Shhhhh! I am about to reveal a powerful secret we ODM’s use in arguing against others. Please keep this secret to our success in refuting arguments as it is flawless and will fool many a weak minded individual and convince them to fill your store sheds with their surplus. Again guard this secret very tightly.
The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern:
1. Person A has position X.
2. Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents position Y.
Thus, Y is a resulting distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:
- Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent’s position and then refuting it, thus giving the appearance that the opponent’s actual position has been refuted.
- Quoting an opponent’s words out of context — i.e. choosing quotations which are intentionally misrepresentative of the opponent’s actual intentions (see contextomy and quote mining).
- Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person’s arguments – thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.
- Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.
- Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.
3. Person B attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.
This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious, because attacking a distorted version of a position fails to constitute an attack on the actual position. (Source Wikipedia)
It is so easy that even the most lowest ODM can use this tool to confuse the reasoned and baffle the informed with your buuulllriliance!