*Most importantly, use evidence to support your claims. Please remember that even great evidence doesn’t always make an argument true
Correct ways to argue
The conclusion follows directly from evidence
A common and easy way to construct arguments is: (evidence + evidence -> conclusion)
Example: (evidence 1) whenever it rains the ground is wet. (Evidence 2) it rained last night and I have video of it. (Conclusion) therefore the ground is wet.
In longer arguments you’ll have multiple small conclusions and then a larger conclusion:
(Paragraph 1:Evidence + evidence -> analysis (small conclusion)
Paragraph 2: Evidence + evidence -> analysis (small conclusion)
Paragraph 3: Since the evidence is true and my analysis comes directly from the true evidence then I can make this conclusion about the whole thing)
Incorrect ways to argue
Avoiding the topic: Sometimes a person will avoid answering a question or concern and will bring up something else.
Ex. Donald trump said X about this person. “Well what about Hillary when she did Z”
**Attacking the person rather than addressing the conversation: The other person that is being spoken to is not the subject of the conversation and so their personal life should not be brought into the conversation.
Ex. Black lives matter is a great organization because they do X,Y,Z. “You only like them because you’re black but you would hate them if you were another race”
** THIS HAPPENS OFTEN IN DEBATES- Often times a person doesn’t know how to respond to what you said and will bring up your personal life in conversation. Simply say that you are not the topic of the conversation and that bringing you up (most often times) did not prove their point. You can just go back to the conversation and make a further point rather than attacking them back.
Conclusion doesn’t follow from evidence
Using the conclusion as support for facts: It is in fact the other way around, the facts should be used to support the conclusion. Since the conclusion is not an established fact yet, it cannot be used to support the facts/premises
Types of arguments
Inductive argument – The conclusion is likely or probably true. Most arguments will fall into this category because political arguments tend to say what should or ought to be done, or will make a prediction for political policy/action.
Deductive argument – The conclusion is definitely true if the facts/premises are true. This is a good place to start with your debates. You start with facts and definitive things and slowly make smaller conclusions before making your policy proposal.
Ex. Immediately upon implantation, a mother and embryo/fetus begin to share hormones. Around 3 weeks after fertilization a fetus begins to develop parts of the brain. Since that point, a fetus can start to have thoughts and dream. We believe it more wrong to kill a person rather than a cutting a tree because of a persons autonomy. Abortion should be seen as worse than cutting a tree because a fetus is developing thoughts and the ability for autonomy. — Although having autonomy and developing autonomy are two different things, you can see how a deductive argument is developed and can lead to an inductive argument.
*How to prove arguments are incorrect*
If an argument is not coherent (they use one of the bad ways of arguing) you can point it out and then show why it lacks enough evidence to be good.
If an argument follows the correct structure of a good argument then you can show that their evidence is wrong or that their analysis is wrong (too broad or too narrow). Like said before, even though there are facts to support a point of view (analysis) there are other points of view for those same facts. You will find examples of this in the gun debates– there are true facts about the amounts of guns and violence however there are arguments in favor of banning guns and arguments in favor of making guns more available.