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Thread: Tu quoque---effective debating strategy?

  1. Top | #71
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Have a look at this ↓ and consider my earlier point about the tu quoque as an effective way to deflate or nullify an opponent's position when that opinion is steeped in hypocrisy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    That the mere suggestion that some religious beliefs are bad for society and maybe believers might have the humanity to question them triggers them...
    such strong and sometimes violent reactions...
    The rage and tantrums...

    Good summary of the reactions of internet atheist proselytisers when you challenge their sense of secular entitlement.
    Try honestly examining your own beliefs in a petty, sexist, bigoted religion of authority worship before casting stones. "No, YOU!!!" is spewed ad nauseum from people who have nothing useful to say. It's really tiresome.
    Hang on. I'm amplifying your point.

    I agree with you about how bad it is.

    Really bad. So, so bad, when these other people spew their opinions about religion. And those other people cast their stones. And then you get those atheists coming along with their rage and tantrums....
    I maintain that the tu quoque can achieve an outcome where;
    - The other person used to think "x" was bad,
    - They are presented with the proposition that they too practise a form of "x"
    - So maybe "x" isn't really so bad after all.

  2. Top | #72
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jab View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I would describe tu quoque arguments as more "satisfying" than "effective". Almost by definition, they leave egg on both parties' faces. If "you're no better than me", it seems reasonably clear that we are probably both in the wrong, as opposed to either of us being correct in our actions.

    They are also, generally speaking, personal attacks. Since most educated people see making personal attacks as a sure sign of a person stuck defending a weak position, you are once again not doing yourself many favors in the long run. Especially if they are poorly aimed personal attacks ("Oh yeah, well someone else who is in your country/political party/gender/religion said that...") that your interlocutor immediately knows does not apply to them anyway. If a tu quoque is poorly aimed, you end up making your opponent feel better about themselves, as you have essentially confessed to fault without concurrently succeeding in bringing them down to your level.

    That said, as someone who frequently educates and advocates on racial equity issues, I have observed that tu quoque arguments are by far the most common type of logical argumentation attempted by "reasonable racists", partly because it can be quite rhetorically effective... if the people you're trying to convince are already quietly predisposed to agree with you, needing only a reason rather than a good reason as such, to advocate for their own self-interest at others' expense, and those you are attacking have more morals than sense and are thus quitely predisposed to accept your criticism. It doesn't work nearly as well in the other direction, for the same reason. If I say, "You accuse me of reverse racism, but doesn't that imply that your own position, exactly opposite to mine, is unreversed racism?" but it won't work nearly as well, because they aren't predisposed to agree with me, nor emotionally inclined to much care even if they did agree with me, and from a logical standpoint it was a weak argument that did not leave me in the moral right even if I am correct.

    Conclusion: By all means, try a tu quoque if you know you're dealing with a fool, or if you are arguing a position that favors a position of privilege. But otherwise be wary, for rhetoric may be on your side but logic is not, and your argument will crumple swiftly should someone consider it critically for a few seconds.
    A tu quoque is not overly effective or even intellectually honest, for the reasons you give; however, combined with a defense of one's own views that are under attack it can be effective in demonstrating to the other side that "you don't even believe in this incorrect position that you purport to hold".
    Which only works if they agree.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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