Monday, November 02, 2009

New Model Strawmen

According to the Wikipedia, strawman can be wished into existence by

  1. Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position and then refuting it,, thus giving the appearance that the opponent's actual position has been refuted.[1]
  2. Quoting an opponent's words out of context -- i.e., choosing quotations that are not representative of the opponent's actual intentions (see contextomy and quote mining).[2]
  3. Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender and then refuting that person's arguments, thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position, and thus the position itself, has been defeated.[1]
  4. Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs that are criticized, such that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.
  5. Oversimplifying an opponent's argument, then attacking the simplified version.
Eli had muttered about this some time ago. Jörg Zimmermann, has added to the list
The pseudo-argument is a claim brought into the discussion without any evidence that later is treated as if it had been proved, even though never substantiated or quantified. Trolls are particularly fond of using an already refuted allegations again and again ignoring the refutation, thus turning it into a pseudoargument. This strawman is not so much directed against the opponent, but is dragged in as an artifice of support.
6. Using a psuedoargument as proof for your postion.
A lot of that going around

9 comments:

bit_pattern said...

Speaking of straw men, Pure Poison have an interesting bet running atm:

"The challenge that we have for you is to predict who will be the first climate change skeptic to come out and declare that any temperature increases in 2010 aren’t proof of global warning because of the El Nino cycle, despite using the ‘98 cycle as a reference point to claim that the earth is cooling. Who will it be and when will they say it? Leave your predictions in the comments."
http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2009/11/03/hot-weather-proves-nothing-place-your-bets/

Anonymous said...

Typo: psuedoargument in #6
-typo-police

Craig Allen said...

bit_pattern

Bob Tisdale has already pulled that trick over at WUWT.

"So there hasn’t been the anticipated rise in global temperature because, after you remove the effects of ENSO, the trend is zero. Therefore, if this year is a record year, it should be attributable to ENSO, not AGW."

Groan ...

for4zim said...

I'm always buffled by Americans speaking the German language well, and so I'm always impressed, when Eli Rabett makes accurate translations of German websites. One small point though - a more literal translation of the last but one sentence would be: "Here the strawman is not an easily refutable opponent, but an artificial ally." But this doesn't alter the message.

And I'm still looking for good words describing the frustration it brings about, when you are not arguing against - well - arguments but rhethoric of the autistic kind playing the Alzheimer card (always forgetting what was debunked just before).

Horatio Algeranon said...

Jörg said "I'm still looking for good words describing the frustration it brings about, when you are not arguing against - well - arguments but rhethoric of the autistic kind playing the Alzheimer card (always forgetting what was debunked just before)."

Horatio wrote a ditty (The Circle game") about that, some time ago, but the lovely (if that's the best word) thing about denialism is that it never goes out of style and is as unchanging and predictable as the orbit of the planets about the sun -- as fresh as a donut that has been behind the couch for 3 years.

Tschüss!

for4zim said...

Hi Horatio Algeranon,

great work!

Greetings,

Jörg

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Another example of the Phantom Argument schtick at work, spotted by Yours Truly.

Vague allusions to "new" "self-published reports" and "important developments" showing that everything we know about surface measurements is wrong, except well, for the fact that these "reports" don't even exist.

Some sort of weird game of verisimilitude? Like the 'background' story behind the Necronomicon, except crazier.

-- bi

Hank Roberts said...

Well worth reading:

http://scienceblogs.com/thusspakezuska/2009/11/can_we_talk_about_science_i_me.php

My favorite line therefrom:

"... I did not bother to supply any links at all, instead encouraging the interested reader
to Google their own way through the whole sordid mess.
If you really feel I am doing it wrong, there are always other options."

TimChase said...

Hi Eli,

Looking at this sentence, "The pseudo-argument is a claim brought into the discussion without any evidence that later is treated as if it had been proved, even though never substantiated or quantified," while related to the strawman argument, the pseudo-argument would appear to be nothing more than "begging the question." At the same time, I believe that in what follows, "Trolls are particularly fond of using an already refuted allegations again and again ignoring the refutation, thus turning it into a pseudoargument," you show that there is something different -- namely bringing up something which has already been refuted. This would in fact be a species of "begging the question," but something which is especially pernicious, akin to ad baculum (which seems appropriate -- given what a baculum is), where the opponent is impervious to reason and seeks to win by sheer obstinate force of will -- exhausting his opponent by trotting out long-refuted arguments.