Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Do You Know If You're Making A Bad Argument?

The short answer is, if you can make that same argument against your own argument by simply changing the subject, it is a bad argument.

I was recently presented with just such an example when commented on a friend's Facebook status concerning earth day. A friend of the host responded to me and someone else with the following argument, which by the way, had absolutely nothing to do with my comment. (I have changed the names)

So Dan, "those who are spiritual" often disagree with one another on many interpretive issues. So are you saying that you and those who think exactly like you are the only ones who gets[sic] it right?


So this was my response. I simply copied and pasted his argument and changed the word spiritual to unspiritual:

So Bob, "those who are unspiritual" often disagree with one another on many interpretive issues. So are you saying that you and those who think exactly like you are the only ones who gets[sic] it right?


He subsequently sent me an email in which he claimed he had been sent information about me that was unflattering, which gave me the opportunity to employ his basic argument yet once again.

I call this living at the center of the universe. Situated there, every measurement of good and evil, right and wrong, and even in determining who can proclaim what is good and evil, and right and wrong, is taken from the center of the universe, which is self. At the center of the universe you can argue the truth of something based on the "fact" that we can't know truth, because YOU are confident that no one can be confident about anything. You can judge the judgmental, not tolerate intolerance, assert facts based on ignorance; why you can do all sort of things simply because it doesn't conflict with how it makes you feel, which we all know is a wonderful basis for appeal.

2 comments:

Joe said...

"Living at the center of the universe" is nothing more than a manifestation of pride.

4simpsons said...

Dan, that is an excellent tactic and one we should all use more often. We should test ourselves as well. If my argument could be used by my opponent with just the words reversed, then I've said nothing.