As you develop your argument, you should briefly summarize and then refute—that is, disprove—opposing arguments by showing that they are untrue, unfair, illogical, unimportant, or irrelevant. (If an opponent’s position is so strong that it cannot be refuted, concede the point, and then identify its limitations.) In the following paragraph, a student refutes the argument that Sea World is justified in keeping whales in captivity.
Of course, some will say that Sea World wants to capture only a few whales, as George Will points out in his commentary in Newsweek. Unfortunately, Will downplays the fact that Sea World wants to capture a hundred whales, not just “a few.” And, after releasing ninety of these whales, Sea World intends to keep ten for “further work.” At hearings in Seattle last week, several noted marine biologists went on record as condemning Sea World’s research program.
NOTE: When you acknowledge an opposing view, be careful not to distort or oversimplify it. This tactic, known as creating a straw man, can seriously undermine your credibility.