I’m a socially verified really really smart person. Therefore, I can spew whatever nonsense I want, and you should accept my conclusions with unthinking deference.

Amusingly, just a couple of days after posting my brief argument about “Abortion Rights,” I have stumbled across the following title of an article from (no surprise) Salon: “I’m a philosophy professor. The argument for making abortion illegal is illogical.”

The author, one Nathan Nobis, announces his professional credibility as a judge of logic in his article’s very title, obviously in an insecure attempt to persuade the reader that the argument he is about to make deserves special respect, if not deference, even before he offers it. In other words, this great logician, who is about to lay bare the fundamental illogic of (what he straw mans as) the most essential, and presumably strongest, case made against a woman’s right to an abortion, boldly begins, and indeed frames, his own argument with a logical fallacy, namely appeal to authority.

One begins to understand his insecurity and fallacious framing, however — one might even pity him for it somewhat — while reading the accompanying article, which displays a daring level of ignorance of the arguments people actually make against abortion, and a strikingly unsupported and presupposition-filled set of stipulations about such central concepts to his own argument as “personhood,” “potential,” “rights,” “consciousness,” and “sentience.” In fact, and most alarmingly coming from a socially certified logician, he seems not to have fully digested the distinction between the attributional and substantial uses of words, e.g., the difference in sense (or in level of being) between saying that a severed finger is “human” and saying that Nathan Nobis is “human.”

Perhaps Dr. Nobis ought to spend a few more hours reviewing his own teaching materials, and applying the rigorous rules of reasoning he presumably expects his students to apply, before completing his next opus on the silly illogic of the little people.

Or perhaps he is the “professor of logic” who once supposedly lived next door to the late comedian Norm Macdonald — although, judging from his article in favor of maintaining abortion as legal, it is unclear whether Nobis would be the professor in this story, or rather the narrator embodied by Macdonald himself.

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