Month of Action: Plan

  1. Read about the primary fallacies, as well as example of each to ensure that a proper and thorough understanding is made. While there are many, a handful are regularly useful in everyday conversation
  2. Make a pamphlet/paper summarizing basic fallacies & distribute it on the oval/hang them up throughout campus
  3. Personally recognize and avoid using fallacious thinking/statements in daily conversation
  4. Recognize and correct when people who use these fallacies in arguments (nicely and genuinely!)
  5. Before having a discussion about any topic regarding facts, properly research beforehand as to avoid accidental misinformation (i.e. do your homework)
  6. Whenever an issue or topical item arises, review information and statistics based on several sources, so any false claims will be minimized. Especially regarding statistics, ensure the data an article/speaker claims are without asterisks. Any data cited by the media or politicians are almost always public domain and easily-accessible.
  7. Give a lesson on the definition, implications, and ramifications of fallacies
  8. Lose general apathetic tendency, itself a pre-fallacy. Using a door-opener to rationalize and justify other fallacy to prevent genuine and purposeful action.
  9. Vote in every election, including special, midterms, and primaries. Most importantly, understanding the candidates, their platforms, and their policy promises are vital. Politicians are notorious on using basic fallacies to convince and sway general voters, who mostly lack both the knowledge of fallacies and of the policies themselves. By recognizing when politicians “lie” through fallacy, general decision making is much more difficult.
  10. A tier up from the previous action, actively challenge notable figures, either in comments, phone calls, or in person when they use circular, fallacy-ridden arguments to avoid genuine discourse and mislead voters. Even relying on reporters isn’t entirely fool-proof, as they usually use tactics themselves to trip up politicians (i.e, circular arguments, slippery slope, etc)

The five options that are bold are the five that I have specifically chosen to undertake, but the others aren’t entirely difficult once understanding is established. That said, I will be attempting all of these, but the purpose of education is primary focus with this project, so I will be prioritizing the actions that educate. These are quite daunting tasks, even the ones only involving personal change, but a vital first step is reading and understanding what a fallacy is, and the different variants they come in. In proper discourse, such as in academia, when one claims a fallacy, both parties recognize the term, and reconcile their differences, and the debate grows beyond it. Since it is so deeply rooted in popular culture, from media, casual conversation, and politics, it will be very difficult to dig up, as well as make people see the depth and brevity of this issue with regard to every other issue. Also, it will be challenging to not come off as pretentious or disparaging when correcting others, as appearing like that generally just makes you insufferable and shuts down any hope of meaningful progress.

Image result for fallacy politics(Example: Straw Man)






(Example: Slippery Slope)



The Politician’s Fallacy and the Politician’s Apology


Month of Action: Mid-Point Check-In

So far, disregarding political arguments with my family, only one worthwhile (hopefully) task has been accomplished. Whilst visiting home over spring break, I decided to call an old teacher of mine, one very passionate about my topic: the general lack of understanding and systematic abuse of logical fallacies to perpetuate disinformation, propaganda, circular arguments, and genuine lies. When I called him, I asked if I could come and visit one of his classes and give a presentation on how to combat such fallacies, as well as simply giving definitions, examples, and describing the pertinentcy and breadth of the issue at hand.

While it was a relatively short and superficial description across the board, I hope that my talking to the class, at the very least, gave insight and opened up a field to some students who had never even heard of the term before. As a liberal, I couldn’t resist on attacking the absurdity of some of President Trump’s tweets, Trump himself very frequently arguing with fallacy, a favorite of his being the ‘strawman’ argument, such examples being “Lyin’ Ted,” and “Crooked Hillary,” discrediting his opponents without even addressing their argument, creating a consistent loop of mud-slinging, instead of genuine discourse.

This topic, despite my passion and genuine interest in it, is more difficult to address than I once thought, it must come off as interesting, so I’ve learned to spin it in a pop-psychology format (we humans love to know ‘tricks’ to manipulate and tear down other humans), citing plenty of examples is also a must. Despite my own failure at keeping it apolitical, that is certainly another must, with tensions and polarization higher than any point barring the Civil War, any mention of the other political side, without at least addressing both sides, renders any conversation moot, coming off as just more ‘fake news,’ or whatever term people use to justify shutting out opposition. Coming up with further engaging topics, however, is proving to be a challenge. A behavioral shift, cognitively, is difficult to justify without personal presentation, and that just isn’t feasible given the scale of the issue; any usage of an term relating to fallacy is only meaningful if all involved parties also know the term, otherwise it’s more meaningless rhetoric and the circular arguments will continue ad infinitum.


Picture: mid-sentence candid, not particularly flattering, but you can only ask so much of a technologically-impaired teacher

Issue Exploration

Foundationally, the issue of the persistent acceptance of false or misinformation is still an object of study to this day. Psychologist and sociologists around the globe conduct studies and pour over literature to try and establish links between cognitive dissonance, overconfidence, personal bias, and predisposition. None of these experts or their studies seem to have been able to provide a consistent, quantitative link to the cause of the explosion of deliberate ‘fake news,’ and the overwhelming consumption of it. But, studies have been shown that the less educated one is, the more likely they are to absorb singular sources of news and policy information. Conservatives (Note: I am attempting to remain impartial in my issue, so any partisan data shown will be raw statistics, not necessarily opinions of my own) have been shown to rely on singular news groups than liberals, specifically, Fox News. The liberal equivalent of Fox News would be CNN, also not unfamiliar with legitimate (and fabricated) claims of publishing biased, unsubstantiated news as fact.

I posit that Americans absorb outrageous, deliberate, and wholly false news specifically tailored to their own disposition, while rejecting sound, accurate data of any issue they are in opposition to. Why do they do this? While that is too ambiguous of a question to answer, it lies within to fields: simple human nature, and the decaying values of society. It is human nature to digest palatable information, it’s convenient, causes no internal strife, and provides more ammunition in case of an argument. By extension, the average American, who is not particularly politically active, (only 60% of eligible voters voted in 2016, with midterms and local elections drastically decreasing) will not concern themselves heavily with politics, so they will happily tune into the pundit who agrees with them and base their schema on the opinion of that pundit. A pew research study showed that 60% of American adults believe that the news should present just the facts, and that interpretation is not necessary. In the same study, 81% of registered voters believe that Trump and Clinton supporters not only disagree on matters of policy, but on matters of fact. To summarize the findings, they lean toward the notion that Americans wants the news to be the facts–but only as they want the facts to be. Recently, the “backfire effect” purported that as facts are presented that disagree with a predisposition, that person will sink further into their own beliefs. However, this effect failed to be replicated across all studies except for one, revealing that the root cause isn’t that Americans refuse to accept rival information–it’s that Americans aren’t exposed to rival information, and if they are, it’s presented by somebody they perceived as already biased, defeating any data they can show. Society has simple be geared toward satisfying personal whims, and with every niche so readily satisfied, close-minded echo-chambers are becoming more and more common, and now reaching a point of eruption across political lines.                                     Beyond the philosophical ramifications, there are real-world threats to ‘fake news.’ In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped approximately 200 girls from a small village in Nigeria. When news broke, the tag “#BringBackOurGirls” trended, showing worldwide unity. However, the Nigerian government refused to acknowledge the event had ever happened, this lead to a deadlock, and an inability of rescuers to aid the girls. Nigeria spun a narrative that entirely denied the situation, despite clear and present evidence that it had, and since the people of Nigeria had access to only state-run media, (if that) there were no protests, no outrage, because the people were told falsehoods presented as fact. This story is told in Stephanie Busari’s Ted Talk “How Fake News Does Real Harm”

While no issue specifically pertains to this, every issue, at the root, is; from the discussion, presentation, discourse, and application, the ability of politicians and their constitutions to discern truth from lies, specifically in the free press guaranteed in the US, is vital to maintain a proper, healthy, functioning democracy. Currently, no organization is addressing this, likely due to the inherent bias roadblock, as well as the causally-undertermined reasoning behind the situation. All that can be done is personal education on media sourcing and legitimacy, how to fact-check, and discerning opinion from fact. Otherwise, we’re trending toward an ever-present collapse due to constant gridlock, cherry-picked facts, and explosive opinions.





Issue Selection


While thinking of something meaningful, something that both truly plagues the world, and actually captures my interest, several ideas flipped through my mind. Originally, I thought a climate-oriented topic was prudent and topical, given the class this assignment is for. Through that, issues such as water use, food waste, wildlife preservation, and energy renewability all had their moment as potential candidates. Following that, I thought it was necessary to expand my criteria, look beyond a topic I already knew I had passion for. I looked through my secondary interests; matters of human behavior and psychology, and politics. The former is much too improbable to tackle, given the scope of the assignment, so it was quickly eliminated. The latter, politics, had no shortage of potential topics. The (nonpartisan) options included: policy knowledgeability, political intelligence, belief justification, etc.

The issue I was left with was the fact the all of these were pretty cool to me, and I wouldn’t scoff at a research position regarding any of these topics. This project, however, lacks both the resources and innate enthusiasm that a research project would not have to worry about.

After passively pondering a few days, I began seeing the links between all of these issues. Such concrete issues as climate change, proper actions that cannot reasonably be discoursed. The links crossed into every issue I thought about, like the current fake news epidemic threatening our first amendment freedoms, a government that is almost entirely against the wishes of those who voted them in, and blatant, verifiable lies told by the leader of the free world, one of (if not: THE) most powerful person alive. Political rant over, all of these run into the same problem:

Americans (and likely the entire world), lack critical thinking skills. Not to call the average citizen stupid, as there are legitimate distinctions between smart, intelligent, and knowledgeable. The first two are relatively innate, unfortunately (barring environment effects, such as diet, local environment, etc). Being knowledgeable, however, is something we Westerners are severely lacking. Disinterest in education, as well as little desire to dig into deeper meanings, leave far too many Americans to being entirely satisfied with being told the “truth” without any argument.

Pretension aside, my issue is at the core of many issues plaguing the world, a foundational fix that will trickle upward if successfully implemented. Educating people on the simple skills of argumentation and discourse, as well as identifying and eliminating fallacies within their logic, will cure much of the issues at hand. After watching debates of pro and anti-climate change “experts,” I’ve noticed most of the argument from the anti side is simply engaging in fallacy, which fools enough of the voting members of society to erase it from their issue list. Without a doubt, this is grandiose, and possibly even too societal to even implement, however I feel it is important enough to try and to something to try and curb the outright lack of logical skills and reasoning that complicates such simple concepts, twists truths, and creates everlasting conflict.


Columbus To-Do List Part 2

Location 2–Park of Roses

On going to this park, I did not have  the highest of expectations. In my mind, a park in the middle of a city simply can’t be comparable to something like, for instance, Hocking Hills. That assumption was correct, but that does not mean this park is not gorgeous; it is arguably the most picturesque park I’ve ever been to, even in the death of late-Autumn the park retained a sense of beauty. While it isn’t the wild, untamed park that I usually prefer, it is a gorgeous scenic point. Jeremy and I came here with the intention of taking a picture, maybe having a poke around, and leaving, all in the name of necessity for this very post. But before we knew it, we had lost the day. By the time we actually got around to taking a proper photo, the sun had already began to set. If that doesn’t reveal the majesty of this place, I’m not sure what would.




Location 3–Walhalla Ravine/Hollow

Our next stop (now past sundown) was a genuinely pleasant 40 minute walk from Park of Roses, and after being thoroughly mislead by Jeremy’s Apple Maps, we arrived in near total-darkness at the street. While the camera illustrates a depressing picture, this stop hit an artistic note in me–the unique modernist architecture that blended the angles of the ravine into the construction of homes created some wonderfully created homes. Personally, my favorite was toward the top of the ravine by Indianola Avenue, a smaller home had an open-air, single-car garage on its ‘roof,’ with a staircase leading down to the front door and the rest of the time. Homes like this, and others, really provide a sense of beauty that the efficiency-minded construction on most blocks in a concrete jungle such as Columbus that cannot be found elsewhere

Location 4–Studio 35 

To be honest, this stop was more of a curiosity into the building itself rather than the fact it played movies. We were both interested in the revival of a lost piece of American heritage–the local movie theater. We were not let down either, the building itself maintains a classic feeling, of what I would describe as a blast into the 1950’s; like I was in Hill Valley of the 1950’s, from Back to the Future. When we entered it was also a very clean, trendy place, with all modern pieces of luxury, and a beautiful dark-wood theme that gave it a warmth that typical black-and-blue carpet theaters such as AMC fails to provide. It felt clean, not like a gross, sticky mess. The Gateway is closer, so I will likely be attending there for most of my theater visits on campus, but Studio 35 is definitely a treasure worth seeing.




Location 5–Clintonville Outfitters

If I am to be entirely candid, I am not a fan of shopping, I have the philosophy that if I go to the store, I am very seldom there for the long haul; get-in and get-out. This place does represent something I care much more for though; the return of local business, small shops. Clearly, this store fills the niche that big box-stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Bass Pro Shops would usually satisfy. Much akin to my thoughts of Lucky’s Market, it is representative of a positive trend toward a stronger community, smaller businesses, and more compassionate companies. While the store itself isn’t not spectacular, I would definitely go there before I would visit a larger, multinational company. There is truly something more special about contributing to local economy and real people, rather than to faceless corporations.


From this assignment, I learned that Columbus is much more alive than I previously believed. It also helped me leave my comfort bubble within campus, growing up in the middle of nowhere, walking at night wasn’t anymore dangerous than walking around during the day, either way there was a 50% of getting attacked by a herd of angry geese. I had always been told that cities were scary at night, and upstanding citizens shouldn’t leave their homes after the sun sets, but this journey really helped dispel that assumption. Since most of our trip was done in the dark of night, we got plenty of experience, and what we saw was nothing out of the ordinary, and while I won’t be walking down unlit alleyways still, I won’t cower and call an Uber at the first sign of darkness. Exploring Walhalla ignited an itch that was dormant for a very long time in me, and that itch is a fascination for architecture and the infinite possibilities of construction, taking every angle of the surroundings and utilizing them instead of plowing them all flat and constructing the same boring house as the rest on the street. If there are any, I would definitely love to explore any places that break typical mold of “tall, rectangular, concrete” in city structures. I would recommend anybody to Walhalla, but they must come with the mindset that what they take out of it is what they put into it. It isn’t a store, nor is it a particularly nice place, nor does it ‘do’ anything. It’s beauty in a very simple form, a form that, in the modern age of over-consumption of luxury and its abundance in any second in every medium, is increasingly seldom.

Career Exploration Assignment

Currently, I’m likely in an intermediate stage between “self-assessment” and “career-exploration” in terms of my exploration process. I know the region in which I’m interested–biological/life sciences, but, that being a very large umbrella of opportunity, my specialization within that umbrella is where I’m unsure. Not to sound overly critical, but this workshop taught me essentially nothing regarding my personal interests–possibly because of my unique circumstance, or maybe because I’ve taken more extensive ‘personality’ tests before, so anything this test could tell me is the personal equivalent of reading my astrology sign. Not entirely dismissing the test, however, and while it’s true I do not and will not give it much credence regardless, the results do coincide with my interests.

The results of my test were some assortment of I, S and A when taken during class, with investigative being placed first and S or A taking second. Out of curiosity, and hopes to remove personal bias, I took the test administered by the website, which placed me as a dual IRA/IRS set–the third value changing the results minutely. Included in my results were primarily job zone ‘5,’ which, while education-intensive, are careers that lie greater with my interests. Some of which were various degrees of physicians, specialist physicians, and researchers in various fields, including physics, chemistry, environmental, and nuclear. Spread out in the mix were jobs that piqued my interest, namely the biological researching careers, and since I’m unsure of where I want to go in in that same umbrella, the wide breadth of opportunities are a comforting sight. All of the ‘good’ ones, the juicy, challenging, research careers that I would like to stem toward are all level ‘5’ however, which means no less than a master’s degree, and likely a PhD or similar doctoral distinction. While expensive and beyond time intensive, I doubt I could find lasting satisfaction in any one field with any significant period of longevity without constant intellectual challenge being present. Trying to avoid pretention in my personal analysis, but I am very unsatisfied with mundane tasks, I could not be truly happy with life unless I felt my career led to the betterment of life, whether that be the Earth, people, or even merely paving the way for somebody else to make a difference. As far as what to do now, not failing is certainly a high priority for the academic pursuits, as well as finding some level of undergraduate distinction via research or some similar output.

Columbus To-Do List: Part 1

For part 1, I went with fellow first-year scholar, Jeremy Schwochow, to “Lucky’s Market,” under the “Clintonville” list. Further on the list, I am excited about visiting the Wallhala Ravine. The geological history of it, the fact that there is a ravine in what is typically noted as an exceedingly flat part of an exceedingly flat state, is a very interesting quirk. Upon further investigation of it, however, I am most excited to see the architecture of the homes within the ravine, as they are notably designed. Unlike most buildings in Columbus, they were designed with an artistic respect to the surroundings, instead of a completely unremarkable concrete block that maximizes efficiency and takes no consideration to natural topography. It ignited a passion for novelty, as I have seen postmodern homes online, but I have never been close enough to see them in person, with consideration to natural phenomena. Hopefully, this assignment will force me to leave the comfort of the campus, and erase the unease and confusion surrounding public transportation (coming from a farm, buses may as well be UFO’s–my school didn’t even have buses for most students until my fifth grade year). Exploring the city is always something on my mind, and something I have genuine interest in, but it’s always sidelined for an eternal ‘later,’ this makes me explore without having it also feel like just another assignment. In typical fashion, we went to Lucky’s Market last night, the day before the deadline, and, to be honest, we were entirely unimpressed. We searched for novelty as much as we could, but we left seeing it as a convenient ‘Kroger’ style grocery store, focusing on more local products, like vegetables and in-house bakery items. It is nice to see an affordable, local, and convenient store right

down the street, but it is also not entirely remarkable, different iterations of this same store can likely be seen in any major city or town, especially one with a prosperous counter-culture/post-consumerism (hipster) population such as Columbus. I would not recommend this location to somebody with the goal of them exploring the city, but I would certainly recommend it to somebody who is tired of Walmart style box stores, or even somebody who offhandedly mentions needing some produce I would likely point them toward Lucky’s. Criticism aside, the coolest thing there was the candy-store style candy dispensers, however the availability of smoked Gouda forces me to give this place the highest praise, because smoked Gouda is the bomb.


VIA Strengths Inventory

My top five character strengths:

1.) Judgement- Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.

2.) Curiosity- Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.

3.) Creativity- Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.

4.) Humility- Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.

5.) Leadership- Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same time maintain good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

If I were to create this list myself, I would have likely placed judgement, curiosity, and humility high up on the list. Creativity and leadership surprised me, upon reading creativity’s description, it seems more apt to my character than I assumed, the word creativity inspires images of artistic masterpieces and musical genius, both of which are certainly not strengths of mine. I would have placed love of learning and kindness higher than 9 and 8 (respectively), however these categories all appear to have some degree of overlap, such as curiosity and creativity corresponding significantly. There is no specific time any of the strengths are particularly pertinent; they aren’t perks that can be dished out when the time calls–they are melded into every facet of life, whether leadership is important in a scenario or not, the traits of leadership are still infused in every action. Of the top five strengths, I personally value curiosity the most, however it is a close race between judgement. Curiosity prevents life from being boring and stagnating as a human; if you live the same life every day, why bother after the first day? In this increasingly-toxic world of political incorrectness and prioritizing shock-value over education and truth, judgement is a virtue that seems to have decayed in society.

This, is Oreo. Living in an exceedingly rural area, you get used to people abandoning their pets on your property. While we do tend to every creature that gets dumped, our involvement isn’t intensive. Usually, the ditched animals are elderly, sick, too large, or simply unwanted, so we feed them and give them shelter until they’re ready to move on. Oreo’s mother was pregnant when she was ditched, she gave birth in my barn and left, never to be seen again. Her babies, however, were left alone and without a mother. There were originally 5 kittens, Oreo was the only one who survived, due to various reasons, and if it were not due to the infusion of my traits, (again, actions are never determined by just one trait) none of the kittens would have made it. Long nights of bottle feeding, bowel movements, and a very loud mew resulted in this new addition to the Kramer family, Oreo.

The choice for this scenario to represent a trait is entirely arbitrary, as the point I’ve been trying to make throughout is that every action is a result of every trait. I simply think she is adorable so I wanted to post a picture of her!


Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]