Straw man argument:

Tactical Fallacy
Definition Example
When a misrepresentation of an opponent’s position is offered that can then be more easily attacked. Evolutionists believe life came from nothing. Nothing can come from nothing, so their position is absurd!
  Notes
This fallacy is a result of either poor research into or a deliberate distortion of the opponent’s argument.

Case Study One

Gradually by the course of evolution, [green slime] developed into animals and plants and at last into MAN. Man, so the theologians assure us, is so splendid a Being that he may well be regarded as the culmination to which the long ages of nebula and slime were a prelude. I think the theologians must have been fortunate in their human contacts. They do not seem to me to have given due weight to Hitler...”
Bertrand Russell, “Is There a God?” (1952), in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, Volume 11: Last Philosophical Testament, 1943-68, ed. John G. Slater and Peter Köllner (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 545.

Russell completely ignores the Christian doctrine of the fall of man, and is therefore addressing a straw man here.


Case Study Two

Some argue that those committed to science think science is infallible or worthy of worship.


Case Study Three

Some argue that all Christians become Christians only because they fear the consequences of not believing.


Case Study Four

Some might argue that, questioning the philosophical legitimacy of concepts foundational to notions of racial or gender equity is equivalent to being a racist or sexist.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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