In addition, a common unfair tactic used in arguments these days is in misusing words. This is a case of definition accuracy.
It works like this:
This is similar to name-calling and is not a valid argument.
A problem with people misusing words (inaccuracy) is that, if it happens long enough, the formerly inaccurate definition is accepted as an alternate definition, and the word in turn becomes less precise.
(A second problem, which many of my readers have pointed out, is that misusing words, such as "racism", for example, weakens the power of those words when they are used properly.)
Thus, I have found it helpful for my own purposes to comment on words I've heard commonly misused. Below is a list of the majority of such definitions I have discussed here with links to their entries (beginning with one new definition):
- ...is not accuracy.
- Accuracy is how close something is to the truth. Precision is the range around something. (If I shoot 10 arrows and they all miss the bullseye but are clustered together in the SW quadrant, then I am horribly inaccurate but very precise.)
- Grammar Rules
- ...are not the same as usage rules.
- For example, the "rule" to not split an infinitive is a usage rule, not a grammatical one. There is nothing illogical or in violation of how English works that makes "not to run" any better than "to not run". It's simply considered better usage traditionally to use the former.
- Intelligent Design Theory
- ...is not Creationism.
- ...is not scientific.
- Sci-fi author Orson Scott Card explains the above better than I ever could....
- The Uncertainty Principle
- ...is not a philosophical, moral, or ethical argument.
- It "mathematically proves that one cannot exactly measure both a particle's position and momentum simultaneously." That's as far as it goes. Period.
- ...are not contradictions.
- Oftentimes, the limits of our understanding cause two models to appear contradictory, when in fact both models are alternative ways of looking at a true thing. Common examples include light's particle/wave "duality". If such paradoxes exist in science, why should they not also exist in religions?
- ...are not symptoms.
- ...So why do we treat them as such so often in our society, particularly with so-called "disorders"? An example:
Consider insomnia. One might say it is a disorder. One cannot sleep. Certainly, sleeping is probably better for an individual.... Yet insomnia is not a disease in and of itself. Insomnia is the result of a plethora of possible physical or mental problems. Insomnia is a symptom. If you tell your doctor that you have insomnia, he or she then runs tests to determine what causes the insomnia, so that he or she can treat that problem — not the insomnia directly.
- ...is not a sole process.
- It can refer to three or four separate things, so please clarify which one you mean if you are going to try and argue about it:
- Astronomical Evolution
- the very-strongly-supported theory that the solar system and galaxies, etc., came about via small changes over large periods of time as opposed to always having been in their present state.
- the directly-observed fact that organisms will change traits due to random mutations over multiple generations.
- the strongly-supported theory that organisms change from less complicated species to more complicated species due to mutations over multiple generations, as opposed to always having existed in their present state.
- the theory/hypothesis that life arose from non-life due to random formation of complex biochemical molecules from simpler molecules.
- Realistic Fiction
- ...does not have to be exactly like reality to still be realistic.
- "Realism [being realistic] makes games, books, and movies more believable — no matter what form the story is in. Because if the non-fantastical stuff doesn't match reality, we have no connection with which to understand it[, because w]e assume that everything not specifically stated as being a part of the fantasy world is just like our world." (The reason I dislike most comic book movies is because, while I can accept the premise of mutants or superpowers, I cannot accept the violation of all the other laws of physics.)
- ...is not failing to practice what one preaches. Nov 18, 2005
- And in fact, "it is very possible for a hypocrite to practice everything he or she preaches and still be a hypocrite. The key is in intentions." The true meaning of "hypocrite" is "actor". A hypocrite is someone who is pretending.
- ...are not needs.[11, 12]
- A Correlation
- ...is not necessarily a cause.
- ...does not mean metaphorically!
- I'll shut up on this one; just click here and "literally" laugh your socks off.
- ...is not simply discrimination.
- It's more complicated than that. See my posts on the matter for a full discussion.[14, 15]
- ...are not fights.
- Or rather, they should not have to be. So, please leave your emotions at the door. Let's have some logical discussions in this society for once.
- ...is not disagreeing with how one lives.
- ...is not calling what someone is doing wrong.
- Hate is an emotion. And yes, hate can lead to evil actions. If I could perfect myself, I would never hate any human. However, if I disagree with you, please do not assume you can read my mind and accuse me of hating you. And please stop labeling and name-calling people as haters to justify your political agenda.
- A Reason
- ...is not an excuse.
- An excuse is a subcategory of reason: it is not why someone has done something; it is why someone should not be held accountable for doing something.
- A Castle
- ...is not a palace. (Yeah, so this one is not really that big a deal..., I know.)
- ...is not by definition "blind".
- Faith is synonymous with belief. Everyone believes things. Geometers believe axioms without proof, but they are still reasonable. Scientists believe theories based on observed evidence, but not proof. Historians believe accounts because of trust. And the vast majority of us gain knowledge by deferment, a type of faith.
- ...is not synonymous with freedom.
(Click here for a full list of my entries on definitions.)
(This is the first time I've ever used a "definition list" in HTML....)
Edit: added a "can" to comments on "hate" to remove accidental implied necessity of evil actions
Tags: definitions, democracy, disorders, evolution, faith, freedom, grammar, hate, hypocrisy, intelligent design, logical flaws, needs vs wants, paradoxes, politics, precision, realism, science, self-observation, stereotypes, summaries
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