Naming logical fallacies

I’m instantly skeptical of people who name logical fallacies (e.g. Red Herring, Straw Man, etc.) in other people’s arguments.

I was reading through some blog comments the other day on someone’s blog when I realized how much this affects my judgment. As soon as someone says, “You can’t say that – that’s a Red Herring,” I instantly throw up my guard. In particular, it makes me want to stop that conversation.

Why? It’s not because I doubt what they’re saying. Usually they’re right. I’m not skeptical of their claims – I’m skeptical of their motives.

This is one of the biggest things I’ve learned lately about discussions. There’s a side of discussion that’s about accuracy, and there’s a completely different side that’s about motivation. Usually I’m looking at the accuracy side when the motivation side is what really matters.

When someone points out fallacies, I’m generally okay with it. But when someone names the fallacy, something tells me that person’s motive is off.

Is this a good call on my part? Should I be this way? I don’t know right now.

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