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  • Logic is built up of ideas called premises.

  • Even if they seem logical, it's important to pay attention to those premises

  • to make sure that they're not made of straw.

  • Straw-man arguments are off-topic, oversimplified, exaggerated, or subtly

  • twisted versions of your argument,

  • that others can easily knock over, while still appearing logical.

  • For example, perhaps you're discussing whether vaccinations can help reduce the number

  • of people who fall sick from a particular virus.

  • In response, another person puts forward a counter-argument claiming pharmaceutical

  • companies make large profits by selling vaccines. The focus of the argument is

  • being shifted from the benefits of vaccination to profiteering.

  • It's also easy to think everybody agrees with your starting premises.

  • But, misunderstandings or false premises can be slipped in.

  • For example, you can say that the measles make you sick,

  • the measles vaccine contains the measles virus and therefore the measles vaccine

  • makes you sick.

  • On these simplified facts this conclusion is logical.

  • But the premises might not be so solid.

  • You need to show that the measles vaccine which contains the same virus is

  • present in the form that makes you sick.

  • The measles vaccine actually contains a broken form of the virus that reproduces

  • slowly and doesn't make you sick.

  • This is a subtle, but rather significant difference.

  • Even oversimplifying a disagreement down to for and against, true or false,

  • black and white,

  • may be used to mislead you.

  • Remember, there can be more than one solution.

Logic is built up of ideas called premises.

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