an argument refute

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How to Refute an Argument (and how not to)

What is the difference between an uncritical attack, on the one hand, and a critical refutation, on the other? Understanding what is wrong and right is quite different from feeling comfortable with a given set of ideas and positions (comfort does not necessitate rightness or truth). To this end, to know this difference between actually arguing and refuting, I will briefly explain what a refutation actually is (and isn’t). In the world of information, this is extremely important.

If you want to pinpoint the source of an error in a given argument, you basically have two fronts to consider: (1) the truth of the premises , and (2) the reasoning between the premises that lead to the conclusion (validity) . Knowing this, we can also infer how NOT to refute something. That is to say, a true refutation does at least one of the two things we just discussed (or both). A false refutation is something that looks good on a superficial and emotional level, like something substantial is being said but doesn’t survive careful analysis (it isn’t actually substantial; flash without substance).

Boiled Down: uNDERMINE AN ARGUMENT BY SHOWING the FALSITY OF ONE OR MORE PREMISES, AND/OR SHOWING THAT THERE IS AN INVALID INFERENCE.

For a complete refutation , however, you need a counter argument that contradicts the conclusion of the argument that you are attacking..

Some popular fallacies are basically attacks (not on the actual argument, its premises, etc). A d hominem ( latin for ‘against the man’) is popular, which is simply to attack the character of the arguer or the platform that they have. For instance, rather than wrestling with the cited data, the interpretation of the data, or the reasoning, one could attack the style, or appeal to anything else that prevents another person from ‘taking it seriously.’ The ‘it’ here is the argument. The argument is important, the means that the communication is made, verbally, visually, etc, but these things are not important (only important in an auxiliary way).

This can’t be stressed enough. A bad person can make a good argument. A good person can make a bad argument. A smart person can assert something foolish and stupid. A fool can say something brilliant and true. This is why critical thinking and logic are so important. If we can cultivate the ability to reason together, examine arguments, and know what the ‘point’ of the argument is, then we can all jointly get closer to the truth.

With this in mind, if you read something that you think is wrong, the burden is two-fold: showing the falsehood of premises, and/or showing the illicit inference. That’s it.

Contrariwise, a false refutation is precisely when you make an attack that essentially tells yourself and others: ‘don’t wrestle with the premises and reasoning’. That is, a false refutation is an attack on the general credibility of the arguer instead of the argument itself.

There are some some notable things to be said though, regarding credibility of sources. A person known for lying might be lying. True. A news site known for fabricated stories might be fabricating stories. These are things that we should be aware of. However, if we are to be part of the critical discussion of ideas and truth, we have to demonstrate where the arguments go wrong, if we are to understand how to get things right.

In short, critical reasoning is hard, and we should be on our guard to not pretend we are doing it, when in fact, we are just attacking something without examining it carefully. An honest solution is easy. You can say, ‘I don’t know.’ Or, ‘I haven’t examined the studies yet.’ The worst thing that you can do though, is to pretend to think carefully when there was nothing going on but sheer prejudice (‘I don’t like this view, so it must be stupid and wrong’).

So, let’s talk about premises and reasoning because that is what critical thinking requires. It is hard. It is time-consuming. But it is better for everyone.

See also these articles on reasoning and logic:

  • The Statist Fallacy:
  • Provisional How-to for Voting (without being a lemming)
  • Learn your fallacies, and save the world! (Yes, this is hyperbole, but there is something to it)

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I am a philosopher that is interested in what makes life worth living, what is worth pursuing, and how we can learn from the past. I believe that good philosophy benefits everyone and that there should be philosophers that present philosophy to those outside of the academy.

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  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

In rhetoric, refutation is the part of an argument in which a speaker or writer counters opposing points of view. Also called  confutation .

Refutation is "the key element in debate," say the authors of The Debater's Guide  (2011). Refutation "makes the whole process exciting by relating ideas and arguments from one team to those of the other" ( The Debater's Guide , 2011).

In speeches, refutation and confirmation are often presented "conjointly with one another" (in the words of the unknown author of Ad Herrenium ): support for a claim ( confirmation ) can be enhanced by a challenge to the validity of an opposing claim ( refutation ).

In classical rhetoric , refutation was one of the rhetorical exercises known as the  progymnasmata .

Examples and Observations

"Refutation is the part of an essay that disproves the opposing arguments. It is always necessary in a persuasive paper to refute or answer those arguments. A good method for formulating your refutation is to put yourself in the place of your readers, imagining what their objections might be. In the exploration of the issues connected with your subject, you may have encountered possible opposing viewpoints in discussions with classmates or friends. In the refutation, you refute those arguments by proving the opposing basic proposition untrue or showing the reasons to be invalid...In general, there is a question about whether the refutation should come before or after the proof . The arrangement will differ according to the particular subject and the number and strength of the opposing arguments. If the opposing arguments are strong and widely held, they should be answered at the beginning. In this case, the refutation becomes a large part of the proof . . .. At other times when the opposing arguments are weak, the refutation will play only a minor part in the overall proof." -Winifred Bryan Horner, Rhetoric in the Classical Tradition . St. Martin's, 1988

Indirect and Direct Refutation

  • "Debaters refute through an indirect means when they use counter-argument to attack the case of an opponent. Counter-argument is the demonstration of such a high degree of probability for your conclusions that the opposing view loses its probability and is rejected... Direct refutation attacks the arguments of the opponent with no reference to the constructive development of an opposing view...The most effective refutation, as you can probably guess, is a combination of the two methods so that the strengths of the attack come from both the destruction of the opponents' views and the construction of an opposing view." -Jon M. Ericson, James J. Murphy, and Raymond Bud Zeuschner,  The Debater's Guide , 4th ed. Southern Illinois University Press, 2011
  • "An effective refutation must speak directly to an opposing argument. Often writers or speakers will claim to be refuting the opposition, but rather than doing so directly, will simply make another argument supporting their own side. This is a form of the fallacy of irrelevance through evading the issue." -Donald Lazere,  Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen's Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric . Taylor & Francis, 2009

Cicero on Confirmation and Refutation

"[T]he statement of the case . . . must clearly point out the question at issue. Then must be conjointly built up the great bulwarks of your cause, by fortifying your own position, and weakening that of your opponent; for there is only one effectual method of vindicating your own cause, and that includes both the confirmation and refutation. You cannot refute the opposite statements without establishing your own; nor can you, on the other hand, establish your own statements without refuting the opposite; their union is demanded by their nature, their object, and their mode of treatment. The whole speech is, in most cases, brought to a conclusion by some amplification of the different points, or by exciting or mollifying the judges; and every aid must be gathered from the preceding, but more especially from the concluding parts of the address, to act as powerfully as possible upon their minds, and make them zealous converts to your cause." -Cicero, De Oratore , 55 BC

Richard Whately on Refutation

"Refutation of Objections should generally be placed in the midst of the Argument; but nearer the beginning than the end. If indeed very strong objections have obtained much currency, or have been just stated by an opponent, so that what is asserted is likely to be regarded as paradoxical , it may be advisable to begin with a Refutation." -Richard Whately, Elements of Rhetoric , 1846)​

FCC Chairman William Kennard's Refutation

"There will be those who say 'Go slow. Don't upset the status quo.' No doubt we will hear this from competitors who perceive that they have an advantage today and want regulation to protect their advantage. Or we will hear from those who are behind in the race to compete and want to slow down deployment for their own self-interest. Or we will hear from those that just want to resist changing the status quo for no other reason than change brings less certainty than the status quo. They will resist change for that reason alone. So we may well hear from a whole chorus of naysayers. And to all of them, I have only one response: we cannot afford to wait. We cannot afford to let the homes and schools and businesses throughout America wait. Not when we have seen the future. We have seen what high capacity broadband can do for education and for our economy. We must act today to create an environment where all competitors have a fair shot at bringing high capacity bandwidth to consumers—especially residential consumers. And especially residential consumers in rural and underserved areas." -William Kennard, Chairman of the FCC, July 27, 1998

Etymology: From the Old English, "beat"

Pronunciation: REF-yoo-TAY-shun

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Understanding Refute: What It Means and How It Works

Coach Mike

Discover the meaning and functionality of refute with this comprehensive guide.

Exploring the Definition of Refute

Refute is a verb that means to prove something to be false or incorrect. When you refute a statement or an argument, you provide evidence or logical reasoning that contradicts or disproves it. Refutation is an essential part of critical thinking and debate, as it allows for the examination and evaluation of different perspectives.

In the context of discussions or debates, refutation involves presenting counterarguments and evidence to challenge the validity or accuracy of a claim. It requires careful analysis and research to identify flaws, inconsistencies, or weaknesses in the opposing argument. By refuting an argument, you aim to demonstrate its fallacies or lack of evidence, ultimately weakening its credibility.

Refuting an argument requires a thorough understanding of the topic at hand and the ability to present compelling evidence or logical reasoning. It often involves analyzing facts, statistics, expert opinions, and logical fallacies to dismantle the opposing argument effectively. Refutation can be done through various methods, such as providing counterexamples, pointing out logical inconsistencies, or questioning the reliability of sources.

In summary, the definition of refute is to disprove or contradict a statement or argument through evidence or logical reasoning. It is a critical skill that allows for the evaluation and examination of different perspectives, promoting deeper understanding and intellectual growth.

Understanding the Purpose of Refute

The purpose of refute is to challenge and question the validity of a statement or argument. It serves as a means to critically analyze different viewpoints and promote intellectual growth. By engaging in refutation, you can identify weaknesses, inconsistencies, or fallacies in arguments, leading to a more accurate understanding of the topic at hand.

Refutation is an essential tool in academic and intellectual discourse. It helps to foster critical thinking skills and encourages individuals to question information and claims presented to them. By actively seeking to refute arguments, you can develop a more well-rounded perspective and avoid accepting information blindly.

Furthermore, the purpose of refute extends beyond individual growth and understanding. It plays a crucial role in public debates, political discussions, and scientific research. By engaging in refutation, individuals can challenge misleading or false information, contributing to the advancement of knowledge and the development of more informed societies.

In conclusion, the purpose of refute is to critically analyze and challenge statements or arguments in order to promote intellectual growth, foster critical thinking skills, and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Examining the Process of Refutation

The process of refutation involves several steps to effectively challenge and disprove an argument. To begin, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the argument being presented and identify its main claims or assertions. This requires careful reading, research, and analysis of the supporting evidence and sources.

Once you have a clear understanding of the argument, you can proceed with the process of refutation. This typically involves identifying any logical fallacies, inconsistencies, or weaknesses in the argument. Common fallacies include ad hominem attacks, false cause and effect reasoning, and appeals to emotion or authority.

After identifying the flaws in the argument, you can begin to gather evidence or logical reasoning to support your refutation. This may involve conducting further research, consulting reliable sources, or presenting counterarguments that address the weaknesses or fallacies in the original argument.

When presenting your refutation, it is essential to remain respectful and logical. Avoid personal attacks or emotional responses, as these can weaken your credibility. Instead, focus on presenting well-reasoned arguments, supported by evidence and logical analysis.

It is also important to consider the context and audience when engaging in refutation. Tailor your arguments and evidence to the specific audience, addressing their concerns, values, and prior knowledge. This can help make your refutation more persuasive and impactful.

In summary, the process of refutation involves understanding the argument, identifying flaws or weaknesses, gathering evidence or logical reasoning, presenting a well-reasoned refutation, and considering the context and audience. By following this process, you can effectively challenge and disprove arguments.

Analyzing the Benefits of Refute

Refutation offers several benefits in both personal and intellectual contexts. Firstly, it promotes critical thinking skills by encouraging individuals to question and analyze information critically. By actively seeking to refute arguments, individuals develop the ability to evaluate evidence, identify fallacies, and form well-reasoned opinions.

Furthermore, refutation helps individuals to develop a more well-rounded perspective on various topics. By engaging with and refuting different arguments, individuals gain exposure to different viewpoints and can consider a broader range of perspectives. This promotes intellectual growth and prevents individuals from accepting information blindly.

Refutation also plays a vital role in academic and intellectual discourse. It encourages healthy debate, where ideas can be rigorously tested and refined. By engaging in refutation, individuals contribute to the advancement of knowledge, as flawed arguments are challenged, and more accurate understanding is achieved.

Additionally, refutation serves as a tool for identifying and combating misinformation or false claims. By actively engaging in refutation, individuals can help prevent the spread of misleading information and promote the dissemination of accurate and reliable knowledge.

In conclusion, the benefits of refutation include the promotion of critical thinking skills, the development of a well-rounded perspective, contributions to the advancement of knowledge, and combating misinformation. By engaging in refutation, individuals can enhance their intellectual abilities and contribute to a more informed society.

Implementing Refute in Different Scenarios

Refutation can be implemented in various scenarios to challenge and question arguments. In academic settings, students are often encouraged to engage in refutation as part of their critical thinking and analytical skills development. This can involve analyzing academic papers, presenting counterarguments, and participating in classroom debates.

In public debates or political discussions, refutation plays a crucial role in challenging misleading or false claims. By actively engaging in refutation, individuals can help promote accurate information and prevent the spread of misinformation. This is particularly important in the age of social media and the rapid dissemination of information.

Furthermore, refutation is highly relevant in scientific research. Peer review, a critical component of the scientific process, involves the refutation of research findings. Scientists scrutinize and challenge each other's work to ensure the validity and reliability of scientific knowledge.

Refutation can also be implemented in everyday conversations and discussions. By actively seeking to challenge and question arguments, individuals can promote critical thinking, deepen their understanding of different topics, and contribute to more meaningful and informed conversations.

In summary, refutation can be implemented in academic settings, public debates, scientific research, and everyday conversations. By engaging in refutation in these different scenarios, individuals can enhance critical thinking skills, promote accurate information, and contribute to more meaningful discourse.

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30 Refutation Examples

refutation examples and definition, explained below

Refutation refers to the act of proving a statement or theory wrong through the use of logical reasoning and evidence.

Some strategies for refutation, which we may use in an argumentative essay, speech, or debate, include:

  • Reductio ad Absurdum : Taking an argument to its logical conclusion to demonstrate its absurdity.
  • Counterexamples : Presenting counterexamples , which are practical and real-life examples that contradict the opponent’s claims.
  • Identifying Logical Fallacies : Highlighting instances in which the opponent’s claims don’t follow logical reasoning.
  • Highlighting Omissions: Demonstrating that the opponent failed to discuss or consider facts that dispute their claims.

I recommend to all my students that they refute possible counterclaims and contradicting perspectives in their argumentative essays in order to establish an authoritative position, demonstrate awareness of a broad range of perspectives, and add depth to your arguments.

Below is a range of methods of refutation.

Refutation Examples

1. analogical disproof.

This method involves refuting an argument by drawing a parallel to a situation that’s logically similar but absurd or clearly incorrect. Used properly, it can effectively puncture an opponent’s argument, showing that the same logic could lead to preposterous conclusions.

Example: “All birds fly. Penguins are birds, so they should fly.” The analogical disproof might be: “Not all office workers use computers. You’re an office worker, so should you not use a computer?”

2. Test of Consistency

This refutation method tests whether an argument stands consistent under different circumstances or scenarios. If an argument contains contradictions or doesn’t hold true in various contexts, it falls under inconsistency.

Example: Someone posits, “A person should always lend money to friends.” A consistency test might involve asking, “Should a person still lend money if they know their friend will spend it irresponsibly?”

See More: Consistency Examples

3. Rebuttal by Cause and Effect

This approach involves contesting an argument by disputing the assumed relationship between cause and effect. Here, you challenge the validity of the cause, the effect, or the linkage between the two.

Example: To refute, “Violent video games cause aggressive behavior in players,” you might present studies showing no significant increase in aggression among players of violent video games. This disrupts the asserted cause-effect relationship.

See More: Cause and Effect Examples

4. Prioritization of Evidence

This method questions the quality, reliability, or relevance of the evidence presented in an argument. You might challenge evidence’s weight, context, source, or legitimacy to weaken the opponent’s stance.

Example: Against the claim, “Spicy food aids in weight loss because it boosts metabolism,” you could highlight that the studies underpinning that claim are less reliable than studies demonstrating that exercise boosts weight loss.

5. Challenge the Relevance

Challenging the relevance involves disputing how pertinent or directly related the opponent’s points are to the argument at hand. Irrelevant points detract from the main argument and don’t strengthen the position they are intended to support.

Example: If someone argues, “Technology improves quality of life because smartphones have advanced cameras,” you might challenge the relevance by questioning how advanced cameras light to better quality of life.

See More: Relevance Examples

6. Statistical Refutation

Statistical refutation seeks to invalidate an argument by questioning the statistical evidence used. This might involve critiquing how data were collected, interpreted, or applied.

Example: If a study claims, “80% of people feel healthier when they eat chocolate daily,” you could challenge the data by asking who was surveyed and how the question was asked.

7. Appeal to Common Sense

An appeal to common sense challenges a claim by invoking widely accepted truths or knowledge. This strategy can debunk arguments that defy everyday observations or popular wisdom.

Example: If someone says, “to prevent climate change we need to shut down all coal-fired powerplants immediately,” you could refute it by appealing to the common sense notion that shutting them all down right now would cause the entire economy to collapse overnight.

See More: Examples of Common Sense

8. Pointing Out Oversimplification

This method involves highlighting how an opponent’s argument oversimplifies a complex issue. It exposes a lack of depth or nuance in their argument, undermining its credibility.

Example: A statement like “More jobs equals less poverty” could be refuted by pointing out the oversimplification in neglecting factors like cost of living and wage levels.

See More: Oversimplification Examples

9. Dismantling a False Dilemma

A false dilemma presents a situation as having only two possible outcomes or solutions. Dismantling a false dilemma involves introducing alternatives or proving that the two proposed options aren’t the only ones.

Example: Against the assertion, “Either we preserve our traditions, or we embrace progress,” you could challenge that we can preserve traditions and also move forward.

See More: False Dilemma Examples

10. Rebuttal through Definition

Rebuttal through definition involves challenging an argument by critiquing the definitions of the concepts, phenomena, or terms used. Here, you question the way an opponent has defined key elements of their argument.

Example: If an argument purports, “Happiness is having a lot of money,” you might dispute that definition by referencing different measures of happiness that don’t involve wealth, such as relationships or personal growth.

See More: Rebuttal Examples

11. Rebuttal by Precedence

This method employs historical or present precedents to debunk an argument. By illustrating similar situations where the opponent’s proposition didn’t hold true or feasible decisions were made contrary to the claim, the argument can be refuted.

Example: If faced with the claim, “No democracy can survive without a two-party system,” you could counter by citing examples of thriving democracies around the world with more than two significant parties.

12. Challenge the Representativeness

Challenging the representativeness entails scrutinizing whether an argument’s supporting evidence adequately represents the whole. It rejects sweeping generalizations or conclusions based on limited data.

Example: Should someone argue, “Most students dislike school, as proven by a survey from my class,” you could counter by questioning whether your class is representative of all students around the country.

13. Rebuttal through Syllogism

Rebuttal through syllogism uses the opponent’s premises to arrive at a different conclusion. If, through logical reasoning, the proposed conclusion does not necessarily follow the premises given, the argument can be effectively refuted.

Example: To the statement, “All apples are fruit. All fruit grow on trees. Therefore, all trees grow apples,” a syllogistic rebuttal might state, “While all apples grow on trees, not all trees grow apples.”

14. Pointing Out Non-Sequitur

Pointing out non-sequitur involves highlighting that an argument’s conclusion does not logically follow from its premises. Non-sequiturs often involve leaps in logic or unwarranted assumptions.

Example: In response to the claim, “He’s a great musician, so he’ll be a fantastic concert organizer,” one might point out the non-sequitur by reminding that a musical talent does not equate managerial skills.

15. Rebuttal by Exception

Rebuttal by exception operates by finding exceptions to the generalization made in an argument. By highlighting exceptions that contradict the claim, the argument’s validity is diminished.

Example: If someone argues, “All politicians are corrupt,” you could refute it by highlighting politicians known for their integrity and conviction.

16. Evidence-Based Counterargument

An evidence-based counterargument refutes a claim by presenting strong, credible, and relevant evidence that contradicts the original argument. This method is most effective when the counter-evidence directly disputes the original claim or its supporting facts.

Example: If a person claims, “Milk should be avoided because it’s unhealthy,” an evidence-based counterargument might bring up numerous scientific studies that indicate the nutritional benefits of milk.

See More: Counterargument Examples

17. Logical Analysis

A logical analysis focuses on the internal coherence and logical validity of an argument. By identifying logical fallacies or missteps in reasoning, you can refute a claim by showing how it fails to adhere to the principles of logic.

Example: A statement like “Every time I eat pizza, it rains, so pizza causes rain” can be refuted through logical analysis by highlighting the improper correlation being made.

18. Reductio ad Absurdum

The Reductio ad Absurdum technique demonstrates the absurdity of an argument by pushing it to its logical extreme, where it produces an absurd or preposterous conclusion. This method effectively challenges the premises or logic of the original claim.

Example: If someone argues, “We should never take any risks,” a Reductio ad Absurdum response might be: “By that logic, no one should ever leave their house because stepping outside is inherently risky.”

19. Counterexamples

Counterexamples are specific instances or examples that contradict a general claim or principle. By showing that the contrary is possible or proven, counterexamples can significantly weaken an argument.

Example: If someone claims, “All athletes are team players,” a compelling counterexample might highlight known instances of successful athletes who are infamous for their individualistic nature.

20. Question the Source

Questioning the source involves casting doubt on the credibility, relevance, or authority of the source supporting an argument. If the source is untrustworthy, the claim it supports is also brought into question.

Example: If the argument is “Vitamin C prevents cold because a juice-ad claims so,” you may question the objectivity of a source that may profit from selling more juice.

See More: Best Sources to Cite in Essays

21. Alternative Explanation

Providing an alternative explanation challenges an argument by proposing a different interpretation or understanding of the topic. This method allows you to dispute a claim by suggesting that another explanation is more plausible, relevant, or comprehensive.

Example: An argument might be, “Increased police presence reduces crime.” An alternative explanation could suggest that a more likely cause of reduced crime is improved social support systems and opportunities.

22. Challenge Assumptions

Challenging assumptions requires questioning the premise or basis of an argument. If the argument is built on flawed or questionable assumptions, exposing these can undermine the argument.

Example: When confronted with the argument “Marriage is essential for happiness,” one might challenge the underlying assumption that happiness necessarily requires marriage, citing examples of fulfilled single individuals.

See More: Assumptions Examples

23. Ethical or Moral Challenge

This type of refutation questions an argument on ethical or moral grounds. If the suggested actions or results of an argument lead to morally questionable outcomes, it can be a valid point of refutation.

Example: If someone says, “We should eliminate all pests for a more comfortable life,” you might counter it by pointing out the ethical concerns regarding biodiversity and the broader ecosystem’s health.

24. Using Comparison to Demonstrate Flawed Arguments

Comparisons involve using parallel scenarios, situations, or cases to refute an argument. By emphasizing the similarities or differences, you can question the validity of the argument.

Example: If the claim is “More expensive colleges provide a better education,” you could compare specific high-quality, affordable colleges with premium, yet underperforming ones to refute this argument.

25. Highlight Omissions

Highlighting omissions refers to pointing out relevant facts, information, or arguments that the opponent has left out of their claim. By illuminating these gaps, you can challenge the reliability or completeness of their argument.

Example: If someone argues, “He must be unsuccessful, he never went to college,” you can point out the omission of successful individuals who did not follow the traditional academic path.

26. Reframe the Debate

Reframing the debate involves changing the perspective or the center of the argument. It allows you to shift focus to a different, often overlooked aspect of the discussion, thus challenging the premises or relevance of the original argument.

Example: When faced with the claim, “Academic achievements determine success in life,” you can reframe the debate by suggesting that emotional intelligence, resilience, or interpersonal skills could be more significant indicators of life success.

27. Historical or Precedent-Based Refutation

This method utilizes historical events or established precedents to refute a claim. By referencing cases that contradict the opponent’s assertion, you can question its validity or applicability.

Example: In response to the claim, “Communism leads to societal chaos,” you could point out Cuba, who maintains law and order, to contradict the argument.

28. Practical Implications

Refuting via practical implications involves evaluating the real-world implications or consequences of an argument. This can be used to highlight unforeseen or negative implications that counter the argument’s intent.

Example: If someone suggests, “Cutting all funding for arts can help resolve government budget issues,” you could mention the practical implication that this could result in lost cultural heritage and inspire public backlash.

See Also: Implications Examples

29. Question Motives or Bias

This method of refutation questions whether the argument might be influenced by the speaker’s motives or biases. If the speaker seems to benefit from their claim or appears biased, their argument can be viewed suspiciously.

Example: If a smartphone developer declares, “My company’s phones are unbeatable,” question their bias as they stand to gain from promoting their company’s products.

See Also: Types of Bias

30. Seek Expert Testimony

Seeking expert testimony involves drawing on the knowledge or expertise of recognized authorities on the topic at hand. If expert opinion conflicts with the original statement, the credibility of the argument is undermined.

Example: In an argument about climate change, expert testimony from credible climate scientists refuting a claim of disbelievers can strengthen your refutation.

Understanding refutation will aid in developing stronger arguments and more impactful communication. I recommend to my students that they always refute the strongest claims of their opposition in order to more authoritatively prosecute their own perspective. But remember, in refuting opposing views, you need to be very careful not to fall into poor quality arguments, logical fallacies, or arguments that might otherwise damage your own legitimacy and reputation. Refutation must be clear, systematic, and well-thought-out in order for it to be effective.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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21 Argument, Counterargument, & Refutation

In academic writing, we often use an Argument essay structure. Argument essays have these familiar components, just like other types of essays:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs

But Argument essays also contain these particular elements:

  • Debatable thesis statement in the Introduction
  • Argument – paragraphs which show support for the author’s thesis (for example: reasons, evidence, data, statistics)
  • Counterargument – at least one paragraph which explains the opposite point of view
  • Concession – a sentence or two acknowledging that there could be some truth to the Counterargument
  • Refutation (also called Rebuttal) – sentences which explain why the Counterargument is not as strong as the original Argument

Consult  Introductions & Titles for more on writing debatable thesis statements and  Paragraphs ~ Developing Support for more about developing your Argument.

Imagine that you are writing about vaping. After reading several articles and talking with friends about vaping, you decide that you are strongly opposed to it.

Which working thesis statement would be better?

  • Vaping should be illegal because it can lead to serious health problems.

Many students do not like vaping.

Because the first option provides a debatable position, it is a better starting point for an Argument essay.

Next, you would need to draft several paragraphs to explain your position. These paragraphs could include facts that you learned in your research, such as statistics about vapers’ health problems, the cost of vaping, its effects on youth, its harmful effects on people nearby, and so on, as an appeal to logos . If you have a personal story about the effects of vaping, you might include that as well, either in a Body Paragraph or in your Introduction, as an appeal to pathos .

A strong Argument essay would not be complete with only your reasons in support of your position. You should also include a Counterargument, which will show your readers that you have carefully researched and considered both sides of your topic. This shows that you are taking a measured, scholarly approach to the topic – not an overly-emotional approach, or an approach which considers only one side. This helps to establish your ethos as the author. It shows your readers that you are thinking clearly and deeply about the topic, and your Concession (“this may be true”) acknowledges that you understand other opinions are possible.

Here are some ways to introduce a Counterargument:

  • Some people believe that vaping is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
  • Critics argue that vaping is safer than conventional cigarettes.
  • On the other hand, one study has shown that vaping can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

Your paragraph would then go on to explain more about this position; you would give evidence here from your research about the point of view that opposes your own opinion.

Here are some ways to begin a Concession and Refutation:

  • While this may be true for some adults, the risks of vaping for adolescents outweigh its benefits.
  • Although these critics may have been correct before, new evidence shows that vaping is, in some cases, even more harmful than smoking.
  • This may have been accurate for adults wishing to quit smoking; however, there are other methods available to help people stop using cigarettes.

Your paragraph would then continue your Refutation by explaining more reasons why the Counterargument is weak. This also serves to explain why your original Argument is strong. This is a good opportunity to prove to your readers that your original Argument is the most worthy, and to persuade them to agree with you.

Activity ~ Practice with Counterarguments, Concessions, and Refutations

A. Examine the following thesis statements with a partner. Is each one debatable?

B. Write  your own Counterargument, Concession, and Refutation for each thesis statement.

Thesis Statements:

  • Online classes are a better option than face-to-face classes for college students who have full-time jobs.
  • Students who engage in cyberbullying should be expelled from school.
  • Unvaccinated children pose risks to those around them.
  • Governments should be allowed to regulate internet access within their countries.

Is this chapter:

…too easy, or you would like more detail? Read “ Further Your Understanding: Refutation and Rebuttal ” from Lumen’s Writing Skills Lab.

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reasoning, logic

emotion, feeling, beliefs

moral character, credibility, trust, authority

goes against; believes the opposite of something

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Definition of Refutation

The literary term refutation refers to that part of an argument where a speaker or a writer encounters contradicting points of view. Alternatively, refutation can be described as the negation of an argument, opinion, testimony, doctrine, or theory, through contradicting evidence . It normally constitutes a part of an essay that disproves the opposing arguments.

An important distinction to be appreciated is the difference between refutation and counter-argument. In the case of counter-argument, the writer acknowledges that there is substance in the contradicting argument, yet he provides evidence for his alleged stance. On the other hand, refutation goes a bit further by presenting evidence that in turn negates the opposing arguments.

In a circumstance in which the writer happens to agree with certain aspects of the opposing argument, he makes a concession . However, writers and speakers rarely employ concession, as it can very easily undermine their own stance.

Types of Refutation

There are various ways through which the tool of refutation can be employed. The three most common modes used for the purpose of incorporating the device of refutation in an argument are : (1) refutation through evidence, (2) refutation through logic, and (3) refutation through exposing the discrepancies of opposing argument.

Refutation through Evidence

For an argument to be counted as one of the valid examples of refutation through evidence, it needs to be an argument backed up by some form of evidence. In the absence of clear bases or justifications it cannot be declared valid. Therefore, a writer can refute a contradicting argument if he can provide evidence that conclusively negates it, or by presenting more recent or credible evidence.

Refutation through Logic

Refutation examples through logic are quite tricky to construct. It involves deconstructing the opposing argument, and presenting it in such a way as to highlight the discrepancies present within the argument. Most skilled writers check the validity of their arguments before publishing them. This makes refutation through logic all the more difficult. There is no denying the fact then that refutation through logic constitutes a difficult task at hand. However, writers have employed this tool in their respective writings.

Refutation through Exposing Discrepancies

The method involves showing that one of the contradicting arguments lacks the core ingredient of centrality to the issue as the opposition had intended to project. Also, the writer can logically present his argument as being superior to the one presented by the opposition, by showing that the opposition’s argument lacks the crucial link to the topic. Further, the writer can highlight the insignificance of the opposition’s argument by exposing the deficiencies found within the opposing argument.

Examples of Refutation in Literature

Example #1: elements of rhetoric (by richard whately).

“If indeed very strong objections have obtained much currency, or have been just stated by an opponent, so that what is asserted is likely to be regarded as paradoxical, it may be advisable to begin with a Refutation.”

As can be seen from the excerpt quoted above, refutation of an objection should be placed in the midst of an argument. However, the nearer it is to the beginning the more effective it is likely to be.

Example #2: Remarks made to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Seattle, Washington (By William Kennard, Chairman of the FCC)

“So we may well hear from a whole chorus of naysayers. And to all of them I have only one response: we cannot afford to wait. We cannot afford to let the homes and schools and businesses throughout America wait. Not when we have seen the future. We have seen what high capacity broadband can do for education and for our economy. We must act today to create an environment where all competitors have a fair shot at bringing high capacity bandwidth to consumers—especially residential consumers. And especially residential consumers in rural and underserved areas.”

This excerpt serves to illustrate the effectiveness of early refutation. The early placement of refutation within the extract has had an enhanced persuasive impact on the audience .

Function of Refutation

The tool of refutation has a crucial significance in writing. It is important in determining whether the speaker or writer has successfully persuaded his readers or not. Mostly, the device of refutation is employed when one is dealing with a controversial topic. It allows the reader to prefer one argument over another. The use of the device is frequently witnessed in intricate arguments.

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This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

In order to present a fair and convincing message, you may need to anticipate, research, and outline some of the common positions (arguments) that dispute your thesis. If the situation (purpose) calls for you to do this, you will present and then refute these other positions in the rebuttal section of your essay.

It is important to consider other positions because in most cases, your primary audience will be fence-sitters. Fence-sitters are people who have not decided which side of the argument to support.

People who are on your side of the argument will not need a lot of information to align with your position. People who are completely against your argument—perhaps for ethical or religious reasons—will probably never align with your position no matter how much information you provide. Therefore, the audience you should consider most important are those people who haven't decided which side of the argument they will support—the fence-sitters.

In many cases, these fence-sitters have not decided which side to align with because they see value in both positions. Therefore, to not consider opposing positions to your own in a fair manner may alienate fence-sitters when they see that you are not addressing their concerns or discussion opposing positions at all.

Organizing your rebuttal section

Following the TTEB method outlined in the Body Paragraph section, forecast all the information that will follow in the rebuttal section and then move point by point through the other positions addressing each one as you go. The outline below, adapted from Seyler's Understanding Argument , is an example of a rebuttal section from a thesis essay.

When you rebut or refute an opposing position, use the following three-part organization:

The opponent’s argument : Usually, you should not assume that your reader has read or remembered the argument you are refuting. Thus, at the beginning of your paragraph, you need to state, accurately and fairly, the main points of the argument you will refute.

Your position : Next, make clear the nature of your disagreement with the argument or position you are refuting. Your position might assert, for example, that a writer has not proved his assertion because he has provided evidence that is outdated, or that the argument is filled with fallacies.

Your refutation : The specifics of your counterargument will depend upon the nature of your disagreement. If you challenge the writer’s evidence, then you must present the more recent evidence. If you challenge assumptions, then you must explain why they do not hold up. If your position is that the piece is filled with fallacies, then you must present and explain each fallacy.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.

Arguments are everywhere

You may be surprised to hear that the word “argument” does not have to be written anywhere in your assignment for it to be an important part of your task. In fact, making an argument—expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence—is often the aim of academic writing. Your instructors may assume that you know this and thus may not explain the importance of arguments in class.

Most material you learn in college is or has been debated by someone, somewhere, at some time. Even when the material you read or hear is presented as a simple fact, it may actually be one person’s interpretation of a set of information. Instructors may call on you to examine that interpretation and defend it, refute it, or offer some new view of your own. In writing assignments, you will almost always need to do more than just summarize information that you have gathered or regurgitate facts that have been discussed in class. You will need to develop a point of view on or interpretation of that material and provide evidence for your position.

Consider an example. For nearly 2000 years, educated people in many Western cultures believed that bloodletting—deliberately causing a sick person to lose blood—was the most effective treatment for a variety of illnesses. The claim that bloodletting is beneficial to human health was not widely questioned until the 1800s, and some physicians continued to recommend bloodletting as late as the 1920s. Medical practices have now changed because some people began to doubt the effectiveness of bloodletting; these people argued against it and provided convincing evidence. Human knowledge grows out of such differences of opinion, and scholars like your instructors spend their lives engaged in debate over what claims may be counted as accurate in their fields. In their courses, they want you to engage in similar kinds of critical thinking and debate.

Argumentation is not just what your instructors do. We all use argumentation on a daily basis, and you probably already have some skill at crafting an argument. The more you improve your skills in this area, the better you will be at thinking critically, reasoning, making choices, and weighing evidence.

Making a claim

What is an argument? In academic writing, an argument is usually a main idea, often called a “claim” or “thesis statement,” backed up with evidence that supports the idea. In the majority of college papers, you will need to make some sort of claim and use evidence to support it, and your ability to do this well will separate your papers from those of students who see assignments as mere accumulations of fact and detail. In other words, gone are the happy days of being given a “topic” about which you can write anything. It is time to stake out a position and prove why it is a good position for a thinking person to hold. See our handout on thesis statements .

Claims can be as simple as “Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged,” with evidence such as, “In this experiment, protons and electrons acted in such and such a way.” Claims can also be as complex as “Genre is the most important element to the contract of expectations between filmmaker and audience,” using reasoning and evidence such as, “defying genre expectations can create a complete apocalypse of story form and content, leaving us stranded in a sort of genre-less abyss.” In either case, the rest of your paper will detail the reasoning and evidence that have led you to believe that your position is best.

When beginning to write a paper, ask yourself, “What is my point?” For example, the point of this handout is to help you become a better writer, and we are arguing that an important step in the process of writing effective arguments is understanding the concept of argumentation. If your papers do not have a main point, they cannot be arguing for anything. Asking yourself what your point is can help you avoid a mere “information dump.” Consider this: your instructors probably know a lot more than you do about your subject matter. Why, then, would you want to provide them with material they already know? Instructors are usually looking for two things:

  • Proof that you understand the material
  • A demonstration of your ability to use or apply the material in ways that go beyond what you have read or heard.

This second part can be done in many ways: you can critique the material, apply it to something else, or even just explain it in a different way. In order to succeed at this second step, though, you must have a particular point to argue.

Arguments in academic writing are usually complex and take time to develop. Your argument will need to be more than a simple or obvious statement such as “Frank Lloyd Wright was a great architect.” Such a statement might capture your initial impressions of Wright as you have studied him in class; however, you need to look deeper and express specifically what caused that “greatness.” Your instructor will probably expect something more complicated, such as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture combines elements of European modernism, Asian aesthetic form, and locally found materials to create a unique new style,” or “There are many strong similarities between Wright’s building designs and those of his mother, which suggests that he may have borrowed some of her ideas.” To develop your argument, you would then define your terms and prove your claim with evidence from Wright’s drawings and buildings and those of the other architects you mentioned.

Do not stop with having a point. You have to back up your point with evidence. The strength of your evidence, and your use of it, can make or break your argument. See our handout on evidence . You already have the natural inclination for this type of thinking, if not in an academic setting. Think about how you talked your parents into letting you borrow the family car. Did you present them with lots of instances of your past trustworthiness? Did you make them feel guilty because your friends’ parents all let them drive? Did you whine until they just wanted you to shut up? Did you look up statistics on teen driving and use them to show how you didn’t fit the dangerous-driver profile? These are all types of argumentation, and they exist in academia in similar forms.

Every field has slightly different requirements for acceptable evidence, so familiarize yourself with some arguments from within that field instead of just applying whatever evidence you like best. Pay attention to your textbooks and your instructor’s lectures. What types of argument and evidence are they using? The type of evidence that sways an English instructor may not work to convince a sociology instructor. Find out what counts as proof that something is true in that field. Is it statistics, a logical development of points, something from the object being discussed (art work, text, culture, or atom), the way something works, or some combination of more than one of these things?

Be consistent with your evidence. Unlike negotiating for the use of your parents’ car, a college paper is not the place for an all-out blitz of every type of argument. You can often use more than one type of evidence within a paper, but make sure that within each section you are providing the reader with evidence appropriate to each claim. So, if you start a paragraph or section with a statement like “Putting the student seating area closer to the basketball court will raise player performance,” do not follow with your evidence on how much more money the university could raise by letting more students go to games for free. Information about how fan support raises player morale, which then results in better play, would be a better follow-up. Your next section could offer clear reasons why undergraduates have as much or more right to attend an undergraduate event as wealthy alumni—but this information would not go in the same section as the fan support stuff. You cannot convince a confused person, so keep things tidy and ordered.

Counterargument

One way to strengthen your argument and show that you have a deep understanding of the issue you are discussing is to anticipate and address counterarguments or objections. By considering what someone who disagrees with your position might have to say about your argument, you show that you have thought things through, and you dispose of some of the reasons your audience might have for not accepting your argument. Recall our discussion of student seating in the Dean Dome. To make the most effective argument possible, you should consider not only what students would say about seating but also what alumni who have paid a lot to get good seats might say.

You can generate counterarguments by asking yourself how someone who disagrees with you might respond to each of the points you’ve made or your position as a whole. If you can’t immediately imagine another position, here are some strategies to try:

  • Do some research. It may seem to you that no one could possibly disagree with the position you are arguing, but someone probably has. For example, some people argue that a hotdog is a sandwich. If you are making an argument concerning, for example, the characteristics of an exceptional sandwich, you might want to see what some of these people have to say.
  • Talk with a friend or with your teacher. Another person may be able to imagine counterarguments that haven’t occurred to you.
  • Consider your conclusion or claim and the premises of your argument and imagine someone who denies each of them. For example, if you argued, “Cats make the best pets. This is because they are clean and independent,” you might imagine someone saying, “Cats do not make the best pets. They are dirty and needy.”

Once you have thought up some counterarguments, consider how you will respond to them—will you concede that your opponent has a point but explain why your audience should nonetheless accept your argument? Will you reject the counterargument and explain why it is mistaken? Either way, you will want to leave your reader with a sense that your argument is stronger than opposing arguments.

When you are summarizing opposing arguments, be charitable. Present each argument fairly and objectively, rather than trying to make it look foolish. You want to show that you have considered the many sides of the issue. If you simply attack or caricature your opponent (also referred to as presenting a “straw man”), you suggest that your argument is only capable of defeating an extremely weak adversary, which may undermine your argument rather than enhance it.

It is usually better to consider one or two serious counterarguments in some depth, rather than to give a long but superficial list of many different counterarguments and replies.

Be sure that your reply is consistent with your original argument. If considering a counterargument changes your position, you will need to go back and revise your original argument accordingly.

Audience is a very important consideration in argument. Take a look at our handout on audience . A lifetime of dealing with your family members has helped you figure out which arguments work best to persuade each of them. Maybe whining works with one parent, but the other will only accept cold, hard statistics. Your kid brother may listen only to the sound of money in his palm. It’s usually wise to think of your audience in an academic setting as someone who is perfectly smart but who doesn’t necessarily agree with you. You are not just expressing your opinion in an argument (“It’s true because I said so”), and in most cases your audience will know something about the subject at hand—so you will need sturdy proof. At the same time, do not think of your audience as capable of reading your mind. You have to come out and state both your claim and your evidence clearly. Do not assume that because the instructor knows the material, he or she understands what part of it you are using, what you think about it, and why you have taken the position you’ve chosen.

Critical reading

Critical reading is a big part of understanding argument. Although some of the material you read will be very persuasive, do not fall under the spell of the printed word as authority. Very few of your instructors think of the texts they assign as the last word on the subject. Remember that the author of every text has an agenda, something that he or she wants you to believe. This is OK—everything is written from someone’s perspective—but it’s a good thing to be aware of. For more information on objectivity and bias and on reading sources carefully, read our handouts on evaluating print sources and reading to write .

Take notes either in the margins of your source (if you are using a photocopy or your own book) or on a separate sheet as you read. Put away that highlighter! Simply highlighting a text is good for memorizing the main ideas in that text—it does not encourage critical reading. Part of your goal as a reader should be to put the author’s ideas in your own words. Then you can stop thinking of these ideas as facts and start thinking of them as arguments.

When you read, ask yourself questions like “What is the author trying to prove?” and “What is the author assuming I will agree with?” Do you agree with the author? Does the author adequately defend her argument? What kind of proof does she use? Is there something she leaves out that you would put in? Does putting it in hurt her argument? As you get used to reading critically, you will start to see the sometimes hidden agendas of other writers, and you can use this skill to improve your own ability to craft effective arguments.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ede, Lisa. 2004. Work in Progress: A Guide to Academic Writing and Revising , 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Gage, John T. 2005. The Shape of Reason: Argumentative Writing in College , 4th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruszkiewicz. 2016. Everything’s an Argument , 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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9.17: Formula for Refutation and Rebuttal

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Learning Objective

  • Describe strategies for effective refutation and rebuttal

Counterargument

An integral part of composing a strong argument is including a counterargument. This can be difficult, especially if a writer is arguing for a position they already agree with. In such cases, writers can sometimes make good points to support their stances; however, their arguments are vulnerable unless they anticipate and address counterarguments. When a writer does this, it is often referred to as rebuttal or refutation . Some scholars of rhetoric differentiate the two words in terms of if you can actually disprove a claim or just argue against it; however, in this section, we will use the terms as basically interchangeable to help get you more used to their function in argument.

When writers are able to skillfully rebut or refute a view that runs counter to their claims, it strengthens their work. Rebuttal and refutation are common in all types of argument, including academic argument. As you complete more advanced work in college, you will be expected to address counterargument often. And while you might not always need to or be able to prove that other points of view are wrong, you may at least need to try to argue against them.

Though writers may handle rebuttal and refutation in different ways, there is a formula for success in academic argument. Here are the key parts of that formula:

1. Accurately represent opposing viewpoints

If you don’t accurately and thoroughly represent opposing viewpoints in your own writing, some of your potential audience will automatically be turned off. Good rebuttal and refutation begin with a solid understanding of all possible points of view on your topic. That may mean you even need to acknowledge and accommodate opposing points of view. Acknowledging other views shows you are aware of ideas that run counter to your claims. You will almost always be expected to at least acknowledge such views in your work. You may also, though, need to accommodate opposing views, especially if many people see them as reasonable. If, for example, you were writing a piece arguing that students should take a gap year between high school and college, it would benefit your work to acknowledge that a gap year isn’t realistic for or even desired by all students. You may further accommodate this other view by explaining how some students may thrive in the structure that school provides and would gain by going directly from high school to college. Remember that even if you cannot prove positions that counter your own are wrong, you can still use rebuttal and refutation to show why they might be problematic, flawed, or just not as good as another possible position for some people.

A map of the world with the word "coexist" overlayed.

2. Use a respectful, non-incendiary tone

It doesn’t help the writer’s cause to offend, upset, or alienate potential readers, even those who hold differing views. Treating all potential readers with respect and avoiding words or phrases that belittle people and/or their views will help you get your points across more effectively. For example, if you are writing a paper on why America would benefit from a third viable major political party, it will not help your cause to write that “Republicans are dumb, and Democrats are whiny.” First, those claims are too general. But even if they weren’t, they won’t help your cause. If you choose to break down the perceived problems with members of political parties, you must do so in a way that is as respectful as possible. Calling someone a name or insulting them (directly or indirectly) is very rarely a successful strategy in argument.

3. Use reliable information in your rebuttal/refutation

Always be sure to carefully check the ideas or claims you make in rebutting a counterargument. The brain is not an infallible computer, and there are instances when we think we know information is accurate but it isn’t. Sometimes we know a lot about a particular subject but we get information confused or time has changed things a bit. Additionally, we may be tempted to use a source that backs up our ideas perfectly, but it might not be the most reputable, credible, or up-to-date place for information. Don’t assume you just have all of the information to shoot down counterarguments. Use your knowledge, but also do thorough research, double- and triple-check information, and look for sources that are likely to carry weight with readers. For example, it is widely assumed that bulls are attracted to the color red; however, in reality, bulls are colorblind, so what many people assume as fact is incorrect. Be thorough so you have confidence in your claims when you are rebutting/refuting and likewise when you are attempting to prevent yourself from being open to rebuttal/refutation.

4. Use qualifying words when applicable to help you be more accurate and to avoid locking you into an absolute claim

Qualifying words are terms such as “many,” “most,” “some,” “might,” “rarely,” “doubtful,” “often,” etc. You get the point. These are words that don’t lock you into a claim that could be easily refuted and that can help you more easily rebut counterarguments. For example, if someone says “Nobody dies of tuberculosis anymore” we might get the point that it isn’t as common as it used to be. Still, it isn’t an accurate statement, and a more precise way to phrase such a claim would be to qualify it: “Not many people die each year in America from tuberculosis.” You might not always need to use qualifying terms. If you are making a point that is absolute, feel free to make it strongly; however, if there is a need to give your claim more flexibility, use qualifying words to help you.

refutation : proving a claim is false; arguing against something

rebuttal : contradicting or opposing a claim

Contributors and Attributions

  • Rebuttal and Refutation. Provided by : University of Mississippi. Project : PLATO Project. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Image of the Coexist logo. Authored by : Gerd Altmann. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : pixabay.com/illustrations/figures-personal-silhouettes-human-1929874/. License : Other . License Terms : pixabay.com/service/terms/#license
  • Aristotelian Argument. Authored by : Excelsior OWL. Provided by : https://owl.excelsior.edu/argument-a...-aristotelian/ . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Toulmin's Schema. Provided by : Utah State University. Located at : ocw.usu.edu/English/intermediate-writing/english-2010/-2010/toulmins-schema.html. Project : Intermediate Writing: Research Writing in a Persuasive Mode. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Toulmin Argument and Types of Argument. Provided by : Excelsior College OWL. Located at : https://owl.excelsior.edu/argument-and-critical-thinking/organizing-your-argument/organizing-your-argument-toulmin/ . License : CC BY: Attribution

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Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation

An argumentative essay presents an argument for or against a topic. For example, if your topic is working from home , then your essay would either argue in favor of working from home (this is the for  side) or against working from home.

Like most essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction that ends with the writer's position (or stance) in the thesis statement .

Introduction Paragraph

(Background information....)

  • Thesis statement : Employers should give their workers the option to work from home in order to improve employee well-being and reduce office costs.

This thesis statement shows that the two points I plan to explain in my body paragraphs are 1) working from home improves well-being, and 2) it allows companies to reduce costs. Each topic will have its own paragraph. Here's an example of a very basic essay outline with these ideas:

  • Background information

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence : Workers who work from home have improved well-being .
  • Evidence from academic sources

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic Sentence : Furthermore, companies can reduce their expenses by allowing employees to work at home .
  • Summary of key points
  • Restatement of thesis statement

Does this look like a strong essay? Not really . There are no academic sources (research) used, and also...

You Need to Also Respond to the Counter-Arguments!

The above essay outline is very basic. The argument it presents can be made much stronger if you consider the counter-argument , and then try to respond (refute) its points.

The counter-argument presents the main points on the other side of the debate. Because we are arguing FOR working from home, this means the counter-argument is AGAINST working from home. The best way to find the counter-argument is by reading research on the topic to learn about the other side of the debate. The counter-argument for this topic might include these points:

  • Distractions at home > could make it hard to concentrate
  • Dishonest/lazy people > might work less because no one is watching

Next, we have to try to respond to the counter-argument in the refutation (or rebuttal/response) paragraph .

The Refutation/Response Paragraph

The purpose of this paragraph is to address the points of the counter-argument and to explain why they are false, somewhat false, or unimportant. So how can we respond to the above counter-argument? With research !

A study by Bloom (2013) followed workers at a call center in China who tried working from home for nine months. Its key results were as follows:

  • The performance of people who worked from home increased by 13%
  • These workers took fewer breaks and sick-days
  • They also worked more minutes per shift

In other words, this study shows that the counter-argument might be false. (Note: To have an even stronger essay, present data from more than one study.) Now we have a refutation.

Where Do We Put the Counter-Argument and Refutation?

Commonly, these sections can go at the beginning of the essay (after the introduction), or at the end of the essay (before the conclusion). Let's put it at the beginning. Now our essay looks like this:

Counter-argument Paragraph

  • Dishonest/lazy people might work less because no one is watching

Refutation/Response Paragraph

  • Study: Productivity  increased by 14%
  • (+ other details)

Body Paragraph 3

  • Topic Sentence : In addition, people who work from home have improved well-being .

Body Paragraph 4

The outline is stronger now because it includes the counter-argument and refutation. Note that the essay still needs more details and research to become more convincing.

Working from home

Working from home may increase productivity.

Extra Advice on Argumentative Essays

It's not a compare and contrast essay.

An argumentative essay focuses on one topic (e.g. cats) and argues for or against it. An argumentative essay should not have two topics (e.g. cats vs dogs). When you compare two ideas, you are writing a compare and contrast essay. An argumentative essay has one topic (cats). If you are FOR cats as pets, a simplistic outline for an argumentative essay could look something like this:

  • Thesis: Cats are the best pet.
  • are unloving
  • cause allergy issues
  • This is a benefit >  Many working people do not have time for a needy pet
  • If you have an allergy, do not buy a cat.
  • But for most people (without allergies), cats are great
  • Supporting Details

Use Language in Counter-Argument That Shows Its Not Your Position

The counter-argument is not your position. To make this clear, use language such as this in your counter-argument:

  • Opponents might argue that cats are unloving.
  • People who dislike cats would argue that cats are unloving.
  • Critics of cats could argue that cats are unloving.
  • It could be argued that cats are unloving.

These  underlined phrases make it clear that you are presenting  someone else's argument , not your own.

Choose the Side with the Strongest Support

Do not choose your side based on your own personal opinion. Instead, do some research and learn the truth about the topic. After you have read the arguments for and against, choose the side with the strongest support as your position.

Do Not Include Too Many Counter-arguments

Include the main (two or three) points in the counter-argument. If you include too many points, refuting these points becomes quite difficult.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

- Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com

Additional Resources :

  • Writing a Counter-Argument & Refutation (Richland College)
  • Language for Counter-Argument and Refutation Paragraphs (Brown's Student Learning Tools)

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23 comments on “ Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation ”

Thank you professor. It is really helpful.

Can you also put the counter argument in the third paragraph

It depends on what your instructor wants. Generally, a good argumentative essay needs to have a counter-argument and refutation somewhere. Most teachers will probably let you put them anywhere (e.g. in the start, middle, or end) and be happy as long as they are present. But ask your teacher to be sure.

Thank you for the information Professor

how could I address a counter argument for “plastic bags and its consumption should be banned”?

For what reasons do they say they should be banned? You need to address the reasons themselves and show that these reasons are invalid/weak.

Thank you for this useful article. I understand very well.

Thank you for the useful article, this helps me a lot!

Thank you for this useful article which helps me in my study.

Thank you, professor Mylene 102-04

it was very useful for writing essay

Very useful reference body support to began writing a good essay. Thank you!

Really very helpful. Thanks Regards Mayank

Thank you, professor, it is very helpful to write an essay.

It is really helpful thank you

It was a very helpful set of learning materials. I will follow it and use it in my essay writing. Thank you, professor. Regards Isha

Thanks Professor

This was really helpful as it lays the difference between argumentative essay and compare and contrast essay.. Thanks for the clarification.

This is such a helpful guide in composing an argumentative essay. Thank you, professor.

This was really helpful proof, thankyou!

Thanks this was really helpful to me

This was very helpful for us to generate a good form of essay

thank you so much for this useful information.

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  • unclear  (jumbled, disorganized, confused, obscure, contradicts itself, impossible for an intelligent person to understand, full of holes, leaves too many questions unanswered, uses too many obscure or undefined words, too general, too badly mixed up to make any sense, or presented in language or style that readers cannot understand);
  • incredible (unbelievable, incoherent, beyond credibility, a flat-out lie or deception, strains the audience�s suspension of disbelief, offers no reasons to believe the opponent�s statements, gives no solid sources for unusual or extraordinary claims, relies on questionable, outdated or biased sources, relies on personal stories instead of objective evidence, or relies on evidence that is missing or cannot be produced or reproduced);
  • impossible (not anchored in the real world, a proposal that is not possible to accomplish, a fantasy masquerading as reality, strains the reader�s imagination, is silly or preposterous, ignores the laws of nature, turns the world on its head, requires a miracle or an act of God to come true, or is a million-to-one long shot)
  • illogical (not standing up to the test of logic, paranoid, not an intelligent argument, jumps to conclusions, includes gross logical fallacies, is ignorant, uneducated, childish or infantile, lacks necesary evidence or proof for statements or claims, is closed-minded, is ideologically driven, or conveniently ignores the facts);
  • unfitting (coarse or boorish, simply not right or moral in a civilized society, evil-minded, unworthy of decent people, immature, vicious or hateful, racist, sexist or discriminatory, or culturally unacceptable, disagrees with your own faith or morals, is inhumane, is written in bad faith [i.e., even the writer does not believe it], conveniently ignores the fate of certain groups of people, is self-centered); or
  • unprofitable (makes no sense financially or money-wise, is wasteful, will cost more than it saves, throws good money after bad, robs Peter to pay Paul, is a zero- [or negative] sum game, throws money at the problem instead of solving the causes, will result in poverty, bankruptcy or starvation, will enrich the few at the cost of the many, will trade short-term gain for long term disaster, or will ruin the environment).

(Reference: http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Refutation.htm )

Hint:  As with any other argument, you can refute with logos, pathos or ethos, or  any combination of these!

O.W. 11/05 rev 1/10  
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Definition of refute

transitive verb

Examples of refute in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'refute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Latin refutare to check, suppress, refute

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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“Refute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refute. Accessed 4 Apr. 2024.

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Word Choice: Refute, Rebut or Rebuke?

2-minute read

  • 27th January 2020

“Refute,” “rebut,” and “rebuke” all look similar on the page. In addition, they’re all verbs that describe things you might do to someone you disagree with.

It’s no surprise, then, that some people use these words interchangeably. In practice, though, they all have different meanings , as we will show below.

Refute (Disprove)

The word “refute” means “disprove”. As such, we might say:

The creationist argument is refuted by the fossil record.

Importantly, “refuting” something involves more than just disagreeing with it or arguing against it. You have to prove something is false to refute it.

Rebut (Argue Against)

A “rebuttal” is an argument against something. For example:

Reverend Green rebutted the scientist’s point by shouting about the Bible.

You don’t have to be correct to “rebut” something. This term applies to any counterargument , whether right or wrong. A rebuttal is only a refutation if it is successful, so “rebut” and “refute” are importantly distinct terms.

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Rebuke (Tell Off)

“Rebuke” is distinct from the other words here as it means “tell off” or “reprimand.” Usually, it implies speaking angrily to someone because you disapprove of something they’ve done:

I rebuked my colleague for her insensitive comments.

As shown above, you might “rebuke” someone for making an unpleasant or silly argument. However, this isn’t the same as arguing against them or disproving their point, so this word is not directly relevant to arguments.

Summary: Refute, Rebut or Rebuke?

These words have specialized meanings, so it’s important not to mix them up:

  • Refute refers to disproving an argument. You have to provide evidence and facts to successfully refute something.
  • Rebut also refers to challenging an argument, but you don’t have to be correct or provide any evidence for a rebuttal.
  • Rebuke means to tell off someone for doing something you disagree with.

The trickiest are “refute” and “rebut,” since both are used in arguments. The key is that “refute” is stronger, meaning “disprove.” If you simply argue against something but don’t disprove it, “rebut” will be the correct term.

“Rebuke,” meanwhile, means “reprimand” or “tell off.” And if you’re having any other spelling or vocabulary issues, our proofreaders would love to help!

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Consider the following thesis for a short paper that analyzes different approaches to stopping climate change:

Climate activism that focuses on personal actions such as recycling obscures the need for systemic change that will be required to slow carbon emissions.

The author of this thesis is promising to make the case that personal actions not only will not solve the climate problem but may actually make the problem more difficult to solve. In order to make a convincing argument, the author will need to consider how thoughtful people might disagree with this claim. In this case, the author might anticipate the following counterarguments:

  • By encouraging personal actions, climate activists may raise awareness of the problem and encourage people to support larger systemic change.  
  • Personal actions on a global level would actually make a difference.  
  • Personal actions may not make a difference, but they will not obscure the need for systemic solutions.  
  • Personal actions cannot be put into one category and must be differentiated.

In order to make a convincing argument, the author of this essay may need to address these potential counterarguments. But you don’t need to address every possible counterargument. Rather, you should engage counterarguments when doing so allows you to strengthen your own argument by explaining how it holds up in relation to other arguments. 

How to address counterarguments 

Once you have considered the potential counterarguments, you will need to figure out how to address them in your essay. In general, to address a counterargument, you’ll need to take the following steps.

  • State the counterargument and explain why a reasonable reader could raise that counterargument.  
  • Counter the counterargument. How you grapple with a counterargument will depend on what you think it means for your argument. You may explain why your argument is still convincing, even in light of this other position. You may point to a flaw in the counterargument. You may concede that the counterargument gets something right but then explain why it does not undermine your argument. You may explain why the counterargument is not relevant. You may refine your own argument in response to the counterargument.  
  • Consider the language you are using to address the counterargument. Words like but or however signal to the reader that you are refuting the counterargument. Words like nevertheless or still signal to the reader that your argument is not diminished by the counterargument. 

Here’s an example of a paragraph in which a counterargument is raised and addressed.

Image version

counter

The two steps are marked with counterargument and “counter” to the counterargument: COUNTERARGUMENT/ But some experts argue that it’s important for individuals to take action to mitigate climate change. In “All That Performative Environmentalism Adds Up,” Annie Lowery argues that personal actions to fight climate change, such as reducing household trash or installing solar panels, matter because change in social behavior can lead to changes in laws. [1]  

COUNTER TO THE COUNTERARGUMENT/ While Lowery may be correct that individual actions can lead to collective action, this focus on individual action can allow corporations to receive positive publicity while continuing to burn fossil fuels at dangerous rates.

Where to address counterarguments 

There is no one right place for a counterargument—where you raise a particular counterargument will depend on how it fits in with the rest of your argument. The most common spots are the following:

  • Before your conclusion This is a common and effective spot for a counterargument because it’s a chance to address anything that you think a reader might still be concerned about after you’ve made your main argument. Don’t put a counterargument in your conclusion, however. At that point, you won’t have the space to address it, and readers may come away confused—or less convinced by your argument.
  • Before your thesis Often, your thesis will actually be a counterargument to someone else’s argument. In other words, you will be making your argument because someone else has made an argument that you disagree with. In those cases, you may want to offer that counterargument before you state your thesis to show your readers what’s at stake—someone else has made an unconvincing argument, and you are now going to make a better one. 
  • After your introduction In some cases, you may want to respond to a counterargument early in your essay, before you get too far into your argument. This is a good option when you think readers may need to understand why the counterargument is not as strong as your argument before you can even launch your own ideas. You might do this in the paragraph right after your thesis. 
  • Anywhere that makes sense  As you draft an essay, you should always keep your readers in mind and think about where a thoughtful reader might disagree with you or raise an objection to an assertion or interpretation of evidence that you are offering. In those spots, you can introduce that potential objection and explain why it does not change your argument. If you think it does affect your argument, you can acknowledge that and explain why your argument is still strong.

[1] Annie Lowery, “All that Performative Environmentalism Adds Up.” The Atlantic . August 31, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/your-tote-bag-can-mak…

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Definition of refute verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

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  • 2 refute something to say that something is not true or fair synonym deny She refutes any suggestion that she behaved unprofessionally.

Nearby words

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South Korean doctors to hold a mass rally against govt medical policy

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Site of a strike on WCK vehicle in central Gaza Strip

Danish frigate suffered weapon system failure in Red Sea combat, captain says

A Danish frigate deployed to the Red Sea as part of a U.S.-led operation suffered malfunctioning of its weapon systems when attacked by drones operated by Houthi militants last month, the captain said on Thursday as the ship arrived in Denmark.

Site of a strike on WCK vehicle in central Gaza Strip

Israeli diplomat refutes reports of Gaza starvation in closed address to Arizona Legislature

An Israeli diplomat praised Arizona lawmakers for their support and condemned the international community's lack of outrage at the harm Israel has suffered from the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

In a speech punctuated by three standing ovations, Israel Bachar, the country's counsel general for the Pacific Southwest, refuted reports of starvation in Gaza and rebuffed calls for a ceasefire unless Hamas meets certain conditions.

Hamas, which attacked Israeli homes in Gaza on Oct. 7, still holds 144 hostages, Bachar said.

“Where is the outrage?" he asked. "Where is the international community? We will not stop until all of the hostages are home.”

A ceasefire can't happen unless Hamas stops fighting and releases the Israeli hostages, he said, explaining Israel's stance. But that has been rejected even as negotiations continue.

"For Hamas, this isn't about territory, it is about terrorism," Bachar said. "Their goal is the destruction of us as a people.

"Hamas must be eradicated."

That comment brought another standing ovation. It echoed the call at the session's start from Senate President Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert.

Hamas produces nothing and "only destroys, ruins and tears down," Petersen said. "It should be wiped off the face of the earth.”

Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma, R-Glendale, invited the consul general to address lawmakers and provide an update on the Israel-Hamas war. A majority of the Legislature attended the half-hour session, although many Democrats were not present.

Bachar's visit comes a month after a House delegation visited Israel on a trip sponsored by a pro-Israeli organization.

He thanked Arizona lawmakers for their "moral clarity" on Israel's position and cautioned: "When an enemy tells you they are going to do something, believe them."

He closed his comments with the reminder that "what starts with the Jews doesn't end with the Jews."

Palestinians, supporters criticize GOP leaders for closed session

Outside the House chamber, Palestinians and their supporters criticized Republican legislative leaders for keeping members of the public out of the state House during Bachar's address. Media were allowed to attend and the event was livestreamed on the Legislature's website.

Maher Arekat, a Palestinian refugee who came to the United States with his family in 1970, said at a Capitol news conference he and other Arizonans don’t wish to be “complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people.”

“Our state lawmakers obstinately ignore us and instead try to cement further ties with a regime that is currently being tried for genocide in the International Court of Justice,” he said.

Arekat, the founder of the Palestinian Community Center of Arizona, urged the public to encourage their elected officials to support a permanent ceasefire by Israel.

Several Democratic lawmakers attended the news conference, including state Sen. Anna Hernandez, D-Phoenix, and Reps. Mariana Sandoval, D-Goodyear, and Betty Villegas, D-Tucson. Rep. Analise Ortiz, D-Phoenix, also showed up but left before the news conference started. The four were among 17 Arizona lawmakers who signed a letter in November accusing Israel of “crimes.”

Hernandez told reporters she disagreed with the decision to close off the meeting with Bachar to members of the public.

“All of our collective constituency deserves access to any meetings of any joint floor sessions that happen on these premises,” she said. “It should be always open to all public, especially when matters are discussed that affect every single person in Arizona.”

Cindy McCain wrong on Palestinian starvation, Israeli official says

In a brief interview after his speech, Bachar doubled down on his argument that there is no starvation in Gaza.

“There are challenges in distribution," he said, saying Hamas disrupts effective distribution of aid. "There is food that gets in.”

He said Cindy McCain, the head of the World Food Programme, was working with limited information when she complained that only nine trucks were able to enter Gaza last weekend.

"We just cannot continue this way, as you know, we know famine is imminent in the north (of Gaza)," she said on Face the Nation last weekend.

"We need our diplomatic groups and our political groups around the world to convince Israel we must get in and we must do it in a sustained and unfettered way," McCain said. "People are going to die otherwise, and they already are dying."

Nearly half the population in Gaza — more than 1 million people — have completely exhausted their food supplies and are grappling with catastrophic hunger, according to the World Food Programme .

Bachar said McCain didn't get the full picture of what happened last weekend.

“She didn’t mention that there were 400 trucks on the border waiting for their international bodies to pull the aid into Gaza," he said.

It shouldn't be hard to get the full picture if people would listen to Israeli officials, he said, adding: "The army will tell you the truth."

The Israeli Defense Forces releases information daily on the aid reaching Gaza, he said.

He acknowledged some pockets of hunger in Gaza, and attributed that to distribution networks disrupted by Hamas.

In a statement in advance of Wednesday's speech, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said lawmakers should be focused on pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza rather than hearing speeches from Israeli diplomats.

"We urgently need a ceasefire resolution to halt the senseless violence and prevent further loss of life," said Azza Abuseif, executive director of the council in Arizona. "It is disheartening to witness the apparent disregard for Palestinian lives displayed by so many lawmakers.”

Reach the reporter at  [email protected]  or at 602-228-7566 and follow her on Threads as well as on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter  @maryjpitzl Ray Stern is at [email protected]

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Example sentences refute an argument

Cross-national studies have also been shown to refute the argument for an innate biological difference in mathematical skills.
If it refutes the argument , then it will have won the debate.
But the university responded by saying that they completely refuted the argument for judicial review.
The scientific data strongly refute this argument .
But the judge refuted his arguments and upheld the sentence handed down in 2010 — five years in prison, including two suspended, and the repayment of the €4,915,610,154 that he had lost.

Definition of 'argument' argument

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Definition of 'refute' refute

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Woody Johnson Refutes Report of Argument With Robert Saleh

W oody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, emphatically refuted a reported “heated conversation” with Coach Robert Saleh. According to the NFL Network, the dispute was said to have taken place at the NFL owner’s meeting. The New York Jets are coming off another disappointing season, finishing 7-10 on the year.

Hopes for a Super Bowl-contending season came crashing down when Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 against Buffalo. However, they did finish their season with a Week 18 17-3 win against the New England Patriots . 2023 was also New York’s fourth consecutive season with ten losses.

How Did Woody Johnson Respond to The Report?

Johnson refuted the report, addressing it on X , saying, “All this nonsense about a heated argument between Coach Saleh and me at the League Meeting is absolutely false. It is yet another irresponsible report from NFL Network. Please disregard.”

Woody Johnson disputed the story circulating on NFL Network. Host Colleen Wolfe revealed the alleged argument on the “Around the NFL program.” She said, “From a very reliable source, at the owners’ meetings, there was a very heated conversation between Woody and Robert Saleh.”

In addressing the report surrounding Woody Johnson, Wolfe apologized on X. “Regarding my comments surrounding the Jets on the @AroundTheNFL: no, I was not at the Annual Meeting, and yes, I was told of the exchange between head coach Robert Saleh and Woody Johnson by someone in attendance.”

She also said, “Others on-site Sunday night have since reached out and described the interaction differently. My intent wasn’t to break news; I leave that to the insiders. My sincerest apologies to the Jets organization for the unnecessary distraction during such a crucial part of their offseason.”

Who Else Addressed The Report?

The report surrounding Woody Johnson and Robert Saleh has seemed to ignite the flames of Saleh’s position with the Jets. The 2024 season will be Saleh’s fourth campaign with New York, a team that has yet to fare better than a 7-10 record. Additionally, he is 18-33 with his time in the Big Apple.

Also, much like Woody Johnson, Connor Hughes of SNY refuted that any exchange occurred between Woody Johnson and Robert Saleh. He said, “There was no verbal argument between Robert Saleh and Woody Johnson at the NFL’s annual meeting reception. I know because I was at the party where this apparently happened, feet from Saleh & Johnson, before Johnson & Jets contingent left. Woody took them out to dinner. I Checked in with two sources at the dinner. Confirmed nothing happened there, either.”

Woody Johnson and the Jets are seeking to improve their offense this offseason, which was very lackluster in the 2023 season. Guard John Simpson and tackle Tyron Smith can help the struggling offensive line. Additionally, adding Mike Williams from the Chargers could be another weapon on offense besides Garrett Wilson.

Since Rodgers’ season-ending injury, the spotlight remains on Woody Johnson’s Jets after another disappointing season.

Johnson Wants More From New York

Zach Wilson took over for Rodgers and finished his season with a 77.2 passer rating in 12 games. Although he had flashes of potential, Wilson was so bad that he got benched twice for Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian. While the defense held up their end, the offense could not get any momentum going, which was glaring in a 15-10 loss to the Patriots.

With Rodgers back in the lineup, the Jets have a shot at contending for the playoffs, which Woody Johnson and Robert Saleh badly need.

Want more articles like this? Follow Last Word On Sports on MSN to see more of our exclusive NFL content.

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Woody Johnson Refutes Report of Argument With Robert Saleh

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Eight ways to ensure Indonesia's nickel sector is sustainable

by Anggi M. Lubis and Robby Irfany Maqoma, The Conversation

8 ways to ensure Indonesia's nickel sector is sustainable

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's ambition to turn Indonesia into a global hub for electric vehicle (EV) battery production has thrust the nation's mining commodities, particularly nickel, into the spotlight.

Since a 2020 law ordering the processing of mining commodities into more valuable, marketable products (downstreaming), Indonesia's nickel production and export have surged sharply. More is expected in the coming years as the government aims to have 30 new nickel smelters operational this year, a significant addition from 13 smelters in construction by mid-2023.

However, controversies surrounding Indonesia's nickel sector are difficult to ignore. Environmental and social impacts of nickel mining and processing —from deforestation, biodiversity loss, water and air pollution and the displacement of local communities—frequently make headlines. Additionally, the tumult caused by Indonesia's nickel export ban , which led to a 2021 lawsuit at the World Trade Organization , and the collapse of nickel prices due to oversupply have been notable.

Issues around the country's nickel industry were also politicized during the 2024 Presidential Election as competing candidates used them to pounce on their opponents and campaign teams. Prabowo Subianto and Jokowi's son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who rose as the winning pair in this year's presidential election , have clearly indicated their intention to continue Jokowi's nickel program . The two and their supporters accused Tom Lembong , Jokowi's former trade ministry and now heading presidential candidate Anies Baswedan's campaign team, of spreading public lies about how Indonesia played a big part in plummeting global nickel prices.

As the world's largest nickel producer and reserve holder, according to data from the United States Geological Survey, downstream processing is seemingly inevitable for Indonesia. Yet, the sustainability of continuous extraction and value addition remains a question .

To address this, The Conversation Indonesia interviewed Putra Adhiguna, Managing Director of the Energy Shift Institute; Putra Hanif Agson Gani, a doctoral candidate in Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering from the University of New South Wales Sydney; and Krisna Gupta, a senior fellow from the Center of Indonesian Policy Studies, to dissect the crucial aspects of ensuring a sustainable nickel industry from upstream to downstream.

Here are eight crucial aspects to consider to ensure Indonesia's nickel sector's environmental and economic sustainability.

1. Realigning the nickel industry narrative

Adhiguna asserted the complexity of Indonesia's nickel industry's sustainability issues, entwined with economic, social and environmental concerns , becomes more convoluted due to the potential conflicts of interest stemming from national and local officials' involvement in nickel management. The power dynamics risk narrowing the discourse on nickel to specific, somewhat constricted issues.

For instance, the narrative around nickel downstreaming, heavily promoted by Jokowi, is often linked to Indonesia's ambition to become a global EV battery producer. In reality, 70% of Indonesia's nickel is absorbed for stainless steel production , a primary material for items from kitchen utensils to skyscrapers and wind turbines. Only 5% of the total production goes into batteries.

"In my view, we will never become a global EV giant. I believe that (narrative) is misleading," Adhiguna said. His research indicates Indonesia currently controls only 0.4% of the global electric battery market.

According to Adhiguna, the nickel industry's strong narrative for EV battery development hinders a comprehensive discussion of its economic and environmental sustainability. Nonetheless, he argued that nickel downstreaming for battery raw materials must proceed alongside other derivative products. But at the same time, the government should realign its ambitions and narratives that have become the public discussion.

2. Incentives for decarbonization and waste management

According to Gani, the nature of the mining and processing industry makes it challenging to be entirely "clean" environmentally.

At the upstream level, emissions arise directly and indirectly from mining equipment and the energy needed for processing). Land dredging also alters the landscape, potentially impacting wildlife .

Meanwhile, downstream, nickel processing in smelters using pyrometallurgy (burning processes) emits high air pollution levels and produces exhaust gases that contaminate the air. Hydrometallurgy—the extraction of nickel with chemical solutions mainly used for producing battery raw materials—generates waste that risks polluting water and soil .

8 ways to ensure Indonesia's nickel sector is sustainable

Gani suggested that companies integrate their power sources with renewable energy to reduce the nickel industry's environmental impact. Investing in low-emission equipment can also be part of the solution.

Companies can also manage or recycle their waste for reuse. For example, processing exhaust gases from smelters into hydrogen can be used again as an energy source.

However, managing environmental impacts is a costly undertaking, leading most mining companies in Indonesia to avoid them. Gani noted that companies mostly tried to meet the demand for a "green" mining industry by simply adhering to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources' mandated use of biodiesel —and even that comes at a high cost .

This is where the nickel industry needs government support. "From the government itself, I believe there must be incentives for emission reduction," he asserted.

3. Pressures from consumers

Adhiguna noted that government efforts alone were insufficient to enhance the nickel industry's environmental sustainability. Indonesian nickel consumers can also play a significant role in demanding sustainable mining and processing practices.

For instance, Indonesian nickel product users could adopt the European Union's policy requiring bioenergy only from sustainably managed sources free from deforestation . Although this policy has created tensions with Indonesian palm oil producers, the stringent regulations eventually forced companies to adapt .

According to him, the most feasible demands for sustainable nickel could come from producers and consumers of electric vehicles and their components, such as batteries. These manufacturing companies could also make collective demands. However, implementation is challenging due to the current trade tensions between China and other countries.

Adhiguna added that another approach is for consumers of nickel pig iron (processed nickel for stainless steel raw materials) to demand that smelter operators adopt more environmentally friendly practices, including the sustainable extraction of mined ores.

"Pressure is also critically needed for stainless steel products and their derivatives," he said.

4. Limiting expansion

Adhiguna believes restricting the industry's expansion is a viable solution to address environmental impacts, preserve reserves, and rectify the plummeting nickel prices in the market.

The decline in nickel prices debunks the government's argument that nickel exploitation aims to to improve the welfare of the people . Massive nickel mining since 2013 has led to an oversupply, causing prices to drop significantly from a decade ago .

Again, Adhiguna recommended that expansion restrictions start in the downstream sector or smelters. Nickel ore production is affected by the demand for processing facilities and limiting the number of smelters would gradually improve nickel ore prices.

"The faster the growth of smelters, the more ore mining and deforestation will inevitably follow. Adding one smelter means increasing the growth rate for deforestation," he elaborated.

5. Strengthening exploration and nickel reserve data

The Indonesian Nickel Miners Association (APNI) stated earlier this year that Indonesia's high-grade nickel ore reserves, mainly used for steel production, would be depleted within six years . Although the government has refuted APNI's statement , it underscores that Indonesia's nickel is finite.

nickel

"Check Indonesia's nickel reserves accurately. Are there new explorations? Are new mining locations in protected forest areas?" asked Gupta.

Gani also emphasized the importance of reducing environmental impacts starting from the exploration stage of mining. Exploration that considers environmental impacts can lead to mine designs that minimize deforestation and other environmental risks.

6. Evaluating export bans, strengthening cooperation

The economic sustainability of the nickel industry extends beyond production activities. Market conditions and the economic value of nickel must also be carefully considered. Without adequate profits, the transition to sustainability seems distant.

To attain economic viability, Gupta argued that the Indonesian government needed to evaluate whether tax holidays and the obligation for smelter operators to utilize local products truly promote business sustainability. He noted how, amidst these demands, the government had paradoxically provided tax incentives for non-nickel electric vehicles.

According to Gupta, this evaluation should also be accompanied by a comprehensive comparative study to determine whether the benefits of incentive policies for smelters outweigh the benefits of exporting nickel ore.

"It could turn out that this is more detrimental than just exporting raw nickel. Given the unclear trajectory towards EV (with nickel batteries), it's worth considering whether these incentives are sustainable," he added.

Gupta also recommended that the government strengthen international nickel supply chain cooperation rather than impose export bans, which do not always benefit Indonesia. Almost 90% of Indonesia's nickel export is shipped to China.

"Investment related to nickel downstreaming in Indonesia could be more competitive and coveted by companies from various countries instead of just a few," Gupta suggests, adding the importance of working with multilateral organization such as OECD.

7. Drafting a comprehensive roadmap

Both Gupta and Adhiguna questioned how far Indonesia can realistically go in implementing nickel downstreaming. With China currently experiencing an oversupply of electric batteries , Adhiguna reiterated how important it was for Indonesia to have a far-reaching roadmap for its nickel ambition.

Meanwhile, Gupta believes Indonesia needs to reassess how far investor interest in developing nickel downstreaming extends. "If it doesn't reach cars, maybe motorcycles are okay. If it reaches batteries, well, that's something. Or even if we can only go for stainless steel, that's not bad either," he said.

Echoing this sentiment, Gani also believes it's time for the government to explore other nickel products that could provide added value—not just for batteries. After all, nickel is widely used in everyday life , from kitchen utensils and electronic equipment to supporting various industrial sectors.

8. Sustainable mining practices

By integrating the aspects mentioned above, according to Gani, it's time for sustainable mining practices to serve more than just a slogan, applied with tightened oversight from the government.

Indonesia could emulate countries that have successfully implemented sustainable practices, such as Canada with its biomass-powered mining energy sources.

He added that companies could also show their commitment by purchasing International Renewable Energy Certificates , demonstrating how much of their electricity comes from renewable energy.

"Besides being a material that can help advance renewable energy in Indonesia, it would also be beneficial for the nickel industry to refer to sustainable mining practices in its exploration, exploitation, and theory processes," Gani concluded.

Provided by The Conversation

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Woody johnson refutes report of argument with robert saleh.

  • April 1, 2024
  • Christian Grullon

Woody Johnson

Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, emphatically refuted a reported “heated conversation” with Coach Robert Saleh. According to the NFL Network, the dispute was said to have taken place at the NFL owner’s meeting. The New York Jets are coming off another disappointing season, finishing 7-10 on the year.

Hopes for a Super Bowl-contending season came crashing down when Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 against Buffalo. However, they did finish their season with a Week 18 17-3 win against the New England Patriots . 2023 was also New York’s fourth consecutive season with ten losses.

How Did Woody Johnson Respond to The Report?

Johnson refuted the report, addressing it on X , saying, “All this nonsense about a heated argument between Coach Saleh and me at the League Meeting is absolutely false. It is yet another irresponsible report from NFL Network. Please disregard.”

Woody Johnson disputed the story circulating on NFL Network. Host Colleen Wolfe revealed the alleged argument on the “Around the NFL program.” She said, “From a very reliable source, at the owners’ meetings, there was a very heated conversation between Woody and Robert Saleh.”

In addressing the report surrounding Woody Johnson, Wolfe apologized on X. “Regarding my comments surrounding the Jets on the @AroundTheNFL: no, I was not at the Annual Meeting, and yes, I was told of the exchange between head coach Robert Saleh and Woody Johnson by someone in attendance.”

She also said, “Others on-site Sunday night have since reached out and described the interaction differently. My intent wasn’t to break news; I leave that to the insiders. My sincerest apologies to the Jets organization for the unnecessary distraction during such a crucial part of their offseason.”

Who Else Addressed The Report?

The report surrounding Woody Johnson and Robert Saleh has seemed to ignite the flames of Saleh’s position with the Jets. The 2024 season will be Saleh’s fourth campaign with New York, a team that has yet to fare better than a 7-10 record. Additionally, he is 18-33 with his time in the Big Apple.

Also, much like Woody Johnson, Connor Hughes of SNY refuted that any exchange occurred between Woody Johnson and Robert Saleh. He said, “There was no verbal argument between Robert Saleh and Woody Johnson at the NFL’s annual meeting reception. I know because I was at the party where this apparently happened, feet from Saleh & Johnson, before Johnson & Jets contingent left. Woody took them out to dinner. I Checked in with two sources at the dinner. Confirmed nothing happened there, either.”

Woody Johnson and the Jets are seeking to improve their offense this offseason, which was very lackluster in the 2023 season. Guard John Simpson and tackle Tyron Smith can help the struggling offensive line. Additionally, adding Mike Williams from the Chargers could be another weapon on offense besides Garrett Wilson.

Since Rodgers’ season-ending injury, the spotlight remains on Woody Johnson’s Jets after another disappointing season.

Johnson Wants More From New York

Zach Wilson took over for Rodgers and finished his season with a 77.2 passer rating in 12 games. Although he had flashes of potential, Wilson was so bad that he got benched twice for Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian. While the defense held up their end, the offense could not get any momentum going, which was glaring in a 15-10 loss to the Patriots.

With Rodgers back in the lineup, the Jets have a shot at contending for the playoffs, which Woody Johnson and Robert Saleh badly need.

Main Image:  Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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Rapper Rod Wave Arrested on Weapons Charges

By Thania Garcia

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Rod Wave was arrested for possession of ammunition or a weapon in Manatee County, Florida on Wednesday, the St. Petersburg Police Department has confirmed.

According to police, Rod — the rapper and singer born Rodarius Marcell Green — was arrested due to suspicions he had been involved in a gang-related shooting in Florida that left four injured. That altercation was said to have happened on the night of March 31.

“Rod was arrested and detained with absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing,” attorneys Bradford Cohen and Mark Rankin wrote on Instagram . “The police claimed he was a felon in possession of ammunition. Not only was he not in possession of ammunition, a basic check of public records would have easily demonstrated to the police that he was not a convicted felon. The prosecutor and the judge immediately agreed that the evidence did not support the charge and set him free the same day.”

Variety has reached out to the St. Petersburg Police Department for further clarification.

Rod was arrested in 2022 for unrelated charges of domestic battery by strangulation after allegedly strangling his ex-girlfriend. “This case was a misunderstanding between a girlfriend and boyfriend,” Cohen told Rolling Stone at the time. “That misunderstanding resulted in Mr. Green’s arrest.” That same year, he released his second Billboard 200-topping album, “Beautiful Mind” and followed up in 2023 with “Nostalgia.” The latter included a feature from 21 Savage on the track “Turks & Caicos” and spent two weeks at No. 1.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Refute an Argument (and how not to) : CommonPhilosopher.com

    Contrariwise, a false refutation is precisely when you make an attack that essentially tells yourself and others: 'don't wrestle with the premises and reasoning'. That is, a false refutation is an attack on the general credibility of the arguer instead of the argument itself.

  2. Refutation Definition and Examples

    In rhetoric, refutation is the part of an argument in which a speaker or writer counters opposing points of view. Also called confutation . Refutation is "the key element in debate," say the authors of The Debater's Guide (2011). Refutation "makes the whole process exciting by relating ideas and arguments from one team to those of the other ...

  3. Understanding Refute: What It Means and How It Works

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  4. 30 Refutation Examples (2024)

    Refutation Examples. 1. Analogical Disproof. This method involves refuting an argument by drawing a parallel to a situation that's logically similar but absurd or clearly incorrect. Used properly, it can effectively puncture an opponent's argument, showing that the same logic could lead to preposterous conclusions.

  5. A Guide to Rebuttals in Argumentative Essays

    Read on for a few simple steps to formulating an effective rebuttal. Step 1. Come up with a Counterargument. A strong rebuttal is only possible when there's a strong counterargument. You may be convinced of your idea but try to place yourself on the other side. Rather than addressing weak opposing views that are easy to fend off, try to come ...

  6. Argument, Counterargument, & Refutation

    Argument - paragraphs which show support for the author's thesis (for example: reasons, evidence, data, statistics) Counterargument - at least one paragraph which explains the opposite point of view. Concession - a sentence or two acknowledging that there could be some truth to the Counterargument. Refutation (also called Rebuttal ...

  7. Refutation of an Argument

    A refutation of an argument is a point that challenges or undermines an argument in a way that makes it clear that the argument is incorrect. The word refutation comes from the verb refute; if one ...

  8. Refutation

    The literary term refutation refers to that part of an argument where a speaker or a writer encounters contradicting points of view. Alternatively, refutation can be described as the negation of an argument, opinion, testimony, doctrine, or theory, through contradicting evidence. It normally constitutes a part of an essay that disproves the ...

  9. Rebuttal Sections

    The outline below, adapted from Seyler's Understanding Argument, is an example of a rebuttal section from a thesis essay. When you rebut or refute an opposing position, use the following three-part organization: The opponent's argument: Usually, you should not assume that your reader has read or remembered the argument you are refuting.

  10. Argument

    In order to succeed at this second step, though, you must have a particular point to argue. Arguments in academic writing are usually complex and take time to develop. Your argument will need to be more than a simple or obvious statement such as "Frank Lloyd Wright was a great architect.". Such a statement might capture your initial ...

  11. 9.17: Formula for Refutation and Rebuttal

    When writers are able to skillfully rebut or refute a view that runs counter to their claims, it strengthens their work. Rebuttal and refutation are common in all types of argument, including academic argument. As you complete more advanced work in college, you will be expected to address counterargument often.

  12. Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation

    Argumentative Essays: The Counter-Argument & Refutation. An argumentative essay presents an argument for or against a topic. For example, if your topic is working from home, then your essay would either argue in favor of working from home (this is the for side) or against working from home. Like most essays, an argumentative essay begins with ...

  13. Refutation: Six Easy Ways to Attack or Refute an Argument

    Refutation: Six Easy Ways to Attack or Refute an Argument. Refutation is not mainly about your standpoint, but rather about the other person's point of view, and why it is incorrect. In a refutation, first, give a very brief but honest summary of the opposing argument. Then, you show why that argument is wrong, mistaken, or should not be ...

  14. Six Powerful Tactics for Effective Argument Refutation

    The treatise called Ad Herennium is an incredible resource for prompts that will yield impactful arguments. Let's use it for argument refutation, an essential tool in any rhetorical toolkit.

  15. Refute Definition & Meaning

    refute: [verb] to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous.

  16. REFUTE AN ARGUMENT definition and meaning

    REFUTE AN ARGUMENT definition | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples

  17. Word Choice: Refute, Rebut or Rebuke?

    The word "refute" means "disprove". As such, we might say: The creationist argument is refuted by the fossil record. Importantly, "refuting" something involves more than just disagreeing with it or arguing against it. You have to prove something is false to refute it. Rebut (Argue Against) A "rebuttal" is an argument against ...

  18. Refute

    refute: 1 v overthrow by argument, evidence, or proof "The speaker refuted his opponent's arguments" Synonyms: rebut Types: show 4 types... hide 4 types... contradict , controvert , oppose be resistant to answer give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument) blackball , negative , veto vote against; refuse to endorse; refuse to ...

  19. Counterargument

    In many cases, you will discover that a counterargument complicates your argument, but doesn't refute it entirely. Some counterarguments will directly address your thesis, while other counterarguments will challenge an individual point or set of points elsewhere in your argument. For example, a counterargument might identify

  20. refute verb

    to refute an argument/a theory, etc. Extra Examples. She tried to think how to refute the argument on moral grounds. This study cannot provide data to confirm or refute this hypothesis. We may find that further research refutes the findings of the first survey.

  21. refute verb

    Definition of refute verb in Oxford Advanced American Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. Toggle navigation. ... 1 refute something to prove that something is wrong synonym rebut to refute an argument/a theory, etc.

  22. REFUTE definition in American English

    refute in American English. (rɪˈfjut ) verb transitive Word forms: reˈfuted or reˈfuting. 1. to prove (a person) to be wrong; confute. 2. to prove (an argument or statement) to be false or wrong, by argument or evidence. 3. to deny the truth or validity of.

  23. South Korea's Yoon urges doctors to end impasse over trainees

    Yoon refuted several claims by doctors' groups and highlighted why medical reform is imperative. ... Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and ...

  24. Cindy McCain wrong on Palestinian starvation, Israeli official says

    An Israeli diplomat praised Arizona lawmakers for their support and condemned the international community's lack of outrage at the harm Israel has suffered from the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

  25. Argument Shifting at the PTAB: Balancing the Right of Reply against the

    In the leading cases of Rembrandt and Axonics, Inc. v. Medtronic, Inc., 75 F.4th 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2023), the court permitted the consideration of the petitioners' "new" arguments and evidence, and explained that a petitioner is permitted to: (1) expand on previously raised arguments that have a nexus to an argument made by the patent owner ...

  26. refute an argument

    Mar 19, 2024. If you upcycle something such as an old item of furniture , you repair , decorate , or change it so that it can be used again as something more fashionable or valuable . REFUTE AN ARGUMENT meaning | Definition, pronunciation, translations and examples in American English.

  27. Woody Johnson Refutes Report of Argument With Robert Saleh

    Johnson refuted the report, addressing it on X, saying, "All this nonsense about a heated argument between Coach Saleh and me at the League Meeting is absolutely false. It is yet another ...

  28. Eight ways to ensure Indonesia's nickel sector is sustainable

    asked Gupta. Gani also emphasized the importance of reducing environmental impacts starting from the exploration stage of mining. Exploration that considers environmental impacts can lead to mine ...

  29. Woody Johnson Refutes Report of Argument With Robert Saleh

    Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, emphatically refuted a reported "heated conversation" with Coach Robert Saleh. According to the NFL Network, the dispute was said to have taken place at the NFL owner's meeting. The New York Jets are coming off another disappointing season, finishing 7-10 on the year.

  30. Rapper Rod Wave Arrested on Weapons Charges

    They also refute that Rod owned ammunition. "Rod was arrested and detained with absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing," attorneys Bradford Cohen and Mark Rankin wrote on Instagram .