Problematic Argument Styles Being Used These Days

101775-you-don-t-have-to-win-every-argument-agree-to-disagreeAbout a week ago, Rebekkah and I were talking about problematic argument styles and how pervasive they’ve become on social media because of this election. I thought it would be a cool subject to write about here but when I began to study the various fallacies, I realized two things. One, there are too many of them and two, they are rather boring. The list is here if you’re interested.

Instead, I’ll just write about a few really popular ways for people to disagree with each other on Facebook that is making my head hurt.

Distraction Fallacy

These days, you literally can’t voice any complaint about how Trump is running our government without someone pointing out something about Obama. This is called a distraction fallacy. This type of argument makes me nuts because a) I didn’t vote for Obama, and b) just because someone else did it, doesn’t make it right.

One way of winning an argument is to distract the person from the real point, leading them up the garden path of a side issue or something completely irrelevant to the real subject. The main argument may thus never be completed to a logical conclusion, especially if agreeing with the side issue can be substituted for the real agreement. courtesy of changingminds.org

For example:

Statement: President Donald Trump’s constant tweeting on Twitter about 412d25f78aeccf940a630c8e7a6137c5perceived wrongs makes him appear to be thin-skinned.

Distraction Fallacy Argument: Obama was was a self absorbed narcissistic racist who had no problem doing the same things you accuse Trump of.

Breakdown: One has nothing to do with the other. Maybe they were both thin-skinned. Maybe neither of them are. One statement does not add any proof whatsoever to the subject of the original statement.

False Dilemma Fallacy

The false dilemma fallacy is the assumption that you must choose A or B; that both statements can’t be true at the same time. False Dilemma Fallacy

raise-your-voiceFor example:

Statement: I believe America should help refugees from Syria.

False Dilemma Fallacy: You don’t care about our veterans more than helping refugees.

Breakdown: A person can easily care equally about refugees as well as veterans. In fact, a person with a generally caring nature will probably care deeply for all kinds of oppressed or neglected groups. It’s actually more probable than for the people who only care about the group they themselves belong to.

I hate this argument for so many reasons. Both of my parents were

Dad in the USMC
Dad in the USMC

Marines. I have a brother and sister that were in the Army, two ex-husbands that served in the Army, and my daughter is in the Air Force. Of course I care about our veterans! I also still think that we, as a rich, fat nation have enough resources we can comfortably share what we have with people from war-torn countries.

Appeal to Ridicule Fallacy

Mock and ridicule another person’s claim and argument.

Seriously, this one just amazes me. Instead of just presenting facts, and debating the merits of an argument, we just attack the person’s credibility instead.

For example:

its-hard-to-win-an-argument-with-a-stupid-person-but-it-is-impossible-to-win-an-argument-with-a-stupid-person-funny-quoteStatement: Trump lies a lot.

Appeal to Ridicule Argument: He’s not lying; you’re just stupid.

Breakdown: This argument is a way to bully someone into shutting up because you don’t have a defendable position. If the debate has disintegrated to the point that one person is calling the other one names, you’ve both lost.

Repetition Fallacy

This one is one of Trump’s favorites. If he says something enough, it will become true. If enough people believe something, it has to be true.

The repetition fallacy is when you say something often enough, and enough people pick it up and repeat it, it takes on a “truth”-like feel to it. Trump really relies on this method, as is evidenced on his many interviews, when he refers to “many, many people have said this”.

2016-08-13t22-54-09-9z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600Statement: 3 million votes were cast by illegal immigrants in favor of Hillary Clinton. Not one of those fraudulent votes was for Donald Trump.

Repetition Fallacy: Because Trump said it many times on tv, and because I see it repeated over and over again on the internet and cable talk shows, it must be true.

Breakdown: A fact is simply a fact, and it doesn’t matter how many people believe otherwise, it does not change. If you’re being honest, you know — 3 million illegals did not vote for Clinton this past election.

Most people at one point believed the earth was flat. It’s always been round, no matter how many times people said otherwise, or how many of them truly believed it was really flat.

Conclusion

It’s probably silly to write a whole post on a subject that people probably d8999c751aecf3a354efc28b385aa1b5don’t care about, but I’m a nerdy intellect and I know there have got to be other nerdy intellects out there that are finding all of this kind of juvenile and unenlightened. I love a good, well-crafted debate. I really do, but I get disappointed when people use ineffective tools to argue their points.

So, to quote one of my favorite Facebook pages, Weird Nature:

There. That’s a thing you know now. 🙂

~ Bird

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hijacking of Two Religions

trump-signsWhat we are seeing in our political disagreements these days is what I call a hijacking of not one, but two, religions in order to further agendas that aren’t at their core, religious at all.

Historically, the Republican party touts itself as a largely Christian party, embracing the supposed values of their religion. The Democrats, historically, have more atheists in it as a whole, and tend to be known to espouse more of a scientific lean, as well as a socialist one.

This is just how things have been for as long as I can remember. I identifywomens-march as a Christian, but I have never been fooled that either party was a good fit for someone like me. I love science, and don’t believe it has ever been an effective tool to disprove my belief in God. I take God’s admonition to care for the poor, the orphans and the widows as a mandate, which I guess makes me look more like a socialist. I really don’t care, frankly. In the end, I’ll be judged by a higher court, and that’s the one I’m concerned with.

I also don’t find myself fooled by Political Christians who blab on and on about bringing God back into our country’s schools and governments, but whose agendas seem a little more self-serving and unrighteous.

cross_summit_cross_christianity_218516They’ve hijacked Christianity, throwing around terms that ignite within Christian countrymen in order to secure high positions for themselves, after which, they will do exactly what the hell they want– secure power and position for themselves — and not what God might want. Do not be fooled by words. Always, always look at actions.

Hence, I find myself cringing daily about what I am reading on the internet. Vicious verbal attacks are slamming back and forth, problematic argument methods are being embraced and repeated over and over, and two religions are being hijacked by a ton of people. Yikes.

Hijacking Christianity

For those of you who bought into the line that the Republicans are on the side of the angels, let me point some things out. I’m a true-blue, trying-to-live-it Christian. I read my bible, and I pray. And I am so offended that this presidential race is hijacking something I care so deeply about to serve deceitful motivations.

Abortion

I have read how abolishing abortion is step one towards returning this country back to God. Did you know, abortion isn’t even once mentioned in the bible? There was never going to be any way God was going to be able to enumerate every single decision we’d ever encounter and give us what the right answer should be. So, He gave us a conscience instead. Paul even goes on to say, what is sin for one person is not, per se, a sin for another. Abortion is a conscience matter. Just because your conscience screams at you that this is wrong, wrong, wrong, God still did not address this specifically in the bible. So using it as a cornerstone for “bringing God back” is stupid, in my opinion.

Teaching Creation in Schools

The other big nonsense issue I’m hearing so much about is teaching creation in schools again. Are you kidding me? Would teaching creation in school again ever make any real difference to a real Christian? This is what I call a Belly Button Question.  This name is derived over the patently absurd argument church people had in the ’80’s about whether or not Adam and Eve had belly buttons, being that they were not actually born, but created. Yeah. I know.

How much does that really matter, when you consider the bible and our religion as a whole? The bible does say God’s concept of time and our own are not the same, and while I don’t believe in evolution as a whole, I do believe that many of our species now are adaptations, which is in fact, a form of evolution. I went to private schools as well as public ones, and was taught both. Neither of them has even once played any part in my faith as a whole.

Gay Rights

Then there’s gay marriage. The bible briefly mentions in the Old Testament and briefly in the New Testament that this is a sin. I wish I could say that isn’t the case, but I’m not God. I didn’t set the terms of life.

But, the subject of homosexuality did not make it in the book nearly as many times as, say, the 10 commandments, the admonition to love one another, the declaration that we are all laboring under a sinful flesh that can only be redeemed by His Son’s blood, the directions to care for the poor of this world, etc. I don’t personally care if a person is gay. To me, God and them can figure themselves out. Plus, in God’s eyes, sin is just sin, and there is no rankings. For instance, a person who tells a lie is equally guilty in God’s eyes as the person who is a murderer. Consequences here on earth are very different, but from a heavenly standpoint, both are equally guilty of breaking God’s rules. So, hating a person because they are gay makes no more sense than hating all divorced people who remarried (because that’s adultery), hating all people who have ever lusted after another person in their hearts (also, adultery and fornication), hating anyone who has ever told a lie…You see where I’m going with this. We aren’t equipped to be each other’s judges, which is why we were told not to do it. We will always get it wrong.

I do know that God didn’t give me qualifiers about who to be loving towards. He even said to love your enemies. How is causing hatred toward anyone a Christian way to bring this country back to God? The bible says, before you go worrying about speck in someone else’s eye, remove the forest from your own.

Fear – Hijacking Islam

Which brings me to my last point. God repeatedly tells us throughout the entire bible, and in almost every book in it, not to be afraid. He did not give us a spirit of fear, and even a newborn, recently saved Christian knows this.

It bothers me that the party that touts “bringing God back” is hijacking Islam to rattle us with fear. Are you kidding me? There’s nothing about God’s nature that I find cowardly or afraid. A wall? To keep out bad guys? That’s playing to fear. Banning Muslims from the countries that did NOT have a hand in 9/11 (wow.) because we’ve decided collectively that we should have the right to discriminate against people because of their religion after all, as long as it isn’t our own. Also, that plays to fear.

Fear is NOT a Christian principle at all, in any part of the bible, and should play no part in what we real Christians want for this country.

Summary

If the Republican stance was truly about bringing God back, we’d have hell on earth trying to do it, and that is just if we tried to bring the 10 commandments back into play. Sadly, a ton of what I call Facebook Christians don’t even know what those are. I watched Fox News hosts ridicule Al Sharpton for calling Jesus a refugee. They insisted he wasn’t because his parents were only in Bethlehem to pay their taxes. Fox News is predominantly Republican, and very verbal about “Christian Values”.

Oh.Mother.Of.Mary.

The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13-23), in which Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by the Magi, because they learned that King Herod intended to kill the infants of that area. source: Wikipedia

Hence, Jesus was, indeed, a refugee.

I truly believe there are real Christians that bought into the hype. If you don’t know your bible, it is actually easy to do. But this is why the Lord told us to study it. We need to be able to look past what people are saying, and see the truth of why they are saying it. I would tremble with fear at ever using the Word of God the way I’ve been seeing it bandied about by our present government. God will not be mocked, and I hate to see people fooled because of a lack of basic understanding.

For better or for worse, the liberal left are not twisting the Word of God for their own purposes. Instead, when the righteous right keep tossing scriptures around to validate what is going on, it gives them the opportunity to throw scriptures right back in their faces. The Democrats didn’t campaign on bringing God back. The Republicans did, and if you are going to open up that argument, you can’t get mad when it can be used right back at you.

I wish neither side would use God in this way. My spirituality is a sacred thing to me. But I earnestly want to bring attention to the fallacies of this kind of way to grab governmental power. I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to be smarter than this.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

You can’t be wise by falling for every scam.

~ Bird