Wednesday, 19 June 2013

How Not To Win An Argument

There are many ways to win arguments.
 Here's just a few of the things that don't...

1) Personal attacks
Now these can range from vulgar insults (eg: you suck donkey dong) to ad hominem fallacies (eg: as an anti-theist you dislike Islam, so do the EDL, therefore you're an overly-patriotic racist!)
 However they come, once you start attacking the proponent and not their point you've effectively lost the argument!

2) Circular reasoning 
If the only evidence you can provide for your point is part of or the source of your point, then you have effectively lost the argument!

3) Strawman fallacies 
Take the statement "I don't like inviting vegans to dinner parties"
 If you then conclude from that statement that I refuse to associate with vegans and that I am intolerant of their views then you have created a Strawman fallacy. When you start arguing against your own assumptions rather than the point being made, you have effectively lost the argument!

4) Ad populum fallacies
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't give a damn how many people agree with your point, it doesn't make it right (Do I really need to reference reality tv again to make my point?)
 If you start insisting that popularity adds weight to your point then, once again, you've effectively lost the argument!

5) Any opening statement that starts with "I'm not..." and end in "but..."
We've all heard them;
"I'm not a racist, but..."
"I'm not trying to be offensive, but..."
"I'm not suggesting I could do any better, but..."
Yes, you blatantly are, stop denying the obvious! Argument lost!

6) Wilful ignorance
If you have to sit there stuffing your fingers in your ears and singing "la la la" to ignore contrary evidence then you have effectively lost the argument.

There are just 4 vital ingredients to not losing an argument:
 •Intellectual honesty
 •Good research
 •An open mind
 •The ability to admit when your information was wrong

Keep these in mind and you'll never have to fall prey to any of the argument killers above!


  1. I laughed when you said do I have to start referencing reality television.

    1. Reality tv is one of my pet hates ;)

      Not only is it brain cell destroyingly moronic but it's not even "reality" as studies have proved that people act differently when they know they're being watched (hence why CCTV works).

      It's only redeeming quality is that it perfectly illustrates how popularity is no indication of worth. After all, public hangings used to draw crowds too ;)