Tuesday, August 25, 2009

7 Ways to Lose Arguments

Some classic mistakes in arguments are:
  1. Using false comparisons. This is the "comparing apples to oranges" blunder, as in "The United States and Britain have nuclear weapons therefore there should be no problem if Iran and North Korea obtain nukes."
  2. Overstating the case. The overstatement can make the rest of the argument suspect. The clock that strikes 13 times is never trusted again.
  3. Attacking the other person instead of the other person's argument. Clods and weasels are sometimes right.
  4. Guilt by association. This may make the other person unsavory but it does not automatically destroy the other's argument.
  5. Glitz by association. One can graduate from Harvard and Oxford and still be wrong.
  6. Turning off the jury. Behaving in a manner that loses the audience that counts.
  7. Defending weak points and losing credibility. Defend everything and you may defend nothing.

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