The Googleization of Argument


Google, in both its noun and verb form has brought a less rigorous form to the state of discussion. In academic and general conversation, the ability to search Google based on a keyword pertinent to your studies or a thread you are participating grants you the ability to expand your knowledge on that topic. The creation of the hyperlink opens up whole new worlds with regard to pointing readers to your source or support for a point you’re making. The trouble comes in the uncritical use of this facility.

In the largely self-edited environment of the interweb it is incumbent upon you to search further than the page that you want to reference to determine the underlying character of the site before naming it a reliable source of credible support for your point. For example, if I say that we cannot know something about the nature of the world, adding the link that I did leads you to a web site that supports my statement. Obviously, the majority will find the beliefs espoused here to be quite contrary to reality.

Another class of web sites that is often linked to are those in the advocacy category. The site you are reading could be considered an advocate for the truth of Christ. The troublesome links are those that take a completely one sided position on some topic, so much so that they are not to be considered as a single source point of information. The advocacy position should either be revealed or an argument from another source that balances the first should be offered. In a recent discussion a link was offered that was to be considered representative of all Jewish thought on a subject. Unfortunately, just a few moments of searching revealed the extremely narrow theological and philosophical viewpoint of the writers making the opinion worthless in the larger scope of the discussion. Unless the original poster meant to use this opinion to bolster his argument deceitfully, the viewpoint should have been considered and revealed.

If we’re going to discuss anything of importance, it’s crucial that we maintain a standard of credibility. Consider both sides rather than simply rattling off your talking points. Be balanced in the sources you cite. Be nice.

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