The "slippery slope" argument boils down to, "if x happens then y is likely to happen." It's a cause and effect argument, and to suggest that a cause and effect argument will basically lose a debate is nonsensical in the extreme.
There are occasions that a slippery slope argument is valid, but they are exceedingly rare to the point that for practical purposes, it is pretty safe to discount them. We do always need to check our assumptions though, and identify why a slippery slope argument is faulty, but you can be pretty sure it will be.
There are certainly times when its necessary to proceed cautiously, such as with stem cell research, but I don't think thats a justification to outright ban it.
Most of the time, the slippery slope argument isn't meant to advise caution, but is meant to scare people into thinking that something totally unrelated will happen. Such as when people claim the same-sex marriage will lead to bestiality or polygamy.
Its not a real argument, its just an excuse.
I say no, with some rare exceptions. If they say it is a slippery slope and give examples of a similar or exact policy that produced a slippery slope result then I would say that is a well founded argument. But just saying, "I don't like policy 'A' because it is a slippery slope to all kinds of unforeseen unintended consequences" That is a BS argument unless they actually back it up with real world examples.
You are making the same mistake as you did earlier. There is no such thing as a better or worse debate tactic. All debate tactics are necessarily validated by their logic. The idea that a slippery slope argument can only be used to good effect in exceedingly rare cases is nothing more than a biased presumption with no basis in fact.There are occasions that a slippery slope argument is valid, but they are exceedingly rare to the point that for practical purposes, it is pretty safe to discount them.
Explain why we can be "pretty sure" of this. What makes the slippery slope argument - which is nothing more than an argument of cause and effect - so obviously flawed?We do always need to check our assumptions though, and identify why a slippery slope argument is faulty, but you can be pretty sure it will be.
Last edited by Ethereal; 05-14-09 at 02:29 PM.
A slippery slope argument from the left along those lines is that "first waterboarding, then we'll start trimming their beards, and then we'll put ladies underwear on their heads, and then we'll ask them questions! Oh my!"
Some slippery slope arguments are valid.
First comes gun licenses.
Then comes gun registration.
Then comes gun confiscation.
That's a matter of historical fact.
Bill and Monica in a tree,
ESS YOU SEE KAY EYE ENN GEE
First comes marriage,
then comes bill with a baby carriage!
I've long found this "slippery-slope is a logical-fallacy" to be itself false in many cases.
When a judge rules on the application of a law in a certain case, it becomes precedent, that is cited later on by other judges in how they interpret the law. These precedents can and are used to justify expansions of the interpretation of the law, as if they were law rather than just some judge's opinion of the law.
In a very similar sense, when X is done is can, in many cases, establish a precedent, such as the precedent that the government has a legal right to stick it's nose into not only X, but things related to X or similar to X. This happens in the real world all the time.
Or we change a long-standing traditional institution to include something it never included before, for the sake of a small special-intrest group. We have now established the precedent of changing a traditional institution for the sake of one small special intrest...so what is to prevent ten-dozen OTHER small special intrest groups from suing to get THEIR piece of the pie, based on that previous precedent?
For other arguments on the subject, see my sig line.
Fiddling While Rome Burns
Carthago Delenda Est
"I used to roll the dice; see the fear in my enemies' eyes... listen as the crowd would sing, 'now the old king is dead, Long Live the King.'.."