To continue the series addressing the subject of disagreeing with someone, especially online, I will share more of the most common logical fallacies. With each post involving a hot button issue, the goal is to have those in disagreement with my opinion, read this before commenting.
This is an argument based on the assumption, where you claim the opinion of the majority is always valid. In short, since everyone is doing or believing it, you should too.
Blog Post: In my opinion, I think you should refrain from having sex. That is until the individual truly understands the repercussions involved, with the emotional aspect of having sex. Sex is an incredible form of art, but far too many enter the act without understanding the consequences.
Whatever. Take your bible spewing nonsense elsewhere. Everyone is having sex today. It’s no big deal. Who waits to have sex anymore? I feel sorry for your kids, because they have an ultra-conservative douchebag for a parent.
Explanation: The blog does not condemn sex, nor did it mention religion. Instead, the writer believes it is best to understand what sex truly means, before you engage physically.
The comment approaches the topic as if the writer is wrong, solely because the writer is in the minority on the subject. Therefore, if you disagree with the majority opinion, your conclusion is wrong.
D. Begging the Question
This is a circular argument. The premise of an argument presupposes the truth of its conclusion; in other words, the argument takes for granted what it’s supposed to prove.
Blog Post: I think we should consider eating in moderation, even the things they deem as healthy. Although fish is a healthy source of protein and minerals, one should be mindful of the types of fish consumed and the frequency of consumption.
Begging the Question Rebuttal
Are you stupid? You can consume fish multiple times per day, because it is healthy and good for you. Therefore, you can eat it every day because it is healthy for you.
Explanation: The blog says you can consume fish, but recommends taking consideration for the types you consume, frequency and of course overall moderation. The commenter instead says that fish is healthy because fish is good for you, and is acceptable to consume multiple times per day.
The comment does not explain why it is healthy, except for the fact that it is fish. They are going in circles. Fish is healthy because it is good for you, and it is good for you because fish is healthy. That explains nothing. LoL.
E. Dicto Simpliciter
This fallacy is when you take a general rule, and treat it as a universal truth, regardless of the circumstances.
Blog Post: Despite popular belief, domestic violence is not simply a woman’s issue. This bias will undermine a real discussion in the media. It is one thing if it was simply just a woman’s issue, but unbiased statistics prove otherwise.
Why do we continue treating it as something only females face? In fact, over 40 percent of severe physical violence occurs against men, yet the provisions of refuge in England and Wales for males is only 60, whereas females have 7500 such locations.
Dicto Simplicter Rebuttal
You must be a misogynistic, rape apologist piece of scum. I was a victim of domestic violence, my sister, and two of my closest friends as well. I also learned in gender studies that women are always the victim.
It is obvious with the epidemic I hear about domestic violence against women, that we would focus only on the oppressed group (females) as opposed to the one possessing privilege (males).
Explanation: The commenter takes the general rule of domestic violence due to media coverage, where the focus is only on females, as an indication that domestic violence only affects females worldwide.
The commenter did not pay attention to the blog post. Instead, they forced a learned indoctrination, refusing to consider anything opposite of their teaching. The writer of the blog is not undermining domestic violence against women, but instead wants the topic to shift from an issue that only affects women.
F. Straw Man
This is when you take someone’s perspective and then overstate or misrepresent, in order for it to be more easily attacked or refuted.
Blog Post: In some situations, a number of the issues males and females face while dating, have more to do with their poor selection in partners, which many refuse to admit.
Straw Man Rebuttal
I cannot believe you are telling me that my sister deserved to die, during her husband’s drunken rage five years ago where he stabbed her 30 times.
Explanation: This response completely misinterprets and exaggerates the blog’s message. First, the writer says in some situations. Secondly, nowhere in the post does it state a person deserves harm or death, due to their partner’s actions.
The commenter applied the straw man argument because it allows them to exaggerate and misinterpret the post, all at the same time removing them from actually addressing the words in the post.
G. Red Herring
This is a detail or an observation, which intentionally or unintentionally, draws your attention away from the central issue in an argument or discussion.
In other words, it causes you to sidetrack from the topic. The goal is to win the argument, by taking the other person(s) away from the initial argument.
Blog Post: Through One Gentleman’s Perspective, I believe people should receive equal pay for equal work, but not equal pay for less work.
Red Herring Rebuttal
Who says you are a gentleman? I refuse to believe you are a gentleman, because if you are a gentleman, I rather take my husband over you every day of the week. Besides, you are a sexist pig if you think males should receive more income than females.
Explanation: LoL. I often laugh at this whenever I encounter it. This response does not address the topic, and decides intentionally or perhaps it occurs unintentionally, to bring up whether I am a real gentleman. More importantly, the commenter addresses receiving, and not earning. It will cause the writer to shift from earning, to addressing the misleading angle of women receiving less.
H. Stacking the Deck
This is when any evidence that supports an opposing argument is simply rejected, omitted, or ignored.
Blog Post: John Bellingham assassinated Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Spencer Perceval, as he entered the lobby of the House of Commons.
Stacking the Deck Rebuttal
I refuse to trust your evidence, because his assassination was part of a conspiracy according to my great-grandfather.
Explanation: If your goal is to discredit the validity of someone’s message, you can ignore the information because it goes against the information that you believe.
In this example, regardless what evidence the writer of the blog would use to support the assassination, the commenter would reject since it does not mesh with their existing opinion.
As you can see from the examples above, people are able to use a number of ways to argue unfairly. I graciously embrace opposing perspectives, because it allows me to understand the thought process of others.
However, an opposing perspective should occur fairly, where you present your response to coincide only with the words of the speaker or writer.
Your assumption is not a valid way to disagree, where you assume what the person states and then argue against that assumption. That is not the speaker’s perspective—it is your point of view that you are arguing against.
My wife understands how much I enjoy conversing with others, especially when we exchange dialogue on hot button issues.
However, she also understands that I consider it a poor decision, whenever the conversation shifts from the words presented, to someone’s feelings on the words.
I am fairly new to blogging, so I was completely unaware how dishonestly people will disagree online. Over the past few months, I have a much greater understanding, but it was her idea to create this post. My wife is far smarter than I am, even if she likes to believe otherwise.
I am learning each day how to become a better blogger. This post is obviously not representative of regular readers, so please excuse it.
Agreeing or disagreeing with my perspective is irrelevant. I am more interested in having dialogue, but only dialogue that occurs fairly.
With that said, I would love to hear your take on how others disagree, especially online. Have you encountered any of these logical fallacies offline or online?