Talk:Straw man/Archive 1

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In literature

I haven't changed the literary discussion here yet, but I raise the question whether Heinrich Mann's novel Der Untertan should be included. Straw Man is a highly questionable translation for the title and scholars have long noted the problem of not having a way of expressing Untertan in English. I would suggest that literary references are not necessary at all, since straw man is, indeed, a device of rhetoric & argument. -- Dottore So 11 May 2005

Sorry, Dr. S., I forgot about this. My take on this was that the section (which I authored) should stay, but there should be a footnote qualifying the the German-English discrapencies. As I also said, this is how the Mann's book is titiled in English, it is notable through that name and corresponding associations. Moreover, we can forget the footnote and add a paragraph discussing this, and from it, link to a whole article devoted to the Untertan issue. I believe Dr. S. when s/he states that: scholars have long noted the problem of not having a way of expressing Untertan in English.. Certainly article worthy then, as is an in-depth article on Mann's aforementioned famous book (and/or trilogy). We just need someone to author these. As per the former, I'm afraid my grasp of German is far too dismal for me to attempt such an undertaking. My apologies again for neglecting to check this talk page for your comment, Dr. S., it slipped my mind. Regards, El_C 04:20, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As discussed I have created a page proper for Der Untertan and linked to it from here. Content is a fusion from the German article, the original entry here and a few thoughts of my own.Dottore So 17:33, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Rhetorical use

I removed "Present only a portion of the opponent's arguments (often a weak one), refute it, and pretend that all of their arguments have been refuted. " This is not a strawman. I can find no authoritative definition to support this. Ignoring the rest of someones argument is not a strawman. Im removing #1 again. None of my logic textbooks mention anything resembling this as a proper strawman. -JJ

I did a copy edit today of the "Rhetorical use" section and deleted a couple of points. First, I deleted the example of the straw-man argument that involved Darwin advocating acquired characteristics. I'm not aware that he ever did this. Second, I deleted the Fred-Alice exchange, because they were not (quite) examples of straw-man arguments. I also deleted "sometimes known as straw-person arguments" because I don't believe they are ever called that. If anyone disagrees, or if I'm wrong about Darwin (particularly that), please let me know. Slim 08:56, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)

It's not well-known, but yes, in The Origin of Species Darwin did include speculation that acquired characteristics could be inherited by future generations. I got marked down on a book report for Biology because I had actually read the book and read for myself that Darwin wrote of these things; the teacher had not read the book himself and he thought I was simply confusing what we now call Darwinian evolution with Lamarckian evolution. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:25, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Do you happen to know where in the book it is, so I can look it up? I've never before heard that Darwin toyed with acquired characteristics. I always thought he had consistently argued quite the opposite. My apologies. Slim 17:32, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
Well, Lamarckian inheritance is a completely logical theory; it just happens to be incorrect. Darwin proposed both Lamarckian and "Darwinian" inheritance in Origin; he may have realized later that Lamarckian was incorrect and argued against it, or it may just be that his incorrect theory was forgotten because his correct one was more impressive. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:41, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I should add: please don't go to any trouble, because I can look for it myself. Best, Slim 17:38, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)

Splitting off Rhetorical into its own article

I have deleted the Rhetorical section and instead created a whole new article for it, It doesn't seem to make much sense to have them in the same article sense they are completly different and there is enough content for two seperate article.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk) 08:48, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't think this was as good an idea as it seemed. There may be enough content for two articles, yes, but I don't think there was enough content to require two articles. A look at the "What links here" for this page seems to suggest that an overwhelming majority of the incoming links are intending to link to "straw man" in its sense of "straw man argument". Even if we agreed to manually redirect all such current links to "Straw-Man Argument", people are still going to put brackets around "straw man" intending to create a link to the article that describes straw man arguments. Unless a very good argument indeed can be proposed for the separation that has been made, I propose to reunite the articles a few days from now. -- Antaeus Feldspar 16:57, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

How about we direct straw man to the other article then add a short disambiguation at the top of that article. I just think that the meanings are so different from each other that it is almost comical to read about them in the same article. But yes I would agree that the normal link should be towards the other article, I just don't think it is good idea to have them in the same page.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk) 20:55, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your suggested solution, but I don't think the "problem" you're trying to solve is as bad as any of the proposed solutions, including the one that was implemented first. Having multiple, unconnected meanings of the same term explained in the same article is, at worst, slightly messy. The consequence of moving the most often used usage of the term to a new location is worse than that. -- Antaeus Feldspar 18:23, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm suggesting having the "straw man" link to the new article then have somthing on the top of the page like is in this article Viper. It's a pretty small problem though so if it really bothers you, then revert to the original before I touched it.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk) 20:53, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
I am supportive of this article being split off into its own article. (talk) 12:47, 15 November 2005 (UTC)


Work is currently in progress on a page entitled Views of Creationists and mainstream scientists compared. Also currently being worked upon is Wikipedia: NPOV (Comparison of views in science) giving guidelines for this type of page. It is meant to be a set of guidelines for NPOV in this setting. People knowledgable in many areas of science and the philosophy of science are greatly needed here. And all are needed to ensure the guidelines correctly represent NPOV in this setting.  :) Barnaby dawson 21:31, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I do not believe the story under law about straw men with straw in their shoes. It should be supported by a plausible reference or removed.

I completely agree. --Avi 16:13, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Shouldn't this be a disambiguation page, with links to the various uses of the word? While the words may be related, a lot of these are completely different concepts. Apologies if this has been discussed to death, etc.

Reference: E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

"Man of Straw (A).

A person without capital. It used to be customary for a number of worthless fellows to loiter about our law-courts to become false witness or surety for anyone who would buy their services; their badge was a straw in their shoes."Jodi.a.schneider 11:53, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

"Self promotion"

I'd like to clear up the situation with the last edit. I was not self-promoting myself there. That was someone else from a message board who was trying to make me look bad. I apologize for the fact that he has vandalised the article as part of his vendetta against me. I'd like to point out that I never edit anonymously, and you can rest assured that I will not directly cause any problems for Wikipedia. -- LGagnon July 8, 2005 05:08 (UTC)

Ah, gotcha. Oddly, that's weirdly reassuring, that it was someone vandalizing Wikipedia because they knew it would be recognized as not cool, rather than someone doing it because they really did think it made them cool to do it. -- Antaeus Feldspar 9 July 2005 01:39 (UTC)

Straw Man Fallacy Redirection

While I can see the irony and found it quite humerous to be redirected to this page when actually searching for 'Straw Man Fallacy', this is an incorrect redirection and should be corrected to redirect to 'Straw Man Argument'.

Woops. Straw man argument comes here too. I've takent he liberty of covering the straw man fallacy here. I think it probably deserves its own article though.

I know that's what I've been trying to say, Not only should it have a different article but it should be the main one instead of the various meanings of the term on this page.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk) 19:10, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

I fully agree with you. You have to admit the irony tho? =) Anyway I did finally manage to find the article on the straw man fallacy. I is here Straw-Man Argument
Good to see this has been corrected. Is it possible to change the redirect so that 'Straw Man Fallacy' is directed to the Straw-man argument page?
I've merged Straw-man argument back to straw man, as it was before. As I pointed out previously, the incoming links to straw man clearly indicate that most people who link "straw man" do so under the impression that they are linking to a page that explains the rhetorical technique/logical fallacy. I think the fact that within two days of splitting off the rhetorical/fallacious usage from this article, someone rewrote the section because they noticed it was 'missing' demonstrates that quite clearly. Therefore, of all the usages of the term that we could spin out into a separate article, that usage should be the last we would choose to do it with.
However, may I point out that there has been no case made that we actually need to spin out any usage of the term to a separate article. It's not needed on the basis of size, surely; the only scenario I can picture which would indicate some need for spinouts would be where someone comes to the article looking for a specific meaning of the term, skims the beginning of the article, and erroneously concludes that because some other meaning is described there, the one they're looking for must not be in the article. The better solution to this, I think, is to give the article an intro which makes it clear that the article covers many meanings, and I have tried to give the article such an intro. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:40, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I thought I made it clear that the my reasoning for making this into two different articles was the vastly different definitions. It seems silly that a straw man fallacy and a straw man rodeo dummy should be in the same article, and apparently some other people support me on this.

However, as I have said before I do agree with you that most people that link to this article do so under the impression that it explains the rhetorical technique/logical fallacy. I find your continuing intransigence on this matter increasingly vexing in light of the fact that I have repeatedly explained my reasoning, and other people have agreed. As this argument is beginning to look counterproductive, perhaps we could put this to a vote, do you agree?- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk) 03:38, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

You said "I thought I made it clear that the my reasoning for making this into two different articles was the vastly different definitions.". It sounds like you're accusing him of using a straw man argument =).
Seriously though, I agree to the vote and will back up your comments. I only found this article through a redirect from Straw man fallacy and when I got here the article didn't mention anything about the straw man fallacy. Straw man Fallacy could actually be a fairly large article once we've added examples of the various types of straw man arguments from various sources.
Moshe, I think you need to step back and try to take a closer look at what people are actually saying. You are claiming "this is the problem I saw; this is the solution I unilaterally chose; these are the people who agree with me, since they said they saw a problem too." But the fact is, however, that two people have commented on this issue, and I can't comment on one, but the other is protesting the problem caused by your "solution"' -- the fact that when he went to Straw man looking for information on the straw man fallacy/rhetorical technique, he didn't find it. Why didn't he find it? Because you had moved it! And he felt so strongly that it was incorrect that he "took the liberty of covering the straw man fallacy here" [1] -- so for you to claim that "other people have agreed" without mentioning that at least half of them fully disagreed is, at best, a distorted view.
Now, you seem to think that it's a problem when an article title describes several subjects that are all legitimately referred to by that title but which happen to be fairly different from each other. I, personally, don't see what the problem is there; I already outlined that the worst problem that can be caused by that situation is easily fixed with a clear intro. And I already explained that moving the meaning that 90-95% of incoming links are trying to reference when the editor types [[straw man]] is a bad idea. You think that having unconnected topics which are all referred to in the real world as "straw men" all in the article straw man is "silly". Even if that's so, "silly" is better than "poor functionality".
"I'm suggesting having the "straw man" link to the new article then have somthing on the top of the page like is in this article Viper." It's called disambiguation; if you go to Wikipedia:Disambiguation, you'll see various methods of disambiguation. One I guarantee you won't find is moving the primary topic of a title to a separate article, and I don't even think you'll find a recommendation that disambiguation decisions be made on the basis of disparate topics under a single title being "silly". No, what you'll find at Wikipedia:Disambiguation is recommendations for how to use disambiguation to keep Wikipedia easy to navigate. I wish you would try to apply that standard here. -- Antaeus Feldspar 18:24, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I am really beginning to become frustrated with you Antaeus. You state- "One I guarantee you won't find is moving the primary topic of a title to a separate article" I have made it clear multiple times that this is not at all what I am suggesting. I am saying the "primary topic" should be the primary link and have all the secondary topics be in the disambiguation page.

"I have made it clear multiple times that this is not at all what I am suggesting." It's what you did! How do you not realize this? You came to a page called "straw man"; you found several meanings for the phrase "straw man"; if you had checked "What links here" you would have found that nearly all incoming links were trying to reference 'straw man' in the rhetorical/fallacy sense; and out of all the meanings of "straw man" you chose to move to a different article, you chose that one! Honestly, you think you're getting frustrated? I'm sitting here stunned, trying to figure out how in hell you can say "I never suggested we do that" in response to a description of what you already did!

You go on to say- "It's called disambiguation; if you go to Wikipedia:Disambiguation, you'll see various methods of disambiguation". I find it funny that you were pedantic here, I am quite familar with wikipedia, The only reason I didn't call it disambiguation is because in the previous post when I did use the word you seemed confused.

Not only have you decided to take up a condencending tone throughout this entire argument, but you have confused or misinterpreted every one of my posts and it seems you have misinterpreted other peoples's posts as well.

No, I wasn't confused by the word "disambiguation", I was confused by your unclear sentence "How about we direct straw man to the other article then add a short disambiguation at the top of that article." What do you mean by "direct straw man to the other article"? Which article are you calling "the other article"? Is "the other article" the same as "that article"? I have no idea what you're proposing and after watching you fail to recognize what you already did when it's described to you I'm not too certain you do either. I mean, it's very clear that "It's a pretty small problem though so if it really bothers you, then revert to the original before I touched it" does not mean what any ordinary person would assume it does, since you're now sniping that now it should be put to a vote and that I don't understand how people who tried to replace the "missing" material that you moved out of this article were actually somehow expressing support for your decision to remove it from this article in the first place. -- Antaeus Feldspar 02:00, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Interesting dicussion. Since this seems largely to be an issue of organisation, I suggest that some kind of consensus be achieved on this page before further redirects/excisions are made (using peer review if necessary to get wider feedback) and tempers flare.

That said, imo I don't think that a new article is required, since most of what is here outside of the fallacy/argument aspects of the use of Straw Man verges on dictionary definitions. Since the use of straw man to describe an argument or a fallacy is linked, it makes sense to bring them together on the same page. Certainly, I am in agreement with Antaeus - these are by far the most common uses of straw man, hence these discussions belong here at the principal page, with appropriate redirects as necessary. The references to the straw man in rodeos, literature, etc... could thus be consigned to an other uses section or some such. Dottore So 21:15, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Wow, you found a couple of sentences which weren't very clear, That MUST mean you're smarter than me. Wait weren't there a couple other sentences or something? No.. You must have had a good reason to not understand them either. Give me a break. The other person that I "claimed" to support me was not doing so because he was confused by my edits, it was because he also thought it was strange that all the meanings were on the same page. This argument tires me, I am tired of trying to explain a viewpoint, that is not radical in the least, to someone who is incredibly rude and stubborn.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk) 03:30, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I think the fact that within two days of splitting off the rhetorical/fallacious usage from this article, someone rewrote the section because they noticed it was 'missing' demonstrates that quite clearly. Well you certainly seem to be familiar with the straw man fallacy. You use it a lot! I didn't find this article by typeing 'Straw Man' and expecting to find info on the straw man fallacy. What I did is type 'Straw Man Fallacy' and was very surprised when I ended up in an article describing rodeo dummies et al! Straw Man Fallacy/argument deserves its own article. Jebus Christ (talk) 12:54, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

That would be, I suppose, why you added information about the straw man fallacy to the article with the rodeo dummies rather than to Straw Man Fallacy?
No actually. It was because the straw-man argument (which is where the redirect should have taken me) had a hiphen between straw and man and I didn't find it until after writing the article. I wasn't aware of its existence. In addition, I didn't and still don't know how to start a new article on a topic that has a redirect imposed on it. I don't know how to start an article entitled Straw Man Fallacy. Or I would have done that.

The fact is that you found "straw man", saw that it had no information on the straw man fallacy, decided it should have some, and included that.

Did you not read anything I wrote? I found staw man via a redirect from Straw Man Fallacy! I would never have thought to look for a logical fallacy listed under the title 'Straw Man'. Every other defined logical fallacy has its own page!

The fact that you later changed your mind, I'm afraid, doesn't change what anyone can verify by clicking "what links here" -- people put brackets around "straw man" to reference the straw man argument/fallacy.

I didn't later change my mind. I always thought the layout of this article was completely inconsistent with other wikipedia articles and idiotic quite frankly! This is nothing that can't be fixed by some method of disambiguation.
Oh, you "always" did? How long has that "always" been? I thought you just found it the other day. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:32, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Even if we agreed amongst ourselves to move that sense of the word to its own article and manually redirect all the incoming links that are now pointing to the wrong place, people would still expect to find the straw man fallacy at straw man and would create links accordingly.

Again, this can be sorted via a disambig page or by using the idea posted earlier to make the straw man article the one relating to the logical fallacy.
Yes, I considered that as a possible solution. It's the one I would support, except that disambiguation pages are for situations where the title "Foo" has multiple meanings which have or which could support their own articles, and the two styles used for such situations are either: give every subject its own article linked from a disambiguation page at "Foo"; or, if one meaning is clearly the predominant meaning, have that article at "Foo" and have it link at the top to "Foo (disambiguation)", which of course links to all the other articles. It's that "which have or which could support their own articles" that's the obstacle. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:32, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Which means that the major effect of our change would be to impede linking and navigation, which is too high a price to pay just so that people don't have to have information about metaphorical straw men and literal straw men in the same article. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:24, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

You don't listen to reason do you? I intend to write a full straw man fallacy article. I'm going to use segements from your part of this debate as examples!
Thank you for announcing your intention to employ original research; it will be a good thing to mention in the AfD. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:32, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

From the same page... Secondary sources present a generalization, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, or evaluation of information or data. Original research that creates primary sources is not allowed. However, research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged. In fact, all articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from primary and secondary sources. This is not "original research," it is "source-based research," and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia. =) Factoid Killer 01:09, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Intriguing. Be sure to mention in the AfD (and the possible ensuing RfC) just how and when I became a primary source. -- Antaeus Feldspar 15:34, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Well we all know why you want the straw man fallacy hidden away in an ambiguous article. It's a technique you like to use yourself and you've just used it again. Nothing I wrote suggested i'd be using you as a primary source. Factoid Killer 03:23, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Straw Man Argument

I don't understand why my search for Straw Man Argument has brought me to this page. Why isn't there a specific page for this? If nobody comes back with any reason in 2 days i'm going to make the Straw Man Argument article Factoid Killer 23:44, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Maybe once you have more than 19 edits contributed over a day and a half you might also have enough perspective on Wikipedia to understand. -- Antaeus Feldspar 16:51, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Great. Now I do. Still don't understand why every other logical fallacy has its own page and this one doesn't. Also don't understand why your, clearly unpopular, opinion should account for so much here.Factoid Killer 12:52, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

I also ended up at this article. Why is there no disambiguation page? NSWelshman 00:33, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Maybe once you have more than 26 edits contributed over a span less than eight hours you'll have enough perspective on Wikipedia to understand. I suggest Wikipedia:Sockpuppets as a place to begin your research. -- Antaeus Feldspar 16:51, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I also do not understand why this page doesn't have a disambiguation page. On the other hand, the fact that it's missing seems like a very very tiny problem! User:avl

Does this make sense?

The first sentence in this article is: "A straw-man argument is the practice of refuting a weaker argument than an opponent actually offers"

Shouldn't it be "A straw-man argument is the practice of refuting a weaker argument that an opponent actually offers."?

I may be reading it wrong but than doesnt seem right in the sentence. I would also go ahead and delete actually, as it is not necesary to include the word in the sentence. could anyone tell me why it should be than? iamorlando

It really is "than". Using "that" in the sentence makes the claim that the argument being refuted actually is an argument from the opponent -- but in the most common form of the straw man fallacy, that's exactly what isn't true. For instance:
JIM: I think Jack Morley is our best choice for governor because he's got a much better record of leadership than any of the other candidates.
BOB: Oh, yeah? Well, back in 1993, Morley supported subsidies to build more public transit, saying the state would benefit -- except the transit company was skimming off the top! So much for your "perfect" Jack Morley!
Note that Bob is refuting an argument that Jim didn't make: the idea that Jack Morley is "perfect". Jim said that Morley had a much better record of leadership than the other candidates, which isn't instantly refuted by pointing at one bad decision. However, Bob is (perhaps deliberately) acting as if Jim had argued that Morley was "perfect", and citing a mistake of Morley's to show his imperfection. Bob is not refuting a weaker argument that Jim offered; he's ignoring Jim's actual argument, and refuting a weaker argument than Jim offered.
Hope that clears things up! -- Antaeus Feldspar 05:11, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

thanks, I finally get it now, its crystal clear. iamorlando 18:23, 8 January 2006 (UTC)


It looks like this has been discussed before without consensus, so I'm going to bring it up again. Simply put, it doesn't make much sense to have two very different usages of this term put together in one article.

I propose that we change Straw Man into a disambiguation page, and break out Straw Man Argument and Straw Man (literal) into their own articles.

I would happy to do this and I would fix all the links coming here at the same time so they are directed correctly. Does anybody have any objections to this approach? -- MisterHand 17:30, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I support a diambiguation. I arrived as a technical user of (the word) strawman (a starter item which is built up to better item by getting comment, occasionally containing outrageous features to promote comments for betterment) and now know of the (new to me) idea that it is a (fallacious) way of knocking something. Yes diambiguation or at least clarity of the cleaved idea. --PhilipOakley 22:38, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
You will get the usual objections from 1 person. Everyone else who comes here proposes the same thing you just did. I support your change. Please go ahead and make it. Factoid Killer 00:26, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Ah, Factoid Killer. You never do want to grow up, do you? I mean, you really made yourself look like an utter fool when you tried to blame me for moving everything about "straw man argument" out of Straw man and I was actually the one who fixed that situation. Now you want to demonstrate for all the world that you haven't learned anything from your blunder. Go ahead, if your ego is really that fragile, but remember that every time you make your petty little insinuations about '1 person' whose ideas are always so wrong-headed, I will remind everyone that you couldn't even correctly remember what those ideas were. -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:40, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I second that. This current state of this article is a stain in the face of wikipedian standards. Factoid Killer 17:06, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I strongly dissecond it for the same reasons as before -- a look at "What links here" shows that overwhelmingly when people link the words "straw man" they do so to reference straw man arguments. Even if you are willing to go through all the current links and fix them all manually, what people have already done is a good guide to what they're going to do in the future. It makes very little sense to take a page which easily 90% of the links to are trying to get one specific meaning of the term and say "okay, we're going to move that meaning somewhere else." Now, what would make more sense would be to say "okay, let's keep 'straw man argument' at straw man], and create a disambiguation page for the other, less-used meanings", but in this case there are still problems with that approach, because the other meanings are either so slight that it's not possible to justify a separate article (such as "straw man proposal" -- what can it be but a dictdef?) or so tied with straw men in the literal sense (such as the not-inconsiderable section on straw men in literature) that it makes no sense to separate them. I only wish I had seen this proposal mooted in time to oppose it; I was down for a few days with a bad cold and somehow missed this in my catch-up. -- Antaeus Feldspar 03:52, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Hi there. I saw that you moved the article back halfway through my work to disambig everything, so instead of turning this article into a disambiguation page, I left it with the main meaning and created Straw man (disambiguation) for everything else. Sorry about the crossed wires, I hope the current version is more acceptable than my original proposal...
      • Yeah, I'm sorry about the crossed wires. =/ For reasons I explained above, I'm not sure splitting all the other meanings of straw man into their own articles is the best idea, but it's one I can live with. (Which moving the most frequently-used meaning of the phrase to a different title wouldn't have been...) -- Antaeus Feldspar 04:08, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
        • The good news is that everything's in history, so if its decided that some or all of the articles belong back here it'll be easy to undo. -- MisterHand 04:47, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Mr Hand, you're not the first person to make this suggestion. In fact you're about the tenth. When I first found this page it didn't even have a section relating to the logical fallacy. I created it myself before realising it had been recently deleted by Feldspar. Feldspar holds an unpopular opinion but s/he seems to have way more time on his/her/its hands than the rest of us and thus has managed to maintain this page in its ridiculous format for quite some time. Good luck in your endevours and I will support you as much as a person with a life and a career can. Factoid Killer 00:11, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Hey, Factoid Killer! Now I know how you got your name: you hate sticking to the facts, and wish you could kill them. That, after all, explains why you're telling here what anyone can check for themselves and see is a blatant lie. "When I first found this page it didn't even have a section relating to the logical fallacy. I created it myself before realising it had been recently deleted by Feldspar." Nice try, you liar! But as anyone can check for themselves, it was Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg (talk · contribs), who in this edit, moved everything this article had on the most frequently employed use of the phrase to create the article "Straw-Man Argument". A move, may I remind you, that I opposed and fixed. And now you have the nerve to rewrite history and pretend that I "deleted" the section on the rhetorical fallacy? Well, Factoid Killer, you make such a big deal out of having "a life and a career" -- well, hopefully your claim to have a career isn't a big fat lie too, but since huge lies seem to be what you specialize in... -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:12, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
"Fixed the edit" thats a good one, the reason I created that article was because at the time I didn't know how to make page moves or a lot of other stuff, but even with those old mistakes it was still preferable to the ridiculous and impractical version that you would not allow anyone to change for god knows what reason.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 06:01, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to add that feldspar likes to use logical fallacy a lot whilst arguing and it is my belief that the strawman is one of his favourite arguing techniques. This is why I think he feels the need to ambiguate it as much as possible if not remove it completely. Factoid Killer 00:13, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to express to Factoid Killer exactly what I think of his shitty lying but instead I'll just remind people that they can check the history for themselves and see exactly what a scumbag liar he is. -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:12, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
(Now, see, if Factoid Killer wasn't a scumbag with no sense of morality, he would apologize for his completely false accusation that I ever "deleted" the section of the article relating to the straw man fallacy, when trying to keep that sense of the phrase, the most frequently intended meaning of phrase, at the article straw man is exactly what I've been trying to do all along. But of course, since he's the sort of scumbag who'd tell that kind of lie to begin with, he'll find some bullshit reason why he shouldn't have to apologize for his lies. Just watch.) -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:17, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah yes I was wrong to accuse you of being the one to delete the article. I was confused when I came here as i'd searched for 'straw man fallacy' and when I arrived had found an article about scarecrows. I apologise for accusing you of deleting the article. I don't however apologise for accusing you of making fallacious arguments and attempting to keep the article from being disambiguated despite being outvoted on the subject. Factoid Killer 04:41, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. I will take your analysis of how "fallacious" my arguments were with all the seriousness appropriate for someone who couldn't even remember which side of the argument my arguments were for. -- Antaeus Feldspar 16:17, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
That one was called Ad Hominem. Factoid Killer 20:07, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
False. "Ad hominem" would be if I suggested your arguments were wrong because of personal traits that you have which have nothing to do with your argumentation. The fact that you can't actually correctly remember what my arguments were, and falsely attribute to me actions that I spoke against, is indeed very relevant to judging the reliability of any claims or arguments you put forth. -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:40, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually Antaeus, ad hominem would be to call you a weirdo who is oddly protective over a highly-specific pov.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 05:27, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Hannity And Colmes

Is that really needed? This device isn't mentioned in that article at all. - Anthraxdude88

Not it isn't. I've removed it along with your non-NPov tag (which I assume you added due to the dodgy link) Factoid Killer 20:06, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it was added because of Hannity's constant use of the Straw man argument... --Ryajinor 20:22, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Uses in pop culture

I've moved the following section here:

Often, the straw man fallacy is used in political cartoons, and television programs to mock or criticize political, philisophical, religious, or cultural views. Examples include Stephen Colbert, who presents an extremely conservative view in order to criticize it.

This paragraph describes Satire, not the straw man argument. -- MisterHand 17:34, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Race, intelligence and straw

Some famous evolution writer attributed views about the immutability of intelligence and the inherent intellectual inferiority of blacks to the authors of The Bell Curve. The revised edition of his book even promised to refute the Bell Curve authors' views. This is the most famous (or widely accepted?) straw man I know of. --Uncle Ed 04:14, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

From WP:NPOV: "Debates are described, represented, and characterized, but not engaged in." Asserting your personal opinion that "some famous evolution writer" engaged in straw man argumentation against the authors of The Bell Curve would be engaging in debate at The Bell Curve. Why do you think it would be less so at straw man? -- Antaeus Feldspar 23:10, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Examples using inflammatory topics

The current example on immigration is not at all neutral. Depending on your political beliefs and the social context, it is yet to be proven if anti-immigration is merely a socially acceptable form of racism. I would encourage that this example be replaced with one that doesn't try to pick an inflammatory topic, or to just delete it.Editorinfinity 18:28, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Agree. Deleting for the time being. — Alan 08:50, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Exactly the same thing could be said for the abortion example. Exanples used should not be in any way political. Odd that whoever wrote that section would use abortion and immigration as the examples. Am deleting it as well, will replace with better less inflammatory example soon.Randomalias (talk) 23:20, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Current examples are just as one-sided; all three fall squarely on the liberal side of the political spectrum (in the US, at least). The Jade Knight (talk) 13:57, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Straw dog

This is a very unusual expression and we should be wary of it. "Straw dog fallacy" gets three hits on Google. "Straw dog" alone gets more but they're mixed in with entirely different meanings, so it's hard to judge how many are relevant. I'm also finding sources who say a straw dog is not the same as a straw man, but is where a straw man argument turns out inadvertently to be correct and relevant. I have no idea whether this is correct. I'd never heard of a straw dog fallacy except in this article. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:36, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Please follow the link in the article (see [2] -- there is at least one philosophy prof who uses it. I first heard it ten years ago as, I suspect, a PC way to say "straw man argument". Homey 00:14, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

I always suspected that the use of "straw dog" was confined to those who had gotten the logic term confused with the film Straw Dogs. No philosophy professor I know uses it (and I know plenty); the person in the above-referenced link is either very unusual or is trying to accommodate the mistaken usage. I have never seen it printed in any logic textbook; those that wish to avoid gendered language typically use "straw person." I think that the term should be tagged as possibly erroneous, or at least as unusual. 22:30, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Simply finding an example of people using a statement is not sufficient to prove that it is in notable use. You need to find someone discussing the use of the phrase, as I did with "straw person." PStrait 04:24, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Adding Ben Stein quote

I've noticed that while this page does provide a consise and clear definition of what a straw man argument is, it doesn't provide an example. I think that in the case of this term, it would be far more clear to the reader how this type of argument works if an example were provided. In particular, I think an excellent example would be Ben Stein's response to criticisms of the Bush administration's handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster[3], in which he says such things as this:

"George Bush did not cause the hurricane. Hurricanes have been happening for eons. George Bush did not create them or unleash this one."

Obviously some people will argue that this this is a case of POV against Ben Stein, which is why I'm posting this on the talk page before making what might be a controversial change. However, I think that most people, regardless of how they feel about Stein's political leanings, will agree that this is an outstanding case of someone using the straw man argument. He is clearly refuting statements which no party had made, in an attempt to villify and mock the opposition.

Rodeosmurf 22:39, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

That is an excellent example, and really helps the reader understand a straw man. I will include it. Malamockq 14:55, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I think you're right, but your case is weakened somewhat by Stein's later assertion that "George Bush had nothing to do with the hurricane contingency plans for New Orleans," which is a perfectly supportable statement. (Which I'm not arguing for or against, by the way.) --Grahamtalk/mail/e 16:10, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
The whole argument doesn't have to all be straw men, but just a single statement. The statement in question is the straw man. Malamockq 13:49, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I am opposed in general to using political examples. It should not be difficult to come up with a made-up or literary example, so needlessly including POV examples smacks of editorial bias. I think this is a weak example in any case, because it appears to me that Stein was being satirical (e.g., attributing a ridiculous argument to people in order to mock what he considers to be their excessive assigning of blame), in which case it is not a fallacy at all. Pusher robot 07:22, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

This is not a dictionary

Does this really belong here? Wikipedia isn't a dictionary. Rtphokie 17:56, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

It's more than a dictionary definition, so I'd say "yes". — Saxifrage 20:24, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Sean Hannity, Al Franken

I just rm these links from the External Links section, as they were completely without explanation. If you want to put them back in, please explain. --Grahamtalk/mail/e 19:46, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

They are both pundits that use the Straw man argument quite frequently. I will put this back in when I can source it. But seriously, you've never heard Hannity? He and Franken are both walking logical fallacies.
Please don't. Even if you can find a source that claims Hannity, or Franken, or both, is a frequent employer of straw men, it would still be a politicized and debatable claim, and it would violate NPOV, which states that Wikipedia characterizes debates but does not engage in them. Aside from this, what sense does it make to single out two debatable cases out of at least tens of thousands of people who have been accused of employing straw men? -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Straw Person and Straw Woman

The source cited for this heading is of a completely different nature regarding the definition of straw person and straw woman. The insinuation that there is an overwhelming "movement" to degender the term "straw man" is fallacious in and of itself. If this is in fact the case, more sources are needed, or i recommend either deletion or that the variations be appended under the general heading of "straw man". It seems akin to me to asserting that there has been a general move to degenderizing the word "man". ??? comments ??? Alec

That is not what the entry says, nor is that what the source says. The word "man" cannot be degendered because it applies to men. A "Straw Man" has no penis, does not self-identify as a male, nor has any other justifiable reason to be considered more male than female. In academia, the world of logicians and rhetoricians, almost every university has a policy against gendered language which prohibits the use of the phrase "straw man." That is why if you do a search among academic journals in the last five years, you will find almost no use of the term "straw man;" rather, the literature refers to this fallacy now as a "straw person." This movement has begun in popular culture -- note that a google search of "straw person" achieves over 20,000 hits, although it has certainly yet to ecclipse "straw man" in the vernacular, which is why it has such a small entry here. There is no insinuation that the movement is "overwhelming," but it certainly exists, and it is certainly prevelant among the people that are the movers and shakers of rhetoric and logic. PStrait 04:18, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

The entry states that "In recent years, there has been a move away from using the gendered term straw man" but the cited source says "In recent years we've also been collecting examples for the gender-neutral straw person and for the specific straw woman, applied to women used as subjects of easy refutation". The existence of examples of the term "straw person" and "straw woman" I don't deny. The entry implies that a majority are actively seeking to replace the term "straw man" with "straw person" while the source does not indicate such; thus I take issue with the relevancy of the source to the argument. As I posted above, I recommend more relevant sources are cited to support the argument and/or appending the derivatives "straw person" and "straw woman" to the part where "straw dog" and "scarecrow argument" are listed as variations to the term "straw man". Whether or not the term "straw man" is ceding currency to the term "straw person" and "straw woman" in the world of academia or beyond remains to be cited. The second source which is cited in the article is Susan Dobra (Ph.D., rhetorician) of the California State University's definition of fallacy and lists some common ones. She lists this specific fallacy as a "straw man" or "straw dog" argument, not a "straw person" fallacy. Either Dr. Dobra is not a mover and shaker in the world of rhetoric and logic, she needs sensitivity training, or she needs to update her website. While I don't presume to extrapolate from that one source the tides of academia, I maintain that until these terms are cited properly or surpass the term "straw man" in "google hits" (if that's the barometer we wish to use to measure popularity) that the aforementioned edits are made.A sutherland 06:57, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

I think you're mistaking the word "move" in the article for the very different word "movement". If the article were changed to read instead "In recent years, there has been a shift away from using the gendered term straw man" (emphasis for illustration), would that make more sense? — Saxifrage 20:22, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Susan Dobra is not a rhetorician -- she is an instructor, not a faculty member, at Cal State. She is not a professor, she does not have tenure, nor is she tenure track. Her webpage would fall under the category of self-published references by a non-expert, i.e., irrelevent. Having said that, I think Saxifrage's comment below is probably the best solution. Perhaps it could say "there has been a 'move' by some" or some other related qualifier. I'll also track down another source that compares the term "straw man" to "straw person." [User:PStrait|PStrait]] 22:39, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
If you're in the process of finding another source to support the move to using gender neutral terms, I suggest using some of those academic journals of the past five years. They should be more informative than the current source, a nine-year-old Random House definition which doesn't cite its own sources, and yet ranks higher on a Google search than any other non-Wikipedia "straw person". Could it be that these two instances are feeding each other, with Wikipedia enhancing the visibility of the Word-of-the-Day page, which in turn validates the inclusion of "straw person" on Wikipedia? BaldAdonis 08:11, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Extremely unlikely-- I added that webpage to this site like a week ago.PStrait 12:29, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Lol.. straw person? No Straw man is not a slap in the face to straw women but the term straw man is the historically used term. Seriously.. Degenderist movements for the sake of political corectness are humourously entertaining. --Home Computer 21:45, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Unproductive comments are generally, well, unproductive. Do you have anything useful to say that is actually relevant to improving the article? The fact is that the term exists—that's not in question. The question is how to best reflect that in the article and whether we have good enough sources to do so. — Saxifrage 22:24, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
You may be correct, but from the point of view of NPOV (irony intended), it matters more whether or not people use the term "straw person," not whether it is good or wise or amusing for them to do so. PStrait 22:27, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Besides.. straw women just look rediculously sexist.. @@ and my point was that the POV you are representing is probably a less that 99% type viewpoint on the subject and not really appropriate for wiki. Oh yeah and also.. stop frowning. You're much prettier when you smile and I hear it makes you live longer. :)--Home Computer 19:39, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

What do people think about this source? This is a blog, but Robert Waugh, professor of English at SUNY New Paltz, compares the use of straw person vs. straw man. He is making a normative argument, rather than a statement of common use, which is the problem, b/c its clearly not the place of wikipedia to say which term is more appropriate. For those who are dissatisfied with the current source, what would a source have to say in order for you all to be satisifed with the current article wording? PStrait 22:38, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Anita Bernstein, Professor of Law at Emory, discusses "straw person" legal arguments vis-a-vis the phrase "straw man" in 54 Vand. L. Rev. 1, January 2001. PStrait 22:57, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Also, at this website (, a footnote referencing John D. Mullen's Hard Thinking: The Reintroduction of Logic to Everyday Life (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1995), discusses Mullen's use of the phrase "straw person" and explains that it is the politically correct version of "straw man." This isnt the best source, but it is more than just an example of someone using the phrase "straw person" in lieu of "straw man;" it goes further to show an example of this and explain that it is an alternate way to discuss "straw man," which implies that this is not super rare. All of the scholarly articles that discuss this issue discuss the broader trend of using "person" instead of "man" when there is no reason to think the referent is male, but I didn't want to water down this specific discussion with that kind of thing. I realize that this is not the place for original research, but I think these examples, coupled with the large amount of google hits that you get from searching "straw person," is sufficient to warrant the one sentence in this article suggesting that some people are using this phrase as a variation of "straw man." PStrait 23:06, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, blogs aren't reliable sources so that one is inadmissible. Without reading the text of the Bernstein piece I can't comment on it. Regarding the Mullen one, the only statement that we can faithfully derive from the footnote is "Straw person is a gender-neutral term for the same fallacy". Relying on implications and the like would go into unverified or original research territory. — Saxifrage 00:06, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I thought blog posts, like other self-published sources, were reliable if they were authored by a recognized expert in the field. PStrait 12:26, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
No, only when the article is specifically about that expert is their blog a good source. Since there is no peer review or editorial oversight for blogs, there is no assurance that the expert is writing as an expert or just as some person. — Saxifrage 20:07, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Rough estimate less than 1%. Extreme minority viewpoint. --Home Computer 19:41, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

ooh.. strawwoman is even worse. Less than .01 %
Googlefight is not an admissible editorial source. Besides, the fact that "straw man" is the overwhelming term at the moment is already reflected in the article. — Saxifrage 20:07, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Google fight is only a tool that illustrates hit numbers. I understand it's not an editorial source.. Still it demonstrates how little the words are used. --Home Computer 19:52, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't mean source, as in for including in an article. I mean that, as a tool, I doubt that it is either (1) reliable enough to make decisions on, or (2) that there is an accepted common understanding of how it works and therefore how to interpret the meaning of the results for Wikipedia's purposes. The Google Test, by contrast, is fairly well-understood (by some) and there are generally-accepted ways of interpreting its results for Wikipedia's purposes. Even then, it is not considered something to base a decision on, only something that is food for thought. — Saxifrage 20:36, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Those who argue for "straw woman" or "straw person" are seeking to correct a gender imbalance that is not there. The origin of the expression is the dummy soldiers used in combat training. It is a metaphor comparing verbal argument to military combat. There was no such thing as a "straw woman" when the expression was coined (and, as far as I'm aware, there isn't one now either). Therefore it is not sexist to say "straw man" and any attempt to redress the issue is at best feminist wordplay and at worst a knee-jerk reflex based on ignorance. It is the equivalent of creating revised film titles such as The Birdperson of Alcatraz. Le poulet noir 13:47, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

EXTREME minotity POV's not appropriate in Wiki

Hi, this is an official policy of Wiki: " If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it is true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not. " While I respect the challenges set before femminists and politically correct minded editors accoding to Wiki policy, this is not the place to document extreme minority viewpoints (such as the straw woman movement) I don't mean to offend with my jokes, just meant to keep it light hearted. In my limited POV I'm sure gender bias can be confronted in better places than strawman which is a negative term anyway, (like conman). Peace. --Home Computer 20:00, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Although it's ironic, you're using a straw man argument right there. The intention is not to document the straw woman movement (I don't think there's any such thing), so arguing against that is pointless. The intention is to document that the term "straw person" has started to replace "straw man" in some academic circles. This is a very different point.
And yes, I know and agree that extreme minority POV is not welcome in Wikipedia (I have helped edit that policy page regarding extreme minority POVs, in fact). However, I don't believe that it can be called POV to say that some people use "straw person". If the article was being changed to say "some people say it is better to use straw person", then that would be an extreme minority point-of-view and it shouldn't appear in the article. Note that it doesn't appear in the article. — Saxifrage 20:33, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Saxifrage, the exact wording "In recent years, there has been a move away from using the gendered term straw man" should explain the nature of the "move away" because if it comes from a non NPOV then it could be considered POV and should rightfully be edited. I think this part of the entry came under heavy fire because it's so short it can be interpreted in a number of ways. Developing the argument so that it's cohesive, and expresses a clear neutrality would be an excellent way of resolving the issue (PStrait, since it's clearly not my field, maybe you would be willing). The issue is obviously something that has struck some interest in the talk pages and maybe merits some attention in the main entry. Citations please. A sutherland 02:55, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Homecomputer, please make use of the talk pages before editing a subject that is already under heavy debate. Until a consensus is reached regarding this issue it is inappropriate for you to singlehandedly, and to much protest, delete part of this article. There's no need for censorship here because there's no POV. It's a fact that the derivatives "straw woman" and "straw person" exist, and are in frequent use. The issue insofar is related to the framing of these terms within the body of the article and retrieving the proper citations. Saxifrage, Pstrait, Homecomputer, can we agree to append these two terms to the body of the article so that it reads "Its name is derived from the practice of using straw men in combat training. In such training, a scarecrow is made in the image of the enemy with the single intent of attacking it. It is occasionally called a straw dog fallacy, a straw person fallacy, a straw woman fallacy, or a scarecrow argument." ASSUMING of course that Pstrait can retrieve the proper sources. Unfortunately, it is the requirement of a person citing an argument to find the source, not the person deleting it. Furthermore, while I assume good faith on the part of Homecomputer, the vandalism to the entry before deletion to make it read "but that's just silly" (see edited history) casts a suspicious light on Homecomputer's POV and respect for consensus and, frankly, feminism and the struggle to identify gender bias and correct it. Finally, although I'm aware it's better to reach a consensus on the talk page, a little part of me would glean a delicious ironic satisfaction from using a Straw Poll to canvass everyone's opinons. A sutherland 02:55, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I would love to claim that vandalism because it made me laugh, loudly even. However I'm not in the habit of vandalism, nor do I think that mainpages are the place to place witty comments. But I hear you, let's come to a concensus. --Homecomputer 15:11, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
The bit about a straw poll made me laugh too. It would be a delicious play on words.
In any case, I think your assessment is fair. My main objection is that people initially wanted to remove the section not because it was insufficiently referenced but because they personally disbelieved the term had any currency. I do think that a stronger citation is needed for the section (or whatever form of mention it turn out to merit) to survive in the article. — Saxifrage 18:43, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Speaking as a grad student in Philosophy who pays a fair bit of attention to non-formal fallacies, I have never seen or heard of the term "straw person". Can someone cite a logic text or some recent journal articles where this is used? If not, I agree with Home Computer that it should not appear on this page. Wikipedia is a place for reporting things that are already notable, not a place to make things notable by giving them credibility that they don't already have in the real world. PurplePlatypus 04:32, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

This is not difficult. Most universities now have a policy that proscribes the publishing of gendered-language. The very first hit in the philosophy section of JSTOR is Matson, W. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research > Vol. 59, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), pp. 1097. I could give you a laundry list of academic journal articles in the philosophy discipline which use this term if you'd like, but I can't imagine you are challenging the contention that the phrase "straw term" is used in peer-reviewed academic journals, especially those whose subject matter is philosophy. Where are you doing your graduate work? I bet wherever you are at, there is probably a policy against gendered language. Even Notre Dame has such a policy. PStrait 11:35, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I searched for both "straw man" and "straw person" in JSTOR, restricting the search to articles published in 1995 or later (after all, an article from 1950 would hardly demonstrate my point). Straw man had vastly more hits; I believe the tally was 747-38. I tried the same thing in POIESIS, which does not let you set a date range, but focusses on very new stuff (for example, they only have PPR from 2003 on); 221-15. Somewhat more anecdotally, I have yet to see a logic or CT textbook use "straw person"; though I certainly don't claim to have seen every such text to be published recently, I have seen and used a pretty good cross-section. I acknowledge that "straw person" is a bit more prevalent than I thought - I expected it to get about 1% of the hits on that test, not the 5.2% or so overall that it managed - but on my view, at least, this is still hardly evidence of a significant movement toward the term. PurplePlatypus 19:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC) (I assume "straw term" was a typo on your part. I did see "straw woman" once, but it was a case of one (female) philosopher more or less making fun of her (also female) opponent.)

Also, take a look at the refference within the article. The article wording inserts a large ammount of assumtion that did not come from the source. The source merely says, we notice some people use this term.. not that there is a growing trend to neuter the straw man. -=edit, looks like the last edit took the POV out of the sentance.. thanks, sry i missed it. --Homecomputer 15:18, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

And after some time of everyone reviewing the issue are there any further objections to removing the section? --Homecomputer 15:16, 20 October 2006 (UTC)Actually, with the new wording as npov as it is, I think it's fine.. albeit still very minor at least it's acurate and doesn't detract from the article at all. Meh.. I'll probably support whatever concensus you all come up with on it. --Homecomputer 15:21, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

What's the proper word for "Genders" when reffering to the genderal<-? =s context of a word?--Homecomputer 15:23, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure. Do you mean the gender of the word? In linguistics, that's just "gender", though it doesn't have any strong connection to gender in the reproductive-organs sense, and rather comes from the latin root meaning "kinds". Though, that's probably not what you meant because English doesn't distinguish words by gender in that sense... — Saxifrage 18:54, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
yeah I mean if I'm talking about the gender of words, the topic is "Word Genders" but that sounds wrong somehow. So does the phrase "alternative Genderal usages of strawmen".. know what I mean? There's got to be a proper way to word that in English.. --Homecomputer 20:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I think I see what you mean. I was just looking at the section title and thinking that it sounded ungrammatical to me. I think it's currently inaccurate anyway, since "straw person" isn't an gender-alternative term, it's an ungendered term. How about just "Alternative terms"? Maybe we could fit the list above ("scarecrow", etc) into the section then, too. — Saxifrage 23:08, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I would be fine with just including it in a list of alternative terms, perhaps with a one sentence or less explanation that some people use the term to avoid using gendered language. PStrait 15:55, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
What do you think about titling the section "Variants"? — Saxifrage 17:43, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't mean this to sound rude, but isn't that what I've been saying all along?A sutherland 04:30, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I had read your comments to mean that your objection was the implication of an active "movement". Rereading, it could be that that was just the lead-in to this suggestion. Consider me convinced then. :) — Saxifrage 15:27, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
It's a genderal discussion because some are either seeking to replace the male gender of the word or are making fun at modern P.C. campaigns in general. Even to neutralise the term is an alternate to the original genderal context of a straw man dressed as a slodier for target practice. Besides, alternate usages of the concept in different words are described in the opening paragraph. --Home ComputerPeace 21:53, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not clear what you're proposing and/or objecting to with this comment. Could you clarify? — Saxifrage 03:07, 26 October 2006 (UTC)


Regarding your last edit summary: While I agree that there is nothing to indicate that this is chiefly a humourous usage (though it occasionally is)... "almost completely supplanted?" Are you serious? Did you even read the comment I made above, where I show that this is not, by any remotely credible criterion, anywhere within two state lines of the truth? Even in very recent journal articles, uses of "Straw Man" outnumber "Straw person" by nearly 19 to 1. You don't have to like that, but at least recognize that it's reality. PurplePlatypus 03:00, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

You searched journals from the last 11 years. This is a trend that has really only occured in the last couple of years. I don't support making claims like this in the article b/c it constitutes OR, but I will point out that in my field, Communication, the vast majority of journals are governed by APA style. These journals will not print "strawman" or other gendered terms any longer, since 2004. This also seems to be the case in the humanities. I have no knowledge of what the hard sciences are doing, but within the social sciences and humanities, my experience is that straw person is the new term of preference. PStrait 03:08, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

If this conversation results in new sources, great. If not, leave the dead horse be. — Saxifrage 03:12, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Fair. How about this, though? Cook, P. (1997) Early Child Care – Infants and Nations at Risk. On page 70, Cook describes the "straw person technique" and then explains that it was "formerly 'straw man.'" Not perfect, but its easy to find people who use the phrase "straw person," and easy to find people who talk about the movement away from gendered language, but difficult to find many sources that compare the two terms directly. Also, like I said above, I would be content if "straw person" is just included in a list of alternate terms, perhaps with a short note that it has been adopted by some so they can avoid using gendered language. PStrait 03:51, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, not perfect, yeah. It's another data point along with the dictionary one, which is an improvement. It's still not very strong because the treatment is brief. Better than nothing still. — Saxifrage 05:38, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

how is this a logical fallacy?

Thanks. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC).

Because the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. It's presented as a refutation to an argument which in itself implies that, as a part of the premise, the perpetrator is suggesting that his/her opponent is either wrong or presenting a flawed argument. However, the perpetrator is not refuting the presented argument at all. The fallacy is not in the form of the argument which makes it an informal logical fallacy but a logical fallacy just the same. Far Queue 15:50, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Logical Fallacy Category

I have added this page to the Logical Fallacies category. If you believe that this is incorrect please discuss it here before removing - thanks! Archiesteel 17:00, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Small Change

I am just going to make a small change to the part about children running into the street in order to make that section flow better. I hope no-one objects. Colincbn 05:11, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

odd redirect

why exactly does "grasping at straws" redirect to here, aside from the terms having a single word in common? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:03, 5 April 2007 (UTC).

External links

I have removed the external links from this article in accordance with WP:EL. None of the links provided "a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a Featured article." One was a blog written by authors who aren't recognized authorities, one only contained information redundant with this article, and one was a POV-pushing anti-evolutionism comic. --Muchness 05:33, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Image typo

In the argument map, Image:Traffic congestion straw man.svg, there are two typos: “If more roads were build…,” upper left, and “…the same number of car tripd per week…,” bottom right. —Frungi 01:06, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

And the creator says he’ll fix them presently, so never mind. —Frungi 02:20, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
YesYI created the SVG version and have now fixed my typos. Cheers for pointing them out. Stannered 09:08, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Who is the strawman?

   Person A: I don't think children should run into the busy streets.
   Person B: I think that it would be foolish to lock children up all day.

Is person A the strawman, because person B has set him up as the strawman, or is person B the strawman because he has instigated the strawman fallacy? I know it is established here that the person that starts the fallacy is the strawman, but from the opening of this example it sounds as if it should actually be person A, by person B turning person A and his argument into a "dummy target" (aka, strawman) and then attacking that "strawman" he just created. Or am I off track here? JayKeaton 21:36, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Neither person is the straw man, "straw man" does not refer to a person making an argument, but to an argument itself. In this instance the "straw man" is the imaginary statement, or reason (argument) that person B is responding to; (Person that doesn't exists: "We should lock up children all day so that they don't run into the busy streets"). If this is confusing, please edit the article to make it clear. Grumpyyoungman01 23:52, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Isn't the straw man example for highways incorrect?

I don't have any evidence, but my father works in the state DOT and he always told me that building more roads or expanding roads causes more people to use those roads (obviously) because there is a reason (studies) those roads are being built, regardless of the persons motive. I realise the previous sentence sounds like I am 12, but it just seems that it's a really poor example. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:08, 26 April 2007 (UTC).

I don't think the diagram was attempting to prove that building more roads leads to traffic congestion, it's just there to show an example of a straw man argument. What building more roads leads to isn't the subject of this article. (That it isn't attempting to make a real argument could be stated in the article, however.) Phony Saint 01:16, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

The problem with the green argument is that the upper right "support" argument ("If people take more trips by car then traffic congestion will increase") can be considered as certainly true only when the number of roads does not increase. Thus, it may not be used as support for the sentence "Building more roads increases traffic congestion". I agree that it is still a valid example of a straw man fallacy, but it can be misleading for the reader. I am especially worried by the fact that the reader could think that "building more roads increases traffic congestion" after reading this.

The problem could be solved by deleting the upper-right "support" argument, and replacing the conclusion by "Building more roads not necessarily decreases traffic congestion".--OlivierMiR 15:12, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe the red and green traffic graphic is not only confusing, but POV. Citing a work which appears on a radical right-wing tv show is a covert attempt to influence people's political views. The fact is that more roads do increase traffic congestion. It's called the "law of diminishing marginal utility." I realise this article is not about traffic control, which is all the more reason to pick a better and clearer example. The example about locking kids up all day is a great one; we've all had those conversations. But picking a graphic from an Aussie program whose main mission is to perpetuate "Global Warming Skepticism" is bound to be contentious. It simply doesn't belong. 22:00, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Just letting everyone know that I will fix these problems up a couple of weeks or so. - Grumpyyoungman01 06:55, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm thinking that "joy ride" in this context doesn't refer to joyride (crime), right? If so, can we find a different term so as not to confuse readers? howcheng {chat} 21:48, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I think the term is ok. It is the term used in the transcript cited. Can you think of a better term? How widely known is the term "sunday driving"? - Grumpyyoungman01 01:52, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
No, I can't think of a better term. I live in Southern California ... people don't go out for such drives because of the traffic. :) howcheng {chat} 05:40, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I saw it as joyriding (the crime) when I read it. Whether I'm English has anything to do with it I don't know, however I've never heard anyone use the word joyride in any other context than that of the crime. On another note, I've never heard of Sunday driving. Perhaps if we believe people are confused by the phrasing, we could incorporate something of a more generic description of the act - something akin to the definitions found on google's define:joyride. " 16:36, 1 August 2007 (UTC)


Straw-mem? Straw-mans? Anybody knows? Lixy 15:06, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 04:28, 10 November 2007 (UTC)