The Straw Man Fallacy


by Mike Ratliff

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:

1. Person A has position X.
2. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
3. Person B attacks position Y.
4. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

Straw Man “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. The Straw Man Fallacy is a favorite weapon our enemy. It is always fallacious, but it can cause much confusion and, therefore, can be foundational in the development and support of heresies because it is a form of deception. Those professing Christians who use this from of argument may believe they are serving God with their attacks, but if a person’s argument contains this sort of fallacy then it is not of God. God does not need this sort of thing nor would He ever lead any of His people to use it. Continue reading