I was never a war-freak. We were raised by our parents to avoid fighting at all costs; in fact, if one of us picked a fight, our parents would punish both the one who started it and the one who chose to fight back. Instead, we were always thought to reason and argue, and to not let it degenerate into physical fistfights.
In high school we were taught critical thinking, and to fine-tune that we were taught the rules of debate. We were taught to stick to the point. We were given this long list of fallacious arguments, which we sort of breezed through. Yet a lot of it stuck with us, because we were a class that loved to think for ourselves (a lot of our high school teachers from the different years attested to that).
Ad Hominem (argument to the man) is attacking the person instead of attacking his argument, for example: “How can you argue for vegetarianism when you wear leather shoes?” Argument By Pigheadedness, or refusing to accept something after everyone else thinks it is well enough proved. Non Sequitur, or an argument that just does not follow. There were so many on that list that our teacher had to breeze through a lot of them.
Even back then, I realized just how easy it is to make false arguments and make them sound reasonable. Conversely, I also realized how difficult it is to debate if not done dispassionately. Emotions, especially anger, definitely do cloud our judgement.
Thanks to the James Sorianos, Christopher Laos and Mideo Cruzes of this world, I realized just how many cyber bullies with false arguments abound. I also found out how some people are just plain cruel, even if they have a point. It is one thing to bash someone in the privacy of an offline conversation, it is another thing to broadcast it to the world. Facebook has allowed people to broadcast their unedited selves. It can get really ugly when publicized.
Behind those picture-perfect profile pics on Facebook, some people’s real faces can be quite horrible.