Sunday, April 03, 2011

Logical Fallacies 101 (Part 2 Of 6): Ignoratio Elenchi and Argument By Dismissal

.:Logical Fallacies 101 (Part 2 Of 6): Ignoratio Elenchi and Argument By Dismissall:.


So what?!?

Also known as “the red herring” or “missing the point,” Ignoratio Elenchi is a very common argument that attempts to cease discussion on an issue by interjecting something irrelevant to the discussion at hand. In this particular example, Willie Revillame himself is insisting that there are other issues to pursue rather than the fact that he, y’know, abused a kid. How convenient for him.

At the same time, he performs an argument by dismissal. He outright dismisses that the alleged abuse he caused on the child is “nothing” compared to these other issues. What he’s trying to say is, essentially, “This issue is nothing. Let’s talk about bigger issues.” At no point does he attempt to show why this is a non-issue, except by comparing it to seemingly bigger issues. At no point does he debunk the previous issue, perhaps because he can’t, so he’d distract everybody else by asking them to focus on other issues, or asking them what they have done for the poor, suddenly putting the other party on trial, as if what Willie has allegedly done for the poor is enough to give him a pass from all his wrongdoings. Show me where it states in the law that being a generous guy gives him an excuse against child abuse.

Really? Who makes that call, which issues are important and which aren’t? If that were your kid, wouldn’t you feel worried about having him dance like that on national TV? Suddenly, Jan-Jan’s ordeal is now insignificant? Why? Do you think a 6-year old kid has full use of his cognitive faculties to know he was being psychologically and emotionally abused on national television? Just because you don’t feel the kind of humiliation or fear that Jan-Jan felt while he was onstage does not mean an injustice didn’t happen. Just because murder is worse than robberies does not mean we should cease investigating all robberies and focus our attention solely on murders from now on.

If that last bit sounds absurd, that’s because downplaying the abuse done to a child in the service of graver situations, real or imagined, is well in the same league, and worthy of comparison.

And let’s not forget the obvious fact that the money that goes to the poor is not Willie’s personal money. We all know it comes from the sponsors. While Willie deserves some credit in getting the money to these people, he certainly doesn’t deserve all of it, since that money came from somewhere other than him.

It’s pretty basic, really: it doesn’t matter what other topics need to be discussed at hand. Jan-Jan’s abuse on television falls pretty well under abuse under its legal definition. If you want to argue, then argue whether or not it was truly abuse. Do not try to muddle the issue by saying we have better things to do than to put a stop to casual child abuse on live television. Frustrating tactic, isn’t it?

Ignoratio Elenchi has a tendency of derailing a discussion into a side issue that should never have been an issue, in the first place. I don’t care about the charitable things Willie Revillame may or may not have done, nor are you privy to what other people commenting on him have done for charity, either. That’s beside the point. The issue is: was this child abuse under the law? All these other red herrings, like other kids being abused, or government corruption, is not the issue, so it should not be a factor in the discussion.

When engaging in an a debate, make sure you stick to the issues. Don't throw in any tangent points that don't further your argument, because it's really poor form. Otherwise, you'd just go on deluding yourself, thinking people are just out to get you, when in reality, it's your own damned fault that you missed the point.


I am dead, making your argument invalid. I totally own... wait.

4 comments:

mamdulz said...

thank you very much! very informative..

mamdulz said...

thank you very much! very informative..

ALVIN™ said...

Pa-repost ng pic ha? Aliw e. Hehehehe

Nelle said...

Good points made. Thank you.