left biblioblography: BITCHSLAP BLOGGING – OF COMMUNICATION, CACOPHONY AND THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

Monday, November 20, 2006

BITCHSLAP BLOGGING – OF COMMUNICATION, CACOPHONY AND THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

There is some major disconnects that I’ve found via blogging: debating those of unlike mind seems to be a Sisyphean task in most cases.

There are, for instance, only so many times one can re-explain the definition of ‘theory’ prior to bursting a blood vessel, or re-iterating the factual evidence of evolution. Or demand proof of the insubstantial. Before the eyes cross, and the knees go wobbly.

There is also the issue of establishing a premise. Most of us (myself included) usually wing it. Presuppositions firmly in place, we go toe-to-toe with the opposite side, and as a rule, it becomes a stalemate, an impasse.


There are multiple constraints in the realtime world as well. We forget often enough, that the other side, as we do, have other obligations in reality. Work, relationships, duties demanding to be done. As such, these demands will take us away from any debate. The other side will on occasion substitute silence with assent, declare victory prematurely, or simply wonder why the opponent is silent. Conveniently forgetting that there are other matters to attend to. Easily done: the opponent could very well be two continents away, called away on family matters, dealing with the multitude of duties that adult life burdens us with.

Sometimes, for myself, I lose interest in the discussion: I’ll drop a discussion due to the fact that beating a dead horse is usually a waste of time. Or, if the other poster insists on being verbose to the nth degree, I just don’t feel obliged to respond in-depth via fisking the entire response, and so have to resort to pulling a few choice comments, and responding to those. Context dropping isn’t a favorite hobby of mine, nor is the strawman approach: I endeavor mightily to avoid them both like the plague, but alas, being human, I fumble. As do we all.

Like most Americans, my attention span is very much tattered, due to the prevalence of the ‘glass teat’, as Harlan Ellison likes to dub it. While I’d like to think that I’ve abbreviated much of that via my embracing the practice of Tai Chi (which requires a degree of focus that my fellow citizenry evidently don’t possess), again, only human, and I do get distracted (I watch NUMB3RS on Friday nights, PDT, so don’t expect a lot that weeknight), enough so that I shrug, and move on to the next glittery object that attracts my notice, like a crow to tinsel.

Then there is the matter of who ‘won’ the debate. It’s usually decided by the audience, lacking an objective judge, as to who defeated whom (the Barker-Manata debate is a substantial proof of this: the atheists side with Barker, the religionists siding with Manata).

Then there is the issue of projection, definition number 8 –

  1. “The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or suppositions to others: “Even trained anthropologists have been guilty of unconscious projection—of clothing the subjects of their research in theories brought with them into the field” (Alex Shoumatoff).
  2. The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious defense against anxiety or guilt.”

Or the old ‘You’re just like me, you just won’t admit it!’ defense. Being human, we all share commonalites: I am by far going to put running to the bathroom, getting my car fixed, eating my dinner, or going to work as a priority as opposed to dispensing a passionate logical argument to another poster’s commentary. Whether or not I ‘believe’ is an entirely subjective opinion I’ve reserved for myself, thanks much, so please don’t pigeonhole me by projecting your own mindset onto mine. History abounds with this mistake: don’t make it.

And of course, there are multiple moments where I feel I’ve adequately described my position for the umpteenth time, and yet no amount of explanation seems to reach the person in question. These tend to slip into acrimony, despite my best efforts.

Let’s put this in a nutshell: the people we agree with will applaud, the folks we disagree with will boo loudly. Short of the actual admission of an epiphany, the best anyone can hope for is a meeting of the minds, a dialogue, an exchange of views. I have had the occasional appearance of victory: long-term or short-term, it’s difficult to judge. Today’s victory can sour with tomorrow’s advent. The human mind is notoriously ambiguous.

“Of course, I like agreement, it warms the heart, but I don't expect it; and I like disagreement too, when it is intelligent and carries a thought further, rather than contradicts it a priori, from a different point of departure. These different points of departure make discussion futile and unpleasant.”
To Charles Augustus Strong, 15 September 1939, The Letters of George Santayana, Book Six, 1937-1940, MIT Press, 2004

Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through a long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness. “
Scepticism and Animal Faith, Scribner's, 1923, p. 69-70

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14 comments:

remy said...

A few months ago I began this blogorama with the alacrity of a boy with a new toy. Since I had long ago left the futile arguments of god's existence behind, watching you and Karen attempt the improbable has been very interesting. I admire you both and I now find myself re-entering the debate with Sisyphus as a cheer leader.

I understand your exasperation. The same tired arguments for Him. The utter lack of logic. The smug sense that they KNOW because the bible tells then so. The complete inability to accept evidence. One can't help but resort to sarcasm.

Keep up the fight. I think it was you who said you do it not for the adversary but for the invisible reader.

Mesoforte said...

Online arguments are never won, they just crash servers. Any argument that goes on long enough to crash a server is a good argument. ^_^

"Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." Isaac Asimov

Krystalline Apostate said...

remy:
Keep up the fight. I think it was you who said you do it not for the adversary but for the invisible reader.
I shall. Perhaps it was I who said, or some other worthy.
It is the good fight, & I may stumble on occasion, but better to die free than to live as a slave.

MF:
Online arguments are never won, they just crash servers. Any argument that goes on long enough to crash a server is a good argument.
I don't know if ever I've crashed a server, but I must be going on a few gigs on somebody's HD (or spanning a few).
1 of my favorite Asimov quotes, BTW (but I think you knew that already, hehehehe).

beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA
RE my blog

I still reckon that dude was leading with an appeal to authority and when called on it, he retreated to the position of - "you don't really undertsnad logic if you think that." (paraphrased)

I think he is also aware that he is making appeals to emotion as he then went on to claim that there are non-fallacious appeals to emotion.

Basically, that an appeal to emotion is not fallacious if it is evidnece of the truth of the proposition.

Weird.

I feel that he is wrong, so there is the evidence that he must be. Haha

Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
I still reckon that dude was leading with an appeal to authority and when called on it, he retreated to the position of - "you don't really undertsnad logic if you think that." (paraphrased)
That's exactly what he was doing - his approach was, 'Listen to me, I'm an expert, let me correct you.'
I think he is also aware that he is making appeals to emotion as he then went on to claim that there are non-fallacious appeals to emotion.
'I feel, therefore I am.' Hehehehe.
I feel that he is wrong, so there is the evidence that he must be. Haha
LOL. Yeah, that dude is on another plane entirely. The funniest part was how he talked to us all as if we're children. Me mam don't talk to me like that, let alone some stranger on the internet.

remy said...

I was finally able to get on Beep's site. (It was freezing and double printing when I clicked on comments).

Phreed is bad, as is jrc and Gagdad, but that guy. Wow.

These people seem to live in a bubble where a particular sort of logic lives. I'm sure he believes what he says, but that is what is so frightening to me. This recent talk of tolerance and Kid-gloves doesn't fill me with optimism when faced with the "Giant mind of qrakurs" or whatever his name is.

Lucyp said...

Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and move on if only because you reach a point where to continue would drive you around the bend and you just end up repeating yourself. People are diferent and view things in different ways and you can usually tell straight away someone who is closed mind.
Sometimes it is best to settle for a draw and move on or you could just get bogged down.

ted said...

Nicely said KA.

Frustrating though it can be, I think it's an important discussion. The best we can do is enjoy it and as you quote, perhaps futher a thought or two here and there, our own included.

The worst is when they bait you then run away just as you're warming up...:)

Krystalline Apostate said...

remy:
Phreed is bad, as is jrc and Gagdad, but that guy. Wow.
You're talking about Chaka Khan (or whatever the bloody handle is)? He was a little politer than phreddy or Bagdad bob, but I remember once upon a time, when ole jcc was just like that feller.
This recent talk of tolerance and Kid-gloves doesn't fill me with optimism when faced with the "Giant mind of qrakurs" or whatever his name is.
LMAO! 'Giant mind of qrakurs.' Remember, for every 1 of those apoplectic apologists, there's usually a few religious folks who are too busy trying to mind their own damn business. Besides which, we got enough enemies as it is (Tho I note the 'baby-eating' thing seems to have died off, he said hopefully).

lucyp:
Sometimes it is best to settle for a draw and move on or you could just get bogged down.
Sometimes, not always. It's a hard call sometimes: I recall that YEC whippersnapper on Beep's blog say that since nobody was paying any attention to his questions (false), it meant there was no answer, so he'd win.
& truthfully, sometimes I start a tussle just for the helluva it.

ted:
The worst is when they bait you then run away just as you're warming up...:)
What is that line in 'Monty Python & the Holy Grail'? Oh yeah...'Run away, run away!';)

beepbeepitsme said...

I think the major sticking point between theists and atheists is what constitutes knowledge.

As that debate has been waging for centuries, I don't see a resolution of that any time soon.

A theologian will claim till he is blue in the face that his study of the supernatural and divine intervetion and revelation is as valid as scientific knowledge.

Obviously, as an atheist, I don't consider it valid as it doesn't meet the criteria for what constitutes knowledge, in my opinion.

In order for there to be knowledge according to epistemology, at least three crtieria must be fulfilled. A thought must be justified, true and believed.

Is it justified to claim that yellow, invisible teapots stop the earth from flying into the sun?
Is it demonstrably true to claim that yellow, invisible teapots stop the earth from flying into the sun?
Is it believable that yellow, invisible teapots stop the earth from flying into the sun?

If these criteria cannot be met, any argument is a case of special pleading, which is a logical fallacy.

Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
A thought must be justified, true and believed.
Is that the order? (I'm a tad rushed this mornin')
Is it believable that yellow, invisible teapots stop the earth from flying into the sun?
Or that mice (the dominant life on earth) constructed the earth as a giant supercomputer in order to formulate the Great Question in response to the Great Answer, 42?

beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA

I ma not aware that it has a specific order, just that those are the criteria.

But it basically ends up meaning to me is that I don't consider supernatural claims to be knowledge.

HairlessMonkeyDK said...

Ah, wilful ignorance...
The most widespread plague
and the one most in need of a cure.
I'm with ya, Uncy.

P.S.

Hey! beepbeepitsme!
Haven't I seen ya hangin' 'round at FSTDT ?

Krystalline Apostate said...

HMDK:
Ah, wilful ignorance...
The most widespread plague
and the one most in need of a cure.

Or as Einstein said so succinctly:
"There are only 2 things that are infinite: the universe & human stupidity. & I'm not so sure about the universe."
Do drop by more, my friend.