June 18, 2021

Beware Of The Straw Man

One consequence of electronic, impersonal communication is that it is easier and more attractive than ever to create a straw man to argue with.  I will create a caricature of you, or maybe just lie, and then I’ll tear that image down. And worse, even though I’m attacking this false narrative, I act like I’m attacking the real argument, not the straw one.

Someone living in an echo chamber uses the straw man the most frequently. Live in a bubble where all your ideas are confirmed, straw men will start popping up everywhere. How do you avoid this? This is important to consider because we can all fall into this, even when we are well-meaning.

Today I will discuss a great resource I found for college students to avoid straw man arguments in writing papers. It is good advice for you and me, and it is also a great way to look at someone else's argument to determine whether or not they are relying on a straw man.

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