суббота, 28 марта 2009 г.

How to spot weak arguments

When you’re debating, you’ll come up against many styles of arguing, based on all different levels of arguing. If you’re in the debate to win, you’ll have to spot the flaws in opposing arguments and point them out, or exploit them like a weak spot. Sometimes it’s as easy as listening for fuzzy words. Here are some words and phrases that are easy indications of flaws:

many, all, a lot, every, none, nobody, much, more - Solid arguments use actual numbers with references to their source. These words can indicate implied statistics that show the debater is making up a fact rather than working off real data. Example: “Many Christians disagree”

never, always, usually, tend, trend - These may be blanket statements that imply cause and effect, or assumptions about overall responses and opinions that don’t hold up under scrutiny. Example: “the rich have always been getting richer”

I, I don’t think, I believe - including yourself in the argument can indicate thinking personal experience equals the overall trend. If the debate is not a poll or about individual views, this can be Hasty Generalization. Someone who manages to use words from two categories:”I always choose to wear one” From: Man vs. Elephant : can you escape?“I am much more shifty than an elephant and would be able to escape if ONE was chasing me in a large field by cutting and weaving.”and one rebuttal that found the critical flaw:”Elephants charge at up to 25mph. Way faster than you can run…”

So next time you’re arguing with friends or proving your point in an online debate, listen in for these hints for weak arguments and when you make your response make it stronger by avoiding the same flaws.

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