Techniques of This Section

1. Diversion 2. Disproving a Minor Point 3. Ad Hominem 4. Appeal to Ignorance
5. Leading Question 6. Complex Question 7. Inconsequent Argument 8. Attacking a Straw Man
9. Victory by Definition 10. Begging the Question

  1. Jones: “I believe that the inmates of our prisons should learn democracy while in confinement and that to this end there should be some form of prisoner self-government.” (Jones then states his reasons.)
    Smith: “Let us now consider my opponent’s argument. He is saying that hardened criminals can be made perfect overnight.”
  2. Mrs. Felton is President of the PTA and you want me to believe her arguments for giving the PTA a large share in running the school? She’s the last one I would believe.
  3. I have proposed that the university go on record as opposing the war in Vietnam and in all your talking I have yet to hear from you any reason at all why the university shouldn’t do so.
  4. Teel: “These students seem to have some school spirit.”
    Beel: “Ah, yes, but when I said that students today don’t have any school spirit I was talking about genuine students, not these rah-rah boys.”
  5. Should peace abroad and prosperity at home be kept in the proven hands of the President-or should it be turned over to the extremists and hip shooters?
  6. Mom to Son: “I can’t believe it. You’re late again. Can’t you ever get home on time? Dinner’s cold already.”
    Son to Mom: “But I was hurrying. I met Mrs. Bump. She is expecting her fifth child.”
    Mom to Son: “No, no. Mrs. Bump already has five kids. Is she pregnant again?”
  7. What comforts at once when a child has a cold? What helps open her nose, soothe her throat or congestion fast? And what helps her breathe easy for eight hours? What do those who use Vicks Vapo-Rub say gives them relief? There’s only one answer; you know what it is.
  8. “Why is it so cold outdoors, Mommy?”
    “Because it’s wintertime, Jimmy.”
    “I know; but why is it wintertime?”
    “Because it’s too cold to be anything else.”
  9. Accused of sending troops into Afghanistan, the Russian government replied, “We always help underdeveloped countries. We’ve sent food, machinery, and trained engineers into Afghanistan for years.”
  10. Smith: “International test results show that the United States is falling behind countries like Japan, West Germany, and Russia in math and science education.”
    Jones: “Professor Gallagher has shown that the figures for Russia can’t be trusted. The United States isn’t doing so badly after all.”


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