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If the data are readily available, I would say links are never required. A technique for "winning" is to demand sources for data that anyone can find without effort. If I say "look at the FBI UCR data," that is sufficient. Most people won't look at all, but will demand a hyperlink to a specific page. Some people will look, and the information is easy to find. No one gains anything buy insisting that I "provide a link," except to divert the discussion.
We aren't writing "peer reviewed scientific studies here." These are extemporaneous arguments conducted in our spare time. For most of us, anyway.
Furthermore, a logical claim does not require sources. Let's say you read the FRB's report that blacks are denied loans at a higher rate than whites, but you read another report that says the default rates are the same for both groups. You can then make the logical argument, without ANY sources, that
1. If two groups have the same default rate, and
2. The same default rate implies equal credit worthiness
3. And that discrimination would require one group to be held to HIGHER standards
4. Therefore, discrimination cannot explain the discrepancy in loan approval rates
You cannot rebut this argument with "show me the sources." You have to address the logical structure. And if you don't address the logical structure (which is very close to irrefutable), then specific data are irrelevant.  Demanding them becomes a diversion, rather than a search for truth.
Another example is a moral argument. Moral arguments have moral premises. You can't prove or disprove them, so there is no empirical source or study or analysis you can cite that does more than say "someone else agrees with me," and someone else's agreement, even an expert's, is irrelevant to the truth of the argument.
What's more, precision is not the same as accuracy. If I say Pi is 22/7, that is accurate but not precise. It is not false or lying to say Pi is 22/7. That is, as the engineer would say, "close enough." On the other hand, if you have a circumference or volume measurement tolerance of two three or more decimal places,  22/7 isn't going to cut it--but an estimate with more digits WILL cut it.
Agreed that the purpose of argument is to find truth. In such a case, the time to seek sources in an extemporaneous debate is when you run against a LOGICAL case you cannot rebut, but where the conclusion is counterintuitive. And if someone quotes a source, go dig for it! You either do, in your search for truth, or you don't, in which case the worst that happens is an inaccurate claim floats in the ether forever after. If you are going to worry about that, you will be old before your time. There are petabytes of false claims every day.
It is always acceptable to ask for sources. It is never acceptable to demand them. And if you don't get sources, you have to choose to either suspend judgement or do your own research. You don't get to dismiss the argument on that basis.


Yes. Agreed. But we have to confront those bad arguments, and just calling them bad faith won't convince those who are credulous (those who are malicious are irrelevant--they cannot be convinced).


Wow a brain teaser.
Truth is Not subjective people. If it were it would be titled something else, I.E:
Perspective, View, Opinions, Facts, Experience, Reality etc, but instead it is called "TRUTH" because it is.
Who denotes what is and what is not the TRUTH? ANSWER: God and the number of corresponding facts that can be verified and fall into agreement with no room for error.
Feelings have no brains. Feelings are simply emotions that color Logic and emotions do not mean they are TRUTHS. Feelings that are fueled by emotions are just that.
In case after case, DNA has proven that eyewitness identification is frequently inaccurate. In the wrongful convictions where eyewitness misidentification played a role, the circumstances
varied substantially. For example, the Innocence Project has worked on cases in which:
A witness made an identification in a “show-up” procedure (where witnesses are shown only the suspect at the scene of the crime or in another incriminating context) from the back of a police car hundreds of feet away from the suspect in a poorly lit parking lot in the middle of
the night.
A witness in a rape case was shown a photo array where only the photo of the person that the police suspected was marked with an “R”, while the rest were unmarked.
Witnesses substantially changed their description of a perpetrator (including key information such as height, weight and presence of facial hair) after they learned more about a particular suspect.
Witnesses only made an identification after multiple photo arrays or lineups — and then made hesitant identifications (saying they “thought” the person “might be” the perpetrator, for example) – but at trial the jury was told the witnesses did not waver in identifying the suspect.
So what is the truth and who determines it?
God knows the Truth, the person directly acting out an action knows why they acted out, what they were wearing, and their motivation at the time. Was that person however working and acting out on facts or Emotions?
God and that person know the TRUTH about that specific activity. OTHERS are simply SPECTATORS: Spectators don't always agree


I feel like the truth isn't what's fact, but it's what's right. A fact may not always be the truth. The truth doesn't have to be fact.


The more complicated one makes a topic, the less relevant, and more relative, it becomes.
Case in point:  The sky is blue.  Now people could go on and on debating the word "blue", weather conditions, seasons, time-of-day, atmospheric effects on cloud color, etc.  However, the underlying truth remains:  The sky is, in fact, blue.
In most cases, what I've observed in heated forums exchanges is one or more participants want to feel smarter than someone else.  So, to your #4, it seems in most cases the goal is to win.
Seems to me all of this ultimate truth nonsense leads to millions of dumb smart people who directly tie their intelligence to Google results.  Common sense and deductive reasoning are all but dead.


Arguments have a logical structure independent of facts. If the structure is sound, the facts can be applied to determine whether the argument correctly describes the data you feed into it. In some cases, indeed many cases, an argument's validity is independent of "sources," but solely conditioned by its logical coherence.
But in some cases, arguments cannot even be approached empirically. Consider the question of the existence of God. It CANNOT be answered empirically, because there is no possible test for a being with the attributes of God. And you cannot say EITHER "you can't prove God so he doesn't exist" OR "you can't disprove God, so he exists." Both are arguments from ignorance.
You can still argue the point, but you cannot come to a true/false answer. The best you can arrive it is "unknown on some continuum" or "unknowable."


Agreed.  Additionally, the very concept of "love".  Teenage girls fall in love every day, is it truth?  Couples say they love each other, and then cheat.  How would those blind to anything but empirical evidence explain that they do, indeed, love their significant other?


Cheating, as far as I can tell, is a failure of impulse control--kind of like overeating ;-) I am not trying to trivialize it, but our limbic systems drive us to reproduce, and that lizard part of our brain doesn't give two shakes about with whom. But the higher functions allow us to control them, rather than them controlling us. Which means, for example, that we can say "no," and that we can avoid putting ourselves in situations where saying "no" would be difficult.


Truth is always the fact of the matter or it is not truth, by definition. Proving the truth is a whole different can of worms.


Agreed. If you tell people the source, a link is not required.
Often, the “logical structure” is not logical at all, but is all smoke and mirrors to elicit a feeling or reaction. For your loan example, it sounds like banks are behaving in a racist manner. However, I found a source that shows that the two groups do not have similar foreclosure rates. The black rate is about double the white rate.
How can both sets of facts be true? Because my source is looking at absolutely all mortgages, and maybe yours is comparing people of similar situation (job, education, marital status, etc.) before looking at race.
Without knowing how each set of facts was compiled, it’s hard to have an intelligent discussion about whether or not the banks are morally wrong for denying loans to black people more often.
I don’t see it as my job to find the facts that back up the other side of the discussion. If someone wants to change my mind about something, it’s up to them to back up their opinion with facts and/or logic. If they can’t, then they’ve only come for an argument, not an intelligent discussion, and I don't play with trolls.

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