Blog 3.1 - Letter to a Skeptic


A Strawman

A Strawman Fallacy is a way of building an argument wherein the person making the argument creates an image of reality that they can then tear down.  For example, a Democrat might say, “All Republicans hate minorities.”  The notion is preposterous (because it is too simplistic — there are 20-million registered Republicans in Amerca, and many of them are minorities), but, using a technique called Code Grooming — making the audience use your language — the persausion technique works by simply saying the fallacy over and over.  


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As we move into cultural anthropology, we will be looking at the stories we like to tell ourselves.  In many cases, these stories are simply crafted for the sake of ease (and marketing).  By building a profile (a set of tendencies that reveal a person’s interests), marketers, politicians, police officers, and every day citizen draw conclusions based on collective information and probably cause.

As an Introduction to this, you have read Making Sense of God, a polemic (a pointed argument) directed at people who have no belief.  Like a police officer, you have been asked to gather information, synthesized it, and are ready to create a profile.  Using that profile and the pattern below (in the space provided), you will write a letter to the skeptic to persuade him/her.  To do so, you can use either

A Soft Sell 

An open argument based on compassion and virtue


A Hard Sell

An definitive argument intended to seal the deal

Whichever you choose, you have to move them to action.  In either case, think about the following:

Use this as a guideline (step-by-step), or as an umbrella (a set of directions that help you steer them into your goals, which is, ultimately, to move them toward faith. (This is a 5-Point Assignment, and you will be graded specifically on your attention to details — how effectively you get the reader to engage in your argument).  

© Jeff Thomas,