This week is “Persuasion Week” for my Introduction to Public Speaking classes. Over a five-hour two-day period, they will know “everything there is to know” about persuasion, argument and, most importantly, critical thinking. Some of my material comes straight from the textbooks I have used over three decades of teaching this course, including the theories of Maslow, Monroe and others to contend with.
Some of the lectures come from outside sources.
Three of the books I use outside the standard texts include Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, R. Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for the Spaceship Earth, and Carl Sagan’s A Demon Haunted World. These provide the foundation for the critical thinking curriculum.
In a section joyously titled “Latin 10101,” the class reviews a small number of arguments made by speakers which, as listeners, they need to be weary. Some are not really Latin, like the “Straw Man” and “Begging the Question” arguments, but most are, like Non-Sequitur (without or out of sequence) and Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (What came after was caused by what came before).
The last on my list is Metus Mongering or Fear Mongering. The simplified definition is using argument to scare the listener into believing. Many times, especially in politics and religion, the problem statement is simply non-existent or exceptionally minor, but almost always emotionally explosive. This leads to a solution that is 1) irrelevant to the populous, 2) contrary to the societal norms, 3) degrading or discriminating a minority group(s), and 4) usually a waste of time, money and an insult to the faithful (political or religious).
Read more: Blind Faith v. Critical Thinking
David Rosman’s newest book, A Christian Nation? An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs is now available through Amazon.com in paperback or eBook versions.
You can invite David to speak to your group or organization. For more information, please contact him at Speaker@InkandVoice.com(c) 2/3/2012 InkandVoice communication Columbia, MO