Bad arguments and how to spot them

Please give this a quick read
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Re: Bad arguments and how to spot them

Post by Ygern »

Now you're flailing at strawmen, that was a forum thread, not an interview on TV. Get over it.

Moreover, the response you are now whining about (oh boy, you really do like your quote-mines, don't you?) is one sentence in pages of reasoned argument that replied to someone's (a rather annoying man who seemed to think that if he kept on repeating the same meaningless thing over and over again it would somehow come true) utterly bizarre insistence that is was quite reasonable to assert that ghosts must exist seeing as lots of people say they've seen them and that therefore the Argument from authority was entirely valid.

I don't expect you bothered to read through the rest of the extremely long, wordy and tolerant and polite original posts in the thread anymore carefully than he did, you've simply come looking for offence. Well done, you've found it. Keep at it, I'm sure there are plenty more to be mined from somewhere.
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Re: Bad arguments and how to spot them

Post by odowdbj »

Well it is a dicussion about good/bad argument, so I thought some sort of minimum standard should apply.

"that was a forum thread, not an interview on TV" Are you saying that because this discussion is on an internet forum (on bad argument, no less) its ok to tell me to keep a quote in context, and then completely manufacture the context afterwards? (See: "What you're doing there is quote-mining to manufacture offense... ...The two examples in question were... ")

Also, I combed through the whole forum to make sure nobody mentioned Hitler or the rape case you mentioned, before I pointed out that the context was absent from the "...prayed for from the pulpit" quote. So don't tell me I wasn't bothered to read it.

And am I supposed to believe that the follwing phrases are from "wordy and tolerant and polite" posts?

"Arrogance only works when you’re right", "...the response you are now whining about...", "I don't expect you bothered to read...", "you've simply come looking for offence. Well done, you've found it", "your ignorant attack ", "immensely stupid", "Yes, they are aimed at kids, but you have to start somewhere","Get over it", "...hidden as it was in a paragraph containing 4 whole sentences", "You really need to do a lot more homework... ", "so many logical fallacies, you truly are a gift", " that you don’t convict yourself of stupidity quite so quickly as you did here".

From the forum on etiquette: "When it comes time to disagree, remember to attack the post and not the poster. Personal attacks do not further your argument and are just plain rude"

You seem to be hiding behind this "quote-mining" shroud everytime I point out an inaccuracy in what you've said.

Anyway, I'm outta here.

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Re: Bad arguments and how to spot them

Post by Regens Küchl »

Ygern wrote:
When arguments get heated, there are tactics sometimes used that are not to the point and merely detract from the actual issue. They are bad arguments, either completely beside the point or off-topic; or illogical. Here are some of the often-seen bad types of argument or fallacies - pseudoscientific thinking.

There are plenty of other bad arguments, please add your own or expand on points I started.
Superb post Ygern. I already bookmarked it.

And yes I have to add another bad argument, which I think is a great found.
Please read it and answer what you think about it.
Perhaps you want to write it in your words and add it to your first post of bad arguments. Iwould be honored. But please keep the name (which I invented :idea: :oops: ) of the bad Argument species:

Argument of Schwarzer Peter

("Schwarzer Peter" is a card game in Germany and also the name of the one card in that game that makes you lose. Each player tryes to give the card "Schwarzer Peter" to the other players to make them lose the game.)

I myself experienced it with Christians: If they run out on rational Arguments they do like to use the Argument of Schwarzer Peter.
In a rather subtile way they try to give you the responsibility, brand the stubborness upon you, indicate that you are the loser and try to manifest that they are your better.

At the most they do it by saying sentences like : "It is your Problem that you do not understand that it was just and right from God to mass-slaughter the Caanaites!"
Or they sayYou have a Problem there, for you do not see that God has always existed!

With this Trick-Argument they do this:

1) They indicate that it is your responsibility alone, your guilt, that the diskussion leads nowhere because

2) you are either too silly or too evil to "understand", to"see clear" that the Christian is right, for

3) after all you are the one who has a Problem and

4) having a Problem makes you ugly, makes you handicapped if not stating you as sick in the mind.

5) If you do have a Problem, that the Christian must teach you to overcome than that fact seemingly states the Christian as your better. He is the Teacher and you are his pupil.

6) Therefore the Christian must be right. By stating that you have a "Problem" for you "can not see" that he is right, he gave you the card "Schwarzer Peter".

7) You lose.(Or so the Christian thinks.)

OK - here is a link to a Page of an Angeloforum (you know Angelo the world-famous missionary), where he uses the Argument of Schwarzer Peter:

you have a main problem, which you wont be able to solve by reason.

1. I start with the premisse : God always existed. He had never been created. This is a fact, above our comprehension, but it is not against reason.

2. The only possible alternative is : in the beginning was nothing. And from nothing came everything. This is however not a reasonable and illogical fact. From nothing, nothing derives. Starting from this point of fact, all your ponderation about chance is senseless and unreasonable as well.
In other words : the alternative claim would be 0 x 0 = 1
The first claim however is God x his power = everything.

You won't come over this. ... 763&page=2
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Re: Bad arguments and how to spot them

Post by MyloD »

One of my favourite YouTube videos is on open mindedness and is quite instructive in spotting the root cause of many bad arguments:

Also, my fave quote of the decade from Christopher Hitchens (Get well soon etc :( )

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."
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Re: Bad arguments and how to spot them

Post by Dev »

I love QualiaSoup, I've posted a thread on him before. Good call Mylo. I'd recommend him to people here.

His brother is also similarly good - TheraminTrees, who also has a YT channel.
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Re: Bad arguments and how to spot them

Post by inedifix »

I only just spotted this now, and even though it's about a year late I thought I ought to straighten out a misconception several people seem to have about the Fallacy of Division issue mentioned earlier in the thread.
odowdbj wrote:To nozzferrahhtoo, I would also agree that a set theory approach would be the best way to look at that argument, as religions are groups of people. If everyone in Burgertown likes burgers, then members of a family living in Burgertown likes burgers also. If you are to believe the first two elements of:
1. Religion per se, and/or Christianity, is not hostile to Science
2. Roman Catholicism is a Christian religion
then it is correct to conclude that:
3. Roman Catholicism in[sic] not hostile to Science.
The fallacy of division occurs when someone incorrectly claims/assumes, that the constituent parts of a whole have the same properties as the whole. Regardless of how true Premises 1 and 2 are, the error occurs in 3 the Conclusion:

1. Christianity is not hostile to Science
2. Roman Catholicism is a Christian religion
3. Roman Catholicism is not hostile to Science.

The only valid way to show that Catholicism is not hostile to science, is to present evidence to support the claim. Simply claiming to be part of a wider organisation that has the desired property is bad logic.

Here's a slightly simpler example that clearly shows why:

1. People who believe in Jesus are called Christians.
2. Muslims believe in Jesus.
3. Muslims are Christians.

odowdbj's Burgertown example is irrelevant, because it presents the desired supporting evidence in the first premise, i.e. that 100% of the people in Burgertown like Burgers. No more needs to be said. That in itself constitutes proof. If the Catholic Church could present a document proving that 100% of Christians are not hostile to religion, then their argument is made also. But they can't. Instead, they sometimes (as in the example mentioned by FXR on page 1 of this thread) try to use arguments that commit the fallacy of division. i.e. Bad arguments.
“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven't recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can't decipher. What we can't understand we call nonsense. There is no free will. There are no variables. There is only the inevitable.” Chuck Palahniuk
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