Saturday, August 18, 2007

I have been trying to refrain from taking poor debaters to task simply because to do so gives them the idea that their approach bears merit. That said, I am going to do so anyway on this point because it is blatantly obvious when one person is being hypocritical, accusing the opponent of tactics while also employing them, completely nullifying the topic in question for many people, and this debate happened to be over something I thought was a valid point (better stated by other writers). So here are the definitions of some of these terms and examples of them being used by the accuser:

Wow Amy, you've certainly become bitter! I can't believe you've been chewing on this for six weeks or more!

Argumentum ad Nauseum- constant repititon of a statement to the point of nausea.

"As I have said probably at least ten times now..."

Stating something over and over again doesn't make it true. Doesn't make it false either. Sometimes when SOMEONE IS NOT LISTENING TO YOU you end up repeating things a lot. Doesn't make it false. Probably makes it a waste of time though.

False dichotomy- giving one extreme or the other, not allowing for any other possibilities, either/or and if/then arguments that cannot be proven.

"If you really had the truth, you would not be so afraid to post comments that disagree with you"

Wrong definition of fale dichotomy: The fallacy of false dichotomy is committed when the arguer claims that his conclusion is one of only two options, when in fact there are other possibilities. The arguer then goes on to show that the 'only other option' is clearly outrageous, and so his preferred conclusion must be embraced.

Appeal to the masses- asking a question of the audience in order to try and show that the majority of people agree and therefore the statement is true.

"Amy says she did not see anything that was persecutation to Catholics in the post. Let me point them out...I'll let you the reader decide if my assessment of this was correct or not."

Well not quite. Here is a definition of appeal to popularity. Also here.

The example Amy cites is not an appeal to the masses, because I am not encouraging the reader to necessarily take my side. In fact it is quite two sided saying that Amy sees it one way, I see it another, and leaving it to the reader to make up his/her own mind.

Ad hominem- attacking the character of the opponent rather than the question raised.

"It is becoming clear to me Candy that doing actual research is not one of your strong suits."

Yea, that was a subtle ad hominem. Does not mean that it is not true however.

Straw man- creating a false scenario and then attacking it.

"However if she had openly bashed the overweight, blacks, Jews, gays, the retarded, pick a group, I doubt that many would stand for it. Why then is it okay to bash Catholics or to allow that kind of bigotry to stand just to get a few household hints that could just as easily be gleaned elsewhere?"

Not even close. This was an analogy which is not a logical fallacy. The analogy was between other targeted groups such as blacks, Jews, gays, the retarded and Catholics. Analogies are very helpful and widely used in discussions and debates. No strawman here.

Red Herring- changing the subject by addressing something separate from the point in question.

"The Bible warns against uniting with those who teach a false doctrine (Matthew 7:15-20)" ANSWER, "Let's look at the fruits of the Catholic Church. It is the most consistent pro-life Church, holding the line against contraception, abortion, divorce; upholding family values; largest charity providing food, clothing, medical care throughout the world. It is also the oldest Christian church."

No red herring here either and I was really surprised that Amy didn't get this. She charges a false doctrine. My answer was to use the "by the fruits you will know them verse." In other words, the Catholic church bears good fruit, so it's doctrine cannot be false.

Ad hominem AND appeal to the masses- trying to get the majority to agree with your character assasination of your opponent.

"Is it just me or was that kind of a b----y little thing to say?"

Guilty. Doesn't mean it was wrong. In my opinion it was a bitchy little thing to say.

Appeal to ignorance- an argument that tries to prove a point by citing the lack of proof to the contrary or the opponent's inability to prove a point.

"I will note however that I do not expect to find that level of sophisticated discussion in this part of the blogosphere. Seeking to counter misunderstands and untruths is about the best I can expect to do here, and even then just have those represented in the search engines."

Nah... the first sentence was clearly an ad hominem attack Amy. The second setence was just a statement of my intent which was true. My intent was to counter misundersanding and untruths, I didn't expect to be able to do more, and I was counting on the search engines!

Argument from omniscience- when the presenter pretends to have omniscient knowledge of the opponents thoughts, beliefs, or motives.

"I think she is saying this because she is way over her head on the issues."

...I like to think of it as inductive reasoning. Sometimes people do things and it's not rocket science to figure out why.

Attack from authority- when the presenter counters an opponents statements as being disrespectful or contrary to whatever presumed authority or leadership would suit.

"Well I'm a bit older than most of you gals. I was raised to be gracious when someone is talking to you."

Good call. It was also a subtle ad hominem in that I was inferring that you were not being gracious.

See if you can figure out which fallacy each of the following would fall under:

I have no clue how YOU would attempt to categorize them Amy. But thanks for highlighting some of my best stuff!

"Well then Amy, my accusation is true! You do have issues with the orthodox and the Anglicans as well. Perhaps you were just unaware of it!"

"We did not really have a debate . She listed her problems with Catholicism. I engaged them. She countered. I offered further explanation and even did so on my blog, and she ends it as noted above. That's not a debate."

"So while I respectfully differ from your views, I cannot say we are part of the same body because a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25). We cannot be so theologically opposed and be part of the same triune church.", ANSWER, "
Is not the Protestant, nonCatholic, nonOrthodox branch of Christianity already deeply divided and splintered just among themselves? Not a question really, more of an observation."

"Well, how do you know that the 20 nuns had a total and complete understanding or that they were totally telling the truth? Why were they authoritative for you but a book by a practicing Catholic would not be?"

"It seems some of the people complaining about this site feel that they should be able to visit Candy's site for all of the household and baking tips and that it's all okay because gosh... they don't agree with everything she says! So that doesn't make them anti-Catholic."

"I think the people of Google are just a little bit smarter than she is and if they could offer that type of service, they'd have it up for every one now."

"'re a regular over at Candy's. Would you tolerate her rhetoric if she were anti- fat people? Or what if she told mothers who mourned miscarriages to just suck it up and get over it? Would you find that to be equally as acceptable as Catholic bashing?"

"Perhaps the reason you don't think Candy is anti-Catholic is because you share her views...slurs against Catholics are tolerated by those in the Cult of Candy."

"I don't know how you can defend Candy and all of the stuff she says about Catholics, and then denies us the chance to respond to the charges, but not consider yourself anti-Catholic but okey dokey. If it helps you sleep better at night..."

"'s not my fault if people don't read thoroughly. You certainly don't."

" you have yet to raise a child to adulthood, let alone mid elementary, jr. high or high school. Perhaps you should wait a year or ten before trying to speak so authoritatively on the topic."

"Not allowing comments is a sign of fear and insecurity."

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