Wikiclaim:A Claim is not an Argument

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Wikiclaim is for claims. Claims are used to support other claims, but the claims themselves must be straightforward statements and not arguments.

Examples[edit source]

Example 1[edit source]

"Reducing unintended pregnancy in the United States would be particularly desirable since abortion is such a politically divisive issue."

This is an argument. Some claims would be:

  • (1) Abortion is a politically divisive issue
  • (2) A majority of Group X believes "Reducing unintended pregnancy in the United States would be particularly desirable"
  • (3) Reducing unintended pregnancy could significantly reduce abortions in the United States
  • (4) Reducing unintended pregnancy is a way reduce abortions in the United States that's less politically divisive than alternatives

Notice the word "since"—that's an argument word. Also notice the word "desirable": wanting something isn't a claim to provide evidence for.

Example 2[edit source]

"United States construction can't be inefficient because customers wouldn't pay and competition means they'd find more efficient contractors."

This is an argument. Some claims would be:

  • (1) United States construction is inefficient

  • (2) United States construction is efficient

  • (3) United States construction is less efficient than Japan.
  • (4) United States construction is competitive

For our purposes, a claim is a statement which can be supported with empirical evidence, either directly, or through chains of claims. Broader claims need to be backed by more specific ones (eg. for example 1 back claim (4) with claims (1) and (3), or for example 2 back claim (1) with claim (3)).

Also, it's difficult to support a statement that claims multiple things. Claims need to be concise. Compound statements can be broken down into multiple claims.

Signals that a Statement is not a Claim[edit source]

Note that the arguments above contains the words "since" and "because". Some words may cue that a statement is not a pure assertion.

Claims do not talk about what we "should" be doing.
 Claims state that things "are" a certain way. Claims may state that a particular action causes a particular effect.

Similar Claims[edit source]

Sometimes two claims are very similar. In those cases, the claims may be merged.

Sometimes two claims are exact opposites (as are (1) and (2) in example 2). In that case, we use just one page for both claims (using one of the two claims), and include claims for and against it.

If the against claims begin to outweigh the for ones, we can invert the claim by renaming it. Note that just because a claim appears on Wikiclaim, that doesn't mean that Wikiclaim endorses it one way or the other.