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From: "Phil Allison"
Subject: Re: How to Cheat in Debates
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4522.1200
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 12:38:33 +1100
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 12:27:34 EST
Organization: Telstra BigPond Internet Services (http://www.bigpond.com)
"N. Thornton" wrote in message
> "Phil Allison" wrote in message
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > cannot debate this person or yourself on the point since he is not
> > available.
> > 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
> > 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
> > supported. This will test his patience sorely and may cause him to make
> > errors.
> > 9. Produce a red herring.
> > Make a statement of known fact that appears to be relevant and has
> > 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
> > 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
> > that means you win!
> > ---------------------------------------------------------
> > Postscript.
> > 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
> > 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"
> > 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
> > This is known as having the last word, a form of parting blow or insult.
> > cheat knows that you never lose a debate that YOU finish!
> > But most of you aready know all this.
> > Regards, Phil
> One more I remember all too well: quote a refreence that sounds like
> an authority, and whose words dont at all backup what you imply they
> do. If you can pick something tough to understand, you can trust that
> almost no-one will actually wade though it to find out what horse
> youre talking.
** Bill Sloman is a hot shot on that one. Your version seems to be
covered by my number 5 on the grounds that without the person you cannot be
sure what they think - expert witnesses must be *presented* in a court -
not merely quoted.
> Oh, and one other one... delusion. If you _think_ youre winning, even
> when youre hopelessly losing, there will always be someone who wil
> believe you. I call it Phil's special. Or is that ad hominem :)
** It is ad hominem.
Those who cheat in debates, but still lose, generally go for a final
flurry of utter bullshit to muddy the waters and save a bit of face.
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