A good argument is based upon sound premises.
Often claims by the devout will start with propositions A, B, and C, and then build upon those to draw conclusions to “prove” D through Z.
And too often, we get bogged down in trying to DIS-prove D through Z. Each new fallacious claim sends us off on another tangential argument until we’ve been run all over the yard like a dog chasing every stick being thrown.
Don’t do that. Treat each argument like a firefighter, and focus on the source of the flames.
It’s easier said than done, and I’ll admit to being steered off the rails lots of times, but that’s the challenge: stick with the fallaciousness of the premise, and don’t get distracted.
For example, here is a recent article by an awkward but prolific theist whose piece begins with two troubling premises:
a) “If you believe atheism is true”; and
b) “If atheism is your worldview”
I naturally challenged both. Atheism is, quite specifically, simply “not theism”. It is, at its most fundamental, a state of being unconvinced about god[s]. Period.
So premise a) equates to “If you believe not believing in god[s] is true” which is nonsensical. And since atheism is a belief, not a worldview, I challenged that premise as well. Atheism can certainly SHAPE one’s worldview, and the author had plenty of examples of that. But just because an atheist HAS a worldview, that doesn’t make atheism a world view. A Shriner can have a sandwich. That doesn’t mean Shriners are sandwiches.
It doesn’t matter how many paragraphs of assertions, claims, and deductions follow the author’s flawed suppositions, they are unsubstantiated until his premises are proven.
And predictably, haughty challenges were offered in lieu of rational explanations:
“Well then, what’s YOUR worldview?”
Doesn’t matter. If I challenged a claim like “atheism is an undergarment”, then “Well, show me YOUR underwear” isn’t a valid rebuttal.
Stick to your guns, stay on topic, and don’t chase sticks.
And never, ever show them your underwear.
Unless you really want to…