Saturday, August 13, 2011

Daily Logic Lesson: Reflections on Fallacies

I've noticed lately that when people argue, especially on social media such as Facebook or comment seconds under news articles, they generally use horrific logic and emotionalism to try and get their point across.  This usually leads to pathetic name calling and no decent discussion gets done.  I've noticed this verbally as well, if any discussion happens at all, and so I decided to begin daily logic lessons.  I find logical fallacies interesting and unfortunately we are so undereducated in the art of discussion and argument that pretty much all of us use them.  So today, I looked up the Straw Man Argument.

"A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.  To 'attack a straw man' is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the 'straw man'), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

It would benefit our society to be better at supporting our opinions, especially as Christians.  Christ warned His disciples to be shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16), and I think that learning to argue well is probably part of this.  So the next time you find yourself in a discussion with anyone really, step back, keep your emotions in check, and avoid using this fallacy.