Straw man

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Logical fallacy in which one person deliberately misrepresents the position of another. The person then defeats the misrepresentation and declares that the original argument has also been defeated. The analogy is that the person making the argument is setting up a scarecrow that looks like his opponent, but is easy to knock down and will not put up a fight.

Examples

  • "Abortion advocates want to kill babies. This is monstrous and must be stopped." (In fact, the vast majority of pro-choice advocates would like for there to be no abortions, but recognize that sometimes, an abortion is the lesser evil in a given situation.)
  • "Atheists say that the Bible isn't true. But archeologists have found many of the cities mentioned in the Bible, so clearly the atheists are wrong." (In fact, no reasonably informed atheist believes that nothing in the Bible is true. Plus, simply because a book contains some historically true elements doesn't mean that every single thing in the book is also true.)
  • "Evolution is wrong. No one's ever seen a dog give birth to a cat." (In fact, evolution doesn't say that one species suddenly gave birth to a completely new one.)
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