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Tag Archive: arguing

Aug 10 2013

How to Be a Responsible Devil’s Advocate

Devil’s advocate is a tricky rhetorical strategy. On the one hand, it can be extremely useful for exposing the flaws in an argument, helping others clarify and strengthen their positions, and practice your own argumentation. Using devil’s advocate when the topic under discussion is, say, whether or not we should pursue immortality or how best …

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Jun 15 2013

“I’m the REAL Skeptic”: On Begging the Question

Things you need to stop doing in debates: framing your position as “rational/skeptical” and the opposing position as not “rational/skeptical.” What I’m talking about specifically are rhetorical moves like these: “Some hysterical people think sexual harassment is a huge problem, but I’m going to be rational about this.” or “I’m an actual skeptic, so I’m …

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May 13 2013

[meta] On Tone, the Policing Thereof, and What It Is I Do Here

So my “Why You Shouldn’t Tell That Random Girl On The Street That She’s Hot” post went a little bit viral and I’m still responding to comments on it. One thing that has come up a lot are guys telling me that they basically agree with me, but that they are very concerned that the …

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Apr 22 2013

Shit People Say to People Who Care About Shit

Or, an incomplete list of responses I get when I talk about the things I care about. “Yeah, well, what did you expect?” That’s an easy one to answer. I expect better. “So what, are you surprised?” I’m not surprised. I’m angry. Those are not the same emotion. Often people seem to think that just …

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Mar 25 2013

Not All Beliefs Deserve Respect

“I’m not trying to be ‘that douche’ but it kind of pisses me off that people here accept other’s beliefs only if they’re liberal. What if I tried to post advertising all over about why ‘I’m not an ally’ or why I think abortion is about the most disgusting crime someone can commit? I hate …

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Mar 20 2013

How (Not) to Respond When People Change Their Minds

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the process of changing one’s mind. For those of us who like to try to persuade people, it’s important to think about that process and how it happens and how to facilitate it, but even someone who doesn’t spend most of their free time yelling on the Internet …

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Dec 13 2012

How You Know They’ve Run Out Of Arguments

Steven over at WWJTD informed me of this nonsense: The newest argument against homosexuality has arrived. It turns out it prevents straight dudes from being friends. Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition explains: “But there is no such thing as absolute freedom when it comes to sexuality. The moment we celebrate or endorse certain behaviors, we curtail freedom …

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Oct 07 2012

Evangelical Apathy

You might think that the people who annoy me the most are those who hold views I strongly disagree with. Actually, though, it’s the people who don’t really care one way or the other, and–this is the important part–who insist on inserting themselves into every single political debate to yell at us for having opinions. …

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Aug 09 2012

Choosing Our Battles: A Chick-Fil-A Rant

This is an expanded version of a rant that I spontaneously posted on this blog’s Facebook page yesterday. [Also, snark warning. Haven't used one of those in a while!] I’m going to talk about Chick-Fil-A again because I just can’t stop. I keep hearing arguments that go something like this: “Yes, they donate money to …

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Aug 03 2012

"Don't Feed the Trolls": Reexamining a Tired Maxim

Allow me to get meta here for a moment. I’ve noticed that a very common response to nasty internet comments is to repeat the mantra, “Don’t feel the trolls.” It’s become “common knowledge” that you should ignore mean-spirited (as opposed to simply critical) comments on the internet, especially if you’re the one they’re addressed to, …

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