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The REAL debate rules

HelloDollyLlama

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There are in fact rules to debate, in addition to the rules of the forum itself. You gain points by finding the relevant fact which settles the issue, and you lose points by trying to drag the battle away from the relevants facts with lies, evasions, insults, the usual. These tapdance tactics are known as fallacies.

Three fallacies have been popular with dishonest politicians for centuries -- they even have names in Latin (and probably ancient Egyptian and Sanskrit for that matter). Here are the three perennial favorites:

1. Ad hominem: attacking your opponent instead of his argument, with insults and other nonsense.
2. Ignoratio elenchi: is simply evasion -- making a statement which is irrelevant to the issue at hand, to change the subject. For instance, refuting facts about Bush’s crimes with statements about Clinton and Monica.
3. Bovis fimus (literally, bull crap), outright lies.

So now when your opponent is losing an argument, and tries to change the subject with an irrelevant tangent or an insult or yet another lie, you can slap him down in two languages! Impress your friends! Throw down the dreaded gauntlet of "BOVIS FIMUS!" when they screech that Obama is a gay Muslim socialist who kills babies and eats them.

Or -- Vos es patesco, which is Latin for "YOU'RE BUSTED!"

To be blunt, the people I’ve been debating aren’t clever enough to think beyond the Big Three – lies, evasions, attacks. At most they might pull out a Straw Man or Cherry Picking. But actually there are many, many forms of bad, fallacious logic. A number of them are listed here:

List of fallacies - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here are just a few of my favourites:

FAKING THE FACTS
False attribution: an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument. For example, Republicans citing Fox, Drudge, Newsmax, Worldnetdaily.....
Cherry picking: using only the data that supports your position, while ignoring the rest. For example – looking only at the polls which showed McCain leading Obama in Pennsylvania, and ignoring Obama’s good polls.
Quoting out of context: speaks for itself.
Bare assertion fallacy: favored of Christian evangelicals – the Bible says it’s true, and we say the Bible is infallible, therefore it really must be infallible.
Appeal to authority or tradition: the president (or my father) says it, it must be true.

GOING FOR EMOTION
Appeal to emotion: fear, hope, anger....
Special pleading: using an emotional appeal to change the rules of the argument. I was poor longer than you, so my policies on poverty and jobs must be better.
Appeal to consequences: rejecting inconvenient facts. Democrats say Bush’s tax cuts are a bad idea, but if we repeal them I must pay more, so they must be wrong.
Appeal to novelty: my idea is better because it’s new. Converse of the appeal to tradition.
Appeal to poverty, or wealth. He must be honest because he’s poor. She must be smart because she’s rich.

SHOOT THE MESSENGER STRATEGIES
Poisoning the well: smearing your target so that anything he says will be ignored.
Straw man: misrepresenting the other guys’ argument – putting words in his mouth.
Association fallacy: you must be wrong because you hang out with people I don’t like.
Ad hominem: attacking your opponent instead of his argument. Often answered by the “tu quoque” argument, literally “you too!”
Appeal to ridicule: dishonestly re-stating your opponent’s argument in a ridiculous way. See “straw man”.
Burden of proof: insisting that your opponent meet an unnaturally high level of proof. “Barack Obama didn’t personally deliver to me the original of his birth certificate, and his parent’s birth certificates, with background investigations of everyone who was in the delivery room when he was born...”

SHOUTING YOUR ENEMY DOWN
Proof by verbosity: burying your opponent in too many words, even if they don’t really prove your premise.
Ad nauseam: literally, repeating a lie or bad logic over and over until your opponent throws up: “Hillary’s a socialist! Hillary’s a socialist! Hillary’s a socialist! Hillary’s a socialist! Hillary’s a socialist! Hillary’s a socialist! Hillary’s a socialist!”

EVASIONS AND IRRELEVANCIES
*Ignoratio elenchi: making a statement which is irrelevant to the issue at hand. For instance, refuting facts about Bush’s crimes with statements about Clinton and Monica.
*Red herring: an irrelevant, evasive response to an argument.

OUTRIGHT LIES
Bovis fimus, outright lies. Also...
Fallacious question: a question which is based on a dishonest premise

BAD LOGIC
False analogies
Base rate fallacy: because a particular tool, such as polls, didn’t work on one occasion, all polls are wrong.
False dilemma: posing two options as the only alternatives, even though other options exist.
Nirvana fallacy: if a proposal isn’t a perfect solution to the problem, it must be scrapped. For example – because ObamaCare doesn’t cover everyone immediately, it is junk.
Negative proof fallacy: because we can’t prove it true, it must be false.
Argumentum ad populum: everyone believes it so it must be true. Everyone believed Saddam had nukes in 2003.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc: 911 happened after Bush’s election, therefore Bush caused 911.
Syllogistical fallacies: there are so many they need their own link: Syllogism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Loki’s wager: if you can’t define it, you can’t discuss it. Used by evangelicals to refute arguments about “God”.
Argument from ignorance: it must be true because it hasn’t been proved false. Used often by Republicans to “prove” that Bush didn’t commit impeachable offenses.
The “sunk cost” fallacy: because we have invested effort into something, we must stick with it no matter what, so the costs we sunk into it aren’t wasted. See “Iraq”.
Converse accident: applying the exception to the rule. If we let rape victims have abortions, we’re condoning it for everyone else.
Slippery slope: first we allow abortions, and then they will demand that we kill retarded children and old people....
The appeal to probability: because Hillary could be a lesbian, she must be a lesbian.
Argument from fallacy: because Congressman Henry Waxman failed to prove on 20 January that Bush is a criminal, Bush cannot be a criminal.
Denying the correlative: pretending that non-existent options exist. “Either Fido is a dog or he isn’t a dog.” “But what if he’s only a dog on weekends?”
If by whiskey: trying to evade the rules by using emotionally-loaded words to argue.
Naturalistic fallacy: what is good in nature must be good in human ethics.
Package-deal fallacy: because people who like low taxes often oppose abortion, all opponents of high taxes oppose abortion.
Affirming the consequent, or illicit conversion: backwards logic. If all al-Qaida terrorists were Muslims, then all Muslims must be terrorists.
Denying the antecedent: all al-Qaida terrorists are Muslims. You’re not al-Qaida, therefore you’re not a Muslim.
Proof by example: Muhammad Atta is a terrorist, therefore all Muslims are terrorists.
Begging the question: using circular logic, trying to prove the conclusion with the original assertion.
Circular cause and consequence: claiming the result of a phenomenon actually caused the phenomenon in the first place.
Continuum fallacy: everything is relative.
Equivocation: Do women need to worry about man-eating sharks?
Fallacy of division: 747’s can fly, 747 engines are part of 747’s, therefore 747 engines can fly.
Ecological fallacy: if 70 percent of Alabama blacks support Obama, then if you pull a black guy off the street he will be an Obama fan.
Fallacy of the single cause: assuming there is only one cause for a phenomenon.
Historian’s fallacy: assuming that people in the past saw the world the same way we do.
False compromise: the middle choice is always best.
Monte Carlo fallacy: the coin came up tails ten times in a row, so heads must be next.
Regression fallacy: a number of phenomena consist of behaviour that oscillates across a median – i.e. back in January, Hillary’s national polls bounce up and down but generally return to the 40-percent level. If she wins Nevada and bounces from 37 up to 40, that doesn’t mean Nevada got her up there – she was probably going to bounce back anyway.
Retrospective determinism: Martin Luther King was murdered by racists...but it was bound to happen.
Fallacy of accident: ignoring exceptions. Cutting people with a knife is a crime. Therefore surgeons are criminals. See also -- Dicto simpliciter.
Misleading vividness: applying a specific example to an entire pattern. Dang, Tejada got a hit off us – we should pitch around him every time after this, or he’ll hit it every time!
Spotlight fallacy: individuals in a particular group will act like the most visible members of that group. Because Bjork wore a swan costume to the Oscars, everyone in Iceland dresses that way. Brr!
Thought-terminating cliché: ignoring facts which violate a popular cliché.
Texas sharpshooter fallacy: implying a pattern that is invalid. For example – a Texas sharpshooter shoots a his barn with a rifle, draws a circle around the bullet hole, and says “hit it!”
 

winston53660

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I want ICE CREAM NOW!!!!
 

Lerxst

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Excellent post. Too bad many on here will continue to ignore the facts of the matter and engage in breaking just about every rule you listed up there.

I think I'll use it as a "red flag" reference.

:mrgreen:
 

HelloDollyLlama

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Excellent post. Too bad many on here will continue to ignore the facts of the matter and engage in breaking just about every rule you listed up there.

I think I'll use it as a "red flag" reference.

:mrgreen:

They generally don't have the imagination to break all 60 of them. Trust me: if you know how to shoot down five things -- lies, evasions, ad hominems, Straw Men and Cherry Picking -- and then zero in on the relevant fact that actually matters, you'll know how to win 99 percent of your arguments.
 

Zyphlin

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Pretty good post. One suggestion.

If you want your post to be read by all, taken seriously by all, and not instantly turn off some people that are less likely to read things and try to take meaning out of them even if they're slanted it may be wise to be slightly more bipartisan in your attacks.

Almost every one of your examples is attacking typically those on the left...from attacking right new sources, to attacking christians, to using attacks on Hillary and Obama as examples, to bringing up Clinton, etc...

While these examples don't nullify your positions, I do think you lose a lot of people who would possibly read this and take something from it due to your obvious political slant showing through.

Just a suggestion
 

niftydrifty

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Pretty good post. One suggestion.

If you want your post to be read by all, taken seriously by all, and not instantly turn off some people that are less likely to read things and try to take meaning out of them even if they're slanted it may be wise to be slightly more bipartisan in your attacks.

Almost every one of your examples is attacking typically those on the left...from attacking right new sources, to attacking christians, to using attacks on Hillary and Obama as examples, to bringing up Clinton, etc...

While these examples don't nullify your positions, I do think you lose a lot of people who would possibly read this and take something from it due to your obvious political slant showing through.

Just a suggestion

Truth is more important than partisanship, or slant, or labelling exercises. Just a suggestion.
 

Zyphlin

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I agree, thus why I read through his entire thing.

That said...

Reality is generally better at times than naive notions. I fully believe there are people on this forum that, if they read through all of this, most definitely would take parts of it to heart. However, they're borderline enough that seeing the vast majority of examples being aimed at republican stereotypes would turn them off from reading the entirety of it.

Does that make his post wrong? Absolutely not. It makes it far from a perfect piece if the hope is to encourage the most possible number of other posters to read it and apply it to their postings.

If this well thought out post was simply a rant for the sake of ranting, then by all means its no big deal to use almost primarily republican attacking examples. However, if the point of the post is to attempt to get a large amount of people to read it, digest it, and then take it to heart, then using a broader range of examples would help that goal as I believe that having a mix of examples would not turn off those already reading it, but may keep the attention of some that would stop reading it previously.
 

HelloDollyLlama

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There is also something to be said for holding a mirror up to the Republican party.

They lost, badly, in two straight elections, because they broke just about every one of these rules.

I am trying to help them to become a grownup party again. I used to be a Republican, and I'd like to be able to take both parties seriously, in the voting booth.

I agree, thus why I read through his entire thing.

That said...

Reality is generally better at times than naive notions. I fully believe there are people on this forum that, if they read through all of this, most definitely would take parts of it to heart. However, they're borderline enough that seeing the vast majority of examples being aimed at republican stereotypes would turn them off from reading the entirety of it.

Does that make his post wrong? Absolutely not. It makes it far from a perfect piece if the hope is to encourage the most possible number of other posters to read it and apply it to their postings.

If this well thought out post was simply a rant for the sake of ranting, then by all means its no big deal to use almost primarily republican attacking examples. However, if the point of the post is to attempt to get a large amount of people to read it, digest it, and then take it to heart, then using a broader range of examples would help that goal as I believe that having a mix of examples would not turn off those already reading it, but may keep the attention of some that would stop reading it previously.
 

niftydrifty

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There is also something to be said for holding a mirror up to the Republican party.

They lost, badly, in two straight elections, because they broke just about every one of these rules.

I am trying to help them to become a grownup party again. I used to be a Republican, and I'd like to be able to take both parties seriously, in the voting booth.

and you do take the Democratic Party seriously? every election is a choice. and we might prefer Democrats most of the time, of late. But don't think for a second they haven't been bought. Ouch.
 

ReverendHellh0und

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Gott love a wikipedia cut and paste as a lecture on proper debate wrapped up in a hyper-partisan post.


:roll:
 

RightinNYC

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They generally don't have the imagination to break all 60 of them. Trust me: if you know how to shoot down five things -- lies, evasions, ad hominems, Straw Men and Cherry Picking -- and then zero in on the relevant fact that actually matters, you'll know how to win 99 percent of your arguments.

WELL WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEM ALL COLLIDE, HMMM??????

IMMOVABLEWALLUNSTOPPABLECANNONBALLPWNED


Truth is more important than partisanship, or slant, or labelling exercises. Just a suggestion.

This of course assumes that there is a single "truth" that can be determined. 95% of the things discussed on this forum have two or more sides to them where reasonable people can disagree.

If everything was just so simple as "point out the truth and win arguments," this would be a pretty boring place.
 

ReverendHellh0und

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There is also something to be said for holding a mirror up to the Republican party.

They lost, badly, in two straight elections, because they broke just about every one of these rules.

I am trying to help them to become a grownup party again. I used to be a Republican, and I'd like to be able to take both parties seriously, in the voting booth.

Fallacy: Hasty Generalization

:2wave:
 

Zyphlin

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There is also something to be said for holding a mirror up to the Republican party.

They lost, badly, in two straight elections, because they broke just about every one of these rules.

I am trying to help them to become a grownup party again. I used to be a Republican, and I'd like to be able to take both parties seriously, in the voting booth.

Then be open and honest about your attempts then, its an advise peace on debate rules laced with your desire to attack Republicans. Which is fine, it just kind of reduces your credibility of actually giving a damn about peoples debating skills.

False Attribution could've referenced no one and included things like Slate.com and Huffington Post to go with Newsmax and WND, and MSNBC to go right along with Fox News.

Cherry Picking could apply just as easily to Sarah Palin's for claiming her poll numbers at the end of the campaign show she "doomed" McCain while ignoring the fact his campaign was on the brink of disaster and only survived due to the jump in polls upon her acceptance of the position.

Ad nauseum could've included "Bush is a fascist, Bush is a fascist, Bush is a fascist" right after "Hillary is a Socialist" as they're both the same.

Ignoratio elenchi is like dismissing the accussed crimes of Bush because of Clinton and Monica or dismissing charges against Obama's assossiations because of Bush's accused crimes.

Yet, you took in general a good peice trying to get people to debate better and decided you wanted to "hold a mirror" up to one side while ignoring that winning doesn't mean the other side doesn't use the same falacies, and thus making it less of a useful informative tool and more of just a partisan hit job hidden within an intelligent discourse.

Then realizing that all you pretty much did was yank wiki almost word for word and then threw in examples, the majority of which just went after republicans, made me even further reconsider my original views of the thread and the point it was getting across.

Which is too bad, because even though it was a shallow partisan peace disguised as a useful bit of debate advise, it still contained some good information. Thanks wiki
 

niftydrifty

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This of course assumes that there is a single "truth" that can be determined. 95% of the things discussed on this forum have two or more sides to them where reasonable people can disagree.

If everything was just so simple as "point out the truth and win arguments," this would be a pretty boring place.
you're talking about something else. i was speaking about ways of discerning the truth. that's what the OP is about. but, that isn't to say, at all, that there is only one truth to be determined. or that it is simple. or the truth today will remain the truth tomorrow. etc.
 

RightinNYC

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you're talking about something else. i was speaking about ways of discerning the truth. that's what the OP is about. but, that isn't to say, at all, that there is only one truth to be determined. or that it is simple. or the truth today will remain the truth tomorrow. etc.

My point is that in the vast majority of things discussed on this site, there is no "truth." If the question is "what was the unemployment rate last month," then yea, there is a "truth." But if the question is "what will the stimulus do for us/which party has the better ideas/who is more corrupt," then there's no point in trying to label anything as "truth."
 

HelloDollyLlama

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This was not just yanked from wiki.


Then be open and honest about your attempts then, its an advise peace on debate rules laced with your desire to attack Republicans. Which is fine, it just kind of reduces your credibility of actually giving a damn about peoples debating skills.

False Attribution could've referenced no one and included things like Slate.com and Huffington Post to go with Newsmax and WND, and MSNBC to go right along with Fox News.

Cherry Picking could apply just as easily to Sarah Palin's for claiming her poll numbers at the end of the campaign show she "doomed" McCain while ignoring the fact his campaign was on the brink of disaster and only survived due to the jump in polls upon her acceptance of the position.

Ad nauseum could've included "Bush is a fascist, Bush is a fascist, Bush is a fascist" right after "Hillary is a Socialist" as they're both the same.

Ignoratio elenchi is like dismissing the accussed crimes of Bush because of Clinton and Monica or dismissing charges against Obama's assossiations because of Bush's accused crimes.

Yet, you took in general a good peice trying to get people to debate better and decided you wanted to "hold a mirror" up to one side while ignoring that winning doesn't mean the other side doesn't use the same falacies, and thus making it less of a useful informative tool and more of just a partisan hit job hidden within an intelligent discourse.

Then realizing that all you pretty much did was yank wiki almost word for word and then threw in examples, the majority of which just went after republicans, made me even further reconsider my original views of the thread and the point it was getting across.

Which is too bad, because even though it was a shallow partisan peace disguised as a useful bit of debate advise, it still contained some good information. Thanks wiki
 

ReverendHellh0und

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It's not a fallacy if it's based in fact. Nice try!

So it is "fact" that if you bring "logic" within a "hundered yards" of a Republican, he will "burst into flames"?



Interesting. Could you provide me with supporting documentation and evidence demonstrating this hyper-spontaneous combustion you claim is a fact.


I shall wait. :lol:
 
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