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  1. #1
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    Default Have you met Mr. Straw Man?

    Have you met Mr. Straw Man?

    Quickie from Wiki: “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.” Straw man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The straw man fallacy is an often used fallacy in the United States because American citizens have a low level of intellectual sophistication.

    One recent use of this fallacy is that Guantanamo detainees are terrorists and thus too dangerous for detention on American soil.

    Obviously American prisons contain many bad guys from whom the public must be protected. Also most of these bad guys are released while still alive. Also records indicate that that many of these released become recidivists.

    The FBI scares us by saying that these terrorists represent a different kind of detention problem.

    The “Fallacy Files” web site {http://www.fallacyfiles.org/} provides an important introduction to both formal and informal fallacies. I think their work on informal fallacies being the most important for our needs today. It is the informal fallacies that we must learn to recognize.

    The early settlers had to learn the sign and behavior of the wolf and bear but it is the informal fallacy that today’s citizen must learn. When not recognized the manipulative sophistication of those who wish to control our society will cause us similar damage.

    Those members of our early American settlers were required to understand many things about their natural habitation in order to survive. These early frontier settlers had primarily natural conditions that threatened their existence. They worried about and learned to understand the signs of the wolf and the bear also the clouds and the weather in general. Their survival depended upon it.

    Today our well being, if not our very survival, depends upon our ability to understand the society we live in and the fellow citizens that occupy our space with us. Our needs for understanding our environment especially that part of it that contains fellow citizens has become acute because our fellows have become expert at manipulating our environment. If we do not understand how these things are being manipulated we are the losers.

    Many of us who were first introduced to the concept ‘fallacy’ when we took a college course on ‘Logic’ found the matter to be boring. It appears, from what I hear, that many students took away from those classes distaste for everything related to the concepts of ‘logic’ and the associated ‘fallacies’. That is unfortunate and is perhaps an indication of why it is so important for all individuals to become self-actualizing self-learners after their school daze is over.

    This wonderful phrase “the ubiquity of ambiguity” I found on a web site that I think all individuals who understand the importance of CT (Critical Thinking) might wish to visit.
    Logical Fallacy: Ambiguity

    What I am trying to say is that the folks living in the early days had to know the habits of the wolf and the bear to survive. Today we have to know the habits of those who wish to manipulate us by using logical fallacies.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    The straw man fallacy is an often used fallacy in the United States because American citizens have a low level of intellectual sophistication.
    Oh? Compared to whom?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    Oh? Compared to whom?
    Compared to their potential.

  4. #4
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    I think people who use the term "straw man" are themselves intellectually inept.

  5. #5
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    We've been assembling a set of emoticons for the logical fallacies. Here's our friend Mr. Straw Man:

    We also have another friend, Mr. Red Herring, who smells a little worse than Mr. Straw Man:

    More to come as needed, but those are the two most commonly spotted logical fallacies on the site (and elsewhere).
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  6. #6
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    I would like to propose a new fallacy:

    Argumentum ad typium.
    "All humour has a foundation of truth."
    - Costrin

  7. #7
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Compared to their potential.
    Vague.

  8. #8
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    Vague.
    I can sort of understand what he's saying. What he means is that people are generally not as well-educated as they can be: but still, they are under the illusion that they are, and as a result are not as inquisitive as they should be (or are inquisitve about the wrong things). I watched a rather sensational trailer recently by the History Channel (in fact, here it is: YouTube - History Channel: Global Event on May 25, 2009). Now, it's probably about the Darwinius masillae fossil, supposedly a transitional primate species, and probably blown out of proportion too: but watch it. Notice how sensationalist it is and especially the tagline "What if everything you knew was a lie?". This line itself makes the assumption that the average American's range of knowledge is negligible and suspectible to this sort of mass-falsification. I know this because I doubt very much they'd dare to use the same line to an audience of scientists or philosophers without being perceived as completely ridiculous.
    Not really.

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