(Stillness in the Storm Editor) In the following article, Shem from Discerning The Mystery offers some great insight about the straw man fallacy. While this might seem like some obscure academic reference, I can assure you that almost everyone succumbs to this kind of thinking from time to time. Briefly, raw information combined with interpretation produces a subjective experience of any data set—the automatic aspect of our philosophic nature. Facts or information alone are devoid of meaning, but when a fact or data point enters the field of our awareness, the automatic aspects of consciousness (the subconscious and superconscious) go to work. This "personalizes" the fact, producing emotions, insights, and inferences. For example, a batch of cookies baking in the oven often produces good feelings, and a desire to eat them. The smell of the cookie itself is the raw data, the fact, which is interpreted subjectively to produce secondary sensations that we normally associate with that smell. What this means is that our subjective experience acts as an intermediary between objective reality and what we perceive. We make decisions and choices from our subjective experience, not reality directly. As such, ensuring our perceptions, interpretations, and conclusions are accurate is incredibly important. In most instances, confrontations about ideas is not specific to the fact itself, it's focused on our inferences of the objective fact. We tend to confuse our interpretations with reality itself, which can lead to unproductive conversation if we aren't humble and thinking critically.
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