Editorial column: Appeal to emotion effective, but not always accurate | Rio Blanco Herald Times

Nothing pisses people off like horses, especially “savage” ones.

We have been inundated with letters and comments regarding the Piceance/East Douglas Herd Management Area BLM Wild Horse Gathering.

Interestingly, none of the letters are from people who actually live here, or people who see the horses or the range conditions on a daily basis, or people who make their living working on and with the land and have been doing so for ages. generations. .

The letters and comments tend to be romantic, anthropomorphized ideas about horses that remind me of the profuse tears I shed over Ginger’s death in “Black Beauty.” More than 40 years later, I still remember the scene where the protagonist (a horse) sees his stablemate rolled over on a cart, dead from overwork at the hands of a bad master. It left a mark on my psyche… proof of very good writing by author Anna Sewell. But this is not a fictional story, although there is a lot of fiction presented.

Using emotion to generate support for an argument is a red flag for a weak argument that is not based on facts. In the world of logical fallacy, this is called “argumentum ad passiones”, or appeal to emotion. It’s incredibly effective, because humans are emotional creatures.

Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion based on logic and facts. But fussing emotionally — whether it’s wild horses or politics — is a terrible way to arrive at a rational, factual position on a subject. And the people who use emotional appeals to influence you know what they’re doing. A call to donate your time, money, or energy usually follows. To be aware.

By NIKI TURNER – [email protected]

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