Analogy Failure

Gay Marriage and Guns

If you took the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, in high school, you may remember the analogy questions in the verbal section. An analogy question offers a pair of terms that share some logical relationship, then asks you to identify another pair of terms that share the same relationship. Here’s an example from the Kaplan Test Prep website:

MEDICINE:ILLNESS::

(A) law:anarchy
(B) hunger:thirst
(C) etiquette:discipline
(D) love:treason
(E) stimulant:sensitivity

Medicine is used to prevent illness, in the same way that law is meant to prevent anarchy; hence, answer (A) is the best choice. None of the other choices have the same function/purpose relationship. In any analogy there must be a solid logical connection on both sides. If the logic that binds the analogy is faulty, then the analogy doesn’t work. And if the analogy doesn’t work, you probably shouldn’t use it in a Facebook conversation and then turn it into a meme.

That’s the problem with this meme; the logical connection between Red’s statement and Blue’s statement is weak. Red repeats the gun control mantra: they are not in favor of banning all guns – just the military-grade assault weapons that can kill the most people in the shortest time. Blue responds by arguing that Republicans (which Blue claims not to be) don’t want to ban all marriages, just the ones that ick them out the most. I’m sure Blue is patting himself on the back for his clever argument, but before he feels too proud of himself, Blue should consider that there is a big difference between wanting to prevent the average citizen from purchasing his eighteenth machine gun, and wanting to prevent Adam and Steve from cementing a commitment forged in love.

Now I shouldn’t have to explain the difference, but just in case Blue (or somebody with a similar mindset) wanders across this blog some day – I’ll indulge you. Gay marriage doesn’t kill people. It doesn’t allow one person to kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds. Need proof? Since 2008, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized gay marriage, either by court decision, state legislature, or popular vote. Since 2008, the homicide rate in the United States has declined from 5.4 per 100,000 people to only 4.7. See? Legal gay marriage doesn’t cause murders – it prevents them! (I know: there’s no causal connection between legal gay marriages and decreasing murder rates. It was a joke.)

So when Republicans cast their votes against gay marriage, they’re not really championing a cause that protects the health and safety of United States citizens; they’re just trying to solidify their own biases into law. That’s why the arguments of a gun control proponent do not sound like the arguments of an anti-gay-marriage Republican. Once you scratch the surface, there are vastly different motivations and likely consequences.

It tickles me, though, that Blue – an avowed non-Republican – is improperly using Republican arguments as a weapon to discredit the argument of a gun control proponent. Are Republicans the new Hitler in Internet-based “debates”? There’s an intriguing thought.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Analogy Failure

  1. I think your analysis of the analogy fails because the legal use/ownership of the disputed firearms don’t kill people either. In order for your argument to be effective; you have to believe that the simple possession of ‘assault weapons’ will lead to a crime being committed.

    Marriage, even gay marriage, also does not automatically lead to a crime being committed. But domestic violence is an issue; just like the misuse of firearms is an issue within the firearm owning community.

    they’re not really championing a cause that protects the health and safety of United States citizens; they’re just trying to solidify their own biases into law.

    How is that not exactly what gun control advocates are doing with firearms?

    Bob S.

    • How is it not the same? Because it isn’t. I’m actually at a loss about how to explain this to you because it seems so self-evident to me. There’s no bias, as far as I can see, in wanting Americans to be safer. It’s not an argument against the gun owners, it’s against the guns. I have no doubt that MOST gun owners – even the ones who own assault weapons – aren’t criminals. That doesn’t change the fact that a legally-acquired assault weapon in the hands of a criminal makes that criminal MUCH more dangerous.

      • Does gay marriage cause violence?
        Do firearms cause violence?

        NO, neither example actually cause the violence. Is there violence associated with both? Yes.

        You say it is “the guns” but they are inanimate objects. They don’t act on their own nor do they increase violence on their own. Criminals wanting to murder large numbers of people have a wide variety of ways of doing that. Don’t forget the Murrah Federal Building, the World Trade Center, the Bath Township School massacre, etc.

        And its about rights; if we have the right to keep and bear arms, it our decision on which arms to keep. If we have governmental involvement in marriage (I wish they would get out of our business), then the people have the right to decide who they want to marry.

        For either side to ‘ban’ one or the other is nothing but bias.

        Bob S.

  2. LC,

    Well I disagree, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinions.
    Could you help me understand your reasoning why it is acceptable to ban some firearm but not others?

    I mean, I don’t think you are saying it is okay to kill people at a rate of 15 round a minute but not okay to kill people at 300 rounds a minute; right?

    So what functional or legal distinction is there to ban a semi-automatic AR-15 but not a semi-automatic hunting rifle?

    • Quite right: I’m not condoning killing people at ANY rate.

      Look: I grant that you might want to own a handgun for self-defense, and a hunting rifle for hunting or sport shooting. I just don’t see to need for any civilian to own a gun that can unload 300 rounds a minute. If something is utterly unnecessary, and its mere presence in conjunction with those who wish to harm others makes life more dangerous, why should it be allowed?

      • LC,

        So your opinion is based on what legal or functional distinction?
        Let’s break down your statements:
        Look: I grant that you might want to own a handgun for self-defense,
        Well, a handgun is one of the most common means of self defense but is is far from the only means of self defense. So — again you seem to be boiling it down to a rate difference; handguns with limited capacity / low rate of fire -OK, long guns with high capacity and high rate of fire — bad.
        But unfortunately criminals don’t always come in numbers manageable by just a handgun; sometimes shotguns and rifles are needed. A great example (and I understand it is anecdote) is the L.A. Rodney King Riots. 50 something people dead, 2,000 + injured, billions in property damage. Surely if I have the right to defend my self against one or two people, I have the right to defend myself against 10 or more.

        and a hunting rifle for hunting or sport shooting.
        The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting or sports. It is about the ability to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government; either ours or a foreign country. And many of the rifles you cry are very effective at hunting also; that is why so many people use the AR platform as a ‘varmint’ gun.
        And there are many shooting sports that use modern semi-automatic rifles as part of the activity.

        But you failed to address a major issue — what is the functional or legal difference between a semi-automatic rifle used for hunting and one used for defense?

        I just don’t see to need for any civilian to own a gun that can unload 300 rounds a minute.

        Great don’t buy one. Just like I don’t see the need to marry someone my same sex and therefore I’m not going to. But I recognize that is just my personal bias and opinion. I’m not trying to force my opinion on others at the end of the government’s guns (which by the way are usually fully automatic and have a higher rate of fire).

        If something is utterly unnecessary,

        You fail to establish, other than through ‘vigorous assertion’ that a high capacity/rate of fire rifle is ‘unnecessary’. I’ll state it is my opinion that the people should be able to own anything the government is willing or able to use against them. Isn’t that the point of the people being able to form a militia?

        and its mere presence in conjunction with those who wish to harm others makes life more dangerous, why should it be allowed?

        So, the mere presence of a car, a knife, a bath tub (how many moms have drowned their kids) all make life more dangerous and therefore should be banned, right?

        Bob S.

  3. But you failed to address a major issue — what is the functional or legal difference between a semi-automatic rifle used for hunting and one used for defense?

    I may not have explicitly addressed this, but I believe my intention is clear: there is no difference at all. People have been hunting for a long time before semi-automatic rifles were invented; ergo, I do not believe that semi-automatic rifles are necessary for hunting.

    Great don’t buy one. Just like I don’t see the need to marry someone my same sex and therefore I’m not going to. But I recognize that is just my personal bias and opinion.

    I assume you’re not gay; therefore your opinion is about whether gay people should be allowed to marry or not. Your sexuality is neither an opinion nor a personal bias. The whole point of my post was that they are separate issues and one cannot be used as an argument for or against the other.

    I’ll state it is my opinion that the people should be able to own anything the government is willing or able to use against them.

    I realize this is a slippery-slope argument, but are you saying that you (and everybody else) should have the right to purchase an AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter, just because the government has them and could deploy them if it wanted to? Or maybe you think everybody should be allowed to buy their very own Minuteman III ICBM? I mean, what’s the difference between an AR-15 and a nuclear warhead except the rate at which it can kill people? Surely a peaceful citizen in possession of a nuke can only serve to keep the government from infringing upon our rights, right? Or are you willing to admit that there should be a line between the weapons available to the armed forces and the weapons placed in the hands of the average citizen?

    So, the mere presence of a car, a knife, a bath tub (how many moms have drowned their kids) all make life more dangerous and therefore should be banned, right?

    No, because cars, knives, and bath tubs serve useful purposes. They can be subverted to devious ends, but their sole purpose is not to cause the greatest amount of destruction in the shortest amount of time.

    I say again, you’re free to disagree with me (obviously you do). That’s fine. You have made it clear that somebody out there thinks differently from me. I accept that. But I don’t see myself changing my stance on the necessity of citizen-owned assault rifles anytime soon. In light of the fact that neither of us is likely to budge, and since our debate isn’t going to sway government policy one way or the other, I humbly suggest that we put this debate to bed.

    • LC,

      I appreciate your willingness to explain and have a conversation about this issue. – I agree we probably won’t change the other person’s mind but we are also trying to expound upon our ideas so the people who are uncommitted can make a rational informed decision.
      I hope you’ll continue for at least one or two more rounds. There are points you made that need to be explored.

      I may not have explicitly addressed this, but I believe my intention is clear: there is no difference at all.

      This is very important – and one that many people will not admit, thanks for doing that, in regards to your earlier statement of the gun control advocates’ (and your apparently) goal:

      Red repeats the gun control mantra: they are not in favor of banning all guns – just the military-grade assault weapons that can kill the most people in the shortest time

      If there is not legal or functional difference; then no firearm is safe from being banned. Which completely negates the purpose of the 2nd Amendment. What people want to do is selectively restrict people from their right to keep and bear arms e.g. you can marry a person of the opposite sex (own this gun) but you can’t marry a person of the same sex (you can’t own THAT gun) only on the basis of personal opinion or belief.

      Your sentence also betrays a near total lack of understanding in the difference – or a deliberate attempt to conflate — between military select fire weapons (one trigger pull many rounds) and the most commonly available and used semi-automatic weapons (one trigger pull, one round).

      Your sexuality is neither an opinion nor a personal bias.
      You are correct in saying that but the restrictions placed into law regarding same sex marriage are nothing but opinion and bias. Does that make sense? Just like your rationale for wanting to ban some firearms is based on nothing but personal opinion.

      No, because cars, knives, and bath tubs serve useful purposes.

      And the corollary to that that firearm have no useful purpose? Right?
      Except that is clearly and factually false. Even ‘military grade’ select fire weapons clearly have a place; the militia. They have a sporting purpose also. The semi-automatic versions commonly used are useful in self defense, hunting, recreational shooting. It is, just like tubs, cars and knives, the subversion from their lawful use that is the problem.
      So logically if you want to ban item X for that reasoning then item Y has to be banned for the same reasoning.

      Or are you willing to admit that there should be a line between the weapons available to the armed forces and the weapons placed in the hands of the average citizen?

      No I’m not willing to admit that. The military is composed of ‘the average citizen’. I should know I was one of the military.

      Bob S.

      • I never said or implied that firearms had no useful purpose, and I did not intend for my arguments to lead to that conclusion. I actually outlined several useful purposes of firearms. All I said was that unless you are actively serving in the military, or in the reserves, there’s no need for most people to handle or own firearms that do what smaller guns do, but faster. That is my distinction. I’m not going to sort out every model and style of gun to decide whether it should be allowed for John Q. Public to own it or not. I made a broad statement – intentionally broad – that I am uncomfortable with the idea that practically anybody can get their hands on extremely dangerous weapons.

        I asked if you thought the public should have access to attack helicopters and nuclear weapons. You did not directly answer, although you said you didn’t think there should be a line drawn between the weapons available to the military and the population at large. I simply cannot agree with that statement.

        Please allow me to explain ONE MORE TIME why handguns, cars, bath tubs, and knives should not be banned but assault rifles should be heavily restricted: while handguns, bath tubs, etc, CAN be used by criminals to do evil things, I believe they serve a purpose to the greater good that outweighs their potential use by criminals. I DO NOT think that assault rifles have the same benefit; I think their capacity to do harm outweighs their benefit. Also, I’m not comfortable with the people who appoint themselves to the task of defining the kind of “tyranny” that would warrant an armed response.

        Now I’ve said the same thing numerous times, and so have you. I think we’ve both presented our arguments. You’ve been fairly civil, and I appreciate that. I’m not trying to end this debate so I can pretend I won; I’m ending the debate because I don’t see either of us making any headway in the foreseeable future, and frankly, because I’m ready to move on with my life. I’d like to thank you once again for your comments. Take care.

  4. I had gay sex, no one died. I own several firearms some that you probably don’t want me to have, no one died. Buying a gun kills no one, owning it kills no one, target practice kills no one, hunting kills no one only if I choose to murder people does my gun hurt anybody. Lets just make murder illegal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s