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Straw man

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A Straw man is a misrepresentation of the other side's case. Such an argument is called a straw man because a straw man is easier to attack than the real argument of the other side.

Examples of straw man arguments

Misrepresenting Atheism is common among believers, examples below

  1. Atheists believe in nothing.
  2. Atheists believe only in the material world.
  3. Atheists believe only in themselves.
  4. Deep down atheists believe in God.

Different theists put out all the contradictory views above. Clearly believing in nothing is different from believing only in yourself, believing only in the material world or believing in God deep down, they can't all be correct.

Further example of atheism misrepresented

—Sean McElwee[1]

The fundamental error in the “New Atheist” dogma is one of logic. The basic premise is something like this:

1. The cause of all human suffering is irrationality
2. Religion is irrational
3. Religion is the cause of all human suffering

McElwee doesn't get round to citing Christopher Hitchens, citing any other New atheists or citing other Atheists in the article, making the illogical and unsupported statements quoted above. We don't know of any atheists making the unreasonable argument above. McElwee as far as we can tell just likes to imagine atheists making that argument.

—Myers[2]

We have a more moderate vision of the affliction that is religion than McElwee credits us with, but at least we can still recognize some legitimate distinctions, unlike him.

Straw man debate

  1. 1st person puts forward argument A.
  2. 2nd person puts forward argument B misrepresenting A.
  3. 2nd person refutes argument B.
  4. It appears superficially that argument A has been refuted.

References

  1. What Hitchens got wrong: Abolishing religion won’t fix anything
  2. Another attempt to rationalize religion by equating it with philosophy

External links

Videos

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