Reasoning and Argumentation


I wonder if I am I the only one reluctant to cite Wikipedia no matter how accurate is has been shown to be when compared to venerable sources. I suppose it is the self governing concept that throws me. Albeit, it should at least be better than a random webpage someone threw together, containing unsourced information. Still, the idea that myriad people can inherently be trusted to police inaccuracies, even to follow strict guidelines on the acquisition of data, without some kind of monetary based incentive or pressure, seems inherently unlikely.

Support by default

If a person makes a critical comment about another person, entity or group, it does not by default mean that person supports the enemy, direct rival, or random/pseudo-random alternative of any of them.
When someone has a history of hateful commentary; has expressed an unfair bias for something that exists within the context of those whom the person is criticising; when his latest commentary is blatantly hateful in and of itself, then it is understandable to make reactionary judgements about said person’s comments and character.

But when the criticism is not unquestionably hateful, and when it is based in facts, or data a reasonably intelligent person would conclude as being factual, why should the critic have to endure the lectures of some others about the need for balance by proclaiming he has supposed responsibility to mention the failings of related persons, entities and groups? People have free speech rights (well, most should in a just world), so that defense can be made, but what logic says that if you criticise one thing you support whatever it is those judging you say, even though there are myriad things you could support instead, and even though your criticism is not irrational?

If someone makes a criticism about Christians, does that mean he is an atheist?

If someone criticizes women, does that mean he thinks men are without fault?

Please, explain why too many people, as in at least 1, reason this way; that you must be unfair, or hold a hateful opinion about something because you don’t mention the bad behavior of others?

Bush and the strawmen

Whether he’s being sincere or not, I think some commendation can be given to Bush for not attacking his critics, but why must he strawman what we’ve said about him? It’s annoying having a man that typically cannot comprehend even the simplest arguments against him as our president.

Debating motivation

I don’t like to assign motives. I will characterise behavior, but I don’t like to say a person did something because of reason a or b. I prefer to focus on what they did. I am not only uncertain of such things as motive, I think it often distracts from the more apparently important issue of what needs to be done. I don’t consider debates courts of laws. I don’t feel it’s my job to convict people. I’d rather discuss the errors of ways and work to fix problems than speculate, even with strong evidence to support it, on how someone might be a greedy tyrant, or what have you.

The Stupidity of Hyperbole

How it is that historical association can be ignored, with all the insensitive consequence of doing so, for the sake of using the most severe and recognizable labels is beyond me. There might be a more complicated argument behind it, but absent that being revealed to me in simple enough terms, the label of Zionist Nazi is definitely one of the more peculiar I recall hearing. It doesn’t even seem to matter if the labels are independently proved as a matter of intent, for correlations seem to do just fine. It’s odd how I don’t often hear, or maybe I just don’t notice, anyone that killed or ordered the killing of millions being so labelled, but if a person is not wholly loyal, or loyal to the litmus tenets of the day in someone’s world, he then becomes a Zionist Nazi, or Nazi Zionist, or ZioNazi, or some such things in that person’s world.

Are so called Zionist Nazis related to the also so called self hating Jews?
I know Nazis killed more than Jews, and that there is a belief that Israel wants to cleanse the region round it, or at least within its current borders, but the killing of Jews association with the ideology has the strongest historical association. I don’t think that’s overriden if a case can be made for comparitive genocide between historical Naziism and whatever it’s being compared to.

You do not even have to be a Zionist to be called a Nazi, and vice versa.

Absolutely Simple

One of the most bothersome things to me is over simplicity by the use of absolutes, it is what can be called an abuse of Occam’s Razor, as the example I give below is used therein, as a means of contending that the arguments mentioned must, according to those presenting them be right, no matter the differences in their scenarios.

George Santayana’s infamous quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” whatever his intention was, is propounded by many sides in debates, most commonly on the use of force, to make audiences believe the positive consequences of their positions and the negative ones of their opponents are absolutely going to happen. What Santayana’s words are best used as is not a mask for possible intellectual dishonesty, but a guide for making decisions. Cases are inherently individual as much, if not more, than they are similar, and history does not literally repeat itself, therefor a single absolute answer premised from that quote is like using the same pill to cure every illness with like symptoms, potentially deadly.

I Don’t Like Conspiracy Theorists

I know, like the axiom which states absence of proof is not proof of absence, it’s not always easy to refute their arguments, and it’s not really my goal to, nor do I assume they’re wrong in their main assertions, but my experience with speaking with them on occasion leaves me with the sense that reasonable doubt is not given much consideration. The arguments seem to most often be based in their cynicism and a dubious or terrible level of moral credibility on the part or those they allege to be criminal, usually a government. The conspiracy theorist, taking some fact, usually, and his doubts about the entity he names as the conspirator, argues said entities guilt, sometimes impressively, but he takes it a step further with his theorizing, not simply asking, not demanding answers (as they understandably do), but alleging, which is to me a questionable tactic; is it right to take some facts and understanding beyond the condemnation of behavior to the point of alleging motive and convicting from it, as if any of us are valid courts of law? Even if valid in the end, do the conspiracy theorist’s beliefs come from objective reasoning and a search for the truth, or is there an agenda that cannot be applauded by a fair minded person?

Political Litmuses are Stupid

I’ve had people try to label me as far right, a few times far left, and something nefarious. Dear stupid people, if a label is applicable to a person it’s because of weight and preponderance, not whether or not the person agrees with everything you say no matter how idiotic. That means you compare the number of contentions commonly associated with the left to those of the right. It’s actually logical that way. Besides, few people are purists, and those that are tend to be ding bats.

Bit of Advice for Those Who Might Be Too Naive and Confident

Never get into a debate with objectivists and subjectivists about the basis of your morality, because they’ll never accept your answer, repeating the same questions over and over: “how do you know your basis is valid?” “Why is your morality better than someone elses?” “Why aren’t good and evil simply subjective constructs?” “How can man create a system with which to judge himself when not everyone will agree to it?” “If mob rule is tyranny of the majority, isn’t mob morality the same thing?””Who designs the safegaurds against this?” Etc.

While those might not be particularly good examples of the kinds of questions they’ll ask, it’s not far from there methodology. Objectivists/subjectivists aren’t all amoral, they just don’t seem to know what morality to follow, as in they can’t define it by any external doctrines, and claiming it comes from within makes it virtually worthless for all but for the person in which it exists.

The simple answer is to tell them to bug off or you’ll amorally beat them.

Altruism and Intellectual Honesty

Is it just me, or do people often make pious proclamations, but give little, if any, acknowledgement of the possibility that their beliefs could result, either directly or by making the conditions more amenable, in suffering? I’m not saying hypothetical negative consequences should force you to change your mind, but that it doesn’t invalidate your beliefs to admit bad things could come from them.

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