Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
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19-11-2013, 08:36 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 06:52 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I notice a trend that everyone is guilty of. Including myself. We name the argument our opponent is making.

"That's a god of the gaps arguement."
"Well hello there, argument from ignorance, good to see you."
"That's an argument from authority"


The list goes on and on. Does naming an argument make it invalid? Why do we do this?


All of the things you listed there would be better described as "informal logical fallacies". They are called that because they are fallacious, and therefore, wrong (at least in the way they are used. The conclusion may or may not be valid, but it is not valid because it is being propped up by one of these).

We name them because we understand that it is wrong, they come up often, and frankly, it saves time. If someone busts out a God of the Gaps, it's a lot quicker to simply call the person on that rather than to go through a lengthy explanation of why their particular variant of it is wrong.

Bonus points if you hyperlink to a Wikipedia (or Rationalwiki or Ironcharriots if you're feeling snarky) article on the fallacy.
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19-11-2013, 08:41 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
I know I do it.

But, yeah... pointing out fallacies is more of an exasperation technique.

I do it when an entire argument is built on a fallacy... that's not worth my time to argue. If there are spotted fallacies here and there, I'll usually just let them go and ignore them unless the person keeps falling back on a fallacy over and over again.

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19-11-2013, 11:08 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
Another nice thing is it can lead to a quicker, and better analysis of an argument if the other person if familiar with the names as well. On another forum, someone made a God of the Gaps argument and I called him on it, and that got him to better state his stance. Of course, it can lead to bickering on whether or not the accusation is accurate (and sadly, it did in this case), but it's often the quickest way to get the other person to abandon or modify their argument.
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19-11-2013, 11:32 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 06:52 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I notice a trend that everyone is guilty of. Including myself. We name the argument our opponent is making.

"That's a god of the gaps arguement."
"Well hello there, argument from ignorance, good to see you."
"That's an argument from authority"


The list goes on and on. Does naming an argument make it invalid? Why do we do this?

I do make arguments from authority when in am weak on the subject matter. When I speak of the Big Bang, I make the argument from authority, that authority being astrophysists. I have a greater than layman understanding of the Big Bang, but I don't intricately understand it. It's vastness and complexity is beyond my grasp. There are stupid people, average, smart, and then there is the intellectually elite. I am not a member of the elite. Mensa won't return my phone calls. Sad

Or when someone said it more eloquently than myself.
Christopher hitchens was tremendously intelligent. Dawkins, Hubble and a million other scientists.

Therefore - does identifying the argument make it somehow invalid? And if so, how? And on a philosophical level, isn't the "argument identification argument" just another form of argument in a long line of arguments?
You're really speaking of two different things.

God of the gaps is simply a label applied to a particular argument, and so does not invalidate it.

Argument from ignorance and argument from authority refer to logical fallacies, and if properly applied, do invalidate the argument. Note though that some people hear the terms and then use them incorrectly. For instance, citing an authority in context and in his field of expertise is generally acceptable, and even encouraged. It's an appeal to authority fallacy when the person quoted is not a legitimate authority regarding the subject matter at hand.
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19-11-2013, 11:41 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
If a person tries to validate something that is actually true but their arguments for that thing are bad arguments, then yes the person needs to know that their arguments aren't helping their case. If they can't create a foundation for what they want to prove is correct then that's on them.

By pointing out the flaws in their thinking, you are helping them to think more critically about WHY this is false and why it doesn't support their main goal.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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19-11-2013, 11:48 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
Quote:I do make arguments from authority when in am weak on the subject matter. When I speak of the Big Bang, I make the argument from authority, that authority being astrophysists.

Citing somebody who IS an authority on the subject in hand is not a fallacy.

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19-11-2013, 11:58 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
I find it pointless to argue in this manner personally. I prefer to treat the person I am having a conversation with as an individual who has their own thoughts. If you treat people like idiots just because they are using an argument you have heard before...I dunno I don't see it being very productive. I think the explanation is more important than the result.
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19-11-2013, 12:22 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 06:52 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I notice a trend that everyone is guilty of. Including myself. We name the argument our opponent is making.

"Guilty"? It's effective debate.

Quote:"That's a god of the gaps arguement."
"Well hello there, argument from ignorance, good to see you."
"That's an argument from authority"


The list goes on and on. Does naming an argument make it invalid? Why do we do this?

Naming an argument doesn't make it invalid, no. Identifying its fallacious nature can. You do have to be right, and you do have to be able to back up your assertion that the argument is fallacious.


Quote:I do make arguments from authority when in am weak on the subject matter. When I speak of the Big Bang, I make the argument from authority, that authority being astrophysists. I have a greater than layman understanding of the Big Bang, but I don't intricately understand it. It's vastness and complexity is beyond my grasp. There are stupid people, average, smart, and then there is the intellectually elite. I am not a member of the elite. Mensa won't return my phone calls. Sad

Or when someone said it more eloquently than myself.
Christopher hitchens was tremendously intelligent. Dawkins, Hubble and a million other scientists.

That's not an argument from authority. You might want to peruse the Fallacy Files.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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19-11-2013, 12:26 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 07:01 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(19-11-2013 06:52 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I notice a trend that everyone is guilty of. Including myself. We name the argument our opponent is making.

"That's a god of the gaps arguement."
"Well hello there, argument from ignorance, good to see you."
"That's an argument from authority"


The list goes on and on. Does naming an argument make it invalid? Why do we do this?

I do make arguments from authority when in am weak on the subject matter. When I speak of the Big Bang, I make the argument from authority, that authority being astrophysists. I have a greater than layman understanding of the Big Bang, but I don't intricately understand it. It's vastness and complexity is beyond my grasp. There are stupid people, average, smart, and then there is the intellectually elite. I am not a member of the elite. Mensa won't return my phone calls. Sad

Or when someone said it more eloquently than myself.
Christopher hitchens was tremendously intelligent. Dawkins, Hubble and a million other scientists.

Therefore - does identifying the argument make it somehow invalid? And if so, how? And on a philosophical level, isn't the "argument identification argument" just another form of argument in a long line of arguments?

People refer to the names of arguments (Argument from Ignorance, for example) as it details what the argument encountered is; "Your argument is based entirely on ignorance." It is often, in my experience, a sign of exasperation: "Oh fucksakes, not the fucking God of The Gaps again!".

That's not an argument from ignorance. An Argument from Ignorance goes "We don't know, therefore Gawd exists."

Quote:Naming an argument doesn't render it invalid, just as naming all the logical fallacies in an argument doesn't render it invalid (the Fallacy Fallacy), it is still on the head of the debater to disprove their opponent, but calling the fallacy or argument does help to demonstrate that the argument being addressed isn't exactly new.

It's on the head of the debater to be able to back up his or her assertion that the argument in question is indeed fallacious as they say.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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19-11-2013, 12:32 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 07:22 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  
(19-11-2013 07:01 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  Naming an argument doesn't render it invalid, just as naming all the logical fallacies in an argument doesn't render it invalid (the Fallacy Fallacy), it is still on the head of the debater to disprove their opponent, but calling the fallacy or argument does help to demonstrate that the argument being addressed isn't exactly new.

But nothing we say is new either. I mean come on - none of us are slated to win any peace prizes for coming out with something new.

They parrot what they hear, we parrot what we hear. Everytime we address the god of the gaps argument, we are using "nothing new" to address it either.

Someone told me I was using the same old atheist arguments. Yeah? Your point? Thy are using the same old Christian arguments. I parrot Hitchens, they parrot Craig.

You're looking at this all wrong. Theotards may parrot Craig, but Craig is notorious for fast-talking and using fallacies as intrinsic parts of their arguments. I am sure Craig KNOWS his arguments are completely fallacious, but he doesn't CARE, because he knows that his xtard followers won't care, and most of the people who hear his arguments won't KNOW that they are built entirely on fallacious assertions.

The difference with Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and others is that they aim to AVOID fallacious argumentation, while Craig, et al., use it as their primary tool.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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