Flex Your Logic Muscles By Avoiding MMO Debate Fallacies
If there’s anything MMO players like more than playing games, it’s arguing about games. And if you want to flex your E-muscles on whatever decrepit forum you visit, it’s best to know what fallacies to avoid. And then you can laugh at your opponent and rub their noses in their stinking logical missteps. The following is a short list of logical errors. There are many more. But by keeping some of these in mind, you can navigate the contentious world of MMO debates.
The following were largely influenced by Jamie Whyte’s Crimes Against Logic, an excellent, easy read for anyone who wants to exercise their rationality.
"That's like my opinion, man"
One of my least favorite rebuttals is, “Everyone has a right to, like, their opinion man.” No, they don’t. There is no such thing as a right to an opinion; your views are not protected by the Constitution, or legally—or tacitly—binding document born out of humanity’s need to cooperate and protect themselves from one another. And thank Hobbes, because your opinions probably suck.
The cop-out rebuttal, “Well, I’m entitled to my opinion,” is a meek way to censor debate, and a sign that one has given up thinking.
If the opinions to which we are entitled might nevertheless be false, the entitlement cannot properly be invoked to settle a dispute. It adds no new information on the original matter; it does nothing to show that the opinion in question is true. -Jamie Whyte, Crimes Against Logic.
You are only justified in holding an opinion when you have taken reasonable steps to hold that opinion: “I think My.com will buy Daybreak because X, Y, and Z.” Whereas, “I think MMORPG.com is secretly owned by Neowiz because holy crap, they gave Guild Wars 2 a 9/10!? Reptilian sell-outs,” is founded on an emotionally charged belief, i.e. garbage.
Here’s the thing, most people care more about their opinions than they do truth. So no matter what you say they’ll respond with “nah nah nah, not listening, NOT LISTENING!”
So, once someone invokes their right to an opinion, you can write them off as an automaton who revels in their illusory self-serving feel-good Matrix. They should have never entertained a dialogue, because they’re only talking to you to assert their identity, waiting impatiently for their turn to speak, absorbing criticisms as hatchets chipping away their self. Pro-tip: Always drink a full of glass of water before swallowing your blue pills.
You're just wrong. Wrong. WRONG.
Wasting my life browsing YouTube I chanced upon a video that started with, “Some of you just say, ‘Oh X, that’s just pay-to-get ahead, pay-to-move-faster, pay-for-a-sandwich. I don’t care. That’s all under pay-to-win. And I don’t understand how these idiots could think otherwise.” Those idiots think otherwise because you never addressed their points. You started from the assumption that they're wrong, which is called begging the question. Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re mistaken. I can’t tell because you’re too busy covering your pop filter in aggressive spittle.
“The fallacy of begging the question consists in taking for granted precisely what is in dispute, in passing off as an argument what is really no more than an assertion of your position.” -Jamie Whyte, Crimes Against Logic.
It’s not enough to state “X is pay-to-win.” You have to show why “X is pay-to-win,” or you don’t have an argument. What you have is untethered statements without a foundation to support themselves.
Begging the question is one of the most popular fallacies on the block. People love it. Because it allows them to avoid digging deep down into the soil of their beliefs, showing the roots of their opinions as either green or dead and decaying.
“Begging the question occurs when people fail to get to the root of their disagreement. This may explain its popularity. Getting to the root of a disagreement will often force you to scrutinize your fundamental assumptions because that is often where the disagreement lies. But this can be an unpleasant business. These fundamental assumptions will normally have been acquired without even a moment’s thought and seriously thinking about them might well bring on a nasty fit of the ideological wobbles.” -Jamie Whyte, Crimes Against Logic.
People don’t like to define their terms because it shows how vulnerable and poorly understood definitions typically are. And they never have:
"How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms." - Will Durant, The Story of Civilization.
The rebuttal “Well, you’re a Nazi,” has metamorphosed into “you’re a fgt,” also known as the STFU fallacy. Instead of addressing criticisms you pulled back your diaper straps so they made an authoritative snap, and proceeded to ridicule the other person’s character. It’s another way to censor conversation, and shift the focus of the debate, to make it look like you’ve won without saying anything substantial. You could also call this one playground politics.
“In public debate, the idea that you can refute a view by claiming its advocate is not entitled to speak is pervasive… We mustn't confuse being sensitive with being right. Nor rudeness with error.” -Jamie Whyte, Crimes Against Logic.
Claiming someone isn’t an authority on a topic isn’t enough to dismiss their point. You put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters and give them an infinite amount of time, and you’ll eventually get Spinoza’s Ethics. Just because monkeys wrote it doesn’t make the arguments any less sound. Think of arguments as existing independent of the person who uttered them. If you’re incapable of abstracting then you need to step out of the arena.
STFU is a fan favorite of those who have no idea what they’re talking about, no recourse other than stirring an emotional temper-tantrum because having a dilectic about the definition of "MMO" is too much to ask. Steer clear of these people. They tend to get aggressive when backed into a corner. But don’t worry, they never managed to grow claws.