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Fallacious arguments
blaisepascal
What is the proper way of pointing out a argumentative fallacy to someone challenging you?

If, say, I were to mention as a criticism of Ron Paul that he would overturn the 14th Amendment guarantees of citizenship by birth, someone then asked why a pregnant illegal alien who entered the US solely so her child would be born in the US should get automatic citizenship, what is the best way of pointing out that that argument is attacking a strawman, that that's not how things work currently, that's not what the Constitution requires, and that in similar cases the mother has been deported without her citizen-child, and that arguing thusly is fallacious?

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If you can get a few sentences in edgewise:

Sympathize (if you can) with a reasonable underlying concern the other person has. Point out that the strawman is not so, and back it up with verifiable data of how things actually work.

If you can't:

Walk away. It's no use arguing.

Don't argue with libertarians; they're just fundamentalists of politics.

The problem is that you address his arguments, but what you need to be doing is addressing his premises, which, like most fundamentalists, are wack.


I'd argue the phrase you just used. I myself am libertarian in outlook, but I am NOT a Libertarian. THOSE guys seem to be whack-jobs, by and large. (Or, as I once saw on a neo-con site, barking moonbats.)

I have an outlook that is largely a "keep the government out of my affairs" kind of outlook. I understand the need for some government, something those who join the LP don't seem to grasp.

I agree though, Buddha - if they can't listen to reason, then give up, because they're in a "My mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts" state of mind.

Arguing with a Ron Paul supporter is like mud wrestling with a pig...

(Deleted comment)
Being largely a Libertarian myself, there's many arguments I like for Ron Paul. Then he gets wacky sometimes. But libertarians do have one very important point: if you rely on government as a savior, you are inevitably doomed to mediocrity. I work for government, and I've seen a number of people believe in government's ability to do good. It can't do "good", what it can do is provide tools for others to do good. But the government can't be the whole solution.

As to pointing out a fallacy, I always believe in de-constructing the argument in terms of pragmatics. Even if the 14th ammendment were repealed, there's legions of case law based on practical decisions and law existing. Reversing an ammendment doesn't undo the pragmatics of law as it exists. Government would still need to interpret the decision, issue guidance, and adapt to the change, which would take years. So, I would simply ask this person: What would you do with existing case law based on it? ow would you change all of the laws? How do you effectively wipe all the legal portions off the books? It's easy to say what you want, harder to do what you want.

Phrase it as a question?

"Could you explain how your argument [summary] differs from Fallacy X (link to objective description)?" For example (example that shows how fallacious this is that no one can argue with).

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