Debating Tricks, Tactics and Logical Fallacies

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Debating Tricks, Tactics and Logical Fallacies

Postby RA Miller » Sun May 01, 2005 11:21 pm

People are, IMO, getting emotional about crap. Formal forensic training (not CSI, that means debate) have specific words for specific debating tactics.

I haven't researched this in years, so I apologize if I don't use the words precisely, but it needs to be heard.

Strawman argument: A strawman argument is when you characterize your opponent's statements in such a way as they can be easily disproven. If person A says that "We train X so that we can learn Y which is far more important and a higher order of action." That is one statement. If person B then says, "My good friend person A say that Y is more, important, higher order and X is loely and unnecessary. I can prove that X is necessary and just as important" B has used a strawman characterization.

It is very, very similar to, Putting words in someone else's mouth, when debator B says that A said something that he didn't OR says, "From seeing his actions I can tell that he believes X"

Begging the question is when you present one fact to support your conclusion when, in reality, you need to take a good hard look at the fact. Many, many people call on experts to support their opinion... and many, many of those experts relied on shoddy research or even stated facts that their own sources don't support.

Painting with a broad brush is when you take one example and apply it to all similar things, eg, since I saw a practitioner of Y art do X, "all Y's do X."

There are more, these are just the ones off the top of my head. These have been rife in the current debate and most of the really emotional reactions have been over one of these tactics.

For what it's worth, almost everyone involved uses one or two of these frequently, they have favorites. No one is using them as a cold-blooded tactic, it's just the way they've learned to win arguments.

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Postby MikeK » Mon May 02, 2005 12:01 am

Good post Rory.

How about this debating tactic, "You just don't get it", without specifying what "it" is. Now this is different than saying "I don't think you are getting my point, I must not be making myself clear."

I love a good debate, but sometimes it seems we are debating silly little things when we should be discussing and sharing ideas.
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Postby Guest » Mon May 02, 2005 1:54 am

Good post Rory, I agree with most of it except I think very few are actually emotional.

Bingo Mike, it should be about discussing and sharing.

Lots of folks disscussing how we might better interact with one another, I see that as a positive thing.


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