Is the Slippery Slope arguement a legitimate arguement.
Yes
18.1% (15)
18.1% (15)
No
80.7% (67)
80.7% (67)
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Poll: Legitmacy behind slippery slope?

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No doubt over the last few years we hear the slippery slope argument that comes up usually when we talk about Gay marriage or Legalization of Weed. The idea that once a stone starts rolling it won't stop.

"Once we let the gays marry how long until we let people marry animals or in-animate objects"

"Once that law passes it won't be long till getting quacked out on meth is ok"

"Once that new law passes it won't be long until we have bar codes branded on the back of our necks"

Those this sounds silly to most people but I have got to thinking about what has happened with marriage over the years.Back in time, it was wrong for rich to marry people that weren't of same social class, race or religion. Soon we dropped Social class aspect of the requirement and made it race and religion, but eventually religion dropped, and in the last 50 years or so we found it perfectly alright to marry outside of your race. Is it entirely possible that something we find abnormal today become normal 50 years down the line, such as bestiality or underage sex?

I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

The thing about slippery slope arguments that both legitimatizes them as well as make them bogus is that at one point or another in history, the slippery slope argument has happened before. Sometimes the argument's way too outlandish to be taken at face value, but one should always look deeper.

An example I can use for today? The era of 'terrorism fear' that we are experiencing today. About 40 years ago, we had an era of fear against the communists, which led to McCarthyism and the Red Scare, where if you didn't support me, you were a communist. McCarthy, while an idiot and a product of his time, made a movement that landed thousands of U.S. Citizens in jail for no other reason than calling out flagrant Constitution violations by the politicians or just working on a movie set. If we take a good close look at the political sphere of the U.S. today, I would say that it is almost a perfect parallel of the Red Scare, but instead of Commies being your neighbors, it's Terrorists.

The drugs thing though, it's all just a waste of time and money. History's proven that us trying to ban something people use(Alcohol during Prohibition) just makes it go underground and cause widespread damage. It's why the Mafia/Mob was so strong back then, and it's why drug cartels/gangs are strong now. The fear of regulation and personal responsibility makes people want to force the government to fight these "corrupting influences". And that's usually by calling for the item in question to be banned.

To make a slippery slope argument work or not is by seeing if said argument happened in the past, therefore legitimacy or not.

Toy Master Typhus:
I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

No.

The Slippery Slope argument relies on things that may or may not continue to happen in the future. It's only as good as your predictions are, and predictions are notoriously unreliable most of the time.

Who can say what the world will be like in 50 years? If there was such a person, they could determine what the effects of, say, gay marriage would be, and whether it led to other laws.

...

Personally, I'd say that it's likely that a lot of sex/marriage stuff used agaisnt Gay Marriage will eventually come true though, but I'm not going to give a time frame for it.

Except that for many people, these things still aren't okay. I recently read that 40% of Republicans in some Bible-belt states think interracial marriage is unacceptable, for instance. Wealthy people will still judge other wealthy people who marry below their class (the "gold digger" concept is more than a Kanye West song, and there's a whole reality show devoted to rich men seeking mates who want them for more than their pocketbook).

Yes, social values change, but not as rapidly as people think they do. And no, I don't think bestiality or underage/overage sex (i.e. where one is under and one is over) are ever going to be acceptable-- thinking people will always find inability to give true and informed consent a bar to an acceptable relationship. So in that sense it's a ridiculous argument.

(Where it's not ridiculous, and where I seriously hope it's not ridiculous, is that someday multiple marriage may become legal. There's no logical reason for a bar against three or more consenting adults to form lasting romantic relationships with one another.)

Toy Master Typhus:
No doubt over the last few years we hear the slippery slope argument that comes up usually when we talk about Gay marriage or Legalization of Weed. The idea that once a stone starts rolling it won't stop.

"Once we let the gays marry how long until we let people marry animals or in-animate objects"

"Once that law passes it won't be long till getting quacked out on meth is ok"

"Once that new law passes it won't be long until we have bar codes branded on the back of our necks"

Those this sounds silly to most people but I have got to thinking about what has happened with marriage over the years.Back in time, it was wrong for rich to marry people that weren't of same social class, race or religion. Soon we dropped Social class aspect of the requirement and made it race and religion, but eventually religion dropped, and in the last 50 years or so we found it perfectly alright to marry outside of your race. Is it entirely possible that something we find abnormal today become normal 50 years down the line, such as bestiality or underage sex?

I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

No, because there isn't a direct causal relationship between social changes in the institution of marriage, nor is there a predefined order in which they are going to occur. Gay marriage isn't an issue now simply because miscegenation was one 50 years ago. It's an issue because our attitudes towards sexuality is changing and marriage needs to reflect that change. For example, the age criteria for marriage have actually become more restrictive over the past century or so. (Prior to that, the marriageable age had been somewhere around 12 for most of recorded history.)

Simply put, society is going to change what it wants to change, and keep the things it doesn't. Enacting marriage equality for same-sex couples might make us question the other restrictions on marriage, but it doesn't take away our right to say "no".

Toy Master Typhus:
I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

The thing that makes a slippery slope argument a fallacy is when the speaker uses it to support a claim of what will happen without bothering to show the logical progression that leads us from point A to point B. Alarmism about gay marriage is a perfect example of this. There is absolutely no reason that permitting marriage between two adults of the same sex must lead to polygamy or people marrying goats or the dead. These things are all illegal for different reasons, literally the only thing they have in common is that they are all taboos which are illegal.

So when someone claims that Gay marriage will lead to polygamy, what they are showing is that they are completely ignorant of what is going on in gay marriage or polygamy. To claim there is a logical progression from one to the other without explicitly showing it it is to demonstrate that one knows nothing about either other than that they are both taboo and illegal.

There are slippery slope arguments that aren't fallacies, but these require explicitly showing the logical progression of each step in the chain of events from A to B. Gay marriage opponents like to think that chain is self-evident, because otherwise they wouldn't really have an argument.

Katatori-kun:

Toy Master Typhus:
I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

The thing that makes a slippery slope argument a fallacy is when the speaker uses it to support a claim of what will happen without bothering to show the logical progression that leads us from point A to point B. Alarmism about gay marriage is a perfect example of this. There is absolutely no reason that permitting marriage between two adults of the same sex must lead to polygamy or people marrying goats or the dead. These things are all illegal for different reasons, literally the only thing they have in common is that they are all taboos which are illegal.

So when someone claims that Gay marriage will lead to polygamy, what they are showing is that they are completely ignorant of what is going on in gay marriage or polygamy. To claim there is a logical progression from one to the other without explicitly showing it it is to demonstrate that one knows nothing about either other than that they are both taboo and illegal.

There are slippery slope arguments that aren't fallacies, but these require explicitly showing the logical progression of each step in the chain of events from A to B. Gay marriage opponents like to think that chain is self-evident, because otherwise they wouldn't really have an argument.

Actually I disagree with you some there, because I do think there's a linkage between "two consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because they're both men/women" and "three or four consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because there's too many of them". Both are equally illogical taboos.

(But polygamy =/= polyamory. Social conservatives run them together and talk about both, but I think there is a future for this discussion to happen rationally and on a very similar track as the discussion about marriage equality for gays, lesbians, and bi folk.)

Polarity27:
Actually I disagree with you some there, because I do think there's a linkage between "two consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because they're both men/women" and "three or four consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because there's too many of them". Both are equally illogical taboos.

I'd agree with that. Once the traditional structure is weakened, it's less able to arbitrarily ban things it doesn't like.

thaluikhain:

Polarity27:
Actually I disagree with you some there, because I do think there's a linkage between "two consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because they're both men/women" and "three or four consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because there's too many of them". Both are equally illogical taboos.

I'd agree with that. Once the traditional structure is weakened, it's less able to arbitrarily ban things it doesn't like.

Yup, and the key is "arbitrarily". A ban against same-sex marriage is arbitrary, a ban against marrying children or marrying animals is an effort to protect the well-being of the child or the animal.

Polarity27:

thaluikhain:

Polarity27:
Actually I disagree with you some there, because I do think there's a linkage between "two consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because they're both men/women" and "three or four consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because there's too many of them". Both are equally illogical taboos.

I'd agree with that. Once the traditional structure is weakened, it's less able to arbitrarily ban things it doesn't like.

Yup, and the key is "arbitrarily". A ban against same-sex marriage is arbitrary, a ban against marrying children or marrying animals is an effort to protect the well-being of the child or the animal.

Having said that, if societal norms changed for that to be more acceptable, a strong traditional structure is one of the things that might hinder it.

If the issue is something that will be decided in courts, perhaps legal precedent contributes to the notion of a slippery slope in some people's minds?

Yes and no.

You can clearly see how the arguments used to support same-sex marriage could be lightly modified to support something like polygamy and maybe a few other things. However taking it as far as marriage with animals or inanimate objects is going too far.

Well, it certainly can be, if the underlying logic and principles that lead to adopting one position leads with logical necessity to the other as well.

For instance, using the logic/principle of "What consenting adults get up to in the bedroom is no business of the state" to argue against "anti-sodomy" laws, will necessarily lead to adopting the stance that incest between consenting adults should be allowed as well.

Otherwise they've got some serious 'splaining to do in regard to just when/how the state can interfere, and their original argument weakens considerably; they then do recognize that certain societal interests can overwrite the consent of individual adults, making it more about degrees and definitions of "societal interest" than an absolute rule to be respected.

So it can be an excellent way to destroy certain arguments that claim to be absolute, and/or of testing whether there's actually some logical and argumentative coherence behind an idea, or it's all just based on random feelings.

Slippery slope can be legitimate if the trends are obvious and harmful to society (for example, going from the right to veto to the right of first strike to the right of just bombing a place on a whim with no accountability, which we nearly had happen not to long ago). But the irony is, that whenever slippery slope is actually a legitimate concern, it's still going to be the worst argument because there will be so many better ones.

Edit: Ignore me, I didn't read the OP well enough and went off on an irrelevant tangent. >.<

Slippery slope by definition can not be a legitimate argument. If it were to become a legitimate argument, it then becomes simply cause and effect.

The biggest problem I see with some of the more popular fallacies is their misuse. Often times someone will mistake slippery slope, No True Scotsman, etc as structural fallacies, meaning "anything that follows this structure or form must automatically be flawed", which isn't the case.

LetalisK:
Slippery slope by definition can not be a legitimate argument. If it were to become a legitimate argument, it then becomes simply cause and effect.

The biggest problem I see with some of the more popular fallacies is their misuse. Often times someone will mistake slippery slope, No True Scotsman, etc as structural fallacies, meaning "anything that follows this structure or form must automatically be flawed", which isn't the case.

Do you know what the slippery slope argument is?

Seekster:

LetalisK:
Slippery slope by definition can not be a legitimate argument. If it were to become a legitimate argument, it then becomes simply cause and effect.

The biggest problem I see with some of the more popular fallacies is their misuse. Often times someone will mistake slippery slope, No True Scotsman, etc as structural fallacies, meaning "anything that follows this structure or form must automatically be flawed", which isn't the case.

Do you know what the slippery slope argument is?

I see your point, or at least what I'm assuming your point is. I jumped immediately to "Oh, we're talking about fallacies" instead of discussing them as when they're properly used. >.<

Edit: I blame it on immediately linking the term "slippery slope" with "fallacy" and then an accusation of such any time I read anything on the internet.

Toy Master Typhus:
No doubt over the last few years we hear the slippery slope argument that comes up usually when we talk about Gay marriage or Legalization of Weed. The idea that once a stone starts rolling it won't stop.

"Once we let the gays marry how long until we let people marry animals or in-animate objects"

"Once that law passes it won't be long till getting quacked out on meth is ok"

"Once that new law passes it won't be long until we have bar codes branded on the back of our necks"

Those this sounds silly to most people but I have got to thinking about what has happened with marriage over the years.Back in time, it was wrong for rich to marry people that weren't of same social class, race or religion. Soon we dropped Social class aspect of the requirement and made it race and religion, but eventually religion dropped, and in the last 50 years or so we found it perfectly alright to marry outside of your race. Is it entirely possible that something we find abnormal today become normal 50 years down the line, such as bestiality or underage sex?

I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

.
It has some merit. For example, they would say "Once the law passes, women and blacks might want equal rights too!".
I know. Shameful.
.
Dude. In the 50s a shotgun wedding was something common. The fact that they lived in the same neighborhood only made it so they were in the same race/economic class.

I prefer the incremental stairway. I use stairway because at any point you can stop and say, "What the fuck are we doing?", as opposed to an unstoppable slide down a hill. For instance, it can be hard to understand how Germany went from economic crisis to Nazis and genocide if you disregard the steps in between. That being said, I find most slippery slope arguments retarded except in regard to setting legal precedent and even that can be overturned.

While exceptions may exist, almost everytime i see someone using slippery slope argument it's in a completely insane manner.

Public health care -> death panels and forced euthanasia
Making abortion available -> they will forcibly murder your babies
Regulating banks -> nationalization
millionaires paying as high a tax as their secretaries in their earnings = they want to take away all your money (no matter how wealthy or poor you are)
not believing in god -> you become a mass murdering psychopath

Ofcourse, in some cases people skip the slippery slope completely and immediatly make these equal

Polarity27:
Actually I disagree with you some there, because I do think there's a linkage between "two consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because they're both men/women" and "three or four consenting adults fall in love with one another, and the only reason this isn't okay is because there's too many of them". Both are equally illogical taboos.

Both may be equally illogical (I don't care to get into a debate about polygamy itself), but it's a fact that the logic that goes into making each a taboo is different. To not acknowledge this is to choose to be ignorant of key information in this debate. Making one legal does not lead to the other becoming legal because the rationalization for making each illegal is different.

thaluikhain:
I'd agree with that. Once the traditional structure is weakened, it's less able to arbitrarily ban things it doesn't like.

Who is "it" here, and how does it "like" things?

It's interesting that you bring up "traditional structure" here, because one of most commonly-attributed traditional structures for opposing gay marriage has been the Bible, specifically the Old Testament (note that attributing a source doesn't mean it actually is the source). And yet, not only does the Old Testament permit polygyny, in some cases it requires it.

nyysjan:
While exceptions may exist, almost everytime i see someone using slippery slope argument it's in a completely insane manner.

Public health care -> death panels and forced euthanasia
Making abortion available -> they will forcibly murder your babies
Regulating banks -> nationalization
millionaires paying as high a tax as their secretaries in their earnings = they want to take away all your money (no matter how wealthy or poor you are)
not believing in god -> you become a mass murdering psychopath

Ofcourse, in some cases people skip the slippery slope completely and immediatly make these equal

I can honestly tell you that each of those are either strawmen or something that only the most right-wing Tea Party types would believe in. Those arent even slippery slope arguments so much as sudden drop off a cliff arguments.

LetalisK:

Seekster:

LetalisK:
Slippery slope by definition can not be a legitimate argument. If it were to become a legitimate argument, it then becomes simply cause and effect.

The biggest problem I see with some of the more popular fallacies is their misuse. Often times someone will mistake slippery slope, No True Scotsman, etc as structural fallacies, meaning "anything that follows this structure or form must automatically be flawed", which isn't the case.

Do you know what the slippery slope argument is?

I see your point, or at least what I'm assuming your point is. I jumped immediately to "Oh, we're talking about fallacies" instead of discussing them as when they're properly used. >.<

Edit: I blame it on immediately linking the term "slippery slope" with "fallacy" and then an accusation of such any time I read anything on the internet.

Ah fair enough...on a somewhat related note try and google Rick Santorum...the joke should be on the first page of results, you will know what I mean when you see it.

Seekster:

Ah fair enough...on a somewhat related note try and google Rick Santorum...the joke should be on the first page of results, you will know what I mean when you see it.

No. And you're an evil human being for suggesting it.

LetalisK:

Seekster:

Ah fair enough...on a somewhat related note try and google Rick Santorum...the joke should be on the first page of results, you will know what I mean when you see it.

No. And you're an evil human being for suggesting it.

What?

Yeah I think its stupid too but I actually chuckled a bit when I first saw it. Just don't click on the link.

No.

If you ever have to resort to that argument... you have lost the debate...

I'm sure there are many examples of a legitimate slippery slope instances, but these are backed up by many more factors along side the slippery slope one. The Slippery slope is created through other factors... if there are no factors and just this slippery slope... your sliding on something made out of thin air >.>

It is true, I think, that some forms of slippery slope can be factually correct. It is a fair prediction, for example, that laws that allowed interracial marriage have made it easier for laws that allow homosexual marriage. But that's just common sense: Laws that promote tolerance will result in a more tolerant society, making it easier for other laws that promote tolerance to pass.

If I may make a bad analogy: It's like taking a university and deciding to add 10% more spices to the food in the mensa. Waiting a few years, then adding 10% more. Waiting a few years, etc. etc.

Now, of course, there's a real-world treshhold here (noone can eat pure salt), but the point is twofold: One, after a few steps, food from what I'll call generation 5 will be much spicier than food from generation 1, of course. The students from gen 1 would probably object to getting food from gen 5, but might not even notice the transition from gen 1 to gen 2 much.

That's where the argument gets it right, I think.

Point 2, however, and that is an important one, is: Studensts from gen 1 never get to taste food from gen 5 in the first place! If students from gen 1 still like the food from gen 2, those from gen 2 like the gen 3 food, etc, etc, up to gen 5, then a problem never arises. Point 2.5 would be that every generation is free to voice displeasure with the next change.

What the argument often also is doing is dishonestly comparing apples to oranges, often without noticing. Usually when a proposition occupies a similar emotional level, but a significantly different factual level.

A good example is homosexuality and paedophilia. Both occupy a similar emotional level for some people (it's both sexual, and both gross/immoral), so they tend to group them: If You allow one thing I find reprehensive, You could allow the other thing I find reprehensive! It completely ignores the issue of consent, however.

Bottom line: I think only the latter deserves to be filed under slippery slope. Arguing that a law that promotes (or restricts!) some freedoms will make it easier to pass a law that promotes or restricts other freedoms in the future is a valid and plausible prediction. It just often has no argumentative weight (next, we'll allow polygamy! - uh, yeah...so?), and needs to allow for the fact that each subsequent step in the slope will be considered separately, even though under new circumstances.

"First we allow women to vote, next we'll allow them to divorce their husbands on a whim and work for themselves!" - true, that happened. Slippery slope? Arguably. Argumentative weight? Nil. 'cause we're actually fine with what was predicted when it actually happened.

~Sylv

No, slippery slope arguments are usually BS. It's based on the politician's/church's/other official's idea that everyone follows a set of 'morals', namely his, and when he bashes gays, he is 'protecting morality', because if he doesn't protect morality by forcing his views on people society will crumble.

Its funny how many people are saying the slippery slope argument is bs when they don't seem to know (based on the reasons they give for it) what a slippery slope argument is.

Here is a hint, a slippery slope argument is often given as at least part of the reason for the fall of Rome and there are some valid points to that argument though I am not sure if I agree with it entirely.

nyysjan:
millionaires paying as high a tax as their secretaries in their earnings = they want to take away all your money (no matter how wealthy or poor you are)

Ahhh, stupid left wing idiots who think that Warren Buffet is actually a kindly old man make me snigger. Let me point out that a woman who only makes 60,000 dollars a year cannot afford to live in two separate houses in two different states and leave it at that. You were sold on a lie, and not a particularly clever one at that.

Seekster:
Its funny how many people are saying the slippery slope argument is bs when they don't seem to know (based on the reasons they give for it) what a slippery slope argument is.

Here is a hint, a slippery slope argument is often given as at least part of the reason for the fall of Rome and there are some valid points to that argument though I am not sure if I agree with it entirely.

I think you are confusing slippery slope with cause and effect. When an action logically leads to another action and so on that is cause and effect. Slippery slope is like cause and effect, except there is no logical reason for the next step.

Example

Cause and Effect - Legalize gay marriage > increase in gay marriages
Slippery Slope - Legalize gay marriage > allowing marriage to a cat

Toy Master Typhus:

I suppose the question I'm asking is will there ever be a concrete line in any of these arguements where people can 100% say you can't smoke that or you can't marry that and whether or not using the Slippery Slope argument is legitimate?

Yes. If the chain of events laid out follows logically, then it's a valid argument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope#Description

pyrate:

Seekster:
Its funny how many people are saying the slippery slope argument is bs when they don't seem to know (based on the reasons they give for it) what a slippery slope argument is.

Here is a hint, a slippery slope argument is often given as at least part of the reason for the fall of Rome and there are some valid points to that argument though I am not sure if I agree with it entirely.

I think you are confusing slippery slope with cause and effect. When an action logically leads to another action and so on that is cause and effect. Slippery slope is like cause and effect, except there is no logical reason for the next step.

Example

Cause and Effect - Legalize gay marriage > increase in gay marriages
Slippery Slope - Legalize gay marriage > allowing marriage to a cat

Well thats the slippery slope as a fallacy. Slippery slope as a valid argument would be Legalize same-sex marriage > potentially leads to legalized polygamy.

'Marijuana is a gateway drug to other drugs like meth because most meth users used marijuana first'
is a slippery slope fallacy. It's based on a statistic and so it has a hint of validity to it, however at the same time we could say something like:
'All drug addicts first drank milk, therefore milk is a gateway drug'

Nine times out of ten the "slippery slope" argument is just paranoia spiced up a bit to keep something from happening without actually having to make a legitimate point. There are ways it can make sense, but as Katatori-kun said, evidence needs to be provided to show that there is actually a plausible link.

Seekster:
Well thats the slippery slope as a fallacy. Slippery slope as a valid argument would be Legalize same-sex marriage > potentially leads to legalized polygamy.

That does make a hell of a lot more sense than marrying a cat, since the instances are actually related in that we're talking about consensual adults getting married.

However, they opposition would also have to prove that polygamy is an inherently bad effect if, like with gay and straight marriage, we're talking about consensual adults who want to be married. To just say "Ha! Look what will happen next!" without proving it's actually bad is just as bad as the situations where there's no plausible link.

Seekster:

pyrate:

Seekster:
Its funny how many people are saying the slippery slope argument is bs when they don't seem to know (based on the reasons they give for it) what a slippery slope argument is.

Here is a hint, a slippery slope argument is often given as at least part of the reason for the fall of Rome and there are some valid points to that argument though I am not sure if I agree with it entirely.

I think you are confusing slippery slope with cause and effect. When an action logically leads to another action and so on that is cause and effect. Slippery slope is like cause and effect, except there is no logical reason for the next step.

Example

Cause and Effect - Legalize gay marriage > increase in gay marriages
Slippery Slope - Legalize gay marriage > allowing marriage to a cat

Well thats the slippery slope as a fallacy. Slippery slope as a valid argument would be Legalize same-sex marriage > potentially leads to legalized polygamy.

There is no sociological link between homosexuality and polygamy at all. Your argument has as much logic as:

Legalise gay marriage - It will rain more on Tuesdays.

Homosexual marriage has as much of a connection to polygamy does as heterosexual marriage. Both are monogamous relationships between two people in love.

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