Critical Thinking: The Straw Man
About this video
How to recognise an argument made from straw.
Critical thought and an awareness of faulty logic are essential tools when it comes to holding your own in an argument. This is especially true in science, whether it be justifying work or spotting a poorly constructed argument in the media.
This animation – one of six short films exploring concepts in critical thought – explores the basis of a 'straw man' argument. These rhetorical devices are used to refute a statement under false pretences, often making use of over simplifications to misrepresent an opponent's original position. Knowing how to recognise them is useful in spotting poorly framed arguments within the media, particularly in health and science coverage.
The series of short animations explore other areas in critical thought, including rationality, probability and logic. Understanding and using these elements is essential to the scientific process, allowing us to construct and critically analyse theories about reality.