Cheap Samurai Tactics # 4- Slight of Hand

Your Rent a Friend is listening to: Golden Delicious by Mike Doughty

His mood is: Diggin it man, Diggin it.

Welcome once more to Cheap Samurai Tactics, the class where we teach you the dirty, underhanded cheats which will allow you to never lose an argument- or at least look as if you haven’t. Our final category is the kind that earns clever fish related nicknames and Latin legal terms, almost none of which I know. Find a good lawyer and ask him all about it for $200 and hour. In the mean time, I present for you, our 4th and final category of Cheap Samurai Tactics:

4. Slight of Hand. So sneaky, it’s almost magic! Much like magic, the trick behind this set of tactics is making sure your opponent doesn’t catch on to what you are doing. Keep them off balance, talk fast, interrupt them when they talk, and of course make use of the other three categories of Cheap Samurai Tactics. If you get really good at all of this, you may have a lucrative career in law, unless you’re no good at Latin phrases.

A. Circular Reasoning (AKA Begging the Question): This classic move is an old school favorite. It involves making various claims that depend on each other for support. Like so: You assert A, and support it with B. When asked to defend B, you provide A as evidence. It goes like so:

You find your rubber duck is missing and believe your sister’s friend, Stacy, is the thief. Your sister says, “Stacy could not have stolen your duckie.” You ask how she knows this to be so. “Simple,” she says, “because Stacy is my friend, and I would not be friends with a thief.” The laugh track plays and you cut to commercial.

B. Illogical Progression: This is simply building a case by showing how a series of premises can lead to a completely unrelated conclusion. Where as actual logic would say, A, B and C, therefore, D, this tactic goes A, 3, and #, therefore Q. Here’s a fun example you can use at parties to amaze your friends-

1. Vegans eat vegetables
2. Vegetables are green
3. Frogs are green
4. Therefore frogs are vegetables
5. Therefore, vegans eat frogs

C. Correlation = Causation: This is pseudo-science at it’s finest. You gather data. You find some elements that show up together, then you decide that one causes the other. This can be good and superficial. Don’t dig too much. If you could prove that your local football team wins games on nights when nachos outsell the hotdogs, that would be enough to decide that the secret to victory is selling more nachos. Get the cheerleaders to rhyme about nachos! Replace your mascot with Mr. Nacho! Your team will go all the way! Or at the least, you can claim they will. Don’t put any of your own money on that trophy showing up though.

D. Skip the Foundation: When making a logical progression of ideas, you don’t need to use proven or defensible premises if you can just be bold and focus on the conclusion. This is about attitude. Several philosophers, including Hume and Kant, have made the following argument: Miracles don’t occur, therefore the Bible is not reliable, since it claims to record miracles occurring. You may be asking what these philosophers did to prove that miracles don’t occur. If you are, you need to start over at the beginning of this paragraph. You don’t need to over think CST’s. They’re pretty much as user friendly as they seem.

E. Cut out the Context: Taking things out of context is as old and traditional as any CST is likely to be. Context gives things their definition. Once you get ride of the context, you can make things say whatever you want. If you can’t see the benefit of that, maybe the debate club is not the club for you. Give the swim team a try, or maybe cross-country. Or just go home and watch television. For more on this, see my Blog called Text Without Context is Pretext for Proof Text (And a Person’s a Person no matter how Small)

F. Unacknowledged self-contradiction: This tactic is for sissies, wimps and real men. Its graceful brilliance comes from the clumsy way it stems from a dim-witted lack of understanding. From personal experience I can tell you that, if I were to ever use this tactic, I’m sure it would probably work well unless it failed.

G. The Red Herring: This is, essentially, the whole category of “Look over there!” CST’s. Or maybe I don’t understand it. The point is, this one has a legit name which is funny and will compel me to look up its origin on Wikipedia. If I’ve been told right, the name comes from the concept of a fleeing criminal dragging fish across his trail to throw off the dogs that are sniffing him out. If you can get the dogs to sniff out the fish, you can get away with all kinds of nonsense. But then, you might have a flock of cats to deal with. So, there are risks, especially if you’re allergic to cats. Metaphorically speaking.

H. Answer the Question No One Asked: I call this the Al Gore method. Back before he was selling environmental penance and indulgences, Al Gore was just another politician. Vice President or something vital like that. I’ve watched some unedited footage of him giving an interview, which included, uncut, the time during commercial breaks. During this interview he was asked a question, and then answered a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT question. The reporter noticed this, and asked it again, and Al answered a DIFFERENT question. He was asked the same question three times because he refused to answer the one he was actually asked. The best thing about this video clip was watching his political adviser actually TELL HIM TO DO THIS. “Don’t feel like you have to answer the questions they ask you,” this guy tells Al. It’s the best collision of politics and post-modernism I’ve ever seen.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that only Al Gore has done this. If you’ve seen a political debate, you’ve seen this. As for me, I will always think of Al when I think of this CST. And, may I add, this CST leaves absolutely NO carbon footprint.

I. Argue against the Conclusion they haven’t reached: The trick here is to try to anticipate their train of thought to somewhere HORRIBLE. The simple formula is, “You said A, so obviously you are leading up to Q. Now, here is why Q is wrong and you are a twit.” This is a good time to make use of CST 1A or 2A. Let’s be honest- as a Cheap Samurai, there is never a bad time to start name-calling.

J. Divert Attention to the Result of the Idea being True: Like the previous CST, you need to follow the idea to it’s logical (Or completely illogical) conclusion. “IF this idea is true, here is the result…” and of course this only works in your favor if the result is HORRIBLE. You can do this with your own ideas, but the result is magically delicious! Like this: “I’m supporting recycling because, at the rate recycling technology is improving, we’ll soon be able to power all of Los Angeles with the energy we save by recycling a single beer bottle. If this is true, it will solve all of the world’s problems, including plaque and dust and mosquitoes.”

Ok campers, there’s the complete collection. Now you are ready to go out there and be a cheating, deviant weasel. Get the last word! Win every argument even when you have NO IDEA what the conversation is about! And most importantly, don’t tell ANYONE that I had anything to do with this. The last thing my credibility needs is to be linked to something ridiculous like this. Hey, see that red fish over there? I have to go now.

rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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