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Discussion Forum : Welcome & Intro : Hey!

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DreamTrekker
Member



Joined: 2008/7/21
Posts: 7


 Hey!

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?


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Alex Treville

 2008/7/21 5:41Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Hey!

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."

Quote:
Been lurking for a while...looks interesting!



Glad to have you here. Let us know if we can be of any assistance.


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Paul Frederick West

 2008/7/21 8:06Profile
DreamTrekker
Member



Joined: 2008/7/21
Posts: 7


 Re: Straw Man

Quote:

... A simple example could be something like this:

"People who think abortion should be illegal have no respect for the rights of women."




Is this referencing a posited statement being a 'straw man', such as 'Abortion should be illegal', which then twists said positon to illicitly focus on a side topic, such as 'rights for women', or is a 'straw man' an implied position that replaces the posited statement by assuming the side issue, such as 'rights for women' is now up for debate?

I am concerned about accidental provocation by a 'straw man' argument, particularly since I do not clearly see what the 'straw man' argument is.

Perhaps we could use a secondary comparison, for illustration?


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Alex Treville

 2008/7/21 9:51Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

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.



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Paul Frederick West

 2008/7/21 10:24Profile
intrcssr83
Member



Joined: 2005/10/28
Posts: 246
Logan City, Queensland, Australia

 Re:

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 scandal
3. His Conclusion - All Pentecostal/Charismatic ministers are like Jimmy Swaggart

The 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 evangelise
2. 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.


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Benjamin Valentine

 2008/7/21 10:46Profile
DreamTrekker
Member



Joined: 2008/7/21
Posts: 7


 Re: Hey!

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-)


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Alex Treville

 2008/7/25 9:51Profile





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