Saturday, December 11, 2010

Anti-psychic Kitty speaks: Animated Straw Men

Note: Due to a legal settlement with the James Randi Educational Foundation, we are required to give occasional column space to Anti-psychic Kitty, the most skeptical creature on Earth. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the views of The Babbler.

Most of you know my human caretaker, Babbler columnist Dale Onofrey, from his YouTube videos. Recently, he’s been obsessed with The Babbler’s $5 Challenge to The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Now Dale is working on an animated video using Xtranormal.

I’ll let the SGU handle this specific video. I want to talk about these types of videos. Thanks to Xtranormal, you don’t have to film your opponent making an argument. You can just write the script, and have an animated character represent your opponent. As this video shows.

In this video, the producer gave the meat eater the weaker arguments. Implying that there is no rational response to the anti-Thanksgiving arguments. This type of argument is called a straw man argument. Its like creating a dummy stuffed with straw, setting it on fire, and pretending that you defeated your opponent.

Now, I like to watch Saturday Night Live when my cat toys bore me. I also like to read The Onion when I need to take a break from the JREF Forums. It’s OK to exaggerate and distort for humorous effect. When making a serious argument, however, The Straw Man is a logical fallacy. You’re just avoiding the real argument in favor of a weaker argument someone made up.

Here are two videos that Wikileaks gave me from two organizations on different sides of the vaccination debate. They both use a straw woman to bolster their arguments.

So remember, just because Xtranormal makes it easy to produce serious straw man videos, doesn’t mean you should make one. If you are making humorous videos, however, try to get as close to the original argument as possible. The closer to the truth it is, the funner people will think your video is. Because they’ll think that you’re very observant, and they’ll be able to relate the video to their experiences with your issue.

Well, Dale needs to use the computer, but just remember, there is one argument that doesn’t need a straw man to support. IMSOCUTE!

Please note: All articles on this site are works of fiction.

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