Cue Palin (not that one) and Cleese:
An argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
It is NOT!
Not at all!
As a philosophy major who basically stunk at philosophy classes other than logic, I’ve often wanted to round up common fallacies and ridiculous argument tactics that have proliferated in the Web/Twitter/Facebook era. Cracked.com, the startlingly intellectual offspring of a magazine that long was to Mad magazine what Mad TV was to Saturday Night Live, compiled such a list:
Naturally, it’s imperfect.
For one thing, fallacies are usually mistakes in logic. Most of the five “fallacies” listed here simply tell us why human beings are incapable of admitting they’re wrong. That may explain why they take a giant misguided leap in logic, but it doesn’t describe the leap in logic itself.
That’s nit-picky, though. The bigger problem is that it’s horribly cynical.
Yes, it’s still somewhat accurate. But the optimists among us have to think it’s too generalized. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be optimists, would we? (There! Refute that argument!)
And it’s also too relativist. We don’t all share the same predilection toward intellectual dishonesty. Some people are truly open-minded and willing to concede a bit of ground. Some people have made peace with the idea that lying is a good way to further their political aims.
It’s still a great read. It’s a reminder of traits that most of us share at least to some extent. And we need to fight them within ourselves. They’re really difficult to beat out of others.