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  • A good argument

    Ars Technica has a nice article on how to argue effectively:

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/g...ars?comments=1
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

  • #2
    Re: A good argument

    Too bad they didn't cover straw man arguments, which I find to me much more annoying than any other distraction since it nullifies any chance of working on the actual argument when the time is spent trying to point out that the person is arguing against something that the opposite side did not say.

    A perfect example is the anonymity thread. The video was a commentary on how people being able to discuss ideas openly by being anonymous was a good thing. I agreed and stated:

    Anonymous speech allows anyone to state their ideas without personal consequences, giving people the ability to freely discuss concepts. It also allows those ideas to be held on their own merits, as people can easily ignore the anonymous speaker because they have no identity to support the validity of their freely stated ideas.

    While there are people who would abuse that anonymity, there are also people who would abuse the inability to be anonymous and punish people for opinions they disagreed with.
    And the following post is:

    But with total anonymity people have no consequences to their actions.
    Now there is an inference that supporting anonymity for open dialogue is the same as supporting anonymity for anything including criminal activity. This kind of response is worse, because you can't discuss the actual topic of open speech and discussing ideas on their own merits until the sidetrack to criminal activity is addressed as it will simply be repeated by those who don't understand the distinction. I see far more discussions side tracked by replies stating a disagreement with something another posted did not say ruining a thread than anything else.
    |TG-6th|Snooggums

    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A good argument

      Based on the above post and numerous others, you call "straw man argument" on anything that doesn't support the side of the discussion you want to have discussed. But, because you didn't say that in black & white, er, brown, you probably think I'm stuffing straw here.

      The response is not a great response, but the poster was using extremes ("total," "no") to get consideration that with less identification comes less responsibility, and then follows abuses which could outweigh the benefit. Just because it wasn't a great argument doesn't mean it's a straw man. If the argument was solely between you and the second person, it might be construed that he was claiming YOU had the extreme position in mind. Within a forum of discussion, one needs to look whether there was intent to make a strawman against you, personally. If there was no intent, you should consider whether the poster is just trying to define black before looking into how dark or light the topic shade of gray is.

      sigpic
      "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
      something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A good argument

        Actually, you are inferring that I took personal offense to his irrelevant claim instead of being annoyed that there was a need to dismiss the statement's lack of relation to the topic. Once that completely irrelevant issue is brought up people go discuss that instead, like pointing out that criminals use bleach to hide crime scene evidence while discussing the stain removing properties on grass stains. The failure to recognize the distinction makes discussion difficult and often impossible, and it is clear by your post that you haven't recognized the distinction and are responding to the straw man instead of discussing the merits of anonymity when talking about discussion. Maybe you didn't watch the video for the context?

        Another good example of a failure in logic is how you stated your opinion that 'call "straw man argument" on anything that doesn't support the side of the discussion' which is attributing intent to the speaker instead of just addressing the statement itself, I won't mention the name as I expect it to be parroted back. I noted the straw man arguments as a reason that the issue did not need to be addressed while also pointing out that the claim was the exact opposite of what I had stated in some cases.

        More examples of irrelevant posts that ruined multiple pages of a thread, starting with this linked post, which I admit I fell for:
        http://www.tacticalgamer.com/sandbox...ml#post1508689

        You dragging 9/11 denial into a discussion on atheism by comparing conspiracy theories to science because you don't know the difference between rigorous testing and logic and abject denial of evidence contrary to one's beliefs. Good job!

        Note that the majority of sidetracks and irrelevant comparisons are not due to malicious intent, but errors in logic.

        edit:
        Here you are dragging Islamic extremism into a discussion about building a mosque. I know you still don't understand why it isn't related to the topic, but that is what makes it such a good example.
        http://www.tacticalgamer.com/sandbox...ml#post1523099
        Last edited by snooggums; 11-05-2010, 10:23 PM. Reason: added another example
        |TG-6th|Snooggums

        Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A good argument

          Last example first: Muslim extremism is relevant to the topic of (moderate?) Muslims building a religious edifice near the place where people who took similar views took so many lives. In my opinion, calling someone a "moderate" simply because they haven't yet killed anyone is naive. From my perspective, the desire on the part of a Muslim imam to build a religious edifice near that place was "extreme," not in a necessarily illegal or obscene manner, but that it was certainly not a "moderate" plan.

          On the Boeing, if anyone takes the opportunity to read the link you gave, they'll see I did anything but try to provoke argument about the 9/11 Boeing. In my second post I explained myself better for you. I felt it should be obvious people are sometimes more than willing to take another person's word (be he a scientist, imam, priest, etc.) rather than going only on what the individual can actually see or understand. I specifically encouraged people not to blindly follow, be the topic in the real world or in spiritual affairs. After that, you made a long post about the 9/11 situation and you summed it up claiming my example/argument on lacking evidence had no validity in a religious discussion.

          I stand on both items, saying neither were damaging to the discussions, even though they continued the discussions.

          It is not unreasonable to say that you seem to disapprove of any mention in an argument you don't feel you can either defeat or agree with.

          sigpic
          "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
          something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A good argument

            A challenge to an argument must either question the logic or the premises. For example, here's a questionable premise:

            In my opinion, calling someone a "moderate" simply because they haven't yet killed anyone is naive.
            You're stating that all Muslims that claim to be moderates are lying and are secretly plotting to kill someone. (Note that I'm not saying you're right or wrong, merely identifying the premise you're using to justify the rest of your argument.)

            I felt it should be obvious people are sometimes more than willing to take another person's word (be he a scientist, imam, priest, etc.) rather than going only on what the individual can actually see or understand.
            Taking someone's word on a subject requires that the person be an accepted authority on the subject. Or demonstrate a chain of evidence back to an authority.
            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A good argument

              Originally posted by SilentSunshine View Post
              In my second post I explained myself better for you. I felt it should be obvious people are sometimes more than willing to take another person's word (be he a scientist, imam, priest, etc.) rather than going only on what the individual can actually see or understand.I specifically encouraged people not to blindly follow, be the topic in the real world or in spiritual affairs.
              Which still doesn't make sense because if multiple groups publish the results of their studies and there is a consensus by the scientific community it isn't necessary for every scientist to do the same test. Questioning and refusing to believe widespread test results is willful denial, and that is the example you brought into the discussion.

              Unlike science, spiritual matters can't be tested and verified by others so authority is always assumed and not verifiable.

              After that, you made a long post about the 9/11 situation and you summed it up claiming my example/argument on lacking evidence had no validity in a religious discussion.
              Because it had nothing to do with the discussion and had I thought you were intentionally misleading instead of not understanding the difference I would have assumed you were a troll.

              [quote]I stand on both items, saying neither were damaging to the discussions, even though they continued the discussions.[quote]

              It is clear you don't understand why, so feel free to think that is the case.

              It is not unreasonable to say that you seem to disapprove of any mention in an argument you don't feel you can either defeat or agree with.
              No, I point out irrelevance. Your inability to tell the difference has led you to assume intent instead of reflecting on the possibility that you lack the ability to make a distinction between items that promote a discussion and derail them. Of course you exhibited extreme denial about the given comparisons given between Christianity and Islam in multiple threads so at least there is consistency.
              |TG-6th|Snooggums

              Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A good argument

                Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                You're stating that all Muslims that claim to be moderates are lying and are secretly plotting to kill someone.
                That is certainly neither true nor a logical corollary. I did not claim "all" or "most" Muslims that want to be called moderate are plotting to kill anyone. *sigh* Words are important, in an argument, you know. I stated that calling someone a "moderate" because they haven't personally completed the biggest "extremist" act we know of... is naive. Might there possibly be some Muslims out there who believe we get what's coming to us for being licentiously immoral when we're attacked (or, say avenged by Allah)? We've seen Quranic verses that make it okay to lie for what's considered the faith. Thus, if a person says they believe the Quran is supernatural, given by God, etc. then I'm not going to trust them in relevant matters.

                Taking someone's word on a subject requires that the person be an accepted authority on the subject. Or demonstrate a chain of evidence back to an authority.
                That would be good. People don't always do that, often still thinking their source is fine (or even "infallible"). Logically, though, of course it should be an accepted authority.

                sigpic
                "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
                something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: A good argument

                  Originally posted by SilentSunshine View Post
                  That is certainly neither true nor a logical corollary. I did not claim "all" or "most" Muslims that want to be called moderate are plotting to kill anyone. *sigh* Words are important, in an argument, you know. I stated that calling someone a "moderate" because they haven't personally completed the biggest "extremist" act we know of... is naive.
                  Assuming that Muslims want to kill people because there are quotes in their holy book about killing, then when shown quotes from the Christian holy book that state the same concepts and actions you deny the Christian ones are relevant, is hypocritical. Your words clearly show your prejudice.
                  |TG-6th|Snooggums

                  Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: A good argument

                    Ok, let me try again at distilling your claim: "Calling Muslims who haven't killed someone 'moderate' is ... naive." What does that mean, exactly?

                    First, I don't know of anyone who defines a "moderate Muslim" as "a Muslim who hasn't killed yet". Who are you referring to? "Moderate Muslim" is a self-assigned label. Will you also claim that all Christians are literalists? And "naive" looks like an ad hominem: you're just politely calling someone stupid. Someone who doesn't even exist. (An opponent who doesn't exist would be a straw man.)

                    Try to use as few words as possible in making your claim, so that it's clear what you're claiming. K.I.S.S. I'm a programmer, and an "elegant" program attempts to be short to keep the opportunity for bugs minimized. (But not so short that one can't understand it.) Think of your reader as a maintenance programmer who's gonna have to add features to the stuff you wrote and will need to completely understand it to avoid adding new bugs.
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: A good argument

                      Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                      Ok, let me try again at distilling your claim: "Calling Muslims who haven't killed someone 'moderate' is ... naive." What does that mean, exactly?
                      It means that bringing up extremist positions or acts is not "dragging" another subject in, when the starting point is about someone who uses the same "holy book" wanting to build a monumental edifice near the 9/11 atrocity location. By not allowing the mention of extremist or purist ideologies that may influence a proposition (like the proposed mosque center), the complainer leaves available only discussion that stems from believing the influences to be moderate. The term moderate doesn't have to be used explicitly - the refusal to consider extremism calls the influences moderate effectually enough, does it not?

                      We have news articles almost everyday about Muslim acts (they're a big group, I know). Yesterday's big article supports my stance that there's little use drawing a line between the good Muslims and the bad ones. There are Muslims all along the spectrum from actually killing, to supporting the killing, to abhorring killing. I'll agree my perception may be off in this - that I think too many Westerners see only good Muslims or bad ones.

                      And believe it or not, I do shoot for concision, lol. :P

                      sigpic
                      "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
                      something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: A good argument

                        If you play only on pub servers, you might think that all gamers were bunny hoppers and team killers. And if newspapers covered what actually happens on servers, that would be the only thing they'd report.
                        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                        snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                        Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: A good argument

                          When someone misquotes your or misunderstands what you said it brings the argument to a standstill. This is why strawman arguments are bad. They are injected differences in arguments when really two people could be in agreement. If someone comments on the merits of something but points out the negatives as well, as per Snoog's first example in this thread, and another person argues 'what about the negatives' the argument has been lost from the get go. It's like trying to force someone to drink water when they're already drinking it. Arguing for the sake of argument is not a good argument.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: A good argument

                            This is also why public discussion about topics like abortion never work.

                            Power 1: I support the right to have third term abortions with restrictions requiring two doctor's consent, because a woman has a right to choose if continuing a pregnancy is dangerous for her and she is already a fully developed person and child may not have developed to the point of living on its own.
                            Poster 2: Doctors could possibly work to together to allow late term abortions when it isn't needed. Let's leave it to the courts.
                            Poster 1: Doctors would be the ones who could give the best opinion, and courts move too slow for this.
                            Poster 2: So you want babies to be aborted.

                            That's how it goes when someone has a religious belief for their argument.
                            |TG-6th|Snooggums

                            Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: A good argument

                              Originally posted by Sirusblk View Post
                              When someone misquotes your or misunderstands what you said it brings the argument to a standstill. This is why strawman arguments are bad. They are injected differences in arguments when really two people could be in agreement. If someone comments on the merits of something but points out the negatives as well, as per Snoog's first example in this thread, and another person argues 'what about the negatives' the argument has been lost from the get go. It's like trying to force someone to drink water when they're already drinking it. Arguing for the sake of argument is not a good argument.
                              The other thing they do (and one of the reasons for the naming, and the reason they're popular) is they prop up a false argument, one where the poster can attack and easily prove the OP "wrong" and make the position harder to defend.

                              For example,

                              A: America needs to be active in the fight against AIDS. It is reaching out to affect more and more Americans every day. AIDS, after all, can be contracted simply from a splash of contaminated blood onto broken skin. By 1990, researchers estimate that more than 5% of AIDS victims will be heterosexuals in long-term,monogamous relationships. We must enact legislation that will make funds available as soon as possible to find a cure for this disease.

                              B: A is just a "do-gooder" liberal/atheist who rejects God and the Bible. The people who have AIDS are suffering God's punishment for the sin of homosexuality. Helping these people would be to defy God.
                              or
                              A: Abortion is wrong because it is the murder of human life. A child in the womb has as much right to live as any child outside the womb. A fetus has most all of his human features intact before birth and even kicks his mother.

                              B: A opposes abortion because s/he claims it is murder. But this is absurd. We often let newborn children die because of gross deformity or medical problems such as spinal bifida. And we kill thousands more in the womb each year by allowing mothers to smoke, drink, or use drugs. Abortion may be murder - but it is no worse than the thousand other murders we commit each day without thinking. If A is really opposed to murder, let him/her stop the wars in Central America and Afghanistan - and put an end to the nuclear arms race while s/he is at it!

                              <04:11:24> *** You are now talking in channel: "TFP - Task Force Proteus"
                              <04:16:25> "|TG-XV| Tralic": this channel is so gay
                              DICE needs to make a comical boxing glove attached to a spring punch the player in the face 40% of the time they get into a helicopter or jet.

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