January 31, 2013

straw man argument

Posted in Idioms at 12:34 am by Feng

straw man argument – is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position [wiki]

In an academic debate, I pointed out the insecurity of a newly proposed cryptographic protocol. To support my argument, I compared the protocol with a similar but well-known scheme. However, the protocol designer was not happy and criticized me of making a “straw man argument“. I found it an interesting expression – one creates a straw man as a superficial replacement of a real target and attacks it instead to claim an easy victory. That’s interesting. But after learning what this phrase means, I am sure I was not making a straw man argument.

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