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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The problem comes from the fact that many people aren't aware that they use emotionally charged words, and then go on to argue their case by begging the question given the charged nature of their words.

    "Slaughtered" is a good example. US soldiers "slaughtered" someone and, therefore, (as the unspoken assumption goes) since "slaughtering" is evil and bad, then the US soldiers are evil and bad.

    Replacing "slaughtered" with "killed" removes some (but not all) of the emotive nature of the word. There was a lovely little book called "Straight and Crooked Thinking" (now sadly out of print) which exposed this and similar fallacies. (confusion of "some", "many" and "all", for instance, and argument in a circle)

    So I agree that precise terminology in debate is fundamental. Even so, I think it's bloody annoying trying to argue with someone who has no problems coming out with "it depends on what your definition of "is" is". :)