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We need to talk about The Straw Man Fallacy

(53 Posts)
colditz Sat 13-Nov-10 12:09:30

Example.
Y "I want everyone to stop buying kittens, and buy puppies instead"

X "I happen to believe that kittens are much nicer than puppies, and I choose to support kittens"

Y "Oh, I suppose you like seeing puppies suffering then? You're one of those people who burns puppies alive and then eats them in a stew, aren't you? You disgust me. You're a disgusting human being. People who are cruel to puppies are often cruel to children - I'm glad I'm not your child."

What Y has done there is set up a Straw Man. Y has decided, in his/her own head, what sort of person X is, and has commented upon this effigy of X, instead of what X has actually said.

I'm seeing a lot of this going on in AIBU and it's lazy debate.

ChristmasTrulyReigns Sat 13-Nov-10 12:18:30

I see this all the time in AIBU.

I'm not eloquent as you - I call it MissingTheFuckingPoint.

Would love to have read their English comprehension work at school. grin

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 13-Nov-10 12:20:37

we get Straw Feminists a lot in the feminism topic.
Straw Feminists are the ones who hate all men and say women are not allowed to wear make-up or be a SAHM. Fortunately they don't actually exist but it doesn't stop perfectly normal feminists getting mistaken for them all the time.

WildPansy Sat 13-Nov-10 12:27:07

YABU! Suggesting that MNers are incapable of intelligent debate is an outrage! wink

disgustedbythisman Sat 13-Nov-10 12:28:47

Oh great another post bashing defenceless scarecrows

they can't even walk ffs

cowardly HATER angry

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 13-Nov-10 12:31:11

I get annoyed by people not understanding the concept of an analogy.

'It's a bit like the fact that some people prefer goldfish and some people prefer piranhas; neither is wrong.'
'But we're not talking about goldfish and piranhas, we're talking about puppies and kittens!'
or
(straw man and analogy-ignorance meld) 'But I didn't say I didn't like piranhas! Actually I do, I love them, so you clearly don't know what you're talking about!'

mollyroger Sat 13-Nov-10 12:31:28

Disgusted - Shame on you! are you seriously saying scarecrows are defenceless because they can't WALK???
They have trained field mice who will bite the ankles of anyone.

colditz Sat 13-Nov-10 12:32:34

hee hee hee

I find these sorts of responses very heartening

disgustedbythisman Sat 13-Nov-10 12:32:43

Oh I see, scared of mice are we?

You don't fool me, I know an elephant when I see one

why don't you stop eating BUNS and then maybe you wouldn't feel the need to persecute rodents angry

sarah293 Sat 13-Nov-10 12:34:37

Message withdrawn

mollyroger Sat 13-Nov-10 12:35:52

you are so fecking speciesist, it is unbelievable...oh yeah because all elephants eat is buns.hmm

cumfy Sat 13-Nov-10 12:39:28

I prefer kitten stew.

gorionine Sat 13-Nov-10 12:39:57

Mollyroger that is not even true , scarcrows do not need mice to be mean,. Check your facts![anger]

here is the proof if it was ever needed!

jonicomelately Sat 13-Nov-10 12:41:21

I think scarecrows are horrible. They TRAIN field mice shock and deprive them of their own freewill. Bastards. Anybody who likes scarecrows is as guilty as they are hmm

jonicomelately Sat 13-Nov-10 12:41:21

I think scarecrows are horrible. They TRAIN field mice shock and deprive them of their own freewill. Bastards. Anybody who likes scarecrows is as guilty as they are hmm

mollyroger Sat 13-Nov-10 12:44:52

oh FFS, now you are suggesting that all scarecrows are EVIL aliens? Are you suggesting they shoud be sent back to whence they came? hmm

Chil1234 Sat 13-Nov-10 12:45:18

YANBU. Have that straw-man t-shirt. Actual exchange of memos in a previous job....

Me: "The project is not working because we're trying to make a silk purse out of sow's ear."
Colleague: "Are you calling me a pig?!!!"

sethstarkaddersmum Sat 13-Nov-10 12:46:45

rofl Chil

BitOfPom Sat 13-Nov-10 12:46:47

Mumsnetters believe in equality for all life-forms, iirc.

gorionine Sat 13-Nov-10 12:48:26

Well, the only alien I could see was not a scarecrow! Do we even know if there is strow on other planets?!?!?!!?!?!?!!?

tethersend Sat 13-Nov-10 12:49:41

I think the only way to solve this argument is to have four or five subsequent pages of personal scarecrow anecdotes.

That should clear things up.

gorionine Sat 13-Nov-10 12:49:47

Great one Chil1234grin

WildPansy Sat 13-Nov-10 12:52:01

FFS what about straw women?!!

mollyroger Sat 13-Nov-10 12:52:55

I have a scarecrow on my allotment and he couldn't be sweeter. He's quiet mind, keeps himself to himself...

in answer to OP by the way, I am in complete agreement!

BookcaseFullofBooks Sat 13-Nov-10 12:53:37

grin (lurker who enjoys witty comments but has nothing to say)

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