02 October 2005

NASA's Chewbacca

Today I heard of a logical fallacy that Wikipedia refers to as the Chewbacca Defense, as per a South Park reference. This is an argument that attempts to convince by confusion, see also the red herring fallacy.

The example that prompted me to blog about it is that NASA has been accused of misspending money by using its own planes to fly its employees around the country, rather than buying cheaper airline tickets. Said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine,

"In the environment we're in right now with tight federal budgets and the demands of responding to Hurricane Katrina, it is particularly disturbing to learn that a federal agency is not being a more careful steward of the taxpayers' dollars. There's also a waste of fuel here, too."


Um, someone explain to her that while everyone's sad about Katrinia, and yeah gas prices suck, it doesn't make NASA any more guilty of things they've done for the past 15 years. Next thing you know, in addition to reductio ad Hitlerum and reductio ad terrorism arguments being common, you'll have reductio ad Katrina arguments.

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