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

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Thread: The Slippery Slope arguement

  1. #21
    Educator Grateful Heart's Avatar
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    ...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?
    The very obvious fallacy with that particular slippery slope construction is that the context is left out.

    By context I mean the vast changes in the overall culture regarding the issue of homosexuality. This is not irrelevant.

    In order to make the argument that polygamist marriage would follow from gay marriage, then I'd say you'd need to demonstrate that polygamists had made significant cultural inroads and gained social support over the years in the same way gays have. You could apply that same standard to any other special interest group regarding marriage. If you assert that there's a risk of opening the door to incestuous marriage or marriage between a man and his goat... then I'd ask you to show me the advocacy groups and political lobbies for these minorities and examine their political weight.


  2. #22
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    I've long found this "slippery-slope is a logical-fallacy" to be itself false in many cases.
    I don't think the fallacy is simply in the use of it, but in the belief that somehow the slippery slope itself if reason enough for an argument or view to be dismissed.

  3. #23
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    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.

    Their piece of which "pie"?

    Should not the issue therefore be a discussion of the pie, and not the people demanding slices?

  4. #24
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    The Slippery Slope fallacy is not a valid debate tactic. The Slippery Slope fallacy tries to connect to unrelated events in a cause-effect relationship. A perfect example is in the first post with the legalization of same-sex marriage being connected to legalization of bestiality without any clear cause-effect relationship being shown.

    The problem people seem to be having here is they think all cause effect relationships are slippery slopes. If research shows that putting the driving age at 16 reduces the chances of an accident compared to lower ages then it would not be a slippery slope argument to say that lowering the driving age would result in more driving accidents.
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  5. #25
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    I would argue that giving the government invasive power to "fight foreign evildoers" is a slippery slope, because I can cite countless historical examples of how that power was turned on the citizens it was trying to protect.

    What I am actually arguing is that government powers are often used in manner that wasn't intended by public, and such power often leads to corruption. The slippery slope argument is simply a sloppy way of glossing over WHY A will cause B.

    Slippery Slopes are worthless unless can you present a solid case for how one action will cause another. Claiming that gay marriage will let people marry animals is without merit, as nobody has legalized such practices even in places where gay marriage is allowed.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    I don't think the fallacy is simply in the use of it, but in the belief that somehow the slippery slope itself if reason enough for an argument or view to be dismissed.
    It depends on the subject.

    The US has been on the well greased slope to socialism since Wilson. Look at where it's gotten us today, with fiscal insolvency and rising unemployment.

  7. #27
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    There is a distinct difference between "slippery slope" arguments and "probability arguments".

    A probability argument uses existing data that suggests the existence of A will likely lead to B. It is employs deductive reasoning, without making false analogies.

    For example:

    Premise one: Prior data suggests that severe snowstorms are followed by an increase in car accidents for a 24 hour period after the storm hits.

    Premise two: There is a severe snowstorm predicted to hit on Tuesday night.

    Premise three: Avoiding driving in cars prevents one from being in car accidents.

    Conclusion one: There will probably be an increase in car accidents on Wednesday.

    Conclusion two: Wednesday would be a good day to avoid driving in a car if one does not want to be in a car accident.

    In this case we are making an argument based on prior data that is comparable. The conclusions are valid. It does not mean that it will always happen this way, but the probability is based on past experience.


    A slippery slope argument, however, uses inductive reasoning, data from multiple unrelated cases, and employs false analogies.

    Example:

    Premise one: Prior data suggests that severe snowstorms are followed by an increase in car accidents for a 24 hour period after the storm hits.

    Premise two: Car accidents are the primary cause of death for teenagers.

    Premise three: There is a severe snowstorm predicted to hit on Tuesday night.

    Premise four: Avoiding driving in a cars prevents one from being in car accidents.

    Conclusion one: It is likely that more teenagers will die on Wednesday than any other day this week.

    Conclusion two: Teenagers should not be allowed in cars on Wednesday.

    This conclusion is invalid because the data does not state the severity of the accidents nor does it state the propensity for teenage drivers to get into car accidents within 24 hours of a snowstorm. It could be true that the majority of car accidents are minor, non-fatal collisions and that teenagers are not as likely as other drivers to get into these accidents.

    The slippery slope argument is always logically invalid because it always relies on inductive reasoning. Even though all the premises may indeed be true on their own, they are totally unrelated and they don't logically follow to reach the conclusion.

    Slippery Slopes require one to make an intuitive "leaps" from one premise to the other without a necessary step in the logical pathway. Thus, they are logically invalid arguments.

    But that does not mean that the conclusions are always false. They may indeed be accurate predictions, they just came from invalid logic.


    Also, some slippery slope arguments have the potential to become logically valid predictive arguments.

    In the slippery slope example I gave above, the existence of the premise: "The frequency, severity, and demographics of the participants in car accidents after snowstorms is proportionally identical to accidents that occur in other conditions" would validate that argument because the existence of this premise would cause the rest of the premises to become related.

    Obviously, the veracity of each premise, as with any argument, is a big issue. Also, a logically valid argument does not always need to have a true conclusion. Sometimes a logically valid argument fails to acknowledge confounding premises. For example, if, in the first argument, Wednesday were a holiday, and far fewer people drive on holidays than normal, it could negate the veracity of the conclusion without invalidating the logic that was given.

    Finally, I made up the arguments above off the top of my head for illustrative purposes. If I have some flaw of logic in either of them, please forgive me. They weren't overly thought-out.

  8. #28
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Depends-I don't think gay marriage will lead to ceremonies involving sheep or goats. On the other hand in the gun control movement, the gun haters have continually admitted that they are using an incremental approach to gun bans (Charles Krauthammer's paen to the clinton gun ban is an example) and thus the slippery slope argument is completely valid when it comes to the plotting of the ARC
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  9. #29
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    With respect to Gay Marriage the slippery slope would be an invalid argument if the gay marriages were all appoved thru the State Legeslaturers and the courts only interpeted law thru its original meaning. The problem we have is that an activist Judge could interpet the law allowing gay marriage to allow beatiality or poligamy (or polyandary).

    If that is not overturned by the legeslature (think the political mischief that could occur if a legeslature is devided sharply and cannot be brought together on even this issue or it is used as coersion that it wont be delt with if the other side doesnt cave in on an issue or two) or by a higher court which may expect the legislature to do their job or is allready overburdend with other caseloads. (Think of the case being entered as collusion and stealthely delt with.)

  10. #30
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    What would one need to justify the validity of "slippery slope" arguments beyond taxation schemes of all types and at all levels?
    Quod scripsi, scripsi

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