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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday

  • Johann Hari: How to spot a lame, lame argument - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
    There is one particular type of bad argument that has always existed, but it has now spread like tar over the world-wide web, and is seeping into the pubs, coffee shops and opinion columns everywhere. It is known as 'what-aboutery' - and there was a particularly ripe example of it in response to one of my articles last week. As a rhetorical trick, it is simple. Anyone can do it, and we are all tempted sometimes. When you have lost an argument - when you can't justify your case, and it is crumbling in your hands - you snap back: "But what about x?" You then raise a totally different subject, and try to get everybody to focus on it - hoping it will distract attention from your own deflated case.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Co-Creator Dead At 61 | Game | Life from
  • Metamagician and the Hellfire Club: What's new about the New Atheism?
    Whence the term "New Atheism"? Is the phenomenon it points to really something new? In fact, all this stuff about the New Atheism is little more than journalistic hype, and the arguments are not especially new. Nothing is (very) new about the so-called New Atheism. It's more a matter of resumed transmission than a whole new program. But there's something to the idea, all the same. Here's the deal.
  • Respectful Insolence: Best anti-homeopathy poster ever?
  • BBC NEWS | Europe | Dutch leave messages on God phone
    An art exhibition opening in the Netherlands will allow people to call a telephone number designated for God - but they will have to leave a message. Dubbed God's Hotline, it aims to focus attention on changes to the ways Dutch people perceive religion. Dutch artist Johan van der Dong chose a mobile phone number to show that God was available anywhere and anytime, Radio Netherlands reported. Critics say the project mocks those with religious beliefs. Forming part of an art installation in the town of Groningen, the voicemail message says: "This is the voice of God, I am not able to speak to you at the moment, but please leave a message."



what aboutery = red herring

It does have a way of derailing the conversation: the one who uses this tactic may not win the original argument, but no longer loses. The opponent has to steer the debate back on track, perhaps stating that they will tackle the other point in a minute.


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