Debate Fallacy Guide

Discussion in 'General' started by Illusion, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. Insin Space Cat

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    Logical Fallacies

    Be careful of committing some of these during debate. Recognizing them early can help prevent arguments from being totally unproductive. I have compiled a short list of popular fallacies for your reference. I hope this will help keep debates positive and not simply competitions of faulty rhetoric. I tried to simplify them as much as possible for quick viewing, see the examples if you want further clarification.


    1) Straw Man: Creating a position for your opponent that is easier to argue against, but not necessarily a valid characterization. People do this to make it easier to attack others.



    People who are very concerned about the environment value the lives of animals over people.

    Tony believes in evolution, so he thinks the world just happened magically by chance.


    2) Slippery Slope: Accepting one stance means accepting an extreme version of that stance as well. It is does not take moderate views into account.



    If we allow abortions to take place, eventually we will be killing newborn babies.

    If we allow American citizens to have guns, soon everyone will be shooting each other.


    3) Ad Hominem: Attacking the person who made the argument, and not the argument itself.


    The guy is prolife, there’s no way his views on abortion could be valid.

    ELK is a Canadian, what does he know about government?


    4) Appeal to Authority: This occurs whenever someone states a claim to be true because so-and-so said it was.



    Hitman Reborn Forums are awesome, Heero the mod said so.




    5) Appeal to Numbers/Popularity: These two are basically the same. They rely on heavy numbers or popular consensus to be evidence of a claim.



    Most people on the planet believe in some kind of higher power, therefore God must exist.

    A lot of people liked JFK, he must have been one of the best presidents in history. (actually, most of his presidency was marred by failure)


    6) SPECIAL PLEADING: Add a new equation to try and fix a failing question. This one is common in any religious debate.


    God is beyond our logic, therefore we cannot know.

    God works in mysterious ways.

    We cannot know God. (Usually this occurs whenever you have a debate some sort of religious proposition is shown to be illogical)


    7) Appeal to ignorance: Using what we don’t know as proof.



    Life definitely exists out in space since it’s so big. (Well it’s true that it is a possibility, but the vastness of space is by no means definitive proof)



    8) Begging the Question: Essentially, this is assuming an answer.



    America must invest billions of dollars for a bailout, which will save the economy. (But will a bailout work, or help the economy? Perhaps, but it is not proved by that statement.)


    9) Non Sequitur: The conclusion does not necessarily match the initial statement.



    America will come out of the recession because Obama is the man. (Maybe Obama is the man, but what if his game is off?)

    We can’t fail, God is on our side. (God seems to be on everyone’s side)


    10) Post Hoc, ergo propter hoc: “It happened after, so it was caused by…”



    When Bill Clinton went into office the economy got a lot better. (Perhaps Bill isn’t the only reason)


    Insin decided not to go to the pre-semester get together, and after he declined 6 people also declined, therefore Insin not going turned a lot of people off. (Hopefully lol, but they were probably just busy too)



    11) Circular Argument: I think this one is self explanatory.



    Religion is terrible, a lot of people are realizing how much crap it is, and since people are realizing how crappy religion is, it’s obvious that religion is terrible. (Yeah yeah, but why is it so terrible?)


    12) Excluded Middle: You essentially dichotomize everything and make it two extremes. I see this one a lot.



    If you aren’t with us, you are against us. Pretty simple.


    *Also with excluded middle comes short term versus long term.


    “Yeah, because f**king around in space is much more important than figuring out what we're doing on our home planet. Universal solar energy and fully developed and implemented alternative fuel sources should have and COULD have been of the 90s, but once again, scientists are too f**king busy picking their noses.”

    This person is stating that it is pointless to invest in space travel since we need alternative fuels. Well we can’t sacrifice all long term goals, look where the Iraq war got us in the long run. His is also mistaken for assuming that scientists are to blame, considering that governments choose what programs to fund.



    13) Appeal to Nature: Best to read the example.

    anal sex is wrong because reproductive organs were not meant to enter the anus.

    Incest is wrong because we are not meant to sleep with our family members. (Not meant is not a substantial argument in this case)
    ifeanyi84, Marlie, dreed and 2 others like this.
  2. krozar Administrator

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    Unlocked.
  3. Cane_The9lives Indubitably.

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    The old stomping grounds (well technically, it's second incarnation).
    Those were the days. Elk with his hyperbolic anti Americanism, Majins nihilism and utter contempt for islam, SP the long winded cynic (The original paragon of the "Fragmented" reply), Insin's duplicity, Mukens savoir faire and indefatigable ability to be succinct, Tony the overnight atheist, krozar "The judge/Desu", Rafcio "The Abstruse", and yours truly the consummate devils advocate.
  4. Insin Space Cat

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    Revisionist history.

    ELK was anti-capitalism more than anti American and was the REAL Devils Advocate. Majin was insensitive, not nihilistic. SP never wrote anything that you couldn't match fragment by fragment. Muken was a pantheist with all sorts of whacky ideas that people conveniently overlooked.. Tony was bitter. Krozar didn't usually debate anyone, he commented on shit. Rafcio was easy to understand he just hid behind reasonable positions. And you weren't really a Devil's Advocate, you just had a chip on your shoulder.

    And if by duplicity you mean I was able to annoy and push all your buttons while simultaneously making you feel bad for lashing out of at me whenever you reached your breaking point, then yes. Absolutely. :-p

    The real joke is that some awful pokemon forum stole this thread from me and reposted it.
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  5. Cane_The9lives Indubitably.

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    You mistake my irreverent Trek down memory lane for acrimony, when really I was just having a laugh.

    And for the record: Elk was unabashedly Anti-American, he stated so numerous times. SP openly and quite literally described himself as a cynic, Majin was never shy about his feelings on Muslims(don't confuse this as a knock), Muken eschewed the belabored text wall when possible, Krozar was debate mod, thus essentially an adjudicator vis a vis my use of the word "Judge".Tony regaled everyone with the story of his expedited transformation into a staunch atheist and from then on argued with the temerity of someone who ostensibly concluded at age 5 god was a sham. Rafcio was merely a shell I couldn't crack, and gave up trying.

    And I say duplicity, not with respect to the substance of your posts so much as your behavior and various Aliases.
    I was simply condensing the usual suspects into a cast of characters.

    I considered initially listing myself with the moniker "The Whipping boy" but thought better of it.:troll
  6. Insin Space Cat

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    I moderated debates on TAL and if there's any question on that look at the thread we are posting in.

    Tony moderated NM and Alexandrius did it too although begrudgingly.

    As far as labels go my favorite was your "not your typical catholic" which was funny at the time because you weren't any more dissident than a regular catholic. :-p

    Also Cane why so verbose lately? Vis-a-vis? Seriously? You sound like the architect now. I miss the cane who said "wrather" in every post!
  7. Rafcio Sannensei

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    I'll take abstruse if it means someone remembers me! :3:
  8. Cane_The9lives Indubitably.

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    Please. I was born in Ardoyne, they practically engineer dissidence through in vitro fertilization down there. Typical was just a made up word, my father used to joke he was "catholic" on pancake Tuesday, and "protestant" on ash Wednesday.
  9. Insin Space Cat

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    Hahaha indeed cane, indeed.

    Where are you living these days? Which state of the union? What are your stances on things? You evolved/changed/grew (whatever you want to call it) in an interesting way. Last I heard, you said throw a dart on the board. Are you in school now?

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