by Alisa Childers
It has happened to many of us. We post an encouraging Bible verse like Psalm 145:9 on Facebook: "The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." By noon an atheist from somewhere in social media land has found the post and leaves a lovely comment:
Really? Your god is good? He's so good and compassionate that he decided to literally drown the whole world in a flood? So good he's okay with slavery? That god? Yeah—he sounds awesome.
The person who leaves comments like these probably isn't looking for a real conversation, but they are a great example of the abundance of bad logic waiting to be discovered in the dark corners of cyberspace. Here are the 5 most illogical people you will meet on the internet, and how to spot their fallacies:
1. The Straw Man
How easy do you think it would be to knock down a pretend man made entirely of straw? It would be a lot easier than knocking down a real man—that's for sure. This happens in the world of social media disagreement All. The. Time. The "Straw Man" is a fallacy in which someone oversimplifies or misrepresents the view of their opponent (builds a straw man), and then argues against that false view (knocks the straw man down). Straw men can often be found in discussions about abortion:
- You: "I think there is good scientific evidence that life begins at conception."
- Straw man: "So what you're saying is that women should lose their rights and this country should be sent back to the ‘50s? That's ridiculous."
You made a claim about scientific evidence—not women's rights. The straw man has misrepresented your argument and created one that is much easier to refute.
2. The Red Herring
The "Red Herring" fallacy is committed when someone brings up an irrelevant point that diverts attention from the original point being made. Changing the subject doesn't actually win an argument, but it can make people forget what they were disagreeing about in the first place…
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