The difference between a statement and an argument.
First, a statement. Typically, it is when a person makes an assertion about something where the truth of the assertion is implied in the seriousness with which that statement is made. An example might be,
‘The moon is made of roasted turnips. In fact, those who say that the moon is not made of roasted turnips is an enemy of the moon’.
An even better example of a statement is here, in this official US government document about the Islamic State. (Please note paragraph 3)
ISIL does not represent Islam and Islam does not condone or honor such depravity. In fact, these actions are a reminder that ISIL is an enemy of Islam. The international community and religious leaders of all faiths have strongly and repeatedly condemned ISIL’s horrific acts; we urge them to reiterate their commitment by condemning in the strongest possible terms the commodification of women and children as spoils of war, including through their subjection to horrific physical and sexual violence, intimidation, and deprivation of liberty.
A statement does not even do one the courtesy of what I think of as a kind of ‘logical reach around’ of a tautology. For example a napkin that says:
“This Napkin is god. I know this is true because it says so right here on this napkin.”
With the above tautology, the statement is self referential and made correct almost exactly like the koran does, by twigging back to the initial statement as authoritative and true.
The government statements, both by the UK and US, typically do not even attempt that bit of logical contortion and content themselves that the mere statement. “This napkin is god” is enough for them.
Now an argument:
Basically an argument is where an assertion is explained by way of evidence laid out in accordance with the rules of logic.
“A tree is a type of plant. A plant has all these defining attributes, each one of which trees share, and trees have no other attributes that would differentiate them from the broader category of plants, and therefore, a tree is a kind of plant”
This would be an argument which can be detailed and verified, studied and most importantly, can be falsified. If an argument cannot be falsified, it is not an argument at all. It is likely a statement or a tautology.
There have now been many arguments made which refute the statements of the US and UK governments concerning the Islamic State and the nature of Islam. My favorite ones are made by the Islamic State themselves as they clearly cite Islamic scripture in context and Islamic history etc. with each action they make.
Read the rest at Vlad’s place.