Thursday, August 9, 2012

The "nitpicking" fallacy

One of the tactics used by supporters of a suspect scheme is to nitpicking your logic and evidence, find some TINY mistake, then use that as "proof" that your entire premise is bogus and worthless. It often takes this form.
A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ____, ____, and ____. 
B: You misspelled ____! Your premise is obviously bogus! 
Yes, I've ran into this type of debaters personally. They are not talking sense, and they probably know it, but they are just out there to rile you.

First, examine your own side, make sure that error was indeed trivial and does not affect your premise.

In most cases, you deal with this sort of people by making the tiny correction as needed, thank them for their proof-reading, then point out that the main premise and the logic and evidence did not change. They are nitpicking trivial errors, and will they please get to the point, supporting their side, instead of helping you.

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