Lesson in Logic

March 28, 2007

Christianity Today's Weblog offered a much needed lesson in logic to the Institute on Religion and Democracy. The IRD had attacked Richard Cizik of the National Association Evangelical (see my previous posts on this issue here, here, and here). The IRD claimed that Cizik was leading the NAE to become focused on issues of lesser importance. As "proof," they noted that the subjects on which the media recently covered the NAE:

By far the leading issue linked to the NAE was the environment and global warming, with 37 percent of the non-Haggard-scandal mentions. ... If this Nexis search is any indication, the NAE certainly has not been caught up in the 'hot button' culture wars issues. Only three percent of the NAE media mentions related to its opposition to same-sex marriage, and less than one percent involved opposition to abortion.
CT then offered this great reminder to the IRD:
Uh, or is it possible that there's a phenomenon known as pack journalism, wherein reporters tend to quote each others' sources, follow up on each others' stories, and feed the same narrative? And it's also possible, as George Gerbner postulated, that mass media coverage cultivates attitudes about people that do not correspond to reality. That media outlets keep covering Cizik's environmental views means that reporters find those views interesting. It doesn't mean that Cizik talks about the environment 37 percent of the time. And that reporters seldom quote Cizik on same-sex marriage and abortion may simply mean that they have others in their Rolodexes that they prefer to call on those subjects.
An excellent point! This is a great reminder about making sure one thinks through an argument before making it. The IRD--and many other Christians--often display very poor logic. It is time for us to serve the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, body, and mind!

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