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From: "Bill Sloman"
Subject: Re: How to Cheat in Debates
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 00:38:21 +0100
Organization: Planet Internet
NNTP-Posting-Date: 18 Jan 2003 23:39:04 GMT
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1106
"Phil Allison" wrote in message
> There are at least ten recognised and popular ways of cheating in
> 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
> 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.
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> and exposes your fallacies and distractions every time then resort to
> 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
> the particular to the particular, that is use one example to prove
> about another unrelated one.
> Better still, quote an example only you know about as this makes you
> 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.
> jumps easily from one fallacy to the next in order to keep his opponent
> making any headway. He may not convince his opponent of anything that he
> saying but will have the satisfaction of having done most of the talking
> 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
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