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

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Thread: The Slippery Slope arguement

  1. #1
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    The Slippery Slope arguement

    Not to be confused with, and arguement with Slippery Slope, do you feel that the slippery slope argument is a valid one?

    Objectively speaking, almost everybody uses it here. Or I should say that amongst the various factions, each side uses it. I am sure, that in sometime in my 10,000+ posts, I have used it as well. I'll give examples...

    A popular slippery slope argument amongst the right, would be that gay marriage will lead to the legalization of beastiality, or other such strange arrangements. Or that the legalization of marijuana will lead to the legalization of all drugs.

    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. Or another would be that we should continue to work to restrict peoples access to guns, because of the inherent danger they pose to society.

    And for libertarians, pretty much anything the federal government does, is subject to the slippery slope argument as the government wrests freedom from the hands of states and individuals and we will soon be living in the Orwellian society.

    So, in your opinion, is the slippery slope argument, a valid debate tactic?

    My opinion is that it actually is. Thats not to say that I agree with all the above slippery slope examples I put forth, but it does seem to be a valid debate tactic, because it is routinely used by all. Whether or not it comes to fruition in these cases, is not the point I am trying to make here. The fact that it sometimes does come to fruition, means that there is some validation of the tactic, even if the tactic is sometimes applied improperly.
    "Loyalty only matters when there's a hundred reasons not to be-" Gen. Mattis

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    Norville Rogers
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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    It certainly can be, but usually isn't

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by WI Crippler View Post
    Not to be confused with, and arguement with Slippery Slope, do you feel that the slippery slope argument is a valid one?

    Objectively speaking, almost everybody uses it here. Or I should say that amongst the various factions, each side uses it. I am sure, that in sometime in my 10,000+ posts, I have used it as well. I'll give examples...

    A popular slippery slope argument amongst the right, would be that gay marriage will lead to the legalization of beastiality, or other such strange arrangements. Or that the legalization of marijuana will lead to the legalization of all drugs.

    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. Or another would be that we should continue to work to restrict peoples access to guns, because of the inherent danger they pose to society.

    And for libertarians, pretty much anything the federal government does, is subject to the slippery slope argument as the government wrests freedom from the hands of states and individuals and we will soon be living in the Orwellian society.

    So, in your opinion, is the slippery slope argument, a valid debate tactic?

    My opinion is that it actually is. Thats not to say that I agree with all the above slippery slope examples I put forth, but it does seem to be a valid debate tactic, because it is routinely used by all. Whether or not it comes to fruition in these cases, is not the point I am trying to make here. The fact that it sometimes does come to fruition, means that there is some validation of the tactic, even if the tactic is sometimes applied improperly.
    If you can prove that what you propose will happen is nesesseraly a logical consiquence of an action or trend, then yes it is valid.

    The main obstical in proving a slippery slope is to leave virtualy nothing up to interpritation or opinion; people will simply disagree and reject your entire well thought out argument.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    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.

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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.
    typical liberal response. let's pretend our actions don't have ramifications, that precedents don't matter, blah blah blah.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    I think it can be a valid debate TACTIC, it is not the end all be all and is not something that should ever be accepted as THE reason for agreeing with something.

    Its also one that I roll my eyes at the most (even to myself sometimes reading back) because everyone uses it for something, everyone asserts its importance when THEY use it, but then everyone tries to downplay it as illogical or over reacting when its used against them.

    The slippery slope type arguments are something that should come up, consideration taken, and protections possibly thought up to keep it from happening, but I almost never think the slippery slope argument should be THE reason or even one of the MAIN reasons for not doing something because 9 out of 10 times it relies on a great deal of assumption and speculation and not actual legitimate fact. It helps when the slippery slope your pointing at has a number of things already happening in relatively short term.

    The Slippery Slope argument is a wonderful addition to a debate argument, its the potatoes to your meat. Without the meat, its hardly something you'd really consider a true meal.
    Last edited by Zyphlin; 05-14-09 at 02:06 PM.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by emdash View Post
    typical liberal response. let's pretend our actions don't have ramifications, that precedents don't matter, blah blah blah.
    So as a conservative then I'm sure you're not against the Patriot Act, which the slippery slope argument could be made that TITLE III of the OMNIBUS Safe Street Acts led to FISA which led to the PATRIOT Act and so precedent shows that within 20 years the government will be controlling us through implants ni the brain?

    Or that we shouldn't remove gun regulations because if you remove gun regulations you will end up removing all gun laws and then you will have a lawless place like the mexican border so naturally removing gun laws is unsafe.

    I mean, since apparently only liberals think that the slippery slope doesn't exist and conservatives must think its is definitly true, you believe those things right?

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    So as a conservative then I'm sure you're not against the Patriot Act, which the slippery slope argument could be made that TITLE III of the OMNIBUS Safe Street Acts led to FISA which led to the PATRIOT Act and so precedent shows that within 20 years the government will be controlling us through implants ni the brain?

    Or that we shouldn't remove gun regulations because if you remove gun regulations you will end up removing all gun laws and then you will have a lawless place like the mexican border so naturally removing gun laws is unsafe.

    I mean, since apparently only liberals think that the slippery slope doesn't exist and conservatives must think its is definitly true, you believe those things right?
    truly you have a dizzying intellect.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by emdash View Post
    typical liberal response. let's pretend our actions don't have ramifications, that precedents don't matter, blah blah blah.
    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.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope arguement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
    If you can prove that what you propose will happen is nesesseraly a logical consiquence of an action or trend, then yes it is valid.

    The main obstical in proving a slippery slope is to leave virtualy nothing up to interpritation or opinion; people will simply disagree and reject your entire well thought out argument.
    I don't know that the potential danger must be an inevitable outcome of the action or trend; I would argue that the degree to which the potential danger is made more probable is the degree to which the slippery slope argument has merit.

    Following on the OP's example of a possible slippery slope argument that legalizing gay marriage will lead to the legalization of bestiality: absent credible evidence supporting higher incidence of bestality among homosexuals than heterosexuals, this argument fails, because the potential danger cannot be shown to be more probable.

    An example of where a slippery slope argument would be valid, however, could be that the government's interventions in the Chrysler bankruptcy is a next step on a path towards direct state control of entire industries within this country: Because law relies heavily on past precedent, every accepted intervention can be used as a precedent justifying the next intervention. This argument does not require that the danger be an inevitable outcome--because there is no absolute assurance the next intervention will happen until it does--merely that the danger is made more likely.

    I view the effect of a slippery slope as a gradual narrowing of the range of outcomes towards one that is undesirable. Where that narrowing can be sustained by evidence and reason, the slippery slope is a valid argument. Absent that sustenance, the slippery slope is an invalid argument.

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