Friday, March 11, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Straw Man!

(The Straw Person)

This fallacy takes the opponents argument and restructures it, creating an extreme version that no one could possibly agree with, and then dismisses it because it is absurd. It is a fallacy because you are not actually confronting the opponent’s argument; you are claiming that it is something it isn’t and then dismissing it. By turning the opponent’s argument into a weaker, “straw man,” version of itself, you are being dishonest, and fabricating, misrepresenting, or exaggerating someone else’s argument just to make yours look better will actually result in the opposite – they will wonder what is so weak about your argument that you have to result to poor logic to defend it. Straw man arguments often include the phrases, “seem to think,” “probably believe” or otherwise imply a position that the opponent doesn’t actually suggest (i.e. “Evolutionists seem to think that humans just crawled out of the goo" or "Conservatives want children to suffer.")


Examples:

After Will said that we should put more money into health and education, Warren responded by saying that he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenseless by cutting military spending.

"Vegetarians say animals have feelings like you and me. Ever seen a cow laugh at a Shakespeare comedy? Vegetarianism is nonsense!"

“We either leave right now or we’re never going to get there.”

“All PETA supporters support the bombing or destruction of laboratories.”

“If you surrender your freedoms, the terrorists have already won. You don’t want that, do you?”

“Hitler supported gun control and registration, you know.”

“A mandatory seat belt law could never be enforced. You can't issue citations to dead people.”

“What woman in her right mind could truly desire total equality with men? No woman wants the right to be shot at in times of war, the right to have to pay alimony, or the right to have to use the same restrooms as men.”

Prof. Jones: "The University just cut our yearly budget by $10,000."
Prof. Smith: "What are we going to do?"
Prof. Brown: "I think we should eliminate one of the teaching assistant positions. That would take care of it."
Prof. Jones: "We could reduce our scheduled raises instead."
Prof. Brown: "I can't understand why you want to bleed us dry like that, Jones."

“Senator Jones says that we should not fund the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand why he wants to leave us defenseless like that."

Bill and Jill are arguing about cleaning out their closets:
Jill: "We should clean out the closets. They are getting a bit messy."
Bill: "Why, we just went through those closets last year. Do we have to clean them out every day?"
Jill: "I never said anything about cleaning them out every day. You just want to keep all your junk forever, which is just ridiculous."

“Observers, ranging from psychiatrists to parents, have noticed that people who smoke several joints a day often lack motivation to work, study, exercise, or indeed to do much more than sit around and listen to music. According to these observers, then, sitting around and listening to music are regarded as if they are behaviorally meaningless. But what's wrong with sitting in a cool room on a hot summer's day, listening to Tchaikovsky after smoking a joint?”

“The liberals probably believe that wealthy people never worked a day in their lives.”

“The conservatives seem to think that anyone who disagrees with President Bush must be a terrorist or a sympathizer for terrorists.”

Tom Delay: "So the Democrats want to get an emergency extension on unemployment benefits. They apparently want unlimited unemployment, so people could stay out of work for the rest of their lives."

If you do not believe in God there is no reason why you should not be a serial killer.

All atheists are evil; no one who believes in God should have anything to do with them.

Why do all religions hate all the other religions?

Why are all religious people so stupid?

Evolution is just a theory, and theories are just guesses, so science is just a lot of guessing.

Without God, there would be no morals, and since we have morals, then that proves that there is a God.

How can atheists believe in the Big Bang? Are they saying that some explosion created their computers? And how can they believe in evolution, when it says that we came from a lightning strike and a mud puddle?

Jim (legitimate argument): "Those of our people who are forced by circumstances beyond their control to rely on Social Security and government support such as Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, etc. - these victims of an anarchistic economy are now faced with a second threat to their very existence: their already minimal benefits are now being reduced by inflation. If we are morally committed to supporting these people in the first place, then we must support them consistently: either we approve the proposed increase in Social Security and government support - or we simply turn our backs on those who are unable to help themselves."
Joe (straw man): "Jim represents naive liberals who only steal the taxpayer's hard-earned money - and throw it away on the idle. This is robbery - and I oppose it.

Jim (legitimate argument): It’s not fair that when doing the same work and with the same qualifications, women are paid only $ .70 for every $1.00 that men are paid. Isn't it reasonable to expect that in equivalent jobs, with equivalent work experience and education, that your sex should have no impact on your salary?
Joe (straw man): Of course not! Everyone knows that bosses go easier on women and what they do. Besides girls are physically smaller and weaker than men, so they need to be protected from the real world.

Jim (legitimate argument): The NFL should follow the NCAA in banning the use of anabolic steroids among its players. Prolonged steroid use has proven to be harmful with such side-effects as liver dysfunction, cancer, heart ailments, and hormone imbalance. I hope that in the end the NFL will realize that the health of its athletes is the most important issue.
Joe (straw man): Jim is nothing more than a purist who would have us to go back to the days of leather helmets. Doesn't he realize that this is 2013? Sports technology has given athletes a chance to develop themselves to their maximum potential. He would deny them this opportunity? An athlete owes it to himself to be the best he can be. If he wants to compete, he'll have to use steroids because every other athlete does.

Jim (legitimate argument): America needs to be active in the fight against AIDS. It is reaching out to affect more and more Americans every day. AIDS, after all, can be contracted simply from a splash of contaminated blood onto broken skin. By 1990, researchers estimate that more than 5% of AIDS victims will be heterosexuals in long-term, monogamous relationships. We must enact legislation that will make funds available as soon as possible to find a cure for this disease.
Joe (straw man): Jim is just a "do-gooder" liberal/atheist who rejects God and the Bible. The people who have AIDS are suffering God's punishment for the sin of homosexuality. Helping these people would be to defy God.