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Old 08-17-2007, 07:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Which logical fallacy do you hate the most?

In any forum for discussion, whether written or verbal, logical fallacies are thrown around like leaves in the wind. I've always enjoyed the study of fallacies, particularly logical ones. The most commmon on TFP seem to be straw man, non sequitur, false dilemma, ad hominem and of course, appeal to emotion.

So my question to you all is which logical fallacies you hate most, and why. And in the sense of fairness, which fallacies you are most guilty of using.

I personally despite appeals to emotion, becuase I'm not a very emotional person and it makes the argument feel like very overt manipulation. I prefer to keep emotion out of rational discussions, and someone who brings an emotional argument to a reasonable debate immediately loses my respect. I also dislike Ad hominem, but I think that it's only inevitable. It seems the most commonly abused of the fallacies.

I will admit that I'm probably most guilty of using straw man and slippery slope fallacies, as I often (unconciously) connect their decision with what I percieve the long-term ramifications to be (slippery slope) or to something totally unrelated (straw man).

What about you?

(Included a list of Fallacies from Wikipedia for reference)

List of fallacies   click to show 
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know if I can pick one to dislike the most or even a couple. However, I'll admit to having a failing when it comes to making a false dilemma. I try to single out perhaps two options that I think are worth looking at (with the intent of pointing out the fault in one and the benefit in the other), inadvertently and unfortunately I tend to imply that these are the only two options. In almost all cases it is never that clear.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think godwin is annoying. Comparisons to hitler can be apt.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
In any forum for discussion, whether written or verbal, logical fallacies are thrown around like leaves in the wind. I've always enjoyed the study of fallacies, particularly logical ones. The most commmon on TFP seem to be straw man, non sequitur, false dilemma, ad hominem and of course, appeal to emotion.

So my question to you all is which logical fallacies you hate most, and why. And in the sense of fairness, which fallacies you are most guilty of using.

I personally despite appeals to emotion, becuase I'm not a very emotional person and it makes the argument feel like very overt manipulation. I prefer to keep emotion out of rational discussions, and someone who brings an emotional argument to a reasonable debate immediately loses my respect. I also dislike Ad hominem, but I think that it's only inevitable. It seems the most commonly abused of the fallacies.

I will admit that I'm probably most guilty of using straw man and slippery slope fallacies, as I often (unconciously) connect their decision with what I percieve the long-term ramifications to be (slippery slope) or to something totally unrelated (straw man).

What about you?
So, if a child was dying of cancer and its one wish was for you to accept an emotional appeal, you wouldn't? Wow. I don't even know what to say about that.




Uh, yeah. I'm with you about the emotional appeal. Like you mentioned, it's a manipulation and leads me to believe that the person making the argument doesn't have any confidence in the facts of their case, so they appeal to emotion.

I'm not sure what I find more annoying, though: those who use emotional appeal, or those who fall for it.

For me, I'm probably most guilty of non-sequiturs in an argument. I use it in a very circular way.


And, and...I can't believe filtherton Godwinned this thread by the 3rd post. Nice fucking job.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Whatever, fascist.

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Old 08-17-2007, 10:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ad hominem tu quoque

Main article: tu quoque

Ad hominem tu quoque refers to an irrelevant accusation of hypocrisy. Accusations of hypocrisy are inadmissible in legal and scientific debate, and can be distractions from the business of politics. That is, it is not relevant to the credibility of a didactic argument whether its presenter has trod over the principle he espouses. For example, a corrupt lawyer who prosecutes embezzlers may be behaving hypocritically, but this does not weaken the evidence he presents against the accused embezzlers. (This is true unless there is reason to believe that the evidence may have been fabricated, and to believe that hypocrites are more likely to present fabricated evidence).
Worse than Hitler and Kenny G combined.

Times infinity.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Interesting idea for a thread Jinnkai.

Since I hang out in Politics a lot, I've become accustomed to seeing posts where someone will identify a logical fallacy in an opponent's post and move on as if the label resolved the whole thing. I never quite understood that. Just because something is observed or phrased as an identifiable fallacy doesn't make the point entirely specious.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Whenever Hitler or Nazis are mentioned, the immediate reaction of most people is "hurrrrr Godwin," regardless of appropriateness. I swear, someone could start rounding up and gassing Jews, and if someone compared them to Hitler, people would start saying "blah blah Godwin's law, that's not like Hitler, these guys aren't using zyklon b."
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ubertuber
Interesting idea for a thread Jinnkai.

Since I hang out in Politics a lot, I've become accustomed to seeing posts where someone will identify a logical fallacy in an opponent's post and move on as if the label resolved the whole thing. I never quite understood that. Just because something is observed or phrased as an identifiable fallacy doesn't make the point entirely specious.
See I don't care about fallacies. (Of course I'm probably guilty of many, some would say.)

I just think to identify or to label something a "Fallacy" is to do so with the intention of not having to discuss the points brought about and in a way try to discredit the poster.

If you saw the list, there's a lot of fucking types of fallacies. My impression is you could find a "fallactic" label for any debate you are involved in, identify the fallacy and then say, "well, there is no reason for this debate anymore.... you just created "x" fallacy and thus you have totally ruined your credibility and thus you are a schmoe.

I'm sure someone will identify this post as a fallcay under.... "x" rules and description...thus it will be proven untrue and the poster a fraud.

Wait, I'm the poster ..... I'm not a fraud, I put...

Uh huh another fallacy.... and talking to himself no less.......
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan6467
My impression is you could find a "fallactic" label for any debate you are involved in, identify the fallacy and then say, "well, there is no reason for this debate anymore.... you just created "x" fallacy and thus you have totally ruined your credibility and thus you are a schmoe.
Well, there's certainly not much value in pointing out a fallacy without explaining why it's a fallacy. And not much more value in explaining a fallacy without entertaining counterarguments that "it doesn't fit your explanation" or that "that kind of fallacy isn't necessarily a fallacy".

Pointing out fallacies doesn't have to be a lazy or dismissive practice. And if a fallacy really is present, then the argument really is a bad argument.
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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There are a few that I don't like either. Like the OP I don't care for appeal to emotion either, and for similiar reasons. I also don't like strawmen. But I especially don't like Appeal to Religion and Appeal to Tradition. The idea that because something is religious or traditional that it shouldn't be questioned really rubs me the wrong way. When someone uses religion for an argument I'm tempted to respond as follows: "Prove to me that god exists, and that what you claim he wants is what he actually wants, using the scientific method."
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Appeal to emotion. (I know, I know, that's a shocker.)

Hands-down.

Last edited by analog; 08-17-2007 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 08-17-2007, 04:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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First of all, I think "hate" is a strong word. I would rather say that I am concerned about the following logical fallacy:

Non-sequitir.


It worries me when people use non-sequiturs as a means practicing what I call reductionist absolutism. People often fall into the trap of reducing an issue to two or so possibilities, then using a non-sequitur to "prove" that one of them is true and the other false. Or, in many cases, that one is vastly superior to the other(s).
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 08-18-2007 at 07:25 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrell
When someone uses religion for an argument I'm tempted to respond as follows: "Prove to me that god exists, and that what you claim he wants is what he actually wants, using the scientific method."
*Ahem*

It's impossible to prove something which cannot be understood or explained through scientific reasoning. Attempting to do so-- Or even expecting other people to do so-- It's completely illogical.

If you haven't guessed, I REALLY hate argumentum ad ignorantiam. A lack of evidence doesn't equal proof of non-existence. Period.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite_Loser
*Ahem*

It's impossible to prove something which cannot be understood or explained through scientific reasoning. Attempting to do so-- Or even expecting other people to do so-- It's completely illogical.

If you haven't guessed, I REALLY hate argumentum ad ignorantiam. A lack of evidence doesn't equal proof of non-existence. Period.
Actually that's my point, since the existence of god(s) cannot be proven, or falsified, I don't really think that it's a valid argument for or against any policy. Nor is it a valid reason to require/expect that I do anything or not do anything.

While a lack of evidence doesn't equal proof of non-existence, it doesn't equal proof of existence either. It simply makes it something not worthy of debate as far as what other people should be requried to do or forbidden from doing as well as a fallacy(appeal to religion). I'm agnostic on religious matters by the way, in that since it can neither be proven nor disproven, I don't believe until such a time as I see evidence one way or the other.

To argue that something is true simply because it hasn't been disproven is also an argumentum ad ignorantium. So using religion to justify an argument ie: "god wants X" is also an argumentium ad ignorantium, becuase you don't have any way to know that god wants x, y, or z, or even that he exists. In addition to being an appeal to religion.

Quote:
I. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance) the fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true. This error in reasoning is often expressed with influential rhetoric.
A. The informal structure has two basic patterns:
Statement p is unproved.
Not-p is true.
Statement not-p is unproved.
p is true.


B. If one argues that God or telepathy, ghosts, or UFO's do not exist because their existence has not been proven beyond a shadow of doubt, then this fallacy occurs.

C. On the other hand, if one argues that God, telepathy, and so on do exist because their non-existence has not been proved, then one argues fallaciously as well.

http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/ignorance.html

Last edited by Terrell; 08-18-2007 at 07:42 AM..
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:43 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Interesting thread JinnKai. I think JJ hates you now since I'm calling him on his methods of arguing. He definitely is able to confuse me which leads me to my least favorite falacy: appeal to emotion.

I was raised by the Queen of Guilt so I can pull that out of my back pocket and use it on anyone. I hate it. It's such a girly, manipulative thing to do. I caught myself doing it yesterday actually. It's so embarrassing. I think it's something that Hitler would do.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
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people who think that their personal experience is universal

ie - my boyfriend cheated on me, ergo boys cheat on girls.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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this board does not require prior training in formal logic
and there's no agreement about rules for argumentation.
so most of the fallacies in the op are not operative because there's no requirement that those who post lay the same game as others who post.

given that, this thread is not really about logic----it is about aesthetic preferences.
the question in the op is more accurately framed as something like:
given your aesthetics, which type(s) of logical fallacies irritate you?

there are a number of features of argument here that annoy me.

arbitrary axioms or premises for example.

if you focus on the rules of formal logic, stupid premises may or may not be problematic because you can't demonstrate premise flaws within a proof structured by them. all formal logic is about is (a) the rules that define proof and (b) problems that arise within or between steps and (c) developing and defending conceptions of validity.

it is obvious that you can arrive at formally correct proofs based on almost any premise.
and that the internal correctness of the procedure is only about the internal correctness of the procedure.
problems with axioms or premises are of a different logical order.

in many ways, this problem of axioms of premises sums up the politics forum. that's most of what goes on there--incommensurate premises, mutually exclusive arguments, differend.

another feature: the tendency to valorize compression because of the format in which posts appear.
soundbyte style.
as if this was indicative of something about the quality of the argument itself.
it isn't.

another feature: refusal to consider additional information.
this used to be something that bugged me enough that i nearly stopped playing here a bunch of times. it took me a while to get my head around how the board gets used and to see in the recurrent refusal to consider more or different information--and by extension complexity---not as an indication of laziness, but more as a function of how this space is used by folk.

in real life, i am quite impatient with all of this and am often far more blunt about it than i let roachboy be here.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:23 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Is this what TFP is??? Everything has to have a logical, scientific basis, it must be categorized, dissected and analyzed, subjected to the scrutiny of in-numerous members, before its accepted as an actual, acceptable, TFP post??? Never mind, don't answer......I don't want to know the truth of it all, ignorance is bliss........
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:27 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Ignorance provides only an illusion of bliss. True bliss comes from understanding.

BTW, wasn't that an appeal to emotion fallacy?
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:31 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Leave it to good ole will, to come roaring in like a freight train and state the obvious.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:41 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Up, up, and away!!!
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:44 AM   #24 (permalink)
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You Go Will!!!
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:47 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:31 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
another feature: refusal to consider additional information.
this used to be something that bugged me enough that i nearly stopped playing here a bunch of times. it took me a while to get my head around how the board gets used and to see in the recurrent refusal to consider more or different information--and by extension complexity---not as an indication of laziness, but more as a function of how this space is used by folk.
Yeah, this one is good to point out. I was a bit shocked to notice how people are sometimes criticized (ridiculed?) for bringing in data, or evidence. What tends to happen is that the concept of data is deemed corrupt based on degrees of inaccuracy or bias. As though there were such thing as perfection through perception.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:38 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I think information is important to an argument. However, getting a wiki for every topic that is mentioned is quite ridiculous. Sometimes, it's not an argument, it's just a conversation. If I were sitting around a table with some friends and we got in a debate, I would hope that they wouldn't drag out an encyclopedia or the internet to wiki something to prove a point. Being that this is the internet, it makes it easier to cut and paste links and such.

I think that doing some research on your own if you are interested is important, but when people start doing that in the middle of a debate or discussion, I don't respond unless I'm very interested in the topic and want to pursue to educate myself. I'm more of a thrower in of my 2 cents or opinion than doing an essay.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:14 PM   #28 (permalink)
 
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since we are saying what we dont like....

as i wrote before, there is no agreement about which game we are playing here, so an interaction can unfold easily in which each player thinks something different is happening from every other. so it follows that it is fine that one can say in general "information is good" and also "there is too much information"--but what you cant do is pretend that everyone is playing the same game (see above)...but that's not the thing tha bugs me.

there is a recurrent tic that folk seem to enjoy--when they are confronted with a lot of information, they act as though they are persecuted by it, like it is the imago of some Disapproving Mother or some such. it isn't exactly a logical fallacy--its more a neurotic ritual that is mostly about defending one's right to not know things, to not look, to not read---which of course, each of us has (in the way that such "rights' are had--being negative rights, one simply takes them)--but in terms that turn what i can only interpret as some kind of twinge of Guilt or some such back onto the person who posted the information.

if you dont want to read, then dont bloody read.
you dont need to justify it--its just a choice you can make. so you make it. i do it all the time. you do it all the time.
so what's with the hyperbole?
and what's with the idea that posting information--particularly alot of it--is a malevolent act, something only a Persecuting Other would do?

shesus' post above is not a particularly egregious example--i merely take it as an occaison to point something out.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:16 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Huh???
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:19 PM   #30 (permalink)
 
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call it a double post.
call me ishmael.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:34 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:38 PM   #32 (permalink)
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i hate "personal attack." my coworkers thrive on it. stupid esfp idiots.
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Old 08-18-2007, 04:32 PM   #33 (permalink)
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"Clinton did it first and worst"

Isn't this Shakran's rule? Or do I have the wrong member?
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Old 08-18-2007, 04:43 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMatrix
Is this what TFP is??? Everything has to have a logical, scientific basis, it must be categorized, dissected and analyzed, subjected to the scrutiny of in-numerous members, before its accepted as an actual, acceptable, TFP post??? Never mind, don't answer......I don't want to know the truth of it all, ignorance is bliss........
No, but is important for each and every one of us to let you know how much more we know than you. So, if you don't mind, could you please provide evidence and links for what caused you to think the way you do?













this is a joke, by the way.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:04 PM   #35 (permalink)
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What are you talking about & whats wrong with you??? Could you please explain what should be obvious to the most casual of members??? You're so intelligent you know more than who??? Wow............
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:14 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpinJesus

this is a joke, by the way.
...in case you missed it.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:18 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I did miss that, thanks will..........

What goes around comes around.........
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:39 AM   #38 (permalink)
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This is a nice thread, with a very handy list of references.

I don't use ad hominem, and I consider it an admission that another party knows they have been proven wrong when they resort to it. It's also interesting to see one person accuse another of an ad hominem attack when said attack consisted of refuting an argument (or opinion) with factual references.

Straw men are annoying to have to point out.

Godwin is not even a fallacy, but many people try to use it as if it were. Someone else discredited it quite well in this thread.

Hypocrisy, while indirectly referenced, is the most annoying of all, and I disagree with excluding it from the ranks of fallacies. Someone mentioned Clinton earlier, and in this context, very rightly so.

Clinton allowed Loral to sell satellite (weapons) technology to China, and arranged a deal that provides the company 250 million ANNUALLY, but he was a faultless president. Self-appointed crusaders for justice will ignore him, while tirelessly posting that Bush is a puppet of the oil industry. Ken Lay is a Bush "crony," but it's dishonest, inappropriate, and illogical to point out the size of the contributions Enron made to Democrats. That kind of thing.

Such hypocritical "debate" is so common that I tend to avoid entering into discussions in which I know the posters will indulge in it. Especially when someone posts multiple screens full of "references," when these references have been inappropriately edited, or worse yet, contradict the poster's argument, thereby indicating that the poster did not read the references he shoveled into the thread.

Of course, there are also the unfounded blanket statements of opinion by someone who, when challenged, will demand that YOU, not he, provide references to the contrary. A "poisoning of the well" is certain to occur should you provide those references.

The list goes on, but I won't.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:56 AM   #39 (permalink)
 
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Now that just made me spit my coffee.

necrosis, please go on....and explain how your less than complete inference about Clinton in a thread about Rove (http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showpos...8&postcount=19) does not represent everything you say you dont do?
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:05 AM   #40 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
 
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I should probably take a crack at this thread considering how much I call people on fallacious arguments. The most common arguments I run into now are the straw-man, red herring, and slippery slope but the worst for me has to be an appeal to emotion. To me it's really intellectually giving up and throwing a tantrum. I'm not a fan of tantrums, not just because they communicate the true maturity of the arguer, but more importantly because they represent a state of "even though you're argument is perfectly logically sound, I'm right because I'm passionate". I'm fortunate in that I don't run into that around here very often, but in the real world it's surprisingly common, which is sad.

The problem is that when someone is making an appeal to emotion, unless they are a politician or lawyer, they usually are operating at a level below who they're arguing with and are coming to the realization that they're wrong. Instead of admitting they're wrong, they go on an emotional tie-raid to compensate for the weakness of their case. When I see it, I interpret it as intellectual terrorism. All conventional arguments have been exhausted and now it's become a no-holds-barred fight for what they religiously believe is right (not necessarily meaning that the discussion is about religion, but that the person's dedication to their point is so far beyond reproach).

So let's fight the intellectual terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_dux
Now that just made me spit my coffee.

necrosis, please go on....and explain how your less than complete inference about Clinton in a thread about Rove (http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showpos...8&postcount=19) does not represent everything you say you dont do?
Yeah, I read that through a few times shaking my head. Shakran's law.

Last edited by Willravel; 08-19-2007 at 05:06 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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