Re: The Gathering Hypothesis

Bob Casanova (
Wed, 17 May 1995 20:04:56 GMT

In article <3pbc4j$> (Rick Abrams) writes:
>From: (Rick Abrams)
>Subject: Re: The Gathering Hypothesis
>Date: 16 May 1995 18:22:59 -0500

>In article <>,
>J. Moore <> wrote:
>>RA> I've been enjoying the discussion in this newsgroup, so I thought
>>RA> I'd toss out this idea as strawman argument. Most professionals


>>Just a couple of preliminary points: #1 is that you aren't putting forth
>>a "strawman argument"; a strawman argument is when you (either

>Sir, if you're going to be annoying in your tone, at least be
>correct. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd
>edition, copyright 1976, page 1204, and I quote:

> strawman
> 1) A bundle of straw made into the likeness
> of a man and often used as as a scarecrow.
> 2) A person who is set up as a cover or a
> front for a questionable enterprise.
> 3) An argument or opponent set up so as to
> be easily refuted or defeated.

>Therefore, as I meant it, a starting point for discussion, to be refuted
>by better argument (per definition #3). Since your 'mischaracterise'
>doesn't appear in the AHD definition, I think you misconstrue the word.
>An opponent's statement used out of context for the purpose of
>misrepresentation and derision isn't a strawman argument, it's a
>'out of context' quote.
>If you can post a more current definition that doesn't support my
>usage and does your's, I'll post a retraction and apology.

>>inadvertently or deliberately) mischaracterise *someone else's*
>>argument(s) and then reply to the mischaracterised version but claim
>>you've replied to the other person's actual argument.

As you can see, he didn't say "out of context", he said "mischaracterized".
This is part of the process of creating a strawman; i.e., an argument which is
easy to defeat, but which is _not_ the original argument. This is a well-known
technique in debating (_not_ accepted, but well-known), and follows def. 3


>>Jim Moore (
>> * Q-Blue 1.0 *


Bob C.

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