straw man

If you deliberately use a fake issue to argue against because it's easier to prove wrong than the real issue would be, you're using a straw man. By attacking a straw man, you make it look like you've successfully defeated your opponent's argument.

People use a straw man when they want to appear to have won an argument. A classic straw man might consist of your brother saying, "Cats are great," and you countering with, "Cats aren't better than dogs, because there are no seeing eye cats." Your brother wasn't actually saying that cats are the best animal, but you changed his argument to make it seem that way so you could win the debate.

Definitions of straw man
  1. noun
    a weak or sham argument set up to be easily refuted
    synonyms: strawman
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    type of:
    specious argument
    an argument that appears good at first view but is really fallacious
  2. noun
    a person used as a cover for some questionable activity
    synonyms: figurehead, front, front man, nominal head, strawman
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    type of:
    beguiler, cheat, cheater, deceiver, slicker, trickster
    someone who leads you to believe something that is not true
  3. noun
    an effigy in the shape of a man to frighten birds away from seeds
    synonyms: bird-scarer, scarecrow, scarer, strawman
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    type of:
    effigy, image, simulacrum
    a representation of a person (especially in the form of sculpture)
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