The Dullsvillain

Slinging mud at the media of Dullsville (aka Perth, Western Australia)

Patti “Fallacy” Chong

with 5 comments

Patti Chong’s blog continues to prove what everyone already knew: this woman is a strange fig.

In her latest The Verdict post, Patti again falls back on what’s fast emerging as her favourite rhetorical device: “Won’t somebody please think of the children”.  To wit, her opening paragraph quotes Helen Lovejoy Dietrich Bonhoffer:

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.

She goes on:

There is nothing more heartbreaking than prosecuting or defending child sex abuse cases which gives the fallacy to the above saying.

The expression she’s looking for is “gives the lie” (224,000 hits on Google), not “gives the fallacy” (7 hits).  And she doesn’t even mean what she writes.  Patti is trying to say that child sex abuse cases prove that our society has failed the test of morality set down by Bonhoffer.  But what she actually says is that child sex abuse cases prove that Bonhoffer’s statement is false.

whoops

It’s amazing that Patti Chong gets away with muddy thought and expression like this.  The woman is a famous LAWYER.  Logic and communication is supposed to be her game, but she doesn’t seem to get it.  Her very next paragrapher is a logic-clanger that a first year philosophy undergrad would spot from a mile off:

If the test of the morality of our society is what it does for our children, then we must be living in a decaying society or one that is lacking in any moral values.

Even assuming that Bonhoffer’s test is true, Patti’s argument here goes something like this:

I have seen a lot of child sex abuse cases.  Therefore, society accepts child sex abuse.

Just doesn’t follow.  If you’re generous, you might call it weak inductive logic.  But it’s probably just hyperbole.  Either way, it’s a logical fallacy.  How’s that for “gives the fallacy”?

I called Patti out in a comment on her blog:

Patti, by the nature of your job you are exposed to allegations of this sort on a magnitude that most other people are not. How does it follow that “we must be living in a decaying society or one that is lacking in any moral values”?

Come on. If our society had no moral values, we wouldn’t prosecute these people at all. That statement is either shady inductive logic, or hyperbole. So which is it?

Of course, Patti responded with an absolute corker:

Dick

what I meant about ‘ living in a decaying society or one that is lacking in moral values’ is a reference to the proliferation of alleged perpetrators.Why are there so many people who think it is alright to sexually abuse children?

Child sex cases are so common that no member of the public is ever in court to see how such cases are tried. It is embarrassing and people like to sweep it under the carpet and pretend it does not happen.

Patti

Patti [sic]

She should have answered with a simple “Dick, it was shady inductive logic”, because she pulls some shockers in her answer by baselessly claiming that:

  • there has been a “proliferation” of perpetrators (a subsequent commenter named Harold thoroughly puts the lie to that by pointing out that the number of cases has been steady for the past decade);
  • a lot of people think it is “alright to sexually abuse children” (Sure they do, Patti); and
  • child sex cases don’t get public attention, and in fact people like to pretend that it does not happen(!).

Right, because this child sex case wasn’t one of WA Today’s top stories yesterday and WA Today’s front page didn’t contain two prominent links to child sexual abuse stories today:

under the carpet

And look who it is!

Shut up, Patti.

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Written by Dick

July 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm

5 Responses

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  1. several things wrong with Patsy’s column

    she misquoted Bonhoeffer, and misspelled his name. The usual quote is translated as ‘The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children’, and the alternate version ‘does for its children’ is not usually interpreted as ‘does TO its children’

    she has no evidence on which to base her assertion the abuse is ‘rampant’, apart from one anecdote from a social worker, and most stats suggest reported incidents are, thankfully, down.

    possibly another column she knocked out at 2am the morning before deadline, possibly using Sattler’s notes

    skink

    July 31, 2009 at 10:57 am

  2. furthermore, she says that more cases are going to court due to the stigma slowly being removed, and also that more cases proceed to trial because the burden of proof is so high, but then wonders aloud why there are more trials.

    finally, she has a marvellously contorted suggestion that an alleged perpetrator may walk free from court, but he is still likely to reoffend and requires treatment.

    The first lawyer I heard of that does not believe in the assumption of innocence even if the case is not proven.

    skink

    July 31, 2009 at 11:07 am

  3. and she also seems to be channelling Whitney Houston at the end

    skink

    July 31, 2009 at 11:32 am

    • Thanks skink, I should never have assumed that anything was right in a Patti article, even the spelling of the bloke’s name that she quotes in the lead.

      As for Whitney, spot on, and it’s not the first time.

      Dick

      July 31, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  4. she’s gone

    apparentl all the negativity and hostility of bloggers has got to her

    not so strong and formidable after all

    …she breaks just like a little girl

    skink

    August 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm


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