, taking his words at face value, that most illegal immigrants are rapists.That got twisted into him saying that most Mexicans are rapists, which is a worse thing to say.)))

    Actually he didn’t use the modifier “illegal”.He said “when Mexico sends its people”….. They’re sending people who have lots of problems….

    Herbert, you’re sneaky. It is really hard to argue with that avatar. It’s just … so … reasonable!

    Better?    Anybody recognize this fictional character?

    • #34
  5. Tom Garrett Member
    Tom Garrett
    @TomGarrett

    My favorite response so far at Deadspin is this collection of nonsense.  His points, in case you don’t want to give Gawker the clicks:

    1. Schilling IS equating Muslims to Nazis

    2. Anyone who thinks he’s equating extremists to Nazis is an imbecile who says “der” a lot.

    3. The proof is that the numbers are made up – he suggests that we should count the percentage of Nazis based on anyone who voted for the Nazi Party in 1933, or who “helped the war effort” in some way.

    4. However, only Muslims who are “actively radicalized” count, not those who merely support or agree with terror.

    5. Ipso facto, there was a MUCH higher percentage of Germans who were Nazis compared to Muslims today who are extremists, and, furthermore, Schilling is therefore an evil bigot.

    6. It is offensive and racist to suggest either that large portions of the Muslim world support extremists OR to suggest that ISIS/ISIL and other terrorist groups are a threat to world peace.  Ok, seriously, he said this.

    He punctuates this argument by touting his knowledge of German history.

    As always, what scares me isn’t the comment itself – it’s the dozens upon dozens of readers who have “starred” it (equivalent to “likes” here).

    These folks are our opponents in the battle for this nation’s soul.

    • #35
  6. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Ryan M:

    Guruforhire:I am confused on why anybody would be outraged at that tweet. Its pretty tame by twitter standards.

    It also seems particularly true. What about ISIS is any better than what the Nazis were doing? And, if given the chance, what do you think ISIS would do with bussloads of Jews?

    To me, it is more outrageous that anyone would be even slightly offended by the comparison. Or, for that matter, by the comparison of Planned Parenthood to Nazis. As I’ve said multiple times, liberals avoid historical examples by pointing at you, sayign “Godwin’s Law!” and laughing as if they’ve made some sort of point.

    The correct designation is “Goodwin’s Fallacy”= the idea that any comparison with the National Socialists is automatically invalid.

    • #36
  7. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    All governments are tyrannies of the minority. It makes no difference to actual numbers of votes anyone received at any particular time.

    How a government treats its opposition is its hallmark, which is why the path Obama has put the Democratic party on is so dangerous.

    • #37
  8. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Herbert Woodbery:

    Ryan M:

    Herbert Woodbery:(((A similar switcheroo happened with Donald Trump.He said, taking his words at face value, that most illegal immigrants are rapists.That got twisted into him saying that most Mexicans are rapists, which is a worse thing to say.)))

    Actually he didn’t use the modifier “illegal”.He said “when Mexico sends its people”….. They’re sending people who have lots of problems….

    Herbert, you’re sneaky. It is really hard to argue with that avatar. It’s just … so … reasonable!

    Better? Anybody recognize this fictional character?

    Travis McGee!

    • #38
  9. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Percival:The Nazis took pains to keep their atrocities secret from the outside world, and attempted at the close of the war to destroy the evidence of those atrocities. They retained vestiges of shame if not decency.

    ISIS makes videos of theirs, and post them on the Internet as a recruiting tool.

    So you see, there are differences.

    I wouldn’t attribute that to shame, just criminals covering up their crimes. Your broader point is right, though.

    I’ll also point out that Nazis had much better looking uniforms. The big difference, for me, is that the Nazis didn’t outlaw all music like many radical Islamists do.

    • #39
  10. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    Travis McGee!

    Yep

    • #40
  11. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    Tom Garrett: These folks are our opponents in the battle for this nation’s soul.

    I’d say “enemies.”

    • #41
  12. iDad Inactive
    iDad
    @iDad

    Take it easy on ESPN.  The folks there are having a hard time thinking clearly because they are stricken with grief that Michael Sam has given up football.

    • #42
  13. William Smith Member
    William Smith
    @WilliamSmith

    So why did he delete the tweet?

    • #43
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