Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Never Back Up An Unverifiable Claim With Another Unverifiable Claim About Someone's Intentions

In short, this is an ad hominem fallacy. I first noticed preachy Christians using this sophist tactic. If you don't believe in God its because you hate God or you have a 'hardened heart' or you're rebelling against him (and whatever other ridiculous hypotheses they like to put forth). But I've begun to notice it more in political discourse. If you oppose the welfare state (particularly food stamps) you must hate poor people. If you criticize U.S. foreign policy, you must hate America, or the new one: you must be an agent of the Kremlin. If you criticize the law enforcement you must hate cops and want total anomie. If you voted for Donald Trump your a (insert litany of gender studies buzzwords). Well, you get the point by now. It's 1) not an argument, 2) a logical fallacy and most importantly an unverifiable claim. You can't know another person's intentions unless they tell you their intentions, especially if you're arguing with them on the internet anonymously. You can't read minds and you're not psychic, so more than likely if you assume what someone is thinking, in the midst of a heated debate, and especially if its on the internet, you're making an unverifiable claim that doesn't actually demonstrate your point. Try harder. Try again.

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