Since Rabbis, Attorneys, and others are engaged in arguments, it can be really useful to spot a flawed or distorted argument.
There are books written about this very topic. An Easy approach is to use modern Coginitive-Behavioral Therapy principles and to apply them as a litmus test for proper reason and argumentation
So here are 10 distortions common to depressed and anxious people, that also show up with debaters, especially when they suffer from neuroses or very low self-esteem.
10 common cognitive distortions & what to do about them - Forums at Psych Central
Here are the basic distortions. They aren't a "therapy" to use and then forget... but habits of thinking that we need to "check' ourselves on for "life." Following this is a list of how to "untwist" such thinking. Good wishes!
1) ALL OR NOTHING THINKING
3) MENTAL FILTER
4) DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE
5) JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS:
6) MAGNIFICATION (CASTASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION
7) EMOTIONAL REASONING
8) SHOULD STATEMENTS
9) LABELING AND MISLABELING
1) You see things in black or white categories. If your effort or performance falls short of "perfect" you see yourself as a total failure. This "either-or" thinking habit may result in self-recrimination or anxiety.
2) You view a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. For example, you think that a friends' inconsiderate response means that there is no caring for you, even when there have been other examples of consideration.
3) You pick out single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your perception becomes distorted. For example, a person focuses on one negative comment and ignores any of more neutral or positive feedback.
4) You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or another. In this way, you maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. For instance, you don't believe a compliment because you think it is said just to be nice.
5) You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts to support your conclusion.
a.) MIND READING You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and don't bother to check it out. "I just know he/she thought I was an idiot." even though he/she acted nicely.
b) THE FORTUNE TELLER ERROR: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel that, "I just know I am not going to get the job I want."
6) You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else's achievement) or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desireable qualities or the other person's imperfections.)
7) You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."
8) You try to motivate yourself with "should" and "shouldn't" , as if you have to be whippped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. "Musts" and "oughts" are also issues. The emotional result is feeling guilty.
9) This is an extreme example of over-generalization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'm a loser."
10.) You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for which in fact you were not primarily responsible.