Jan 5, 2012

Posted by in Fallacy of the Week | 1 Comment

Fallacy of the Week – Question-begging Epithet

Question-begging Epithet _ using biased or emotional language to coerce people into accepting a position rather than using logic or evidence.

Example:

“Only a total moron would agree with your position! You and all your supporters are completely wacko!

Strong language doesn’t equal sound argument. In fact, this fallacy is usually committed when the opponent can’t find anything worthwhile to to say in rebuttal. A knee-jerk response is a very good indicator that a civil and logical discussion is nearing the end.

Many people don’t like having their worldview challenged. You’ll know the sensitive areas of a person’s beliefs when you gently prod them a bit. It’s like a doctor probing a patient for the source of their discomfort. Often, it takes facing pain and self-inspection to overcome illness. Vulnerability and exposure frightens some people and keeps them in bondage. Truth is an instrument of healing; for both diagnosis and for remedy.

If you find yourself stomping off and calling the other guy a jerk, it’s time to inspect your worldview. Never be afraid to examine your weaknesses. Build up your ability to stand by asking yourself the hard questions like “Is what I believe about this true?”. Be willing to really listen to people and see things from their position. Research opposing viewpoints to yours and graciously admit when you’re wrong or when you need more information.

In the worldview wars, we don’t have to hate each other to fight a good fight.

We have a saying around here: “Your failure to be informed doesn’t make me a wacko!”

 

 

 

 

  1. David Johnston says:

    The question-begging epithet fallacy as you describe it sounds like an effective trolling tool. Say inane things until someone responds irritably. Then inform them they have lost by committing the “question-begging epithet fallacy”

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