Irrelevance: Passing the buck
Another example of an irrelevant answer is when the attention is shifted back at the first person. Instead of solving an issue and tackling it with a sound valid argument one tries to escape his duty by simply redirecting his opponents attention and focus on something else. There are at least two ways of doing this.
Today we’ll look at the first one which is based on a notification. A common example is “Tu Quoque” which in latin means “you too“. I am sure that you have experienced it a dozen times, when you saw people around doing something inappropriate, if not utterly wrong, and you tried to approach them in an attempt to correct their behavior, when suddenly out of nowhere someone pulled out a long-forgotten memory of you engaging in a similar activity. The feeling of being perfectly disarmed fell upon you after which, you muttered a few more remarks about the consequences it had in your life and then went back to what you were doing before, since the power of your admonishion now appeared to be completely scattered.
Yet, while this is often a sad reality it is very illogical. Just imagine a father telling his son not to play with matches as he could burn down the house. After this his son replies: “But grandma said that when you where small you always played with matches.” While this might be true it in no way justifies small boys behavior for the argument namely that he could burn down the house, is still valid.
Another illustration is of a judge at a court who is passing a judgment over a proven thief and at that very moment his lawyer finds out judges secret criminal record where it stands that many years ago he had committed a similar crime for which he went to jail. First, it would be foolish to bring that up as judges crime would in no way alleviate his clients situation, but in contrary would confirm the righteousness of judges sentence for which he has good, even personal, comprehension; specifically, that for such a misconduct, there are these consequences. Two wrongs do not make a right. Secondly, thieves advocate would not take this way because criminal records of those in a court room are not essentialy relevant to this particular case. It is the robbers crime that is now assessed, not against the judges crimes, or against crimes of those in the room, city, state or the entire Earth. It is a statue-book that is used in which all the laws of a particular country are collected and more or less based on the moral code within us. This type of fallacy is also called shifting the blame.