View Poll Results: Is the slippery slope argument a valid debate tactic?

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Thread: The Slippery Slope arguement

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    Where did that come from? Of course actions have ramifications, but argue against direct ramifications, not some imagined scenario that could result. There will be time enough to argue against that imagined scenario if it should come to pass.
    I believe such shortsightedness to be unwise and responsible for most of our current problems, that's all I'm saying. sorry for the partisan remark, I am pretty immature today. this is the only warning you'll get!

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    I hate slippery slope arguments with a passion. If some ones best argument is a slippery slope argument, they have pretty much already lost the debate.
    This a preposterous and narrow-minded statement. No debate tactic is categorically worthless as all arguments are necessarily validated by the logic used to support them.

    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.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    This a preposterous and narrow-minded statement. No debate tactic is categorically worthless as all arguments are necessarily validated by the logic used to support them.

    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 few occasions that the y has to happen. It is possible to separate the possibly good x from the bad y.

    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.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    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.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    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.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    There are few occasions that the y has to happen. It is possible to separate the possibly good x from the bad y.
    I didn't say, "if x happens then y has to happen", I said, "if x happens then y is likely to happen". It is an argument of cause and effect, nothing more.

    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.
    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.

    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.
    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?
    Last edited by Ethereal; 05-14-09 at 02:29 PM.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by WI Crippler View Post
    A popular slippery slope argument by the left here, is that if we engage in waterboarding, we are no better than the terrorists who hack the heads off their prisoners.
    Not a "slippery slope" argument, a moral-equivalency argument.

    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.


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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    Where did that come from? Of course actions have ramifications, but argue against direct ramifications, not some imagined scenario that could result. There will be time enough to argue against that imagined scenario if it should come to pass.
    Wrong. Establishing potential worst-case scenarios is a valid engineering design tool.

    It's also prudent family and national planning.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    I didn't say, "if x happens then y has to happen", I said, "if x happens then y is likely to happen". It is an argument of cause and effect, nothing more.
    I think this is where we are reaching a disconnect. To me, as long as Y is separable from X, ie, if it does not need to happen, then it is two separate arguments. As long as it is possible to pull up short of reaching Y, then it is a separate argument.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    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.

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