Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
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19-11-2013, 08:06 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 02:40 PM)PleaseJesus 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?

Well put. Ad populum for example, calls to question the validity of facts in evidence, and does not win an argument. Most people believe oaks take years, not days, to reach maturity--and they do. Most believe something factual here.

Gaslight much?

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19-11-2013, 09:18 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.

"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?

What you seem to be referring to are what are termed informal logical fallacies. They are flawed arguments that recur in human thought and they have been catalogued since the Ancient Greeks and later named (originally in Latin).

These arguments have names because they are fallacious and common. If someone names your argument they are implicitly claiming that your argument conforms to one of these fallacious specimens and is hence 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.

Appealing to an expert consensus is not an argument from authority. An example of appealing to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) is:

P1. Medical doctors are always correct in their medical advice.
P2. Mark Fulton is a medical doctor.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
C1. Mark Fulton is always correct in his medical advice.

P1 is implicit in the fallacious argument. This is a fallacious argument form because it is predicated on a flawed concept of expertise and its relationship to knowledge. Good medical advice is so because it is evidence-based and the implicit presumption is that someone with formal qualifications in medicine will have a command of the relevant evidence. Having medical qualifications doesn't mean you can discard the concept of evidence, rather it should mean that you are able to competently invoke the evidence. Medical qualification per se means very little so it can't be used to achieve any kind of "epistemic privilege". An argument from authority amounts to a false claim of epistemic privilege.

Quote: 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.

So the prudent thing to do is appeal to the expert consensus:
--What do most astrophysicists say about cosmogony?
--What do most virologist say about HIV/AIDS?
--What do most climatologists say about global warming?
--What do most geologists say about the origin of the Grand Canyon?
--What do most structural engineers say about the Twin Towers?
--What do most immunologists say about vaccines?
etc.

Quote:And on a philosophical level, isn't the "argument identification argument" just another form of argument in a long line of arguments?

That they are arguments isn't the issue. The problem is that those arguments that form catalogues of informal logical fallacies are flawed arguments. Identifying a flawed argument form is not a problem.
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19-11-2013, 09:53 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 07:22 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  But nothing we say is new either.

Perhaps not entirely new but the combination of elements may be novel in some cases.

Quote: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.

Well, yes but that doesn't represent "best practice" and we should all at least aspire to be more than mere parrots. Unless you understand an argument and have thought through its implications then you will be a weak adversary.

Right up until a few years ago "village atheists" always repeated the mantra "you can't prove a negative". That is plainly false to anyone with even a modicum of philosophical and logical knowledge. We "prove negatives" every day:
--we can demonstrate that the coffee tin is empty
--we can demonstrate that the lawn mower fuel tank is empty
--we can demonstrate that water doesn't boil at 30 degrees celsius
--we can demonstrate that Whoopi Goldberg is not of European descent
--etc.

This was a case of mindless parroting, no one that uttered the phrase paused to see if they could come up with any counter-examples. Village atheists stopped saying "you can't prove a negative" after WLC--to his credit--debunked that silly notion in a debate. IIRC WLC pointed out that we can "prove" that there are no Muslims in Congress (at the time he made that statment).

Quote: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.

But you might be parroting flawed arguments such as the "you can't prove a negative" argument. Also, if an argument has been answered then you are obligated to be aware of the answer and provide a counter-argument to it. You shouldn't expect to be taken seriously if you haven't followed the "natural history" of an argument. Hitchens and Dawkins don't represent the last word on all matters (a)theistic. None of Dawkins' or Hitchens' arguments are their own. Dawkins' central argument in TGD is from a 1985 paper by J.J.C. Smart (an Australian philosopher which he doesn't credit). I think Smart's argument is a good one but there have been answers to it and anyone wishing to run Smart's argument should take account of those. That is how intellectual culture works.
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19-11-2013, 10:04 PM (This post was last modified: 19-11-2013 10:22 PM by Elesjei.)
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 02:40 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Well put. Ad populum for example, calls to question the validity of facts in evidence, and does not win an argument.

It's not the fact that is being challenged, but the way in which the fact is employed that is being challenged. For example, presenting as evidence for the existence of a god the fact that most people believe in a god of some kind. The problem isn't that most people believe in a god - that much is true. The problem is justifying belief in a god on the basis of "most people believe it". The fact does nothing to support the case. That's what 'ad populum' identifies.

:edited for sensicalness twice:

If something can be destroyed by the truth, it might be worth destroying.

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19-11-2013, 10:23 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 10:04 PM)Elesjei Wrote:  
(19-11-2013 02:40 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Well put. Ad populum for example, calls to question the validity of facts in evidence, and does not win an argument.

It's not the fact that is being challenged, but the way in which the fact is employed that is being challenged. For example, presenting as evidence for the existence of a god the fact that most people believe in a god of some kind. The problem isn't that most people believe in a god - that much is true. The problem is that he's justifying belief in a god on the basis of "most people believe it". The fact does nothing to support his case. That's what 'ad populum' identifies.

:edited for sensicalness twice:

Correct. The truth of a claim can't be established with reference to how many people believe in the truth of that claim. A belief's popularity is incidental to its truth or falsity. That notwithstanding argumentum ad populum should be distinguished from appealing to expert consensus. An expert consensus is formed on the basis of an acceptance of certain evidence and argumentation by the subject experts--the belief is popular amongst experts because it appears to be true; it is not true because it is popular.
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19-11-2013, 11:20 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 07:22 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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.

It's not our fault that we know no more about the divine now than we did 1000 years ago. The debate is stagnant because they have been unable to bring anything new to the table, they've just tried to creatively repackage their bullshit (like Intelligent Design), but it's the same old bullshit. It's not up to the skeptic or doubter to come up with new counter arguments before others have made their arguments.

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19-11-2013, 11:56 PM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 11:20 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  It's not our fault that we know no more about the divine now than we did 1000 years ago. The debate is stagnant because they have been unable to bring anything new to the table, they've just tried to creatively repackage their bullshit (like Intelligent Design), but it's the same old bullshit. It's not up to the skeptic or doubter to come up with new counter arguments before others have made their arguments.

That isn't entirely correct. Although presuppositional apologetics (PA) is not new it has only recently started appearing on apologist websites. PA is new on the internet and most atheists don't understand it because they get everything about atheology from popular atheist websites and those websites either omit PA or have false ideas about PA.
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20-11-2013, 12:32 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 04:24 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  
(19-11-2013 12:54 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  That's great if the person you are conversing with is intellectually honest and willing to discard fallacious arguments.

But you are also adding another dimension here. Pointing out fallacious arguments is NOT "treating people like idiots". That can be done too, and should be reserved for one who, out of intellectual dishonesty, refuses to discard the fallacious arguments and/or refuses to acknowledge the fallacy, etc. Which you happen to see here a LOT, because of the problem that so many theists have of intellectual dishonesty.
True, it's not exactly treating them like idiots, but it seems to often be treating them with a lack of respect.

It doesn't have to be.

Quote:If I'm talking to somebody I'm trying to understand them, not trying to prove them wrong.

Most of the time, no. But this is a different atmosphere.


Quote: I give my perspective to see if they can understand or agree with it. If I say (in essence), "Oh, well that is the argument from ignorance therefore everything you said is completely useless."

There are better ways get the message across. ANd if they are intellectually honest, they will WANT to know if they are using fallacious reasoning.

Quote:Then what am I accomplishing besides showing them that I don't even respect them enough to address their opinions as an individual?

But that's not what is happening when you point out a fallacy.

Quote:I would prefer to try to show them (or guide them to) why it is an argument from ignorance, rather than just telling them that it is. You don't even need to use the words "argument from ignorance" to get the idea across.

That's true. And I'm happy to use that sort of approach for anyone who isn't being a shithead and 1) obviously purposely using a fallacious argument and/or 2) ignoring people's advice and continuing to hang onto fallacious arguments after having them pointed out and explained to them.

Quote:Anyways that's just my style. I prefer to come out of a conversation feeling like I could still be friends with a person despite our disagreements, and I don't think pointing out fallacies is a very good method of actual communication.
To each his/her own. I don't care to "be friends" with people who would hate on people I care about because they are gay, for example. If a person is being honest, they would *want* to have fallacious arguments pointed out and thank you for it.

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Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


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20-11-2013, 12:39 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(19-11-2013 07:47 PM)Cathym112 Wrote:  
(19-11-2013 12:22 PM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  "Guilty"? It's effective debate.


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.



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

I know what the arguments are. I was being purposely being vague for the sake of participation. But it is an argument from authority if I were to defer to hitchens. The fallacy being if hitchens said it, it must be true. Now, I love hitch, but we at least have to acknowledge that we all have the capacity and ability for error. Doctors can give bad medical guidance, lawyers can give bad legal advice.

If your use of a Hitch quote is based on the idea that "Hitch said it, it must be true", then yes, that is fallacious. But he is an expert, and his opinion has weight in matters of theism/atheism.

Quote:The point of the post is that we constantly name arguments. Why must we do this?
The same reason we name football plays, dance steps, and chess strategies.


Quote:When we attack someone's debating style, it's ironic, because attacking someone's debating style is form of debating style in itself.
Well, yes, but pointing out fallacies is not attacking *style* per se. Think of it as an easy way to clear away great walls of bullshit without having to dissect them tediously every time.

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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20-11-2013, 01:08 AM
RE: Does naming an arguments render it invalid?
(20-11-2013 12:39 AM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  If your use of a Hitch quote is based on the idea that "Hitch said it, it must be true", then yes, that is fallacious. But he is an expert, and his opinion has weight in matters of theism/atheism.

I liked Hitchens and I miss him but I think you are mischaracterising his biography.

Hitchens was foremost a journalist and polemicist, he wasn't an expert in any field and he didn't ever pretend to be. He was a great journalist and polemicist but he didn't have expertise in philosophy, history, NT studies, comparative religion, evolutionary biology, cosmology or any other field. Hitchens' expertise was in gathering other people's work and presenting it in his distinct polemical style. He admitted that he didn't do well against WLC in a debate (which speaks to Hitchens' intellectual integrity) and that appeared to be because he hadn't encountered WLCs formulation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument before. If, for example, 80% of NT scholars stated X and Hitchens stated not-X I would go with the consensus of NT scholars rather than Hitchens and the minority of NT scholars.
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