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  1. #1
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    What fallacy is this?

    It's always interesting when Fox News challenges Republican politicians. Mainly for it's rarity but sometimes it's a way for the politician to pre-empt more difficult questions from less friendly network. On Sunday Chris Wallace confronted Darrell Issa on Benghazi, whose most egregious conspiracies have been largely debunked.

    What's interesting in the exchange isn't so much the challenge but Issa's reasoning about claim that soldiers were told to stand down:
    A fact check last year had found that Issa was wrong to assert that Clinton approved an embassy cable in Libya because her “signature” was on it. In fact, the secretary’s signature is stamped on all cables.
    “For the second time, they gave you ‘Four Pinocchios,’ which is their highest level of falsehood,” Wallace told Issa on Sunday.
    Issa defended himself by saying he was just “quoting something that was in somebody else’s report” when he accused Clinton of approving the embassy cable.
    And in the case of the so-called “stand down” order, he said that the former secretary of state was responsible for the overall normalization policy in Libya.
    “Witnesses have told us that they asked for help,” Issa opined. “The president himself implied that he told Leon Panetta, then-secretary of defense, to use what efforts they could. And what we know for a fact is, not one rescue of DOD was launched to get there in that 8.5 hours.”
    “But to be honest, you do not have any evidence that secretary Clinton told Leon Panetta to stand down,” Wallace pressed.
    Issa argued that he wasn’t using the term ‘stand down’ as it normally applied to military operations, “but rather, the failure to react.”
    “The fact that only State Department assets, and only assets inside the country were ever used,” he declared. “That members of the armed forces, gun-carrying trained people were not allowed to get on the aircraft to go and attempt the rescue. Those kinds of things, through State Department resources, represent a stand down.”
    “Not maybe on the technical terms of ‘stand down, soldier,’ but on what the American people believe is a failure to respond when they could have.”
    So what is it called when you begin using a term throughout a debate (in this case for months and months) and then when that term has been found false you switch it to a totally different meaning from what had been taken up to that point?

    Or am I reading this wrong and Issa meant 'failure to respond' all along and he was just using the term 'stand down' with this new meaning?

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  3. #2
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    Using a term in two different contexts and attempting to use ambiguity in the definition to carry a point is called a fallacy of equivocation.

    As to the specifics of the Issa case, I make no comment, nor do I wish to engage about whether the fallacy of equivocation applies in this matter.
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  5. #3
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Using a term in two different contexts and attempting to use ambiguity in the definition to carry a point is called a fallacy of equivocation.

    As to the specifics of the Issa case, I make no comment, nor do I wish to engage about whether the fallacy of equivocation applies in this matter.
    But that doesn't seem to be what Issa is doing. He knew the meaning that was being discussed and was consistent in that understanding. The switch in meaning has never been used in such a context. I don't think that's what this is - there's no ambiguity: there's the actual definition and a totally new definition introduced.

  6. #4
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    I'd call this Jonesing. It is something I see you do in debate repeatedly, so I recommend ODN adds a new fallacy called the Jones fallacy. We could use it as a verb as well.

    Example: Wow, that guy was arguing X and when he got called on it, he claimed X was Y. That guy was really Jonesing the debate.

    Just an idea.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  7. #5
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I'd call this Jonesing. It is something I see you do in debate repeatedly, so I recommend ODN adds a new fallacy called the Jones fallacy. We could use it as a verb as well.

    Example: Wow, that guy was arguing X and when he got called on it, he claimed X was Y. That guy was really Jonesing the debate.

    Just an idea.
    If indeed I do this, it's usually for the purposes of clarifying my position. In Issa's case, the meanings are completely different and are in no way linked to any common meaning.

  8. #6
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    It's always interesting when Fox News challenges Republican politicians. Mainly for it's rarity but sometimes it's a way for the politician to pre-empt more difficult questions from less friendly network. On Sunday Chris Wallace confronted Darrell Issa on Benghazi, whose most egregious conspiracies have been largely debunked.

    What's interesting in the exchange isn't so much the challenge but Issa's reasoning about claim that soldiers were told to stand down:

    So what is it called when you begin using a term throughout a debate (in this case for months and months) and then when that term has been found false you switch it to a totally different meaning from what had been taken up to that point?

    Or am I reading this wrong and Issa meant 'failure to respond' all along and he was just using the term 'stand down' with this new meaning?
    This is a great observation. changing the term of something makes people change their attitude towards it, personally feeling it their way. this is like buying a toxic asset, changing the name, and selling the assets, yes? good call!
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  9. #7
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlatan View Post
    This is a great observation. changing the term of something makes people change their attitude towards it, personally feeling it their way. this is like buying a toxic asset, changing the name, and selling the assets, yes? good call!
    Even the term toxic asset falls into the poisoning the well fallacy. No assets are "toxic" there are just some assets that are riskier than others.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
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  10. #8
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    I don't think it's equivocation either. Equivocation is either done willingly or not in the construction of a bad argument.

    Seems to me that this is rather a matter of moving the goal post after the facts are made clearer.
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  12. #9
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    Re: What fallacy is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    It's always interesting when Fox News challenges Republican politicians. Mainly for it's rarity but sometimes it's a way for the politician to pre-empt more difficult questions from less friendly network. On Sunday Chris Wallace confronted Darrell Issa on Benghazi, whose most egregious conspiracies have been largely debunked.

    What's interesting in the exchange isn't so much the challenge but Issa's reasoning about claim that soldiers were told to stand down:

    So what is it called when you begin using a term throughout a debate (in this case for months and months) and then when that term has been found false you switch it to a totally different meaning from what had been taken up to that point?

    Or am I reading this wrong and Issa meant 'failure to respond' all along and he was just using the term 'stand down' with this new meaning?
    There are several that you're using there... ipse dixit, ad verecundiam, ad ignorantum seem to be the most consistently applied.

    You appeal to the misleading authority of the 'fact check', then ignore the obvious, wherein Ham was fired... and no US Forces were dispatched to render aid. We know that US Forces were aware of the attack and that US Forces were prepared to support the Consulate and were prevented from doing so. And you claim that Clinton's crew denyig such is evidence that such did not occur.

    You appeal to ignorance by implying that Bill Clinton's wife was not authorizing that which was issued over her name, by claiming that everything she sent contained her signature. In fact, that which is conveyed over one's signature represents that the points advanced are known to the signatory.

 

 

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