“When you think about your argument, you may realize there is a universe of information that is completely irrelevant to your argument. So an important part of good reasoning is ferreting out facts and points that may initially seem relevant or enticing, but in reality do not matter one bit. Trying to persuade by attacking the other person personally, by appealing to what ‘most’ other people think, or by instilling fear are a few of many examples of irrelevancy that we will cover in this book. In essence, discussing things that are irrelevant to an argument is the same as changing the subject of the argument and arguing about something else. ”
—The Joy of Argument, pg. 59
It’s easy to become distracted by irrelevant information–whether you’re sidetracking yourself, or your opponent is barraging you with facts and figures that simply don’t matter. It takes practice, but a skilled arguer can learn to move past extraneous points, without getting pulled into time-wasting tangents.
Don’t waste your time.
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the multitude of information that may be hiding the important parts of an argument. Find out early on what matters most about your argument, and don’t let anything distract you from those key points as you build and argue your case.
Don’t be distracted, discouraged or persuaded by the infinite number of things that simply don’t matter.
If you’re interested in learning more about using argument, check out The Joy of Argument here.