Been lurking for a while...looks interesting!Have a question...seen the words 'straw man' here and there...will someone explain, and give an example?
The 'straw man' is when a person ignores an opponent's actual position in a debate and instead substitutes his or her own distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented view of that position. A simple example could be something like this:"People who think abortion should be illegal have no respect for the rights of women."
Been lurking for a while...looks interesting!
_________________Paul Frederick West
... A simple example could be something like this:"People who think abortion should be illegal have no respect for the rights of women."
A 'straw man' is just what its picturesque name implies: it's a fallacy that directs itself upon a distorted, conjectured, and often biased view of your opponent's perogative on a given topic. It's literally like building a dummy straw man of the real topic and setting it on fire and proposing you've set aflame the "real man"; all you've actually done, however, was torch the specific stereotype or generalization you drew up.Any clearer? You can google "straw man" and see tons of examples.
Another example of a straw man would be when an isolated extreme is used as an example of something when in truth it may not represent it at all.A strawman in the context of a theological debate could be as follows:CASE 1:X is an extreme cessationist who wants to convince people to turn away from non-cessationist (charismatic/pentecostal) theology. His argument:1. Proposition - Pentecostal/Charismatic belief leads to corruption in the church 2. His proof - Jimmy Swaggart's sex scandal3. His Conclusion - All Pentecostal/Charismatic ministers are like Jimmy SwaggartThe actual truth of the issue: After investigation, the Assemblies of God revoked Swaggarts credentials and ministerial licence. He is in no way recognized by mainstream Pentecostal/Charismatics as a respectable minister, let alone exemplary follower of the theology which X associates him with.CASE 2:Y is an Arminian who emphasizes human responsibility while Z is a Calvinist who emphasizes God's sovereignty in predestination. They debate about how Christians should evangelise. This is Y's argument:1. Proposition: Z the calvinist's church doesn't evangelise2. Proof: Y points out that logically, the Calvinist view of unconditional election and limited atonement will undermine evangelism and hence quench passion for the lost.3. Conclusion: Since Z's church is calvinistic, it is therefore small and lukewarm.Actual truth: While Y may think he has made a rational conclusion, he has no actual statistical evidence to back it up whatsoever. If anything, Z's church may have a very strong evangelistic ministry compared to Y's to the point that the latter's simply pales in comparison.In both cases, the example was something so extreme that could be defeated effortlessly. However, when the strawman is weighed against real-life evidence, the argument backfires given that the one who erected the strawman is clearly ignorant of the issue he's dealing with.
I think I see what a straw man is somewhat better...but I'll also google it to make sure I understand.Thanks, brothers. 8-)