by Matt Fradd

If you frequent websites such as YouTube or Facebook, you’ve read the exchanges that take place on these forums. Sometimes they are intelligent and substantive, but often they resemble two toddlers squabbling: “Did too.” “Did not.” “Did too.”

If we are to heed the instruction of our first pope, which is to “always be ready to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15), we must have at least a basic understanding of argumentation. We must know what constitutes a strong argument and what constitutes a weak one.

What an Argument Isn’t—and Is

An argument is not an assertion such as, “God exists.” Nor is an argument merely a contradictory assertion such as, “No, he doesn’t.” An argument is not a quarrel, a fight, or a disagreement. An argument, properly speaking, is a set of propositions called premises from which the person who is making the argument seeks to establish a conclusion.

Types of Arguments

There are two main types of arguments: deductive and inductive. (READ MORE …)