Letters to the Editor – March 1, 2011
The slippery slope fallacy
I would like to point something out in defense of the two Regents who voted against the LGBT legislation, and their stated reasoning (at least, their reasoning as I understand it from your editorial). You dismissed the argument presented by Faculty President Dehn as a “slippery slope fallacy.” I felt the need to get up on my little electronic soapbox and address the idea of the slippery slope argument as a fallacy, so here goes!
You outlined a few excellent reasons that transgender students should be considered among this legislation as well, such as disproportionate instances of violence, rape, and suicide. The slippery slope argument comes in right here. I don’t know what the University’s specific qualifications are for inclusion in the NDP, so I will use yours. You argued that the documented evidence of transgender victimization “means that they deserve to be protected.” With this as our qualification for inclusion in the University’s NDP (and I suspect this is very close to their own reasoning), it is not at all great leap to conclude that this will indeed open the door for future amendment.
Whether or not that is a bad thing remains to be seen, it’s entirely possible that there will be future amendments that bring about positive change. My point here is that Faculty President Dehn’s argument was not a fallacy, and that a slippery slope argument (like any argument) is only a fallacy if it isn’t founded on sound reasoning or evidence.
Thanks for your time!