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From: John Larkin
Subject: Re: How to Cheat in Debates
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 10:57:21 -0800
Organization: Posted via Supernews, http://www.supernews.com
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On Fri, 17 Jan 2003 22:45:16 +1100, "Phil Allison"
> There are at least ten recognised and popular ways of cheating in a
>discussion or debate - some are so common they seem quite normal until the
>fallacy is pointed out. Here is my list:
>1. Argue from the particular to the general.
> Reason that if a thing is true in a particular example then it is true
>in general. There may be little similarity between your example and the
>point in debate but your opponent will have to prove this unless he spots
>the fallacy. If he does then feign incomprehension.
>2. Argue from the general to the particular.
> Reason that if a thing is generally true then it must be true in the
>particular case in question. Refuse to agree that any special circumstances
>apply to the subject in debate. If your opponent points out the fallacy of
>generalisations then complain that he is making a generalisation.
>3. Beg the question.
> Make a statement that can only be true if the debate has already been
>resolved in your favour, ie use your opinion to prove your opinion. Totally
>confounds the debate if the fallacy is not spotted by your opponent. If it
>is, state that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
>4. Change the subject.
> Done nonchalantly so your opponent doesn't notice this will pull the rug
>out from under him. If he realises and complains, pretend your new subject
>is the one under debate.
>5. Quote the absent expert.
> Declare an absent party to be an expert who supports your case. He
>possibly isn't an expert or wouldn't in fact support you but your opponent
>cannot debate this person or yourself on the point since he is not
>6. Argue from a position of ignorance.
> This is a powerful technique that operates on the principle that
>ignorance is knowledge. It works like this, because you don't know a certain
>proposition is false then you are entitled to presume it is true. Almost
>anything you like can be "proved" with this technique.
>7. Produce a straw man.
> Propose an example or analogy to the debate that has an obvious outcome
>in your favour, ie a "straw man" that can easily be knocked down. The
>analogy can be highly flawed but your opponent may be trapped into proving
>the straw man has no weight.
> 8. Make opinions into facts.
> Claim anything you like is a fact, provide no supporting evidence or
>arguement and pretend that your opponent must disprove it immediately or
>else agree it is true. Also be sure to ignore his facts no matter how well
>supported. This will test his patience sorely and may cause him to make
>9. Produce a red herring.
> Make a statement of known fact that appears to be relevant and has the
>potential to confuse the issue. An effective red herring relies on your
>opponent's failure to realise that it is not relevant to the debate. If he
>does, then accuse him of ignoring the facts.
>10. Insult your opponent.
> If all else fails, your opponent is calm and rational, spots your traps
>and exposes your fallacies and distractions every time then resort to using
>sneers, derision and personal jibes. Your opponent may lose his temper and
>that means you win!
> It is possible to combine two or more of the above techniques for
>increased power to prove anything. By combining #1 and #2 you can argue from
>the particular to the particular, that is use one example to prove something
>about another unrelated one.
> Better still, quote an example only you know about as this makes you the
>expert. If your opponent falls into the trap of asking questions about the
>example then you are in a position to say whatever you like.
> A proficient cheat employs all the above techniques in every debate. He
>jumps easily from one fallacy to the next in order to keep his opponent from
>making any headway. He may not convince his opponent of anything that he is
>saying but will have the satisfaction of having done most of the talking and
>kept control over the discussion.
> When the opponent becomes annoyed with this "barrage of bullshit" the
>cheat will call the debate off saying that: "we are just going around in
>circles" which is of course not only true but was his real aim all along.
>This is known as having the last word, a form of parting blow or insult. A
>cheat knows that you never lose a debate that YOU finish!
> But most of you aready know all this.
> Regards, Phil
Hey, Phil, have you tried this one?
0. Be right.
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