“I’m a simple man…”

“It’s really a simple matter of…”

“…That settles it.” (Following a too-brief summary of one side of an argument.)

I’ve encountered this “argument” (if you can call it that) frequently enough that I believe it worthy of advocating for recognition as a logical fallacy. I would call it an argumentum ad simplicitate, or an “appeal to simplicity”—or perhaps just the “simple man fallacy.”

What’s a Fallacy?

Logical fallacies are a fascinating part of everyday conversation, as well as more formal discourse. A bare definition is an argument that is invalid because it uses faulty reasoning. There are a lot of fallacies; some of them relate to the specific form of an argument, such as equating something with a high probability as being absolute; others (by far the longer list) are related to the content of the argument itself. …

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As a full-time freelance writer, editor, and designer, I regularly bump into resistence to the rates I (and other freelancers) charge. Why do we charge what we do for our services?

Part of the premise of the question comes from a presumption that is, I think, common especially with businesses and organizations that employ freelance contract work. The thinking goes something like this: “If we tasked an employee with this work on a full-time basis, it wouldn’t cost nearly as much on a per-hour basis as the rates this freelancer asks.”

That’s probably true. …

Dear friend who wrote to ask me for writing career advice:

Thanks for writing. It’s always good to hear from you, and I am both humbled and honored that you would seek me out for advice. I want to take the time to give you a thorough response, and I also want to be perfectly frank with you about what challenges lie ahead.

Writing has never been my “full-time” pursuit; even now, making my living as a freelancer, writing only accounts for about 25% of my total income. I get the sense from the other writers I know that the number of them that make their entire living as a writer is very small indeed; thus, I am pleased to have as much opportunity to publish as I do. …

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Monty Brewster’s campaign slogan may be more appealing to some.

Given that all of his opponents have dropped out of the race, it now seems clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 general elections. The party convention in July may yet hold a few surprises, but if RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s Twitter feed is any indication then party leaders are already marshalling support for a unified party behind him.

Reince PriebusVerified account‏@Reince

.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton

Meanwhile, the battle for the Democratic nomination wages on (for now), with longtime presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton fighting off the momentum of the once-unlikely contender Bernie Sanders with a fistful of superdelegates. That convention, too, may be more interesting than most when it rolls around in August, but barring significant changes in party rules it seems that Sec. …

Taylor Swift as the latest exemplar of the “anti-celebrity.”

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Image from Billboard.com

No, not like that — I have no idea what she believes about Jesus, and she’s not vying to take his place as a vocal, public Christian. Rather, like Mr. Tebow, Ms. Swift is something of an antithesis of celebrity — the anti-celebrity, if you will.

This is not to say that Swift has not earned bona-fide celebrity status; her 2014 release, “1989,” was the year’s best-selling album, and she released a string of hits from it. Her concerts sell out, her fashion choices fly off the racks; she’s even popular with fellow celebrities, apparently as the one others seek out for home décor and gift-giving advice. …

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“Is your family coming to visit for Thanksgiving?”

I was in a conversation with several others one Sunday when this question was asked. The question was an innocent one, but the receiver literally blanched when it was directed at him. He hemmed and hawed for a moment before explaining why this wasn’t a good idea.

The main reason? His parents couldn’t keep from constantly offering “advice” and counsel about how he and his wife are raising their children. It has gotten so bad with this guy and his family that the stress from his parents’ constant critique has become a strain on their marriage — so, for the sake of his immediate family’s health, they have chosen to limit their time with in-laws significantly. …

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In 2013, I was called to serve on a federal grand jury for one of the Arizona districts. This meant that I was called upon by the government to appear every other week for one year, unless circumstantially hindered, each time for a full day of hearing cases. As a consequence of my service on a grand jury, I find myself informed and understanding of circumstances related to recent events in ways that many of my family and friends are not. I thought it would be worth some time to reflect a bit on how grand juries work.

How a grand jury is formed

Grand juries are called by random selection, like normal juries. When I was called, I was one of more than 40 people who appeared; from the 40 of us, 22 jurors and 10 alternates were chosen, again at random. There were a few who were asked to serve and were dismissed because of a hardship (in one case, the woman was the primary caregiver for an aging parent and could not afford to be gone every other week) or circumstance (in another case, the potential juror worked for a law firm which sometimes represented federal cases, and it was deemed a conflict of interest). No one was dismissed because of their profession, age, gender, political views, race/ethnicity, or for any other subjective reason. …

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If your household is like many (most?) American homes, you are starting to think of plans for Thanksgiving, which is next Thursday. Maybe you are going to a friend’s or family member’s home, and they are doing the heavy-lifting. If you’re the one responsible for the bird and most of the rest of the meal, though, then read on to learn from my experiences in preparing a dozen or so Thanksgiving dinners.

Let’s talk turkey

If you’re buying a bird, here’s what you don’t even know that you want: a fresh one. This means that it has never been stored at temperatures below 26°f (which is apparently the approximate temperature that a turkey freezes — so fresh turkeys are right at the threshold of frozen). These kinds of turkeys are always better-tasting, and they are usually better for you too; that’s because fresh turkeys are often raised without steroids or growth hormones, and sometimes they are raised in a more “free-range” way. Note: this isn’t the least-expensive kind of turkey to get, but you should be able to find one for a fair and reasonable price. Because of the way it is stored, you will obviously need to get your turkey much closer to Thanksgiving Day; stores that sell them typically accept orders and you pick them up on the Tuesday or Wednesday before. …

If you are (a) a Christian, and (b) on any social media platform, then you probably read that the city of Houston is demanding that pastors “hand over” transcripts of their sermons to city hall! Or something terrible-sounding like that. If your feeds are like mine, this news may have been accompanied by appeals to first amendment rights, discussions about pastors preaching boldly in the face of persecution, and so on.

The hyperbole I offered above is not exactly what happened, but something did, indeed, go down in Houston this week that should make pastors and other Christians take notice. …

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Image downloaded from: http://libertycitys.com/todd-gurley-suspended-alleged-400-worth-autographs/

The University of Georgia suspended their star player this week: Todd Gurley, who had been considered a Heisman Trophy candidate at one point, was suspended indefinitely, which means he likely will never play college football again.

What did Todd Gurley do? Was he caught robbing a local store? Did he get drunk and drive under the influence of alcohol? Was he accused of sexual assault? No, those kinds of offenses won’t get you an indefinite suspension in college football — at least, not one mandated by the NCAA.

No, Gurley apparently autographed 80 different items, in exchange for $400. Now, apart from the offense that comes from valuing a star player’s autograph at only $5 — because let’s face it, this guy will likely go on to play NFL and has all the makings of a star — why is that so bad? …


Ed Eubanks

I'm Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church and a freelance writer, editor, photographer, and designer. (www.edeubanks.com)

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