Friday, November 17, 2006

By the way,

this whole "straw man" thing is really getting out of hand. Don't you think?

I mean, it's like, everyone who's ever spent x amount of time in any political online discussion latches onto that term at some point. Here a straw man, there a straw man (woman, chiapet, whatever); if there were half as much straw as everyone who uses that phrase said, we'd all have been smothered to death under a mountain of scarecrows long since.

Look. I know how exciting it is to use these logical fallacy thingies. But please. There -must- be some -other- ones we could break out now and again? "False dichotomy." "Poisoning the well." "Hasty generalization." "Slippery slope." "Fallacy of misplaced concreteness." "Wisdom of repugnance." And of course, "You're either with us, or against us."

Why, I bet you could even find a number of 'em I've just used myself! Have at it, kids.

18 comments:

Professor Zero said...

Great post.

Sly Civilian said...

yeah, but when a person lays out their arugment in a sloppy manner, leaving it open to criticism...

it's so much easier to respond to that criticism by saying that they were misunderstood.

belledame222 said...

Is there a particular fallacy for, "oh, I see you are taking the same side as puffball here; therefore, clearly you and puffball are friends, if not actually the same person; therefore I don't have to pay attention to anything either one of you says"?

word verification: xzaaaaaq

astronautgo said...

I say we abandon the term "strawman" altogether, and begin accusing our foes of making us into displacer beasts. Displacer beasts are way awesomer than scarecrows, and the new metaphor will inject some much-needed rhetorical novelty into online discussion.

"Madam, by villainously assaulting me as though I occupy a position not my own, you have made a displacer beast of me, and I would have satisfaction. Pistols at dawn!"

roro said...

I remember the first time I heard that term, although it was a "straw dog" instead of a "straw man" and also, I misheard it and couldn't understand why we were talking so vehemently about "strong dogs". I'm all "Strong dogs - like pit bulls? What?"

Lucy said...

Totally agree about 'straw man'. Also 'strawfeminist', and 'ad hominem', which a lot of people can't even spell, let alone use properly.

MissPrism said...

Wow! I'm going to go pick a fight with an ipsedixitist.

Renegade Evolution said...

Eh, screw the strawman BS. I'll stick with being a henchwoman and gender traitor.

Unsane said...

yes--let's have some variations: snow men, garden gnomes, dust devils and the like -- all for logical fallacies.

Kaka Mak said...

Well said.
It's become a catch-all term, often not even employed correctly.

Kim said...

AND STAY DEAD Kaka Mak moniker already!
Sheesh!

Kim said...

Hey Belle: Where does Andrea post these days? Doesn't she have a group blog somewhere?

belledame222 said...

She had a blog "Vociferate" but she nuked it.

belledame222 said...

...same reason you nuked yours, basically.

FoolishOwl said...

I like the displacer beasts suggestion, particularly because it allows for countering with blink dogs, and I always liked blink dogs.

Lucy said...

Kim - I think Andrea also used to blog at the Jerk List (www.jerk-list.blogspot.com), but it hasn't been updated since July. I miss her too!

Agree with everything you say at your new blog by the way.

Alon Levy said...

If I had the Monstrous Manual with me, I'd look up the spells that allow you to detect a displacer beast. Right now the only one I can remember is True Seeing, which is overall incredibly powerful.

When talking about fallacies in net discussion, I'd rather divide them into two broad categories: flamewar fallacies, and logical fallacies. Logical fallacies are failures of an argument; flamewar ones are failures to show that your opponent is an idiot.

Alex said...

While you guys have your DMGs out, see if there are any magical maladies we can accuse people of having. All I can think of is mummy rot, and I'm thinking not appropriate.