Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The "That's just your opinion" fallacy

Sometimes, when a support of a suspect scheme ran out of logical arguments, they will attempt to characterize your premise as "opinion". It often takes this form:

A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ____, ____, and ____. 
B: That's just your OPINION that Acme XYZ is a scam.
This is a derail attempt, by simply REFUSING to accept the other side's position reasoning or logic with a blanket statement: everything you say is worthless opinion. It is, as John T. Reed put it, "intellectually dishonest" debate tactic. It is a complete red herring.

If there is proper logic and evidence to support the position/premise, then the premise is far more than an opinion. It is a "supported premise".

This is sometimes used as a rebuttal, which takes this form
B: Acme XYZ is a legitimate moneymaker because of a), b) and c)
A: Acme XYZ is NOT a legitimate moneymaker because a) is false based on y), b) and c) therefore cannot be true. Furthermore, z) proves that it's not legitimate at all. 
B: That is just your opinion that Acme XYZ is not a legitimate moneymaker.
 As you can see, this use is just as bogus as the original. A defeated B's premise by dismantling the evidence or logic presented by B, then further added evidence to support the counter-premise. Instead of attempting to defeat the counter-evidence or counter-premise, B merely dismissed it all as "opinion".

Remember, opinions are just that, opinions. When supported by logic and facts, it's no longer an opinion.
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