Slippery Slopes | INFJ Forum

Slippery Slopes

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Satya, Aug 2, 2008.

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  1. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    I really detest slippery slope fallacies.

    Examples:

    If we legalize marijuana then it will lead to the legalization of harder drugs down the road like cocaine and heroin.
    If we allow gays to marry, then nothing would keep us from legalizing polygamy and incest.
    If we allow prayer in this school, then it will eventually mean the complete break down of the separation of church and state.

    They are easy enough to rebuke because you only have to ask for proof that one event will follow from another.

    What evidence can you provide that shows legalizing marijuana will lead to the legalization of other controlled substances?
    What evidence can you provide that shows allowing gays to marry will lead to polygamy or incest?
    What evidence can you provide that shows that prayer in school has ever lead to a complete break down between church and state?

    In all three of these cases, there is actually evidence that argues the alternative point of view?

    Do these annoy anyone else as much as they annoy me? I find them incredibly unintelligent, but I am surprised how often they are used in the media and by politicians.
     
  2. Lurker

    Lurker Has nothing to destroy
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    I find them narrow minded and alarmist. It's a way to dismiss an idea without looking at both sides, if you want to disagree with something stick to the issue at hand and create an intelligent argument. It does however serve as a very early warning sign that the person is not open to ideas that contradict with their views and therefore debating with them would reap the same rewards as slamming your head against a brick wall. Walk away!
     
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  3. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    One thing does lead to another though. I think the women's liberation movement paved the way for the gay's to come out. Women were probably their biggest supporters when they decided to come out of the shadows.
    The changes in laws and rights they fight for in the courts may pave the way for others. Legal polygamy? If enough people want it and have the cash to fight for it I could see it coming to pass.
     
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  4. Lurker

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    My issue isn't looking at the bigger picture, it's when those kind of arguments are used to dismiss another perspective.
     
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  5. OP
    Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    You are missing the point. Yes, one thing does lead to another, but when one person suggests that an action will initiate a chain of events culminating in an undesirable event later without providing factual evidence to support it or expressing alternative possibilities, then it is a fallacy.

    For example, if I say that legalizing gay marriage will lead to polygamy, then I have ignored the possibility that gay marriage may not affect the legal status of polygamy at all, or even the possibility that it may lead to further laws that are outright against polygamy. There is nothing to link gay marriage to polygamy other than an assumption that one will somehow affect the other. As such, I have not provided any factual evidence to support that speculation.

    So by making that argument, I have not stated any facts or viable reasons not to legalize gay marriage, only a baseless assumption. In fact, since 6 countries have legalized gay marriage and have not legalized polygamy, then the evidence says that gay marriage does not affect people's opinions on polygamy.
     
  6. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    It's not an argument, I guess it's just speculation. Besides, the facts only come forth later, sometimes much later so it's always a hindsight, "I told you so," kind of thing.
     
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  7. OP
    Satya

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    It is just speculation. All those arguments I gave are purely speculation. And you don't have to wait to know the facts. One only has to do a little research and they will know whether a slippery slope argument has any merit or not.

    If I told you that all six of those countries that have legalized gay marriage combined don't have anywhere near the number of cases of illicit polygamy that we currently have in this country, would you still believe me if I argued that allowing gay marriage will ultimately lead to polygamy?
     
  8. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    The question is, will it lead to legalized polygamy in your country and that is unknown. Comparing somewhere like Denmark to the USA is like apples and oranges.
     
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  9. OP
    Satya

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    I'm not arguing the case of whether or not gay marriage will lead to polygamy in this thread, sumone. This is a thread about the idiocy of slippery slopes. My earlier comment was purely hypothetical.

    Anyways, I made the argument, "gay marriage will ultimately lead to polygamy" without specifying within this country. So even you provided an argument that refuted that slippery slope fallacy. You are arguing that it depends on what country, thereby outlining alternative possibilities.
     

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