Explain why the technique you selected would be useful.
I think this substitution works on several levels. It points out that the argument is invalid because it’s self-defeating. It provides an opportunity to disassociate from indoctrinated thought patterns and existing, potentially emotionally charged, biases. The idea of banning all dogs from biting is likely to be quickly dismissed as absurd, meeting this requirement of reductio ad absurdum. It also uses analogy to point to something that never seems to get discussed.
Arguments against gun control laws tend to come in three flavors:
- Challenging the premise that people who have guns are dangerous (grasping by the horn)
- Substituting situations that are more dangerous into the logic (reductio ad absurdum)
- Appeal to the Constitution (using the 2nd Amendment - a fallacious argument with a plethora of suspects – appeal to authority, appeal to popularity, begging the question, amphiboly, and probably many more)
The first two are done to demonstrate that the argument is weak and the third is a misguided attempt at asserting a person's rights. In the first, stories and stats are presented to show that far more guns are kept or used in ways that do not harm innocent people and that the media-hyped incidents (appeal to misleading vividness) account for a miniscule portion of the people who have guns. The second substitutes more dangerous situations that people don’t want banned into the argument. For instance, many more people are killed by mistakes and diseases they contract in hospitals than by felonious gun use, therefore people should be banned from going to hospitals, in order to protect them from an unsafe situation (you can substitute showers, smoking, Coke and McDonald’s, and a whole host of causes of death and injury far more dangerous than people with guns). While both do a good job of showing that the gun control argument is weak, the dog/pit bull substitution goes one step farther, showing that the argument is worse than weak, it’s not even valid. Strength and weakness don’t even need to be considered because it is essentially a self-defeating, non-argument.
Framing the argument around dogs helps put some distance between the argument and indoctrinated thought patterns and closely-held biases. People have some very illogical ideas when discussing gun control (which will be discussed in the answer to the next question) and making dogs the center of attention may help them to think more rationally about the argument.
Arguing that dogs should be banned from biting is laughably dismissed. Most dogs bite naturally out of fear for their own safety or in protection of their owners/property. No one faults a dog that bites out of self-defense or that bites an intruder that enters a house. When dogs do bite, the blame usually goes to the owner of the dog who either failed to maintain control of the dog, or worse, trained the dog to be vicious. When someone hurts someone with a gun, no one looks intently at the parents, teachers, social workers, social system, clergy, or others who played a role in training the person to be vicious. The gun becomes a scapegoat, either to avoid being tasked with solving the real and much more difficult problem, or to disarm the subjects of a country to make them easier to control, or some other motive not actually related to the "danger" of people having guns.
The analogy (which would probably be missed by most people) specifically using pit bulls as a substitution uses another indoctrination theme played out by the corporate media. When you say “dogs,” the image of your own dog comes to mind or the thought of them as “man’s best friend.” When you say, “pit bull,” thanks to media-hyped incidents (appeal to misleading vividness – are you sensing a theme?), people think of vicious, snarling beasts that rip children to shreds. However, in this case, the pit bulls’ masters are scrutinized and many times, it is found that they trained the pit bulls to attack. This creates the impression that pit bulls are inherently dangerous and that their masters are idiots and/or cruel, inhumane bastards who knowingly created a potential menace to society. If you were to compare the number of innocent people killed and injured with a gun by people who are not government employees with those who are killed and injured by government employees, not surprisingly, you would find that government employees are by far the greater threat. The nature of their training, environment, mindset, and weaponry makes them inherently more dangerous (I was a cop for 12 years and killed someone in the line of duty) and there is no doubt that their masters are idiots and/or cruel, inhumane bastards who knowingly create a potential menace to society.
To be continued . . .