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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Straw Man Arguments About Shunning

BUT... BUT...
An oft' played out scenario occurs when someone raises an objection about shunning. In return, they are given a straw man argument. This diverts them from the point they were trying to make and unaware of how straw man arguments work, the person may be caught off guard and doesn't have time to think about or formulate an effective rebuttal.
Straw man arguments accomplish a number of things: they divert attention away from the point being raised, they cloud or change the issue, and by presenting an exaggerated scenario, can be used to downplay something. For groups that shun, straw man arguments are employed to make their group appear less harmful.

Once someone knows how this works, they can be better prepared. Look for the key elements in the straw man arguments below and see how the rebuttals effectively challenge them.


Diversionary/Changing the Issue

Objection: "Your group shuns."

Straw Man: "People are free to leave anytime they want."

Rebuttal: "I'm not talking about whether or not people are free to leave, I'm talking about the fact that when they do, they are punished with shunning."


Diversionary/Changing the Issue/Exaggerated Scenario

Objection: "Your group shuns."

Straw Man: "We don't lock people into our places of worship."

Rebuttal: "I never said you lock people into your places of worship, what I said was that your group shuns. Please address that."


Objection: "Your group shuns."

Straw Man: "We don't tie people to chairs and force them to stay."

Rebuttal: "No you don't. Tying someone to a chair would be a temporary situation; whereas your group shuns someone forevermore. What your group does is far worse and is psychologically devastating."


Objection: "Your group shuns."

Straw Man: "We don't tie people to chairs and force them to stay."

Rebuttal: "No, you force shunning upon them instead. You tie them up figuratively, which prevents association with their friends and families. Your shunning effectively binds them in perpetual isolation, forcing on them a situation they would have never chosen voluntarily."


Objection: "Your group shuns."

Straw Man: "We don't tie people to chairs and force them to stay."

Rebuttal: "Tying someone to a chair is a red herring, an obvious attempt to exaggerate and distort matters, as a means to make your group appear less harmful. Now let's get back to the actual point I raised. Your group's shunning. This is what inflicts terrible suffering, not the fictional scenario you presented."


Blaming the Victim

Objection: "Your group shuns those who leave or who disagree with your teachings."

Straw Man: "People know the consequences of their actions."

Rebuttal: "Who came up with those consequences? Certainly, the person being shunned didn't create those consequences, so who did?"


Objection: "Your group shuns those who leave or who disagree with your teachings."

Straw Man: "They brought the shunning on themselves."

Rebuttal: "You can't be saying that those who are shunned masterminded the shunning policy."

Shunner: "Of course not."

Rebuttal: "Then who masterminded it?"


Demolishing Straw Man Arguments
Knowing how straw man arguments are used to distort and manipulate by means of a slick word-dance, a person is better equipped to combat fallacious "reasoning" and thus able to deflate and topple straw man arguments that tap-dance around shunning.


Toppling the Straw Man

Further Reading:

Intolerance and Dogmatism Alive and Well in the Land of Shunning
How intolerance and dogmatism are dressed up in their "Sunday best" to appear acceptable.

Shunning--God-Directed or Cult-Directed?
"Your rights have robbed me of mine."