I recently read a blog post my one of my mentor teachers, Jeannette LoVetri, found here. This insightful article makes the case that voice teachers should enter into discussion (and maybe argument), because it will push us all along together.
I totally agree with the premise. The only problem is when those we argue with don’t understand the rules of logic when making their argument. As I commented on her post:
…we have teachers who base entire pedagogies on opinions, aesthetic preference, and past-teacher loyalty, and when questioned, can’t entertain the idea that they might be wrong. Science and medicine do this ALL THE TIME. Science is always willing and ready to alter their views based on reproducible evidence. Scientific conferences are a bastion of argument; but usually always with the rules of logic firmly in place.
A knowledge of logic and reason, coupled with an understanding of logical FALLACIES, might actually move the dialogue forward in the manner that you have so eloquently suggested. But as long as ad hominems, ambiguity, false cause, tu quoque, and strawmen rule conversation between voice teachers, we’ll have a long road to hoe.
To that end, I am posting the 10 Commandments of Logic. I offer this as a tool to the greater community to be on guard against logical fallacies and breaches of logic when you decide to argue a point with another voice teacher.
1. Thou shalt not attack the person’s character, but the argument. (Ad hominem)
2. Thou shalt not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)
3. Thou shalt not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalization)
4. Thou shalt not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true.(Begging the question)
5. Thou shalt not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause)
6. Thou shalt not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False dichotomy)
7. Thou shalt not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false. (Ad ignorantum)
8. Thou shalt not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim.(Burden of proof reversal)
9. Thou shalt not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection.(Non sequitur)
10. Thou shalt not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true. (Bandwagon fallacy)