I like Forumosa.com. There is much opportunity presented here for debate. Ya know what I’m talking about - The exchange of ideas, information, opinions and things like that.
The wide range of posters on here gives a range of opinions and stimulus that otherwise might be missing in ones daily affairs.
All spectrums of both the economic, national, chronological and political are present. So one would think it makes for a lively mix of discussion.
Sometimes yes (rare) - sometimes no(all too often).
Unfortunately, for some, most attempts at an actual “debate/discussion” end in thread hijacking a with PC sloganeering, pontificating one-ups-manship and a mix of other maneuvers that render most discussion attempts impotent.
A few threads do carry-on with civil exchanges for a while - but eventually most devolve into what seems to be a pre-planned course of self-implosion. Or maybe they just die a “natural death.”
In the spirit of looking at this, I had this article emailed to me this morning and thought it might be a fun read for those interested.
Yes, I have been labeled as ‘the evil conservative’ by the opposite side; I plead guilty as designated. I also cop to being guilty of #20 on the list. I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
(posted purely for infotainment content-no fingers are being pointed)
(somewhat abridged for length)
[quote]Intellectually-honest and intellectually-dishonest debate tactics
Copyright by John T. Reed
(semi-interesting bit here skipped)
Although I am fond of intellectually-honest debate, most of the statements made by my opponents to prove that I am wrong have been of the intellectually-dishonest variety.
Lest I be accused of intellectually-dishonest debate myself, I hereby explain the difference.
Two intellectually honest tactics
There are two intellectually-honest debate tactics:
- revealing errors or omissions in your opponent’s facts
- revealing errors or omissions in your opponent’s logic
(semi-interesting bit here skipped)
Politicians, con men
Intellectually-dishonest debate tactics are typically employed by dishonest politicians, lawyers of guilty parties, dishonest salespeople, cads, cults, and others who are attempting to perpetrate a fraud. My real estate opponents, in general, are either charlatans or con men. As such, they have no choice but to employ intellectually-dishonest tactics both to prove that I am wrong and to persuade you to buy their products and services. My coaching opponents are generally not charlatans or con men, but many are quite political. Those who dislike my military views are also career politicians notwithstanding their claims to be “selfless servant warriors.”
Here is a list of the intellectually-dishonest debate tactics I have identified thus far. I would appreciate any help from readers to expand the list or to better define each tactic. I am numbering the list in order to refer back to it quickly elsewhere at this Web site.
1. Name calling: debater tries to diminish the argument of his opponent by calling the opponent a name that is subjective and unattractive; for example, cult members and bad real estate gurus typically warn the targets of their frauds that “dream stealers” will try to tell them the cult or guru is giving them bad advice; name calling is only intellectually dishonest when the name in question is ill defined or is so subjective that it tells the listener more about the speaker than the person being spoken about; there is nothing wrong with using a name that is relevant and objectively defined; the most common example of name calling against me is “negative;” in coaching, the critics of coaches are often college professors and the word “professor” is used as a name-calling tactic by the coaches who are the targets of the criticism in question; as a coach, I have been criticized as being “too intense,” a common put-down of successful youth and high school coaches. People who criticize their former employer are dishonestly dismissed as “disgruntled” or “bitter.” These are all efforts to distract the audience by changing the subject because the speaker cannot refute the facts or logic of the opponent.
2. Changing the subject: debater is losing so he tries to redirect the attention of the audience to another subject area where he thinks he can look better relative to the person he is debating
3. Questioning the motives of the opponent: this is a form of tactic number 2 changing the subject; as stated above, it is prohibited by Robert’s Rule of Order 43; a typical tactic used against critics is to say, “They’re just trying to sell newspapers” or in my case, books—questioning motives is not always wrong; only when it is used to prove the opponent’s facts or logic wrong is it invalid
4. Citing irrelevant facts or logic: this is another form of tactic Number 2 changing the subject
5. False premise: debater makes a statement that assumes some other fact has already been proven when it has not; in court, such a statement will be objected to by opposing counsel on the grounds that it “assumes facts not in evidence”
6. Hearsay: debater cites something he heard but has not confirmed through his own personal observation or research from reliable sources
7. Unqualified expert opinion: debater gives or cites an apparently expert opinion which is not from a qualified expert; in court, an expert must prove his qualifications before he can give an opinion
8. Sloganeering: Debater uses a slogan rather than using facts or logic. Slogans are vague sentences or phrases that derive their power from rhetorical devices like alliteration, repetition, cadence, or rhyming. In sports, coaches frequently rely on cliches, a less rhetorical form of slogan, to deflect criticism.
9. Motivation end justifies dishonest means: debater admits he is lying or using fallacious logic but excuses this on the grounds that he is motivating the audience to accomplish a good thing and that end justifies the intellectually-dishonest means
10. Cult of personality: debater attempts to make the likability of each debate opponent the focus of the debate on the grounds that he believes he is more likable than the opponent
11. Vagueness: debater seems to cite facts or logic, but his terms are so vague that no facts or logic are present
12. Playing on widely held fantasies: debater offers facts or logic that support the fantasies of the audience thereby triggering powerful desires to believe that override normal desire for truth or logic
13. Claiming privacy with regard to claims about self: debater makes favorable claims about himself, but when asked for details or proof of the claims, refuses to provide any claiming privacy
14. Stereotyping: debater “proves” his point about a particular person by citing a stereotype that supposedly applies to the group that opponent is a member of; dismissing criticism by academic researchers by citing Ivory Tower stereotypes is an example of this debate tactic
15. Scapegoating: debater blames problems on persons other than the audience; this is a negative version of playing on widely-held fantasies; it plays on widely-held animosities or dislikes
16. Arousing envy: debater attempts to get the audience to dislike his opponent because the audience is envious of something that can be attributed to the opponent
17. Redefining words: debater uses a word that helps him, but that does not apply, by redefining it to suit his purposes
18. Citing over-valued credentials: debater accurately claims something about himself or something he wants to prove, but the claim made is one that attempts to get the audience to overrely on a credential that is or may be over-valued by the audience; for example, some con men point to registration of a trademark or corporation as evidence of approval by the government of the con man’s goods or services
19. Claiming membership in a group affiliated with audience members: debater claims to be a member of a group that members of the audience are also members of like a religion, ethnic group, veterans group, and so forth; the debater’s hope is that the audience members will let their guard down with regard to facts and logic as a result and that they will give their alleged fellow group member the benefit of any doubt or even my-group-can-do-no-wrong immunity
20. Accusation of taking a quote out of context: debater accuses opponent of taking a quote that makes the debater look bad out of context. All quotes are taken out of context—for two reasons: quoting the entire context would take too long and federal copyright law allows quotes but not reproduction of the entire text. Taking a quote out of context is only wrong when the lack of the context misrepresents the author’s position. The classic example would be the movie review that says, “This movie is the best best example of a waste of film I have ever seen,” then gets quoted as “This movie is the best…I’ve ever seen.” Any debater who claims a quote misrepresents the author’s position must cite the one or more additional quotes from the same work that supply the missing context and thereby reveal the true meaning of the author, a meaning which is very different from the meaning conveyed by the original quote that they complained about. Furthermore, other unrelated quotes that just prove the speaker is a nice guy, like in the Reverned Jeremiah Wright-Barack Obama controversy, are irrelevant. The discussion is about the offending quotes, not whether the speaker is a good guy. The missing context must relate to, and change the meaning of, the statements objected to, not just serve as character witness material about the speaker or writer. Merely pointing out that the quote is not the entire text proves nothing. Indeed, if a search of the rest of the work reveals no additional quotes that show the original quote was misleading, the accusation itself is dishonest.
21. Straw man: debater attacks an argument that is easy to refute but which is also an argument that no one has made in the debate.
22. Rejecting facts or logic as opinion: It is true that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts or logic. Facts are facts. 2 +2 = 4 is not my opinion.
23. Argument from intimidation: [from a reader] The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy. The pattern is always: “Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea.” This is reminiscent of the McCarthy era loyalty oaths or groups that demand that candidates take a yes or no position on complex issues.
24. Theatrical fake laughter or sighs: This is wordless but it says what you just said is so ridiculously wrong that we must laugh at it. Hillary tried this without much success. It is intellectually dishonest and devoid of any intelligence, facts, or logic. The whole Democrat party laughed at Sarah Palin. They were successful with this tactic in spite of the fact that conspicuous by its absence in that “explanation” of how she was such a joke was any evidence or logic to show how a guy who was never mayor or governor or head of anything else was better qualified for the top executive job in the world than a person who was a mayor and a governor. Al Gore made the sigh debate tactic famous in the 2000 presidential debats and the ensuing Saturday Night Live parodies of it.
There is a more comprehensive list at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies.
No doubt the bad gurus reading this will immediately go to those sites to memorize all those new, useful, con-artist techniques.[/quote]
I would also add that “Alinskys Rules for Radicals” is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in attempts to stifle meaningful debate/discussion in the current political climate.
A fun game is glance through posts, not only on Forumosa.com, and see how many of these techniques one recognizes.