Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
The end of the world will occur at three p.m., this Friday, with symposium to follow.

2006.12.18

A Case Study In Professional Sloppy Thinking

Reporter Jennifer Mooney Piedra of the Miami Herald either lacks the skills for critical thinking, is pushing a personal agenda, or both. Ms. Piedra’s “reporting” provides us with a classic example of category error thinking.

60 Second Course In Logic: A category error in thinking is what is at the root of solving the wrong problem, fixing what isn’t broken. A common example is the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Japanese sailed their navy across the Pacific Ocean and attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor with aircraft launched from ships. Had FDR made a category error in responding to this attack, he might have outlawed all aircraft or ships since such things were used in the attack. But he didn’t make this mistake in thinking. He correctly determined that the Japanese government had used aircraft and ships to attack and so FDR declared war on Japan.

Back to Ms. Piedra’s “reporting”…

Kim Raffo was the picture-perfect mother and housewife.

She helped her two kids with science fair projects, decorated cupcakes for bake sales and volunteered for the PTA.

During the holidays, she opened her four-bedroom home in eastern Pembroke Pines to family and friends. She ”went all out” for the gatherings, serving elaborate homemade meals that would have made Martha Stewart proud, her family said.

For her daughter’s fifth birthday, she transformed her back yard into a petting zoo.

”She was Super Mom,” said her mother, Joan Daniels, of Miramar. “People looked at her in awe.”

But soon after she turned 30, the world of the well-liked, stay-at-home mom began to dissolve. Perhaps it was the continuous round of school trips, the endless birthday parties, the numerous visits to the park.

Tragically, Ms. Raffo had been murdered. From the rest of the article we learn more of the behaviors which shifted Ms. Raffo away from being a good mother: Partying, experimenting with drugs and she took off with a new boyfriend – “a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history that includes multiple arrests for felony cocaine possession, disorderly conduct and charges of soliciting a prostitute.”

As her relationship with Bilecki became more serious, so too did her addiction to club drugs, such as cocaine, Ecstasy and Xanax, her husband said.

There were nights when Raffo came home drunk or high. Other nights, she didn’t come home at all.

Hellloooooo? Do you suppose the deadbeat boyfriend was a factor? Ms. Piedra chooses to finger motherhood and parenting as the culprits, probably because such things don’t fight back – they’re the easy mark. She is implying that motherhood and parenting need to be fixed in spite of the fact that millions of parents are doing a good job each day. She has worked to massage this one tragic example to what purpose? We can only hope this is just a case of bad writing.

So how about that Mr. Bilecki? What is he in all this? A victim of that universally cruel and heartless machinery we call “parenting”, perhaps? What a sloppy, pedantic piece of reporting. Why is Ms. Piedra attempting to add to the story rather than report the story. Here’s a suggestion, Ms. Piedra, put the novel back in the desk drawer when it’s time to do your job.

(H/T: Florida Cracker)