People often present fallacious statements based on erroneous facts from social media, blogposts and biased/low quality TV documentaries. How can one argue against such statements by referring to more established (and presumably objective) sources such as Wikipedia articles or print books and journals?

closed as unclear what you're asking by user2953, James Kingsbery, Dave, Swami Vishwananda, Nick Dec 28 '15 at 4:40

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    your question is not clear. Are you asking how to respond to people who think that Facebook, TV documentaries and blogs are objective? Or are you yourself asking about the objectivity of such sources? – Alexander S King Dec 15 '15 at 18:09
  • how to respond to people who think that Facebook, TV documentaries and blogs are objective – NinjaDeveloper Dec 15 '15 at 18:12
  • @NinjaDevelopper Ok it is clear now - But your distinction between social media, blogs and TV on one hand and wikipedia + traditional bibliographic sources on the other hand does;t make sense. Anyone is free to edit Wikipedia (its actually much easier to modify than a blog post or a the content of a TV show) – Alexander S King Dec 15 '15 at 18:26
  • @AlexanderSKing I mention Wikipedia because it is first search result will come from google,written in formal English and reader can expand to from Wiki page to reference – NinjaDeveloper Dec 15 '15 at 18:46
  • Might be better to focus on particular examples of how to respond, because the way to respond will matter on the manner in which something is erroneous. – James Kingsbery Dec 15 '15 at 22:35

From the perspective of one of the best founded theories applicable to this situation, Habermas' Theory of Communicative Acting:

As long as you cannot agree about the truth-conditions and underlying normative judgements at all, there is no meaningful communication possible.

And that is pretty much what we experience every day.


AFAIK most traditional (as in books, journals, etc) scientific publications go trough a process called peer-review, where the publication in question is reviewed by other specialists in the field to check validity of reasoning, evidence, credibility of sources and errors of all kinds.

A likewise process happens at Wikipedia, where articles are reviewedand edited by people (hopefully) knowledgeable on the topic to improve the article.

But then again, TV shows posts can be as precise as specialised publications - old National Geographic and Discovery Channel documentaries for examle, when they focused more on providing knowledge rather then entertainment. Also, a blog post can be as precise as an article in scientific journal - provided the author did an outstanding job.

If you think something is presented inaccurately, you can check the facts in sources you trust to be reliable. And then again, you can use the facts you found in a debate.

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