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The Logical Straw Man Defined
By Brian Price 6/2/2014

***BRIAN's NOTE***
I have often been accused of making straw man arguments by many atheists. What often happens is that the person making a sound argument is accused by the dishonest person for making straw man arguments. Many times, the person being accused is completely innocent, and it is the accuser who is the one that is making the straw man argument (or whatever illogical debate fallacy he chooses at the time). So for the purpose of deflecting the mud slung at me, I have decided to simply embrace the straw man, and make him a logical argument for a good cause. See the email correspondence below:

From: Chris M. [omitted]
To: brian@valueoftruth.org
Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 4:10 PM
Subject: Strawman???

Hello brother. Just caught a YouTube video on straw men where you are saying its good to use strawman arguments. I can see using a strawman and getting the atheist to answer but I really don't know how to use strawman arguments for good. Or, how would it be good to use such arguments?? I'm sorry if it's one of those obvious answers and I should know it but I really don't. Help, please!

Chris 🎵

From: brian@valueoftruth.org
To: Chris M. [omitted]
Cc: brian@valueoftruth.org
Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 11:36 PM
Subject: Re: Strawman???

Hi Chris,

Thanks for writing. Let me explain what I mean by using a straw man argument for good.

First, there is a difference between your typical straw man argument and the straw man argument that I use. The first is what I call an illogical straw man. The second is what I call a logical straw man.

My personal definition of the logical straw man is the following:

A logical straw man is a debate tactic in which the argument is properly represented by a metaphorical puppet or straw man which makes it easy for the person refuting the argument to debate from a logical standpoint.

For example:

Person A claims, "The red car should never be driven because the tire is flat."

Person B refutes this claim by making a logical straw man, saying something like, "You are wrong. If a green car received a flat tire, just fix the flat tire, and it can now be driven."

Although Person B did not directly refute Person A's argument against the red car, a logical straw man was made by Person B which gave a good argument for his viewpoint by saying that a green car can be driven once it is fixed. The straw man was a good representation of the original argument, and it served well to refute Person A's argument.

For cases of evolution, for further example, a logical straw man could be created which would represent evolution, and could be easily refuted for the purpose of defeating the claims that defend evolution. For instance, instead of saying that it is impossible for chimps to evolve into humans, a logical straw man could be constructed to say, it is impossible for chimps to morph into humans. Although the correct term is evolve, the term morph serves as a good representation of the argument despite it's almost silly use of the very term.

The accusations against Christians for using straw man arguments is a means of atheists to "sling mud" so-to-speak at Christians for the purpose of masking their own tactics of making straw man arguments. It's a diversion attempt. "You make straw man arguments!" is the accusation, but the truth is that the accuser is making true illogical straw man arguments, while the opponent is completely innocent. The proper response to this accusation is not to deny such an false accusation, but in a funny way, to embrace such an accusation and later explain what you mean. This helps to disarm the accuser and then to point the attention back on him by showing where the true fault lies.

I hope this clarifies. God bless.


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