Is there a persistent Internet argument that you're just sick of responding to? Don't have the energy to explain the problem with the argument for the billionth time? These comics can help, countering those troublesome arguments with a few words and pictures.

Image from someecards, likely inspired by this xkcd comic.

1. The Terrible Argument: "You're violating my free speech!"

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Some people are under the mistaken impression that free speech means that they can say anything they want without criticism or consequence. But this comic from Randall Munroe's xkcd reminds us exactly what free speech means:

Be sure to head over the xkcd to read the hover text, which further explains why you shouldn't use claims of "free speech" as an argument with private entities.

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2. The Terrible Argument: "Not all [insert group] are like that! I'm not like that!"

Sometimes, in response to complaints of harassment/bad actions by a particular group, a member of that group will respond with, "Not all of us are like that!" as if it is some sort of argument against the complaint.

To highlight the problem with that response (and doing nothing to solve the problem at hand), Dick Jarvis made the comic "Gull Factory" about a conversation between a seagull and rat. It doesn't go so well. Jarvis includes this note:

If you feel like this comic doesn't accurately represent you, and that you personally don't act like this, good. That means this comic isn't about you.

If you DO act like this, and are working on a counter argument about how not all _____ are ______ , well that's just disappointing.


3. The Terrible Argument: "Evolution is just a theory."

There is a whole slew of arguments that we've all heard from people who don't believe in evolution: If we're descended from apes, how come there are still apes? How can we discuss evolution as accepted science if it's the Theory of Evolution?

In this excerpt from his book Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams, Darryl Cunningham takes on common challenges to evolution, debunking them point by point. It probably won't change the minds of someone who firmly believes evolution is lie, but it's helpful for people who are genuinely confused.




4. The Terrible Argument: "I'm being unfailingly polite, so you should debate this with me whether you want to or not."

Have you ever encountered someone who insists that their politeness is the most important aspect of your conversation, and that you owe it to them to debate every single point with them because they are being oh so polite about it? Thanks to David Malki's Wondermark, that phenomenon now has a name: Sea Lioning. Damn intrusive marine mammals.



5. The Terrible Argument: "Things were never this bad before [insert event] happened."

Need to respond to the relative who unironically says "Thanks, Obama," regarding things that have absolutely nothing to do with who's in the White House? Maybe pass along this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic in which Zach Weinersmith points out that, by referencing atomic bombs, you can make all sorts of things sound terrible.


6. The Terrible Argument: "We shouldn't say that black lives matter, because everyone's lives matter."

In response to people who complain about the Black Lives Matter movement, because singling out black people who have been killed by police officers is somehow a form of racism, Kris Straub posted this installment of Chainsawsuit. It perfectly skewers the bizarre insistence that we should talk only about "equality" and never about the individual groups that are demanding equality.


7. The Terrible Argument: "I never see this form of harassment happen, so I suspect it doesn't happen as much as people say."

It's true, we as human beings tend to believe our eyes and ears, and it can be surprising when someone tells us that there's a huge, persistent problem that we ourselves have never seen. Over the past year, there's been a lot of discussion about harassment of women and how many men have never witnessed it themselves. Robot Hugs shines the light on harassment and gently reminds us all that even if we don't experience a particular negative event in our daily lives, that doesn't mean it's not happening.


8. The Terrible Argument: "I'm not privileged because I have hardship in my life."

Life is hard. Everyone has issues that they have to deal with, and the fact that they have some disadvantages in life doesn't mean that they don't have advantages as well. Jon Rosenberg offers up a rather absurd version of someone claiming their particular hardship negates their privilege in Scenes from a Multiverse. But for nuanced discussions, there is also Jamie Kapp's explanation of white privilege and another excellent comic from Robot Hugs laying out how privilege works, that it isn't absolute, and that, while "privilege" isn't a word that should be hurled like a weapon, it is a good thing for us as human beings interacting with other human beings to be aware of.


9. The Terrible Argument: "Portrayals of muscle-bound men are the same as portrayals of sexy women."

This installment from David Willis' Shortpacked! is a classic, wonderfully illustrating the difference between a male power fantasy and objectifying men by showing a sexy male (who also happens to be Batman) that's clearly not a male power fantasy. Of course, that doesn't stop people from trying to make this argument again and again.

By the way, there's also a sequel to this comic where one character starts to chime in with what is surely a terrible counterargument.


10. The Terrible Argument: Pretty much everything you've heard against vaccines.

It's a series of arguments that somehow won't go away, and Maki Naro (who also created the comics Sci-ənce and Sufficiently Remarkable) counters them all in this comic for The Nib. And if you need more information about the MMR vaccine controversy, Darryl Cunningham has written about that as well. However, debunking vaccine myths isn't always as useful as we think it is.



Thanks to Greg Thelan, Channing Kennedy, Terry D. Johnson, and Esther Inglis-Arkell for suggestions!

Related:

10 Comics That Can Help You Understand Mental Illness

An Idiot's Guide to Free Speech