The Burning House Defense

Here’s the situation: you and an opponent are in a debate about some topic (you pick); so far, things are even-keeled. Then, your opponent responds with something like this: “I’ve yet to see you come up with a conclusion. You have no right complaining about a problem you don’t have a solution for.”

They could alter the end with something closer to this: “How come you always point out the problems you don’t have solutions for?”

There are a number of variations to what they might say; the core of their argument is that you have no right critiquing a problem you have no solution for.

If you’ve previously succumbed to defeat on their offense, you can now respond with this:

True, I don’t have a new solution, however, neither do people whom are trapped in a burning building; they don’t know how to put the fire out, but they can still see that there’s a problem.

Be warned that you might get a comment about takings things to extremes. While this is true, it is not actually a response to your point; it is deflection. They’re trying to avoid a response to your statement, with a critique of your comment. As if to say, “Since I pointed out this one flaw with your comment, I now no-longer have to respond”. Don’t let them avoid or be-little your comment.

The mature response would be to agree that it is a bit extreme, but still holds water: People whom witness situations they don’t have a solution for are still allowed to alert others to that they see a problem.

Feel free to personalize.