Category Archives: Ramblings

How to Argue if You Actually Care About the Truth

Well, it has taken the rapidly degrading state of conversation on the internet to pull me out of my self-imposed, unannounced blogging break.

I don’t know about your facebook feed, but mine is filled with lots and lots of people disagreeing with each other, sometimes quite respectfully, but often not.  If you are one of those blessed few who has not noticed this phenomenon, that is wonderful!  Here is a cute picture of a puppy.  You may stop reading now.


Daawwww. So cute. Found on pixabay

If you are still here, let us together embark on a crash course in proper ways to engage in productive arguments.

 Please note, this article is not inspired by anyone in particular but is the fruit of dozens of conversations I have participated in, and hundreds more that I have observed.

1.  Avoid Confirmation Bias

We are all guilty of it, myself included, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work to avoid it.  Look at the other side of the argument.  Realize that there is a chance that you might be wrong, or at least that the other side holds a more nuanced position than you previously thought.  Don’t keep yourself in an information bubble and only read sources that confirm your views.   Before you post something on facebook, take a minute to fact check it.

Image result for meme about fact checking

“I’m the Doctor, and I approve this message.”

Here is a perfect example from a few years back:

Image result for isis flag in dearborn michigan

That is terrifying and it seemed plausible so people went ahead and shared it.

Only trouble is they got it all wrong.  As this Detroit-based news station reported:

Hundreds of people in Dearborn are taking a stand against ISIS and terrorist attacks

Image result for isis flag in dearborn michigan

Image taken from the website

What was really pictured was a group of Muslims gathering to PROTEST ISIS, not march in support of them.  That kind of changes the story completely.

2.  Assume that your “opponent” has rational reasons for their views unless they give you concrete reasons to believe otherwise.  

If they are using poor logic or incorrect data, tactfully point it out to them.  Don’t dismiss their views by searching for some non-rational source for their beliefs.

Here are some gems that I have gotten:

“You’re just hormonal.”  Which translates to, “Silly woman, ideas are for men.”

“You just think that because you are a millennial.”   I guess they are right, I should go get my sippy cup, and wait till I am over 40 to have any opinions.

“If you hold that opinion it might be because demons are influencing you.”    . . . .um?

“You think that way because of the Dunning-Krueger effect.” In this case, the implication being that I can’t appreciate Donald Trump’s immigration policies primarily because I am less intelligent.

These are all examples of ad hominem attacks.

Image result for ad hominem meme

Don’t criticize your opponent, criticize their ideas.  Even if you strongly disagree with them, don’t dismiss their ideas out of hand as having no basis in reality.  Talk with the person, find out WHY they believe what they do.  If you disagree with them address their mistaken assumptions, or logical leaps, not why you believe they as a person have thus far been unable to see the truth.  Maybe you will find their ideas are more rational than you initially thought.

3.  If you realize your opponent is correct on a point, admit it.  

The purpose of the discussion should be about TRUTH, not verbally beating the other person to a pulp.  Enough said.

4.  Be charitable. 

Finally, and most importantly, assume the person you are conversing with has good intentions.  To this end, it helps not to get into a tribalist “us vs. them” mindset.  Everybody is seeking after the good (either real or perceived), people just have different ideas of how to prioritize goods, or how to go about achieving them.  For example, those on both sides of the gay marriage debate believe that love and marriage are very important things.  The disagreement lies in whether the state should recognize homosexual unions as marriage and confer the same benefits as it does to heterosexual married couples.  Let’s not assume that the other person is secretly intending to bring about the collapse of society or hates everyone who disagrees with him.

I find it very important to avoid cursing and name calling.  Saying, “F#%@ that orange man, and his little wall too” or “those idiot liberals deluded by the Main Stream Media ” is not going to convert anyone to your viewpoint.


May I ask my readers to do me a favor?  If you catch me breaking any of my rules while arguing either online or in person, call me out on it; just do it nicely, pretty please.

Together we can make America’s arguments more calm and productive, one facebook post, and holiday gathering at a time.

What are your favorite logical fallacies?  Bonus trivia, who can guess how many times my kids woke me up last night?  I’ll give a hint it was more than five.  

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends.    


Restlessness, Blogging and The Sinner’s Guide to NFP, (aka What I Read This Past Month)

As I reviewed my reading list from this past month, I realized I had only read three books, which is on the low side as of late.

My first reaction was shame, thinking, “How could I have read so little!  There are so many books on my to-be-read list!”  There was a time ten years ago when I could to polish off a book every day or two.

Then I realized that during this same period last year I had probably read about 1/3 of one book, and remembered that my reading resolution for this year was to read one book every two months.

Suddenly, I feel pretty good about my reading habits this past month.  Ah, life with two toddlers.

But I digress  . . . Here is what I have been reading this month:


1.  Restless: Because You Were Made for More                                 by Jennie Allen 

A fantastic book about examining all of the different threads in your life (talents, circumstances, people, places, etc.) to prayerfully determine the unique way you are called to serve God in your life.  I really need to give this book a post of its own to give it the treatment that it deserves.

This is not a book to read quickly, this is a book to ponder and slowly reflect on its themes.  I LOVE the author’s writing style, in many regards it is how I hope to evolve my style over time.  The only critique I would give is that she uses short sentences more frequently for emphasis, and this makes the last few chapters feel a hair staccato.

Letter Grade: A


2.  How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul                        by Ruth Soukup

I feel that I should first clear the air by saying: I have no intention of blogging for profit.  Someday I could see myself offering ad space to businesses that I feel strongly about or joining Amazon’s affiliate program to defray my costs, but that would be about it.  I have no illusions of making this a profitable business.

That being said, this book has lots of helpful suggestions for improving navigation, site design, and networking, which are all goals that I do have for this little blog home of mine.

The author clearly knows what she is talking about; the book is chock full of information, but is an easy read.

I read the book for free from Amazon’s Lending Library for Prime members, but am considering buying it so that I can have it on hand to refer to.

Letter Grade: A-


3.  The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning                           by Simcha Fisher

Can I just start by saying a big THANK YOU to Simcha for writing an intelligent, balanced, orthodox and even hilarious book on NFP.  (For those who haven’t heard of NFP, it is a fertility awareness based method of family planning that uses knowledge of the woman’s body and cycles to empower the couple with information that can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy.)

My parents are NFP teachers and I focused on modesty, human sexuality, and human dignity during my theology studies in college, so I have had a great deal of exposure to literature and presentations on the topic.  Simcha’s is the best book on the topic that I have read yet.  She acknowledges how difficult it can be and doesn’t sugar coat things in order to better “sell” it.  This book doesn’t teach the method, or delve deeply into sexual morality; what it does do is provide a reminder for those who have chosen this path about the true benefits that it does bring to relationships, and encouragement on how to carry the cross of the sufferings that practicing NFP and periodic abstinence presents.  I highly recommend this book to Catholic married couples.

Letter Grade: A-

Well there you have it.  My reading list may have been small, but I enjoyed each of the books on it.  Will be linking up with the lovely Anne of for Twitterature tomorrow.  (Side note I found out about the first two books through her blog which has notifications for kindle daily deals, and Prime lending library recommendations.  Go check her blog out!)


Any of the above books look interesting or relevant to you?  Do you ever longingly remember the days of your youth when there was more time to read?  Tell me about it in the comments!



Slugs, Sacraments, and Smoochable Nephews, Oh My!

Slugs, Sacraments, and Smoochable Nephews, Oh My!

This weeks post is made possible by the letter “S” which starts such words as Slugs, Sacraments and Smoochable.

OK the last one isn’t a real word.  It should be. This is my attempt at lobbying for its inclusion in the English language.  Because it perfectly describes:

1. My smoochable new nephew!  He is a week old today.  And has red hair!  He is pretty much the cutest little thing.

2.  Said nephew will be receiving the Sacrament of baptism this Sunday!  We will be hosting the baptismal party.  The church is getting a new little member, time to paaaartaaay.  Anybody have any cool baptismal party tips to add to my growing repertoire?

3. This dovetails nicely with our School lesson for the week: B is for Baptism.  We just started doing a little bit of pre-school with Sammy.  I think he was bored and needing more intellectual stimulation.  Now he looks forward to doing the lessons everyday.  We are primarily using Catholic Icings curriculum, adding in a few things and dividing up the activities for throughout the week.  photo (7)

For this week: Monday we introduced the letter of the week and went through a grab bag of items that started with it.  Tuesday we read about the Saint of the week, Bernadette, talked about the healing waters of Lourdes, and compared this to Baptism waters which heal us from sin.  We were supposed to use some Lourdes water I had, but the kids were whacking each other with books so the lesson got cut short.  Wednesday, we were supposed to talk about creation which is the current unit study he is working on and color a page from a creation coloring book.  He wasn’t interested so we skipped it this week.  He did do a little music lesson and learned about the key of C; he was super into the music lesson.  Thursday we read the Bible Verse for the week and were going to read the passage about the Baptism of Jesus, but he wasn’t interested so we skipped it and instead did the lesson I scheduled for today.  That lesson involved looking at pictures of the baptism, holding baptismal candles, looking at the baptismal garments, etc.  They both loved looking at the pictures, and Sammy asked many good questions about his baptism.

In addition we use an online program called Reading Eggs for phonics.  For all aspects of the schooling we do as much or as little as Sammy wants.

4.  Instead of today’s lesson we took a social outing and went to the Children’s Museum in the town north of us.  Most of it was geared to kids older than Sammy, but he found plenty of things to hold his interest.  Ana had fun just wandering around taking in everything.

5.  Sunsets are food for my soul.  I caught one while popping outside to catch a little more vitamin D.  I need to do that more often.

6. Slugs.  

photo (9)

Ignore the really poorly done stenciling, this one falls behind the dryer.


They are mocking me, spreading their slime all over the laundry room wall I finished stenciling.  But I will have my revenge.  I found how they are getting in and responded by covering the opening in salt.  St. Francis does not approve this message.

7.  Surprises.  In addition to being sponsored by the letter “S,” this post is brought to you by my husband, who has sent me to the office so that he may cook dinner for me.  I have no idea what he has planned, but I know it is going to be sooo good.  Seriously, when we got married, he taught me how to cook, not the other way around.  I am very blessed.

Linking up with Jen from Conversion Diary for Seven Quick Takes!


What are you all up to this weekend?  Are you homeschooling any toddlers?  Being tormented by slugs?  Do you agree that smoochable should be a word?  Tell me about it in the comments!



“Stayin Alive” A Soundtrack for the Late Work Nights

. . . or in my case, the husband’s late work nights.  Nathan expects to have put in sixteen hours at work today.

Sammy decided to celebrate this by making it his mission to dump out anything he could get his hands on in the kitchen while he was “helping” me make dinner.  Among other things, throughout the course of our meal prep he dumped out the container of popcorn kernels, the box of tea bags, the large shaker of garlic powder and for his grand finale, half a gallon of kefir water . . . all over his sister’s head.  Each time I was within a few feet of him.  This kid is talented.  In addition while cleaning up one of his messes, he decided to, in his words “practice potty training” in the kitchen . . . yeah.

In an effort to distract him and maintain my sanity I created the following playlist.  There was much dancing and singing, and less dumping out of foodstuffs.  We’re calling it a win.

For your listening pleasure I present my late work night desperation playlist:

1.  Eye of the Tiger- Survivor

Because its awesome.

2.  Livin on a Prayer- Bon Jovi

We were totally “livin on a prayer” tonight, begging God for the grace to keep my cool.  Also Ana looked at me in awe as I belted out this song.  Sammy looked at me like I was insane.

3.  I will Survive- Gloria Gaynor

So hypothetically, my young little college freshman self ran around in circles belting out this song during my first finals week hyped up on waaaaay too much sugar and caffeine.  That is only hypothetically mind you.

4.  Stayin’ Alive- Bee Gees

The title says it all.

5.  I Need a Hero- Bonnie Tyler

Fortunately I found my hero in my husband.  I don’t know how he finds the strength to work these insane hours for our family.

6. The Final Countdown- Europe

With any luck we are in the home stretch now . . .

7.  We Are the Champions- Queen

Because “Weeee’ll keep on fighting till the end . . .”

Quick disclaimer: I did not watch every second of the footage in the videos.  From what I skimmed I didn’t see anything terribly inappropriate, other than lots of men impersonating women with long hair and very skinny jeans.

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for her Seven Quick Takes linkup.

Do you have a playlist that helps you get through the crazy long days?  Are any of your favorites on this list?