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Logical Fallacies
#1
Logical Fallacies
I recently have spent the majority of my time indulging in debates on a daily basis. Recently, I came across the Christopher Hitchens vs George Galloway on the Iraq war. Whether you agreed with the war or not, it was difficult to watch Galloway make almost every single argument out of Ad Hominem, littered with a few irrelevant facts (non sequiturs, in my opinion.) Hitchens, on the other hand, did his usual magic with endless facts to support genuine arguments. The debate seems to have been divided, as half the audience booed Hitchens and applauded Galloway, while the other half was the other way around. How can someone actually make these arguments in a debate and gain respect for it? (Fallacies, I mean.) I'm not asking this as a biased opinion--I genuinely want to know what I'm missing here. I was always taught fallacies are never to be used in debate, but it seems that one could easily win a debate with such pathetic arguments. Perhaps I'm making something from nothing, but I'd love some input. (For the full debate, you only need search "Hitchens vs Galloway" on youtube, the whole debate is there.)

Thanks for reading!

Chris Roth
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#2
RE: Logical Fallacies
I think none of us are safe from using fallacies in a debate. The thing is though, if you keep using them and are indeed aware of them, then you are a despicable person poor debater. Unfortunately the audience might not be aware of the fallacies, so in their minds it might seem like a really great point, when it really isn't. So, before debating (at least on a larger stage) one should definitely read up on debating etiquette, but still, I think accidents will happen, especially in more informal situations.
When I was young, there was a god with infinite power protecting me. Is there anyone else who felt that way? And was sure about it? but the first time I fell in love, I was thrown down - or maybe I broke free - and I bade farewell to God and became human. Now I don't have God's protection, and I walk on the ground without wings, but I don't regret this hardship. I want to live as a person. -Arina Tanemura

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#3
RE: Logical Fallacies
(June 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm)Kayenneh Wrote: I think none of us are safe from using fallacies in a debate. The thing is though, if you keep using them and are indeed aware of them, then you are a despicable person poor debater. Unfortunately the audience might not be aware of the fallacies, so in their minds it might seem like a really great point, when it really isn't. So, before debating (at least on a larger stage) one should definitely read up on debating etiquette, but still, I think accidents will happen, especially in more informal situations.

I agree with that. I suppose most debates contain fallacies. I am, however, surprised at how many Galloway dropped just in the ad hominmen sector. Thanks for the input!
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#4
RE: Logical Fallacies
(June 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm)Chris.Roth Wrote: How can someone actually make these arguments in a debate and gain respect for it? (Fallacies, I mean.) I'm not asking this as a biased opinion--I genuinely want to know what I'm missing here. I was always taught fallacies are never to be used in debate, but it seems that one could easily win a debate with such pathetic arguments. Perhaps I'm making something from nothing, but I'd love some input.

I wouldn't expect much from the type of audience that boos people, personally. While I think it's occasionally okay for someone to yell out a genuine concern from the audience*, booing is just a child's reaction; a sort of "I disagree with you so I'm going to make your public speaking hell" attitude. I'd wager most people there are simply unaware of logical fallacies. They weren't part of the typical education curriculum (i.e. outside specialised classes, like philosophy, debating, etc) when I went to school. I learned about them through my own reading relatively recently, but I don't know how it is in other schools around the world. People respect others if they think they make good points. Unfortunately, anything can sound like a good point to someone ignorant of the subject.

*I remember one debate between Dan Barker and some Catholic guy and the Catholic fellow dodged one of Dan's question. Someone from the audience yelled out "you didn't answer him" - that to me is an acceptable example.
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#5
RE: Logical Fallacies



You've got to understand the basic facts. Debates aren't about making an argument. The arguments are often largely irrelevant. Debates are about winning over the audience, or at least your portion of it. And the tried and true way to win an audience over is to play on their emotions. Debates aren't about logic. Debates are about propaganda, and who can best play that violin even if Rome should burn. This is why religious debaters prepare the field months in advance, stacking the crowd with friendlies, busing them in often, manipulating the promotion before the debate in often unscrupulous ways, knowing what they need to succeed and ensuring the secularist agrees to all the wrong things in setting the ground rules. Skilled religious debaters make an easy meal of inexperienced secularists who are unfamiliar with 'the game'. And even knowing in advance, the general lay of the land usually ends up pitched in the religious debater's favor.

This is why not uncommonly, rationalists with experience in debate, who 'know the score,' choose no longer to debate; they've concluded, right or wrongly, that it will likely do more harm than good.


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#6
RE: Logical Fallacies
Debate is a spectator sport.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a battle to commence then KPLOW, I hit em with the illness of my quill, Im endowed..with certain unalienable skills....  

-ERB


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#7
RE: Logical Fallacies
Even the simplest fallacy usually needs pointing out why its flawed.

After all, the argument from fallacy, is in itself a fallacy, in that because an argument contains a fallacy, does not necessitate that the conclusion is untrue or false.

Regardless of the ad hominem used by a poor debater, such as Galloway, does not mean his conclusions are false (although I believe he is in that instance). If your natural instincts lend you towards one side of the debate, it often becomes more difficult to spot the fallacies used by the side you instinctively support.
Self-authenticating private evidence is useless, because it is indistinguishable from the illusion of it. ― Kel, Kelosophy Blog

If you’re going to watch tele, you should watch Scooby Doo. That show was so cool because every time there’s a church with a ghoul, or a ghost in a school. They looked beneath the mask and what was inside?
The f**king janitor or the dude who runs the waterslide. Throughout history every mystery. Ever solved has turned out to be. Not Magic.
― Tim Minchin, Storm
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#8
RE: Logical Fallacies
(June 27, 2012 at 8:17 am)apophenia Wrote: This is why religious debaters prepare the field months in advance, stacking the crowd with friendlies, busing them in often, manipulating the promotion before the debate in often unscrupulous ways, knowing what they need to succeed and ensuring the secularist agrees to all the wrong things in setting the ground rules. Skilled religious debaters make an easy meal of inexperienced secularists who are unfamiliar with 'the game'. And even knowing in advance, the general lay of the land usually ends up pitched in the religious debater's favor.

While I was already well aware that winning over the audience is done with emotional appeals and the like, I'm not familiar with what you've mentioned here. Do you have any specific instances you can mention where this has happened? I'd be interested in reading more about the bolded part.
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#9
RE: Logical Fallacies
Tangentially related:

This is a great resource.
http://logicallyfallacious.com/index.php...-fallacies
[Image: SigBarSping_zpscd7e35e1.png]
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#10
RE: Logical Fallacies
A debate may very well be about "winning over the audience", but it's winning them over using an argument. Fallacies are fallacies for a reason. Just because something wins over the audience does not make it true. If a debator is simply going to use whatever cheap fallacies they can to win over an audience, that doesn't make their argument right, it doesn't make their point valid, and it doesn't mean they are a smarter/better debator than the other person. Now I've pointed out here that fallacies happen, no one can avoid them. However, I also directly referenced the Galloway/Hitchens debate for a reason. Why is it I never posted this discussion before? Because I'd never seen the Galloway/Hitchens debate. I also heard no arguments from Galloway that directly referenced the issues with the middle east. Almost every argument he made was "Hitchens, you are a dog" "Hitchens, you are slime" "when you were younger, you believed differently, doesn't that mean you're always wrong?" None of this referenced the question of the debate, it was shameless avoidance. I've seen plenty of debates where appeal to emotion is used (a fallacy) or where the genetic fallacy is used (such as the argument that America was founded on 'christian values'. Even if that were true, it doesn't mean America is better off as a 'christian nation', and the fact that it came from such is a fallacy.) I'm used to these fallacies though, and I think we all accept and counter these arguments as opposed to saying "you're just making fallacies." Misplacing the burden of proof happens often as well. Personal attack ad hominem is not in any way an attempt at an argument, it's simply smearing your opponent and hoping you can get away with childish antics that should stop being considered impressive after middle school. Many people here, I feel, have completely missed my point.
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