RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (3) < [1] 2 3 >   
  Topic: The Respect Agenda, This time it's being discussed!< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,05:35   

[LENGTH WARNING]

Okily Dokily ATBCerinos,

Since my return this month 'tis being claimed the board is going to pot. I am allegedly flinging vilest imprecations left and right and dammit, just not being respectful enough.

Personally, and only to a certain extent, I disagree (Shock, Horror, Hold the front page, coo stap me vitals etc), so in order to thrash out the details and have a laugh at the same time, here's a thread about being excellent to each other (WYLD STALLYNS!). Sorry SteveStory, but someone had to do it ;-) Doesn't mean we can't have a giggle!

This thread is designed in good humour to air all those spanking good theories we all have about being nice to each other. SteveStory, the board's moderator no less, has very strongly suggested that we are civil to each other in the manner of a university debate in a political science class or the like. This is an analogy I like a lot, and it's one I'm going to return to. I agree with it.

So here goes my respect agenda, please feel free to disagree vocally, violently and viciously. I have a thick skin.

Stephen Fry (noted author, intellect, wit, actor, and bottomist) once had a character called Donald Trefusis, the Regius Professor of Philology at Cambridge. He wrote in an article called "Trefusis Blasphemes" about the topic of blasphemy, a topic relevant to the Intelligent Design movement because, and let's be honest here, they can't hide their god at all, it's one of the reasons they keep losing in court. In fact this whole topic of respect is very relevant to the debate this site was set up to have, but I may have to explain that later.

An excerpt from "Trefusis Blasphemes":

 
Quote
I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion, and every day I am sorely, grossly, heinously and deeply offended, wounded, mortified and injured by a thousand different blasphemies against it. When the fundamental canons of truth, honesty, compassion and decency are hourly assaulted by fatuous bishops, pompous, illiberal and ignorant priests, politicians and prelates, sanctimonious censors, self-appointed moralists and busy-bodies, what recourse of ancient laws have I? None whatever. Nor would I ask for any. For unlike these blistering imbeciles my belief in my religion is strong and I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish.


That about sums it up. Despite the religious context of the Trefusis piece above (he was after all talking about religious blasphemy, please don't make me explain the use of metaphor in that piece) I am not advocating a "faith in reason" or a "religion of science" or a "religion of scepticism" or anything like it, in fact what I am advocating is precisely the opposite. Now for the really offensive bit.

Not all people are equally intelligent. Not all people are equally educated. Not all people are equally honest. Not all people are equally tolerant, good natured, good humoured or indeed good. Not all opinions these multifarious people have, are equal.

Revelation? I think not, but it needs saying. Why? Because we seem to forget it in our rush to be "civil" or "respectful".
Being "civil" or respectful" is not merely the lack of pointing out someone's errors or flaws. I'll elaborate:

Advocates of reason and science are assaulted daily from all quarters. Be it the homeopath claiming magic shaking makes water that can cure your cancer, or the creationist claiming the world is as old as the domestication of the dog. These are anti-reason, ideas held not only in the absence of evidence but in direct opposition to it.

These are the products of minds squandering the "gift of intellect" as it were. If we consider for a moment that these ideas are not those of a backwoods savage, unexposed to education and all the advantages of modern Western society, they become even more shocking. Is it not a tragic indictment on our own societal LACK of respect for each other that a person can grow up exposed to, and benefiting from, all the products of science and reason and yet airily dismiss the parts that conflict with these unsupported ideas? I'm all for tolerance, I'm all for people having different opinions, I value a plethora of widely ranging views, and indeed I survive precisely because people thought previously unthinkable thoughts, so please don't misunderstand this as some desire for Orwellian groupthink.

So while I am for tolerating different opinions and ideas, while I celebrate the diversity of ideas we humans hold, what I am NOT for is disrespect. I think it is the height, the pinnacle, the very summit of disrespect not to challenge an idea. I think than any idea, no matter its source or "sanctity" is open for challenge by reason. My ideas are not ring fenced or protected, no one else's are either. For people to hide behind a false, that's FALSE, shield of "respect" by claiming their ideas are sacrosanct, unable to be examined I think is vastly uncivil and disrespectful. Why?

Progress in human society, and I mean progress for the betterment of the lives of all humans, not just a select few, has derived from one source and one source alone: the ability to use reason to question ideas derived dogma and faith and develop ideas more congruent with observed reality. Those can be political, ideological or religious faiths and dogmas, I make no distinction between those classes. In fact the very word "civilisation" has strong overtones of the emergence from the barbarism of unreason. To be "civilised" is not only to be "reasonable" but to be "reasoned". The abandonment of the use of reason is precisely a return to barbarism, a return to unreason, an abandonment of the values of the Enlightenment and profoundly "uncivilised".

In a debate or discussion at a university one might not respect the ideas of one's opponent, but one respects the opponent to the best of one's ability to do so. That respect entails a certain degree of responsibility: one has to deal with their arguments as they are stated (not perhaps as one THINKS they are stated) and one must be scrupulously honest in the presentation of one's own arguments. Otherwise the whole debate descends into rhetorical farce, unfortunately the kind one can see at Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons (but enough about my disappointments). To this end debate societies have developed many tactics, one of which is the restatement of your opponent's arguments to their satisfaction. This is an incredibly valuable learning tool as it forces one to treat your opponent with respect AND to examine the basis of their argument thoroughly. This, incidentally is why many of the most able counter-creationists are ex-religious people or current religious people, they can better examine the arguments of the creationists by advancing them themselves and understanding the basis for them.

So where is this going? It should be blindingly obvious. If we are to have any form of productive discussion, any form of rational discourse or interchange of ideas the two things we MUST exhibit are honesty and intellectual rigour. Why? As mentioned above if we fail to give our opponent's arguments the same rigour we would desire for our own by lying about them, by obfuscating or twisting them to a straw version we can knock down, then we are demonstrating a profound lack of respect not just for the ideas, but for the people making them. If we hastily cobble together a logically incoherent argument based on nothing more than anecdote and bias, we are committing the same lack of respect. And as alluded to above, this is more than disrespectful, more than uncivilised, it is the basis for a return to anti-reason, unreason and barbarism that threatens the very foundations of our post-Enlightenment society. Doubt me? Think that's too far? Ok then, open your eyes! Read the media "opinion pieces" watch the news, I guarantee you behind everything that makes you wince is unthinking, anti-Enlightenment, anti-reason. The hooting of our chimpier selves who have punched through our veneer of civilisation.

The question that follows from this is to what extent should such dishonesty, such incivility, such disrespect, such anti-reason be tolerated. Sadly the answer I have to give is it should be tolerated to the extent we tolerate all unpleasant things. However, that does not equate to silent tolerance, or meek ignorance. In a university debate if your opponent tells a lie, or makes a straw version of your argument you are not only within your rights to point this out, you are positively encouraged to do so. Those of you from American universities should have encountered this as part of the Socratic method. Obviously one is encouraged to do this as politely as possible, and equally obviously one is held up to certain standards of language.

This brings us to the tricky waters of "insult". Just what constitutes an insult? Is the fact that the recipient claims they have been "insulted" or "offended" sufficient grounds to deem something an "insult" or "offensive"? What in fact do we mean when we say something is "offensive" or "insulting"? To the first question I would answer "no", simply because if I was of a mind I could spend my days writing to my MP about how vigorously I was offended by a huge variety of things. So, sorry, but no, a claim of "offence" or "insult" is insufficient to establish it as such because it ignores the intent of the person or object that offers what is considered "insulting" or "offensive". All such a claim establishes is that someone is offended or insulted by something.

The second question is a knottier one. Just what is "offensive" or "insulting"? The obvious answer is that this varies from person to person, but there's clearly more to it than that. Ignoring for the moment the intent of the person or object offering insult or offence, just what is someone saying when they are "insulted" or "offended"? Many different things which possibly include "I don't like this", "I don't recognise the comment you have made about me", "I don't wish to be questioned or justify myself in that way", "I don't want to think about this" and many others. The "offensiveness" and "insult" of blasphemy is a good example of the latter. Take for example the recent "Chocolate Jesus" episode. An artist and a hotel were going to display a life size effigy of Jesus made from chocolate with no loincloth "coincidentally" at Easter. Protests from various religious groups have made them withdraw this exhibit. Ignoring the "artistic merit" (or lack thereof) of the piece in question, what happened was people who would never have seen the exhibit were so vocal and vehement in their claim of offence and insult that the exhibit was withdrawn. They quite literally said "we do not like this, this is an object that we find contrary to ideas we hold sacrosanct (and perhaps unquestionable), therefore in order to placate us you must remove it". Incidentally to get this canard out of the way now, yes I would be saying the same thing if it were a chocolate Mohammed.

This example of "offence" and "insult" is one of many ranging from Danish cartoons and Dutch films (over which people lost their lives I might add. People STILL die for questioning ideas) to "Jerry Springer the Opera" and "Behzti" a play which "offended" Sikhs here in the UK and which resulted in violent protests. These people's determination to eradicate items they decided they didn't like on the basis that they were counter to some ideas these people had on no rational basis resulted in censorship, banning, or even death. A clearer example of "offence" and "insult" being used as tools of anti-Enlightenment, anti-reason, unreason, disrespect, and incivility cannot be clearer.

And for those of you who say "ah yes but they WERE offensive and thus they SHOULD be removed" I refer you to the Trefusis quote above. Would you really like me and all people like me to start campaigning on an identical basis for the eradication of what WE find offensive? If we did the odious and invidiously dishonest caricatures of "church burning ebola boys" would really be true wouldn't they. Luckily, despite the protestations of fools, this is not the clash of two opposed but similar religions or dogmas, this a clash between dogma and it's polar opposite, the absence of dogma: reason. People rarely consider what other people find offensive when they are on the leap for their own high horse.

Back to our university debate. In our debate does pointing out that your opponent has misrepresented your argument constitute an insult? No, no more than refuting your opponent's argument does. If they have demonstrably lied (as opposed to merely being mistaken or stupid etc), mentioning that by doing so they show themselves to be a liar is not an insult, it's merely grammar! An expression which denotes that they have committed an act of lying. The same can be said of words like "hypocrite", "dishonest" and dare I say it "troll".

Undoubtedly the recipient can now claim to be "offended" or "insulted", but this sadly is another piece of dishonesty, admittedly of a different type. The wound to ego might well be real, but by uttering this cry of "insult" what the person is really doing is shifting the debate away from the argument, moving the focus off their deliberate dishonesty and onto the character of their opponent. They are saying "This person has called me a liar, what ferocious bad manners to point out that I lied, such observations are most inconvenient for me and do not sit well with my personal image, I shall now cover my tracks by obfuscation".

One caveat: words like "liar", "hypocrite", "troll" etc are easily used and can be overused or used in error. In a reasoned debate, a debate between rational adults exercising their respect for each other by civilly and honestly making and dealing with arguments, such words never need be uttered. If they are uttered in error then a simple correction or request for supporting evidence is all that is needed. Call me a liar and I'll ask you to prove it. If you can't then you've been exposed.

Lastly, relevance. How is any of this relevant to the pseudo debate over evolutionary biology? Very simply because objection to evolutionary biology is purely religious, despite the attempts of ID creationists to scientifically spackle over the deity lurking in their lies. If in the above you have not recognised descriptions of tactics used by creationists and their ideological ilk the world over, then I am flabbergasted.  The "respect" agenda and the manner in which it is executed is central to how we deal with "the forces of anti-reason". Capitulation, hiding "controversial" objects or ideas, or tugging forelock to the claim that certain ideas cannot be questioned is simply giving in to those barbarians who want to abandon the values hard fought in the Enlightenment. To do this is disrespectful, uncivilised, unreasonable, and irrational, and it cedes control of any debate to those anti-Enlightenment forces we ALL have to constantly struggle against.

If you have been, thank you.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,11:24   

Well that certainly was a long post.

I take it that the gist of your post was that dishonesty is worse than rude words. Is that correct? If so, I quite agree with you.

Having said the above, I don't have a major gripe with the moderation policy on this board. In-fact I quite like the moderation here (on the whole). We do need some (but not a whole lot), or chaos would reign and nothing would be discussed.

Personally, I think that this site needs creationists. It gets much more lively (and interesting) when they turn up.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,11:50   

Quote
I take it that the gist of your post was that dishonesty is worse than rude words. Is that correct? If so, I quite agree with you.


It's a little more than that but partly yes!

Quote
Having said the above, I don't have a major gripe with the moderation policy on this board. In-fact I quite like the moderation here (on the whole). We do need some (but not a whole lot), or chaos would reign and nothing would be discussed.


And I agree entirely. What I do have a problem with should be bloody obvious!

All I want is an open, reasoned and rational debate on the issues at stake. Nothing more or less sinister than that. I want people who accuse anyone of anything to be able to support it with evidence, not quote mines, not snips out of context but actual evidence (the same standards apply to me btw), and I want to have a fair, open, honest, pleasant, amusing, light hearted and friendly discussion on this very intriguing topic of "respect and civility".

Look at Pharyngula again for example, look at the "Radical atheists" thread, what we are seeing is NOT rampant incivility and disrespect but a genuine and very interesting disagreement on tactics and PR. I think this is a genuinely controversial and interesting subject for discussion and it touches on many aspects of how and what we do. This is very relevant and very related to the whole process of combating anti-evolutionary groups and similar things. We know WHAT the answers are, HOW we get those answers across is the issue here.

Yeah, there's a personal element to it also, but that is derived solely from what I think is an unsupported and invalid criticism of personal style. I'm more than happy to admit differences of style and differences of result, I'm not dogmatic about any one method, and I'm more than happy to modify my own approach. Why is it BAD to ask that it be modified for GOOD reasons? What I am not happy about is to be accused of something and be given no room to discuss the accusation even when I have a reasoned, reasonable and entirely principled disagreement. Suddenly subjects are taboo now? Who'd have thought the abandonment of reason was so easy! It's childishly simple: if I make claim X I support it with evidence Y. If the evidence is poor or dishonestly derived I question it. I do the same for creationists as I do for everyone else. Since when is there a free pass on irrationality?

Quote
Personally, I think that this site needs creationists. It gets much more lively (and interesting) when they turn up.


And you'll get no disagreement from me there either. Find me one instance where I have inferred or stated that I think creationists in general should be banned or removed form any site, let alone this one. To even raise that issue is to fundamentally miss my point. If I want to talk to people that agree with me I can record my own voice and play it back. I manifestly don't want that!

What I DO want is some coherent standard of debate to be upheld across the board, equally. We are debating contentious and (very rarely) controversial issues, but it really isn't too much to ask that a tiny modicum of reason be upheld is it? Debate creationists all you wish, I've done it for years and continue to do so. Is it a massive problem to point out that sometimes debating the same creationist and receiving the same lies and obfuscations from him or her gets to a point where it is no longer productive? After all, if we are going to refer to this forum, that has happened in recent months. I think that occasionally treating the disease's root cause is more effective than palliative care of the symptoms. Obviously I'm in a minority of one...plus the entire rational world....oooh wait, that's quite a majority isn't it?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,12:02   

Well (and lengthily) said, Louis. With regard to honest debate, what value is there in any other sort? It both amuses and saddens me to witness the rank dishonesty continually demonstrated at, for example, Uncommon Descent, where truth takes a back seat to expediency. I wonder what they think they can achieve by it, especially post Dover. The free exchange of ideas will always expose the charlatan in the end.

(I still like my "would I let my mother read this post" rule for blogging.)

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,12:05   

Quote
The free exchange of ideas will always expose the charlatan in the end.


The one and only true answer!

Quote

(I still like my "would I let my mother read this post" rule for blogging.)


One I need to pay more attention to I freely admit.

Louis

P.S.  
Quote
Well (and lengthily) said, Louis.

My bolding. Thanks, Alan. I freely admit I probably could and should have been briefer, but when I thought about it, this was the short version! D'Oh!

--------------
Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,12:14   

Quote (Louis @ April 05 2007,12:05)
... I probably could and should have been briefer, but when I thought about it, this was the short version! D'Oh!

Is that like Winston Churchil's "sorry for the long speach, I didn't have time to write a shorter one" comment?

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,12:21   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ April 05 2007,07:14)
Quote (Louis @ April 05 2007,12:05)
... I probably could and should have been briefer, but when I thought about it, this was the short version! D'Oh!

Is that like Winston Churchil's "sorry for the long speach, I didn't have time to write a shorter one" comment?

Stephen, I suspect you refer to:

"I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter." -- Blaise Pascal, "Lettres provincials," letter 16, 1657

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,12:33   

YOUR ALL RUBBISH.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,12:35   

Quote (Alan Fox @ April 05 2007,12:21)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ April 05 2007,07:14)
 
Quote (Louis @ April 05 2007,12:05)
... I probably could and should have been briefer, but when I thought about it, this was the short version! D'Oh!

Is that like Winston Churchil's "sorry for the long speach, I didn't have time to write a shorter one" comment?

Stephen, I suspect you refer to:

"I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter." -- Blaise Pascal, "Lettres provincials," letter 16, 1657

Alan,
You may well be correct.
I thought it was atributed to Churchill while adressing the USA's equivalent to parliament, when he was trying to get America more involved in WWII.
(The explanation was that he wrote the speach during his travel there and did not have time to make it more concise.)
Live and learn, thank you.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,15:33   

Good idea to discuss this Louis...

My thoughts on R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Thank you Aretha)

1.) Polite, yes, yada, yada, yada.
2.) Post only what I would want my wife or girlfriend to see (My mom,'s dead)
3.) Don't snort your Dad (unless you're Keith Richards)
4.) Kick Heddle's smary-sounding butt every chance I get
5.) DEMAND Creo's and IDer's respect US TOO DAMMIT! - This means No AFDave with his interminable, repeated and repeated, and repeated same posts that all say the same dam thing. UNLESS he can change, "evolve" as it were, to become a real person not a bad cartoon.
6.) This means No Heddle unless he promises not to be such an a*hole (We CAN say a*hole without getting banned to the Wall?)
7.  Yes, to Creo's and IDers that can stay on topic, and not drag 'N drop from AIG or other Creo sites.
8.  Yes, to Creo's and IDers if they allow us to post on
their blog too
9.  Yes to all posters that think I am so fuc**ing cool they can't stand it and want to have my baby, but only if they are between 21 and 35, I mean 42, and DO NOT HAVE BIG BUTTS!
10.  Be polite to all posters that have millions of dollars to give to ALL of the funniest #### posters on the ATBC blog.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,16:58   

Louis,

Well said, even if lengthy.

One important addition, and a comment. You wrote

Quote
In a debate or discussion at a university one might not respect the ideas of one's opponent, but one respects the opponent to the best of one's ability to do so. That respect entails a certain degree of responsibility: one has to deal with their arguments as they are stated (not perhaps as one THINKS they are stated) and one must be scrupulously honest in the presentation of one's own arguments.


To this I would add that part of that responsibility would be to admit when you are wrong, and don't perceive it as a character flaw if you, or someone else, changes their mind in response to an argument.

The comment would be that it is difficult to maintain respect for opponents who consistently put words in your mouth (argue against things that they wish you had said, or those who fail, after repeated proddings, to address an important point. In any debate, whether at the university-level or with your mother, those things will rapidly erode respect and lead to incivility. That may be why these threads head down that road so often; the opponents fail to follow the Golden Rules that you have outlined.

Thanks for starting this thread.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,18:58   

Nice save, J-Dog. But I am as maternal as a stone. :) I am all for the creatins and the IDjits coming here (am I being insulting?) even if we are banned/ignored/oogled but ignored at their blogs. Why? Because this site archives their blah-blahity. And it's for sure few people are archiving, indexing, or cataloging this, er, conversation (and I have to say Wes has done a much better job collecting stuff on Dembski that the librarians who are supposed to be indexing the Net). Which I think is important, even if these people do occasionally turn me into Ms. Hyde.

I don't have a problem with the respect issue. To be perfectly honest, I'm very busy and I skip a lot of posts (I didn't even read your whole thing Louis - sorry), especially if I, uh, don't understand what you're talking about. (In other words I appreciate but miss out on a lot of Zakriel's stuff.) Because I'm a humanities person. *Ducks*

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. The two chief things would cause me distress:
1) If people think I'm here to seriously hook up with a man/men (I'm not - just enjoy joshing you all)
2) If people tell me I'm totally stupid (because I'm not a scientist at all)
3) If people tell me that I'm boring

Okay, the three chief things

4) And people thinking I'm a guy

Okay, four chief things. Dang.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,19:25   

Quote (Kristine @ April 05 2007,18:58)
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. The two chief things would cause me distress:
1) If people think I'm here to seriously hook up with a man/men (I'm not - just enjoy joshing you all)
2) If people tell me I'm totally stupid (because I'm not a scientist at all)
3) If people tell me that I'm boring

Okay, the three chief things

4) And people thinking I'm a guy

Okay, four chief things. Dang.


Kristine: You are soooo right!  NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to Dembski.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise, stupidity, Super Tard.... I'll come in again.



--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,20:12   

OMG, Louis, I fell asleep half way through that. I think it was a redefinition of the word respect with accompaning justification but as I say I slept through most of it.  I hope you didn't do that on work time, lol.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,20:42   

Quote (Kristine @ April 05 2007,18:58)
1) If people think I'm here to seriously hook up with a man/men (I'm not - just enjoy joshing you all)

Well ####, there go all my fondest fantasies.


:(

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 05 2007,21:30   

Unless someone hands me a glass of Viking Piss.  :p

I hope number 4 didn't burst anyone's bubble.  :D

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,05:49   

Quote
To this I would add that part of that responsibility would be to admit when you are wrong, and don't perceive it as a character flaw if you, or someone else, changes their mind in response to an argument.

The comment would be that it is difficult to maintain respect for opponents who consistently put words in your mouth (argue against things that they wish you had said, or those who fail, after repeated proddings, to address an important point. In any debate, whether at the university-level or with your mother, those things will rapidly erode respect and lead to incivility. That may be why these threads head down that road so often; the opponents fail to follow the Golden Rules that you have outlined.


Cheers Albatrossity, great addition, and you've hit the nail on the head with the second paragraph.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,06:15   

Quote (skeptic @ April 06 2007,03:12)
OMG, Louis, I fell asleep half way through that. I think it was a redefinition of the word respect with accompaning justification but as I say I slept through most of it.  I hope you didn't do that on work time, lol.

Thank you Skeptic for providing so clear an example of precisely the kind of anti-intellectual stupidity that I was talking about. I couln't have paid you to do it better.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,06:48   

lol, hey, how about a little respect.  :D

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,06:54   

On the subject of respect Skeptic, are you going to attempt to repeat my own arguments back to me on the "Radical Atheists" thread?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,07:15   

Quote (Kristine @ April 06 2007,01:58)
The two chief things would cause me distress:
1) If people think I'm here to seriously hook up with a man/men (I'm not - just enjoy joshing you all)
2) If people tell me I'm totally stupid (because I'm not a scientist at all)
3) If people tell me that I'm boring

Okay, the three chief things

4) And people thinking I'm a guy

Okay, four chief things. Dang.

Kristine,

I will forgive you for not reading the lengthy diatribe above, #### I am not even entirely sure I read all of it! ;-)

However, with reference to your 4 distressors:

1) You mean you are not? ####, and I wanted a mistress too. I will have to put out an ad.

2)  Well obviously you must be stupid because you are not a scientist. This goes without saying. Obviously the fact that you are offended by reality simply puts you in the same camp as the creationists. Deal.

3) Sorry, did you say something?

4) Dude, do not worry about it.

See all dealt with.

Wait did I get something wrong?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,10:53   

You know, I'm kind of reminded of that scene in Star Wars Episode 2, where, after much frolicking in the long grass, Annikin and Amydala start talking about politics (as you do after a good frolick).

Annikin talks about how he hates politics, and wants to know why people can't just get together, talk about how to solve the galaxy's problems, and then do it.  Amydala points out that sure, that sounds really great, except, people don't agree on what should be done to solve any particular problem.

Louis' position falls foul of much the same type of problem.  People rarely agree on whether someone is being deliberately dishonest (as opposed to say, legitimately misunderstanding the words of someone else)?  There is a reason for which we pay judges an awful lot of money to make this kind of decision - it isn't easy.

Oddly enough, insults such as "stupid" or "ignorant" are much safer lines of attack than "dishonest", "troll", or "liar".  They at least have some tangible element to them.  You can demonstrate that someone is ignorant of a point, or that they are stupid (if you ask someone to add  one and one and they give you the answer of seven, you probably aren't dealing with the sharpest knife in the drawer).

"Troll", and "dishonest" however require a demonstration of an intangible - intent.  "Liar" generally does too, except in the rare case when you can catch someone stating the contrary to a known indisputable fact, and you can demonstrate that the person was aware of said fact.

But all of this is beside the point.  If all we are here for is to vent our frustation at our inability to change the mind of the uncounted swarms of god-botherers, then what are we doing?

Or are we here to try and argue our point as cogently as possible in the hope that it will enlighten our visitors, and any potential onlookers?  In this case, slinging ad-hominem insults does not advance the cause any.  True trolls will just let it pass without comment, and continue to repeat their inanities.  Honest participants will certainly be insulted, and the exchange can only degenerate into finger-pointing and counterclaims of lying.  Just about any thread with a creationist involved on this board bears out the observation.

So whilst I'm sure that everyone agrees with Louis that respectful behaviour entails intellectual honesty and rigour, I fail to see how we could use this to probide a better environment on this board.  

Perhaps the best that can be done is to simply allow each person to form their opinion of the intellectual integrity of others on the board.  I for one certainly don't take seriously anything that AFDave or Heddle writes, for example.  I don't read their threads, I don't engage in discussion with them, I just avoid them, because it's clear that they are not paying due respect to the forum.  But, unless they start to become abusive, I would hate to see them banned from the board...

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,11:09   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 05 2007,20:33)
YOUR ALL RUBBISH.

YEAH FUCK 'EM

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,12:20   

Demallien,

I believe I mentioned in the OP that if one is going to claim that someone is lying then one must be able to support such a claim. I believe I also mentioned that it's easy to chuck such terms about and less easy to support them. Usually I prefer the more charitable interpretations of "mistaken", "mislead", "perhaps less than fully intellectually fit" or "unaware of the issues at stake". Some people call the last two "stupid" and "ignorant", I'm being nice!

That said however, there are times when someone can demonstrate that their co-conversationalist is quite deliberately mis-stating, obfuscating or outright lying about a topic/argument. Deliberate, repeated use of straw men can be (but not always is) one piece of evidence that one can use for example. This gets done perhaps more often than some would like. Your problem with my argument, based on your analogy, seems to be "it's difficult". Sorry but that isn't a valid objection. Many things are difficult, that doesn't make them pointless, invalid, unworthy or useless. Since I mentioned above that one not only can do this by relying on available evidence, but I strongly advocate that one DOES only do this when one has such evidence one can rely on, I'm sorry but your objection appears more than a little irrelevant.

Insult or abuse=/=ad hominem. I'm sure you already know this, but just in case you don't the argumentum ad hominem takes the rough form "Person X is/does nasty thing Y, therefore their argument is false". It is a logical fallacy not an expression of abuse. Calling someone a "wanker" for example does not constitute an ad hominem, saying someone is a "wanker" and therefore their argument is false, does.

Also where is this advocacy of banning? I don't advocate banning anyone for anything in the above post. My post relates to the wider issue of respect and civility in debate and discussion. I admit it was inspired by the moderation surge on this board, but it's hardly a new topic and it's one very relevant to the wider aspects of counter creationism and the advocacy of reason in society at large.

I'm interested in your comment that you cannot imagine how increasing the level of honesty and intellectual rigour in any debate (let's narrow it just to this board) would fail to improve the quality and productiveness of that debate. I'm sure you're merely mistaken about that because the frustration that inevitably creeps into debates with creationists and the like is derived solely from the inability of participants to support their claims and recognise when those claims have been supported or not. Look for example at Albatrossity2's excellent addition to my comments about humility, it covers this aspect of the issue very well.

After all, as I said above in any number of real, intellectual debates I have participated in, moderated, organised and watched the issue of a lack of honesty and intellectual rigour never arose. The participants were all sufficiently reasoned, reasonable, civilised and demonstrated appropriate respect that charges of "dishonesty" or the like never arose. In fact such was the standard of honesty and intellectual rigour that the very thought that one would demonstrate such gross disrespect to one's opponent and their argument by lying or misrepresenting their argument was anathema. I'm interested in your personal incredulity of course, such views are fascinating, but sadly like your complaint about the difficulty of proving intent to deceive it's wholly irrelevant. Your personal disbelief in a proposition does not constitute evidence against it, nor does your comment that something is difficult mean that one cannot strive towards it and hope to raise the standard incrementally by insisting on it.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2007,21:55   

Quote (Louis @ April 06 2007,06:15)
 
Quote (Kristine @ April 06 2007,01:58)
The two chief things would cause me distress:
1) If people think I'm here to seriously hook up with a man/men (I'm not - just enjoy joshing you all)
2) If people tell me I'm totally stupid (because I'm not a scientist at all)
3) If people tell me that I'm boring

Okay, the three chief things

4) And people thinking I'm a guy

Okay, four chief things. Dang.

Kristine,

I will forgive you for not reading the lengthy diatribe above, #### I am not even entirely sure I read all of it! ;-)

However, with reference to your 4 distressors:

1) You mean you are not? ####, and I wanted a mistress too. I will have to put out an ad.

2)  Well obviously you must be stupid because you are not a scientist. This goes without saying. Obviously the fact that you are offended by reality simply puts you in the same camp as the creationists. Deal.

3) Sorry, did you say something?

4) Dude, do not worry about it.

See all dealt with.

Wait did I get something wrong?

Louis

:D Now see? That's what I call respect.

And thank you Louis for supporting me as I approach my upcoming surgery.  ;)  :p

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2007,04:12   

Kristine,

Respect? You've earned mine in spades over the last few months. I can forgive even your outright denial of wanting to be my mistress, especially after what happened last Thursday behind the bike sheds with the hand whisk and the bucket of soapy ocelots.

Enjoy the anaesthesia, I know I did!

Louis(e)

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,07:08   

Louis,

I didn't state it very clearly in my first post, so I'll try again, hopefully without typos this time....  Whilst I think we all agree that intellectual honesty would improve debate on this board, I'm not sure how we can take agreement on this point and use it to provide better debate on the board.  

To expand - judging when someone is being intellectually honest or not is an exceedingly difficult thing to do (and when I say "difficult", I mean it in the same sense as "creating an artificial intelligence capable of having an educated conversation in English is difficult").  Personally, I feel that as this is such a difficult call to make accurately, that we are much better off giving everybody the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they are acting honestly.  Sometimes this won't be the case, sometimes it will.  As we can't really differentiate between the two, the question becomes "Do we sanction potentially 'innocent' participants, or do we have discussions with trolls?".  I'm a big fan of guilty until proven innocent, so I opt for the second choice.

PS: I'm sure you already know this, but "ad-hominem" is actually an adjective, meaning "on the person" (well, translating prepositions gets dicey when you hop between languages, but that's pretty much the idea).  As such, an "ad-hominem  insult" is an "insult aimed at a person".  This is used to distinguish the insult from a more general insult of the type "I'm insulted by your intellectual dishonesty".  Feel free to substitute "personal insult" for "ad-hominem insult" if you feel the latin is a bit too much.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,08:31   

Demallien,

I'm all for innocent until proven guilty (which I hope is what you meant in the last sentence of your second paragraph! ;-) ) however I don't agree that demonstrating someone is dishonest is as hard as you think. For example take someone who quote mines and repeats that same quote mine AFTER it's been pointed out to them that it is a quote mine. Pretty dishonest, not necessarily damning, but not good. Say for example the same person then goes onto misrepresent another participant's argument and continues to misrepresent it after the misrepresentation has been pointed out. This again, is pretty dishonest but in and of itself is not that damning perhaps. My point is that multiple strands of complimentary evidence can show up someone as being dishonest very simply. I agree (and indeed clearly said) that we shouldn't rush to judgement, but if given sufficient evidence it isn't hard to come to an accurate and well supported conclusion that someone is being dishonest. Whether they are genuinely dishonest as a person or whether they are playing someone dishonest on the web as a character is a moot point because there is no way to distinguish between them without recourse to offline information. This isn't a weakness of the above argument, it's a positive strength, the thing we should come down hardest on is dishonesty when and only when we can demonstrate it to a reasonable degree. Yet again you provide no argument showing how this can be difficult, you merely assert that is is difficult and fail to deal with the examples given above, so sorry but your objection is still irrelevant. Charmed though I am to note its existence. You are reading things into my argument if you think that I am advocating anything other than "innocent until proven guilty" and you have yet to some up with an argument at all for just how and why demonstrating someone is behaving dishonestly is difficult. One doesn't need to go back to their innermost thoughts and feelings, if their posting habits on a limited forum such as this (for example) can be demonstrated to be dishonest (which as shown above is far from hard to do) then they are participating in said limited forum in a dishonest manner. It's not rocket science, as some would say. Their ultimate offline character is moot, their demonstrable online conduct is not. Please come up with a relevant objection, or not as the case may be.

Also, sorry Demallien but your description of what an "ad hominem" is is limited at best. I'll explain why. Ad hominem is in logic and debate a contraction of the longer Latin phrase argumentum ad hominem which literally means "argument at the man" (hominem is the singular accusative specifying that homo, i.e. "the man" or simply "man", is the direct object of the word argumentum). As mentioned before the argumentum ad hominem takes the rough form "Person X says Y, person X does nasty thing/is nasty thing Z, therefore Y is false", it's a logical fallacy.

If you are referring simply to abuse directed at a person it is more correct to use ad personam to distinguish between the formal, logical fallacy (argumentum ad hominem) and the more colloquial and poorly defined use of the term as a modifier for the word "abuse" to distinguish between "personal" and "general". In fact since the use of the Latin phrase for personal abuse is entirely unnecessary, we have a fine word in English: "personal", it's a bit pretentious to use it outside of its formal (and very well understood) context. Needless to say this recent use of the phrase ad hominem as a modifier for "abuse" instead of as it is meant to be (a descriptor for a logical fallacy) would have had my Latin master and various profs since in fits of apoplexy. Oh and Demallien, since as a kid I obtained a fully funded scholarship to one of the foremost private schools in the UK on the basis of my Latin and Ancient Greek, rest assured that "the Latin is not too much for me". Ta.

Lastly, again, I have made no mention of sanctions/bans or anything like that. What I have said is that IF it is our desire to have a productive and interesting discussion in a forum limited by both the medium of expression and the time that the participants can dedicate (and we are) THEN our best course of action is to attempt to maintain a rigorously high standard of personal honesty and intellectual honesty in our discussions. Should we deviate from this ideal then things are likely to degenerate. I have given examples of how easy it is to detect dishonest behaviour in fora like this, what this says about the fundamental character of the person doing so is irrelevant and undetectable without access to other forms of information. The "personal abuse" you worry so much about is a symptom, an after effect of having to deal with demonstrably dishonest arguments and behaviour. But please don't take my word for it, ask around. This equally does not mean such abuse is excusable or desirable (it is neither) just that in focussing on it to the exclusion of all else we miss the actual reason it occurs at all, i.e. the cause of unpleasantness in fora such as this: dishonesty. Again, contrary to your as yet unsupported claim that "detecting dishonesty if difficult", it's actually childishly simple, especially as we have a written record of what people have claimed/stated/posted in the past. Cure the cause, the underlying reason, and no abuse will happen.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,10:43   

Louis,

Ah hah! You were paying attention!  In effect, innocent until proven guilty.  It's one of those annoying things I picked up from my father - he likes to switch the order of the expression to jokingly imply that he's a bit of a nazi.  If I'm not paying enough attention it slips out in the wrong order for me simply because that's how I always heard it during childhood.  Funny huh?

Anyway, I'll give a slightly more concrete example of why it's difficult to show that someone is being dishonest.  You've given the example of someone quote-mining, having it pointed out that they are quote-mining, and then they repeat the quote mine.  Bona fide case of dishonesty right!?! Errr, no, wrong.  I'm assuming that the party being quote-mined is not a party to the debate - a reference to Dawkins, or a science paper or some-such.  I take an excerpt from the paper, believeing it to accurately represent the general theme of the paper.  You claim it's a quote-mine, along with supporting quotes.  Now, surely, if I re-use that quote, I'm being dishonest!.  Except, I found your refutation to be completely lightweight, and that your "supporting quotes" were themselves out of character with the paper over-all.  For me to re-use the same quote, is not an indication of my dishonesty, as I still wholeheartedly believe that I am correctly interpreting the context of the quote, and that it is you that are mistaken.  indeed, turning the argument on it's head, I find that iyou tyourself are guilty of quote-mining, and if I were to play by your standards, would consider you to be guilty of being intellectually dishonest.  You may recognise in this little story the mirror of what we see all of the time in these debates on the internet: "You're quote-mining!" "No I'm not! You're quote-mining!" and so on and so forth...  At the end of the day, the only person that might know with any accuracy whether it's a quote mine or not is the alledged quote-miner as they are the only person that knows their intent.  But as we aren't going to take their word for it, that doesn't advance us any.

As I mentioned in my original post, there are some situations in which dishonesty can be shown conclusively, but these are far rarer than those situations where facts are too blurred to be sure. Most of the time you are going to be left with the fundamental problem of trying to evaluate accurately something that is intangible, and hence not amenable to evaluation beyond gut-feeling.

Furthermore, people routinely misunderstand each other even during simple communications on the internet.  Take our little exchange on the meaning of the term "ad-hominem".  In my PS, I mentionned that you should feel free to substitute "personal insult" for "ad-hominem insult" if you felt that the "latin is a bit too much".  For me, writing the phrase, I was having a little dig at myself, indicating my awareness of the fact that the use of the latin adjective was a bit pretentious, a bit over the top, a bit exaggerated, a bit too much.  You chose to interpret my comment rather as a sledge on your ability to understand latin.  If two people, discussing a side issue of no importance can't clearly communicate, how on earth do you think it's possible to clearly identify the honesty or otherwise of someone's words when discussing something of substance?

PS: Regardless of your post, "ad-hominem" is still an adjective, both in latin and when used in english, particularly if used in a phrase such as "ad-hominem fallacy", "ad-hominem argument" or indeed "ad-hominem insult".  The fact that we sometimes abuse this when debating and use it as a noun in no way invalidates its (correct) use as an adjective...

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,11:13   

Quote (demallien @ April 10 2007,10:43)
Furthermore, people routinely misunderstand each other even during simple communications on the internet.  Take our little exchange on the meaning of the term "ad-hominem".  In my PS, I mentionned that you should feel free to substitute "personal insult" for "ad-hominem insult" if you felt that the "latin is a bit too much".  For me, writing the phrase, I was having a little dig at myself, indicating my awareness of the fact that the use of the latin adjective was a bit pretentious, a bit over the top, a bit exaggerated, a bit too much.  You chose to interpret my comment rather as a sledge on your ability to understand latin.  If two people, discussing a side issue of no importance can't clearly communicate, how on earth do you think it's possible to clearly identify the honesty or otherwise of someone's words when discussing something of substance?

PS: Regardless of your post, "ad-hominem" is still an adjective, both in latin and when used in english, particularly if used in a phrase such as "ad-hominem fallacy", "ad-hominem argument" or indeed "ad-hominem insult".  The fact that we sometimes abuse this when debating and use it as a noun in no way invalidates its (correct) use as an adjective...

How, indeed, can one tell if an opponent in an argument is communicating honestly?  One good way is to see if they actually pause and look for supporting or contrary evidence, rather than continuing full-steam-ahead as if the challenge to their argument was inconsequential.

Is ad hominem an adjective?  Does it contain a hyphen? Is Demallien correct about these "side issues"?

Let's go to the mother lode, the Oxford English Dictionary. Here's what she says.
   
Quote
ad hominem (phr.): A phrase applied to an argument or appeal founded on the preferences or principles of a particular person rather than on abstract truth or logical cogency.


It seems to be a phrase (not an adjective), and it seems to be hyphen-free. It most assuredly is not an adjective "in latin", it is a phrase there as well.

I'd say, based on the evidence, that Louis is correct about this one. Maybe Demallien can read my first comment on this thread and admit the error. That would be the honest thing to do.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,11:20   

Demallien,

In reference to quote mining:

Quote
Bona fide case of dishonesty right!?! Errr, no, wrong.


Sorry did I say that it was? No. What I said was this was indicative not conclusive. You seem to be missing the parts where I say things like "not rushing to judgement" and "multiple strands of complimentary evidence". In a quote mining scenario as vague as that you describe then of course the simple fact of a quote mine is not clear cut evidence of dishonesty, but then not all quote mining scenarios are that clear cut. Have I anywhere suggested the blinkered formulaic approach you suggest I have? No. What I have said is that of course we should be careful in ascribing dishonesty to a poster's behaviour, but that it is actually very possible to do so to a very defensible extent. Obviously it goes without saying that one judges on the individual merits of individual circumstances, where have I said different? As usual Demallian you are doing nothing more than repeating your (now very tiresome) irrelevances about the fact that it is occasionally difficult to  decide if someone is being honest or not. A fact I acknowledged in the original post!

The basic point being that we both agree that a) a greater level of honesty both personal and intellectual is desirable for productive discourse, b) that it is occasionally possible to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that, on a forum such as this, a specific poster is behaving in a dishonest manner, c) that dishonesty is both uncivil and disrespectful and the reason (right or wrong) that many people have for themselves behaving disrespectfully or uncivilly. Not only have you not come up with a relevant objection, not only do you keep repeating the very things I've already said, not only do we agree, but you keep raising the same tired and already covered pseudo-objections. Dude (or in this case dudette) what's the point?

Louis

P.S. re ad hominem did I say it couldn't be used as an adjective with other words? No. Did I say that the original and most correct usage is in formal logic (which it is)? Yes. It would appear that any misunderstanding of our conversation isn't on my part.

--------------
Bye.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,11:22   

Quote
PS: Regardless of your post, "ad-hominem" is still an adjective, both in latin and when used in english, particularly if used in a phrase such as "ad-hominem fallacy", "ad-hominem argument" or indeed "ad-hominem insult".  The fact that we sometimes abuse this when debating and use it as a noun in no way invalidates its (correct) use as an adjective...


I am sure Louis is correct about agumentum ad hominem meaning a logical fallacy that can be stated as  "Person X says Y, person X does nasty thing/is nasty thing Z, therefore Y is false" and I am sure you are correct that ad-hominem is an adjective in English when including the dash. I don't think you are correct to describe it as an adjective in Latin. Would it not be a prepositional phrase?

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2007,11:28   

Bugger!

I think you're right Alan.

Louis

{I'm now going to read Ecce Romani as punishment!}

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,03:16   

Of course, if we then trip over to Wikipedia to see what an adjective is, to wit:
"In grammar, an adjective is a part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun, usually by describing it or making its meaning more specific. Adjectives exist in most languages.", we note that an adjective is not constrained to be a single word.  The existence of a hyphen or not between the words "ad" and "hominem" is simply irrelevant when trying to judge whether something is an adjective or not.  The only important question is "Does this modify the noun or not?".  As I think we are all in agreement that the "ad hominem" in "ad hominem argument" certainly does modify the noun "argument", the logical conclusion (indeed the only conclusion if we accept the Wikipedia definition of an adjective), is that "ad hominem" is an adjective.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,04:18   

[quote=Louis,April 10 2007,11:20][/quote]
Quote
As usual Demallian you are doing nothing more than repeating your (now very tiresome) irrelevances about the fact that it is occasionally difficult to  decide if someone is being honest or not. A fact I acknowledged in the original post!


You see, that's a strawman Louis.  I have not argued that it is occassionally difficult to decide if someone is being honest.  I'm arguing that it is nearly always the case that it is difficult to decide.

You talk about making a judgement over time using mutiple instances.  But if you take into account my position correctly, you'll realise that multiple examples where you think someone is being dishonest just don't count, because each and every one of them can probably be put into doubt.  At least, that's my position. Feel free to present the legions of real examples where no doubt is possible.

Personally, I find that you are doing a reverse Phillip Johnson.  He holds science to the unjustifiable legal standard of beyond reasonable doubt.  Throw some doubt on evolution and bingo, ID wins.  In your case, you are trying to apply the scientific standard of "the most reasonable explanation" to something which should have a more legalistic standard required, as we are talking about the honesty/character of a person.  Innocent until proven guilty, remember!  If you don't wait until proof beyond reasonable doubt is acquired, you'll step on the toes of an awful lot of otherwise honest people.

Let me ask you a question Louis.  Is it worse for debate that some participants are intellectually dishonest, or that some honest participants are labelled as mishonest?  I suspect that you'll opt for the former.  I opt for the latter.  It's a Pascal's wager type of thing - your average dishonest, lying creobot isn't going to change their mind in response to anything you might say.  On the other hand, we may be able to convince people with more moderate positions, but if people run around accusing them of lying when they consider themselves to have been perfectly honest, it's sure that they will stop listening to what we have to say.

I find you personally to be a rather poor judge of how well you have argued your case.  For example:
Quote
not only do you keep repeating the very things I've already said, not only do we agree, but you keep raising the same tired and already covered pseudo-objections.


Oh? you've covered my "pseudo-objections"? Firstly, thanks for giving me exactly zero respect by labelling my objection as "pseudo" (what happened to all those fine words about respecting the other participants in a debate?). Secondly, you've demonstrated that in most cases we can correctly and objectively determine the intellectual honesty of someone's comments?  You haven't, you know.  Far from it.  Here's a take-home exercise for everyone.  Try and imagine a discussion where one of the parties concerned can be conclusively demonstrated to be dishonest, without relying on an external confirmation.  It really isn't easy, particularly when you have to allow that the person may be dumb, working of trusted misinformation, or simply doesn't have a great facility with the written word, and fails to pick up on nuance etc.  If you can come up with an example, I'll try and demonstrate how one could interpret that person as acting honestly.

Quote
P.S. re ad hominem did I say it couldn't be used as an adjective with other words? No. Did I say that the original and most correct usage is in formal logic (which it is)? Yes. It would appear that any misunderstanding of our conversation isn't on my part.


Pathetic. I'll leave the record to speak for itself.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,05:39   

Demallien,

Strawman? No. Benefit of the doubt? Yes at best, different use of terminology at worst. You do like to chuck the accusations around for someone so horrendously defensive about anyone being accused of something. Since you are basically making a futile and very silly nit pick about something I've already mentioned can be a problem (i.e. yes it can be difficult to ascertain if someone is being dishonest, therefore we must be very careful about how we determine if this is so. That does not mean it is always so difficult however. I seem to remember dealing with this issue in one sentence in the original post. Try reading it sometime).

You have presented not one shred of evidence that it is difficult to demonstrate someone is behaving dishonestly, you've merely asserted it repeatedly. You then witter on about people's character. Have you read nothing? I can't tell much about someone's character via the net alone (a point I think I may have made oooooh 3 or 4 times now) but what I (and indeed everyone else in the universe) CAN do is determine if someone is behaving dishonestly in a limited forum. This is the point you repeatedly miss and I now note you are being insulting whilst missing it. Well done Demallien. Character does not map 100% onto behaviour. I can't tell if you ARE a fundamentally dishonest individual, and in the a limited discussion forum it's practically irrelevant. What I CAN tell is if your behaviour is dishonest in that forum. This is a very key distinction you seem to be missing. Not only that, it's a very key distinction with which you AGREE (how do I know this by the way, because you are arguing for the distinction)!

Since I've said this to you before, I'll do it again, go back and read what I have actually written and try, and I know this will be hard for you, to understand that it isn't coming from some evil person who wishes to lob charges of dishonesty around will-he-nill-he, but someone who genuinely cares about elevating the level of debate. I've said, repeatedly here and elsewhere that insulting people is a bad idea, frankly I don't care about or desire insulting anyone. What I DO care about is the coherence and honesty with which a debate is conducted.

To answer your question, one that you should know the answer to if you've read what I've written (oh and I also know you won't like the answer btw):

Quote
Is it worse for debate that some participants are intellectually dishonest, or that some honest participants are labelled as mishonest?  I suspect that you'll opt for the former.  I opt for the latter.


Nope, I opt for neither, or more precisely both! The latter is an example of the former. You are presenting a false dichotomy based on a gross misunderstanding of my argument. If by describing someone's behaviour as dishonest I have failed to provide adequate evidence that this is the case (remember Demallien we are talking about behaviour in a limited forum, not global character) then I have committed the former problem at worst and been mistaken at best. It's not black or white, but grey. If, when faced with contrary evidence that is conclusive (not your wishy washy vague nonsense examples from above) then I cannot HONESTLY make a claim that someone's behaviour is dishonest. If you really think that I am advocating labelling honest participants as dishonest then you need your head read. Time and again I've made it clear that BEFORE such a charge is made, one must be bloody nigh on certain that it can be done so on the basis of the available evidence.

I'll simplify it for you even further: in a debate when a proponent is faced with INCONTROVERTIBLE (note not vague or easily dismissed) evidence that their claim is false  they can react by either accepting the claim is falsified, or by denying it is. Remember this is INCONTROVERTIBLE evidence, like for example that which shows that the planet is not 6000 years old but more like 4.6 billion years old. If they accept it (which is obviously what I advocate) then fine and possibly also dandy. If they deny it they can only do so on one of a few limited bases:

1) They are unconsciously *unwilling* to accept that their claim has been proved,  this unwillingness is on an irrational basis. This is the "lalalalalala can't hear you" response.

2) They are *mistaken* in their belief that their claim is not  falsified. "But multiple lines of evidence showing that the world is 4.6 billion years old doesn't disprove the world is 6000 years old"

3) They are too *stupid* to comprehend the manner and nature of the evidence that has falsified their claim. "I don't understand how all those multiple lines of evidence disproves the world is 6000 years old, all that sciencey stuff is beyond me"

4) They are *misled* in some fashion to believe that their claim cannot be falsified. For example: "Ah but Lacan and Derrida say that our Western science is just one narrative through which we examine the world, my belief is equally true". (Extreme post modern relativism being as a pernicious a piece of bollocks as I have encountered)

5) They are *dishonest* and knowingly refuse to admit their claim is falsified. "Even though I can see the evidence does falsify my claim I'll never admit it!" or even "I don't find it personally compelling".

So we have five basic possibilities: unwilling, mistaken, stupid, misled, dishonest. Of the five I have no problem with four. We've all been mistaken, stupid, misled, or unwilling to admit a favoured claim has been disproved, even if only as a child. Remember, the above is an example which deals with INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE, Demallien.

The amusing thing is that you even mention this at the end of your post, this is something that I mentioned in the original post Demallien. Way to go girl! Way to fail to read for basic comprehension and ride your strawman home!

Here's the sentence:

Quote
If they have demonstrably lied (as opposed to merely being mistaken or stupid etc), mentioning that by doing so they show themselves to be a liar is not an insult, it's merely grammar!


I even make mention of the fact that we must be able to DEMONSTRATE that this is the case. The OP is about dishonesty Demallien, not being misled, mistaken stupid or unwilling (although as I have mentioned here and elsewhere there are more common, though less "nasty", problems). I know you have this little image of "Evil Louis, trying to call creationists dishonest at every turn" because every time you type you argue against this caricature. I asked before that you try reading with a modicum of comprehension and stop beating up your straw men and I'll ask again. I don't however have any hope you are capable of doing so.

This is why I referred to your objections as "pseudo objections" because you are not arguing against anything I have actually said. You are arguing against a narrow subset of cases where it is difficult to determine whether or not someone is behaving dishonestly, and in those cases we both agree that identifying that person's behaviour as dishonest is a bad idea and counter productive. I've never said differently Demallien, you are arguing against a caricature of your own dreaming. Since I don't know you I grant you the respect I grant anyone. Since your arguments thus far are frankly laughably off target (even though many of the points you've made I agree with as I've said) then what respect do they deserve beyond my noting (as I have) that they are tiresomely irrelevant to the points I've made very clearly on a different issue. I can't help it that you are not arguing against what I've actually said. That's your problem.

Oh and before you whine again about my ability to write clearly or evaluate my own arguments, everyone else who has replied seems to understand the OP and the arguments therein, Demallien, all except you. That alone should (but I doubt will) give you pause.

Louis

P.S. Oh and please do let the record speak for itself on all matters. Now as in all our correspondence before, it speaks in my favour regardless of how shrill and irrelevant your objections or how hard you stamp your foot.

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,07:07   

Louis, you are making my point for me.  Age of the Earth.  From a scientific perspective, unasailable.  You identify 5 possibilities for which someone may choose to disagree with you even after having all the scientific evidence presented. Bravo!  You're only one step away now from getting it!

The thing is, only one of the five is dishonesty.  How about you explain to us all, oh Great and Wise Louis, how the #### we tell the difference between the five?  I have repeatedly claimed that we aren't able to, with an example to back it up.  You have not refuted the example, and you have not given a counter example.  All you have done is repeatedly assert that you can, sometimes even putting words in all-caps, "CAN", because, you know, that makes the argument so much stronger!

Enough of the waffle already Louis.  Show us what you've got.  Show us how you can tell the difference between dishonesty and the other four possibilities.  Or are you just full of it?

PS: We can't use the word "h e l l"?  A bit of a limitation on a list that borders on religious discussion frequently!!!

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,08:10   

Louis,

You know, I just had a thought.  Your ability to detect dishonesty is quite similar to Will Dembski's ability to detect design.  Both are equally suspect, for much the same reasons. Dishonesty and design are both very much in the eye of the beholder, not concretely identifiable quantities.

You must feel good, knowing that you are following in the footsteps of that great scientific mind.  Maybe you should start your own blog too.  You could call it "Dishonest Intent"!

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,08:12   

{looks to the heavens, why do I bother?}

Demallien,

I've already explained that the original post and subsequent discussion was about one of those five possibilities. The other 4 possibilities weren't the ones that worried me. I said this right in the OP. I've said this repeatedly after the OP. I've said this with very large knobs on. You seem to be the only person that misses this. Crowing about how it is only one of five possibilities when I've already mentioned this from the outset makes you look like you haven't read or understood what I've written. Which let's be blunt is clearly the case. What one can surmise from the fact that you haven't read what I've written and if you have clearly haven't understood it is a different story for a different day. Oh and Demallien, if you had read and understood what I've written, you'd notice I already have given examples. I'll let you find them, you seem incapable, but it'll be fun watching you scurry about. Remember an argument is not a snippet or fraction of a quote but a contextual, developed point.

Anyway Demallien, we've played this tune before and I am seriously uninterested in your childish games. Since, yet again, it is just you (everyone else who has commented understands my argument, agreement is not the issue) that clearly hasn't read/cannot read for basic comprehension go back and read what I've actually written, not what you think I've written. Find the examples, find the context they are in and get back to me.

Louis

P.S. Added in edit: I've just seen your recent addition. Most amusing. I don't claim to be able to detect dishonesty in the manner you describe (nice straw man btw, keep 'em coming), I claim that on the basis of someone's behavioural habits in a limited forum like this one (and many others) one can demonstrate that their behaviour is, to a reasonable degree of certainty, dishonest. I don't make any claims about deriving conclusions about their global character since that would require information from outside of the limited forum. This might be a point I've made ooooh a dozen times now. You do realise that one can eliminate 4 of 5 possibilities to a reasonable degree don't you and come up with an hypothesis based on the fifth? Surely this concept is not beyond you? Oh wait, I'm asking this of someone who is riding their straw man to death.

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,08:36   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 10 2007,18:13)
Maybe Demallien can read my first comment on this thread and admit the error. That would be the honest thing to do.

You ask such a thing from Demallien, Alabtrossity2? We can but live in vain hope! (Sorry I originally missed your post btw. Thanks.)

Anyway Demallien, wonderful as she is, is having far too much fun with her straw men and exciting assumptions of great evil on my part to do anything so sensible. I wouldn't dream of stopping her enjoying herself. In fact it's quite amusing to see her work herself into ever greater froths of abusiveness all the while complaining about how mean I am to say that it is possible to demonstrate to a reasonable degree that someone's posting behaviour is dishonest! I'm apparently Dembski-like now! I'm not sure how much more deliberately insulting one could be, but hey I'm sure she'll try. Luckily, I'm not the thin-skinned sort.

The great thing is, long and turgid (apologies again) though that first post was, it clearly deals with just the (irrelevant non-) "objections" Demallien is making (i.e. that we should be careful, build an evidence based case etc, refer to behaviour not global character etc). Another grand irony being that Demallien hasn't worked out that she and I agree that it can be relatively difficult (certainly not impossible, and very rarely childishly simple) to demonstrate that someone is behaving dishonestly and thus we should be careful in bunging such terms around.

Ah well, one can only hope that she either reads what's actually written or goes on a basic literacy course. Either way, I''m sure the fireworks will be amusing.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,09:07   

[quote=Louis,April 11 2007,08:12][/quote]
 
Quote
I claim that on the basis of someone's behavioural habits in a limited forum like this one (and many others) one can demonstrate that their behaviour is, to a reasonable degree of certainty, dishonest.


Yes, I know Louis, you keep on repeating that.  But how!?!?!? That, you never say.  I'm all ears.  Give us your version of the Dembski Explanatory Filter.  I'm sure it will be fascinating.

 
Quote
You do realise that one can eliminate 4 of 5 possibilities to a reasonable degree don't you and come up with an hypothesis based on the fifth?


Errr, no, I don't know.  Again, you are asserting without justification.  It is precisely my point that in the vast majority of cases, you cannot eliminate the other four to a reasonable degree.  It just can't be done Louis.  An example - if I've been brought up being constantly told that there is a scientists' conspiracy that represses creationism, and that the evil scientists are lying about the results of their studies, then all of the scientific evidence that you present to me will be rejected by me.  But am I being dishonest ? No, I'm acting according to my convictions.  In fact, from my perspective, you're the liar, regurgiting all of those evil scientific lies.  But, I'll do all those things that you claim are hallmarks of a dishonest debater - I'll ignore the evidence that you present, after all, the evidence was produced by lying scientists.  I'll continually repeat claims that you consider to have been rebutted, because I don't consider the claim to have been rebutted, because you rebutted it with lies.

The problem Louis, is that if you aren't going to give the other person the respect of always assuming that they are speaking the truth as they see it, you really shouldn't be astonished when the other person feels free to assume that you are lying.  And once they start assuming that you are lying, nothing you will say will be considered as evidence against their case.  

Quote
Most amusing. I don't claim to be able to detect dishonesty in the manner you describe (nice straw man btw, keep 'em coming)

Strawman? Really?  To repeat your own words back to you: " What I CAN tell is if your behaviour is dishonest in that forum."  I've said that you can't determine that someone is being dishonest from what is said on the forum, you are claiming that you can.  Once again Louis, in caps this time in the hope that you actually answer the substantial point of this debate, HOW CAN YOU CONCLUSIVELY TELL THAT SOMEONE IS BEING DISHONEST BASED ONLY ON WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IN A FORUM.  

Do you need me to put it in bold too?  Here you go:HOW CAN YOU CONCLUSIVELY TELL THAT SOMEONE IS BEING DISHONEST BASED ONLY ON WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IN A FORUM.

Go on Louis, give us the pleasure of your version of the Explanatory Filter for Honesty... Won't hold my breath though, something tells me that you're going to run away from the question again.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,09:37   

Demallien,

I'm not running away, I have nothing to run away from. You are missing the point.

Oh and have I said that I don't give people the respect of assuming they are behaving honestly? Nope, sorry. Even when you repeat my words you snip the context, and thus meaning, from them. Oopsie Demallien. Also just where did I say "conclusively"? Bad Demallien! What I said was "build a reasonable case that" and several other phrases. Looks like that straw man of yours has morphed a new head Demallien.

Oh and FYI, if you really think that simply advocating a creationist viewpoint is any basis for claiming dishonest behaviour, or that I have advocated such, then boy are YOU off the wall! Where have I said that?

Now Demallien, since you seem to lack the ability to respond to an argument as it is stated, I suggest you toddle off and try to actually deal with what has been said, not what you think has been said. I'm beginning to get board of pointing out where you haven't understood anything I've written. I'm certainly not going to respond to a question about an argument I haven't made now am I? I'd take back that explanatory filter/Dembski comment btw, it makes you look a bit foolish because not only have I proposed no such thing, I've proposed the logical opposite.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,10:50   

Quote
I'm not running away, I have nothing to run away from.
Still no answer, still running away...

 
Quote
Also just where did I say "conclusively"? Bad Demallien!
Err, where did I say that you said "conclusively"? Bad Louis!

 
Quote
Oh and FYI, if you really think that simply advocating a creationist viewpoint is any basis for claiming dishonest behaviour, or that I have advocated such, then boy are YOU off the wall! Where have I said that?

Again, where did I say that you said that?

Nice work Louis.  Putting words in my mouth not once, but twice in the one post.  One would almost think that you weren't being honest!

Here's the question again, the crux of this whole issue: HOW CAN YOU CONCLUSIVELY TELL THAT SOMEONE IS BEING DISHONEST BASED ONLY ON WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IN A FORUM?

It's really important that you answer this Louis.  If you can't conclusively tell that someone is being dishonest, then your whole position falls down around you.  To put it more clearly, you have claimed that the quality of debate on this board is less than what it could be due to the intellectual dishonesty of some participants.  Yet you have been unable to explain how you can even determine if participants are being honest or not.  For all we know, everyone is being honest, and this whole discussion has been a waste of time...

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:13   

Sorry Demallien but this insistence of your on me demonstrating conclusively that someone is dishonest is just laughable. Firstly I've never said I could demonstrate anything of the sort *conclusively*, second my argument doesn't rest on being able to demonstrate it *conclusively*.

Oh and it's not running away to not answer an irrelevant question based on a straw man. You can stamp your little foot, chuck insults about Demsbki and explanatory filters left and right, and pout until you're really tired and corss, it has no effect. Now are you going to deal with my argument as it is stated or just continue with your charade?

Louis

P.S. In your previous post you were making a comment about creationists being able to argue honestly from a flawed position (something I've never disagreed with you'll note) and you've inserted the word "conclusively" into my claim of being able to demonstrate to a reasonable degree that someone is behaving dishonestly. That is where I got the idea that you've been making these claims, at best they are irrelevant to what I've already said (as I've dealt with them) at worst they are a straw man of what I have said. Look Demallien, it's bad enough you cannot read MY words for even basic comprehension, it's fucking tragic that you cannot do it with your own.

--------------
Bye.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:21   

Quote (demallien @ April 11 2007,10:50)
 
Quote
Also just where did I say "conclusively"? Bad Demallien!
Err, where did I say that you said "conclusively"? Bad Louis!
snip...

Here's the question again, the crux of this whole issue: HOW CAN YOU CONCLUSIVELY TELL THAT SOMEONE IS BEING DISHONEST BASED ONLY ON WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IN A FORUM?

It's really important that you answer this Louis.  If you can't conclusively tell that someone is being dishonest, then your whole position falls down around you.

I've really never seen a more ridiculous example of contradicting oneself in the same short comment. It usually is best to wait a couple of posts or two; people might not notice it then...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:32   

Albatrossity,

Help me out here.  Where's the contradiction? Judging by where you snip, you seem to think that I have claimed that Louis said "conclusively".  And yet, no.  Never said any such thing...

I imagine that, considering your earlier post, you'll be publicly admitting your error in this discussion shortly?

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:37   

Louis,

If you feel that "conclusively" is all to hard, I'd be willing to accept "beyond reasonable doubt".  Anything less than that though just becomes your opinion, with absolutely no objective value.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:44   

My big problem with this whole discussion is that people like Louis, who claim to be able to determine the ulterior motives of forum participants, aren't even capable of determining the factual matter of what someone has actually said in the discussion.  Albatrossity is another to have made a factual error. It's not rare.  How on earth can anyone presume to be able to determine that someone isn't being honest, when they aren't even capable of correctly determining if someone said a phrase in the conversation!  The mind boggles...

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:47   

Quote (demallien @ April 11 2007,11:32)
Albatrossity,

Help me out here.  Where's the contradiction? Judging by where you snip, you seem to think that I have claimed that Louis said "conclusively".  And yet, no.  Never said any such thing...

I imagine that, considering your earlier post, you'll be publicly admitting your error in this discussion shortly?

By repeatedly demanding that Louis demonstrate something "conclusively" or CONCLUSIVELY or CONCLUSIVELY you are putting words in his mouth. That is a de facto claim about what he said, and he never said anything of the sort.

Back at ya, and awaiting your admission of error. But based on your weaseling about the lack of difference between an adjective and an adjectival phrase, the sudden omission of the hyphen in your alleged adjective, and your failure to acknowledge your error about Latin grammar, I'll not be holding my breath for that.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,11:58   

Quote (demallien @ April 10 2007,22:16)
Of course, if we then trip over to Wikipedia to see what an adjective is, to wit:
"In grammar, an adjective is a part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun, usually by describing it or making its meaning more specific. Adjectives exist in most languages.", we note that an adjective is not constrained to be a single word.  The existence of a hyphen or not between the words "ad" and "hominem" is simply irrelevant when trying to judge whether something is an adjective or not.  The only important question is "Does this modify the noun or not?".  As I think we are all in agreement that the "ad hominem" in "ad hominem argument" certainly does modify the noun "argument", the logical conclusion (indeed the only conclusion if we accept the Wikipedia definition of an adjective), is that "ad hominem" is an adjective.

Demallien,

The point of my post was to agree with Louis and his definition of argumentum ad hominem. I just slipped in the remark about adjectives to be even-handed. However, as you seem to be a lover of pedantry, my "Oxford Guide to the English Language" says on page 15:    
Quote
3. Various collocations which are not hyphenated when they play their normal part in the sentence are given hyphens when they are transferred to attributive position before a noun, e.g...

(b) preposition + noun: an out-of-date aircraft (but This is out of date), an in-depth interview (but interviewing him in depth)...

6. a group of words that has been turned into a syntactic unit, often behaving as a different part of speech from the words of which it is composed, normally has hyphens, e.g.court-martial (verb), happy-go-lucky (adjective)...


Furthermore such constructions do not exist in Latin. Ad hominem is a phrase of preposition plus noun.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,12:20   

Quote
My big problem with this whole discussion is that people like Louis, who claim to be able to determine the ulterior motives of forum participants, aren't even capable of determining the factual matter of what someone has actually said in the discussion.


Bolding mine.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

I have simply NOT claimed to be able to determine ulterior motives. This is the basis of your very, very tiresome straw man (or at least one of them).

What I have claimed is that one can ascertain from a forum participant's behaviour ON THAT FORUM alone that they are not merely behaving in a manner that could be deemed stupid, not merely being misled, not not merely being mistaken, not merely being unwilling to consider contrary evidence, but that they are apparently deliberately attempting to shift definitions, hide their errors, not admit when their claims are conclusively refuted (even by standards and rules they have themselves agreed to prior to a debate! Don't believe me? Go to the RDF forums and read the litany of drivel from AFDave), hide behind "different interpretations" of quote mines (even when the author of the original quote has made their meaning EXPLICITLY clear), and any number of other myriad dodges and deviancies that people entertain in order to deliberately avoid acknowledging that their claims have been refuted. This is dishonest behaviour. Does it mean they are themselves 100% horrid dishonest people, does it mean they have some huge character flaws, does it mean they should be banned, sanctioned, vilified for all eternity and beaten to within an inch of their lives with wet spaghetti? NO NO and thrice NO!

I know it's impossible for you to encompass this idea Demallien but do try: I am not responsible for your straw man versions of what I think, YOU are. ####, by the look of it you can't even be consistent in your own claims, you seem to think that by virtue of the fact that you haven't said "Louis thinks that...." you haven't made the any claim. Sorry sister, no dice. By implicitly attributing to me (i.e. by taking a contrary position) that I have not adopted, do not adopt, and do not defend or advocate you are doing just that. As Albatrossity2 mentions, you have made a de facto claim.

If you go back and ACTUALLY READ what I've ACTUALLY WRITTEN, you'll see that all along I have been advocating a cautious position based on using multiple lines of evidence (not simple one off instances) in which one tentatively puts forward the suggestion that a specific participant might be behaving in a dishonest manner. Not only that, but I've identified several different types of dishonest behaviour, some easier than others to distinguish. I've even said that rushing to judgement/accusation is itself an uncivil and disrespectful act as what I have been advocating is an honest and intellectually rigorous approach. I have been advocating a position that, should someone defend slipshod research, poor argumentation, logically incoherent claims etc even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence that this is an act which is more destructive to the proper conduct of debate (and indeed is more uncivil and disrespectful) that merely calling someone a nasty name (or what have you).

If you'd actually bothered to read and understand the original post you'd know this. As it is, you've descended into character slurs against me, equating me with an intelligent design proponent based on your misunderstanding of the argument I've made, and thrown temper tantrums about not answering irrelevant questions based on your insertion of strictures into an argument I have not made. I've even repeatedly, and relatively delicately pointed out to you that this is the case. In fact you're well on the way to committing absolutely every debate-destroying behaviour I mentioned in my original post, you only have a few more to go. Bravissimo. Thank you for making my point.

Louis

P.S. Added in edit: I'm beginning to wonder just why Demallien is finding this incredibly simple issue so very difficult.

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,13:17   

Albatrossity2, Alan and others,

Ignoring the shrill irrelevancies of Demallien stomping her feet and chucking her straw teddy from the pram for a moment, one of the things I really wanted to talk about here was the only genuinely controversial aspect of public communication of science etc that I can think of. This has been recently resurrected of late by the "framing" debate. I alluded to this very gently in the OP.

It's one of the things I think is profoundly disrespectful, i.e. compressing the findings of science to a more palatable sound bite for the E-generation to hook them. I actually have a rather greater respect for people than this. Now I have to be careful here because I don't want to misrepresent the Mooney case. There are elements of it I find very enlightening and useful. Yes, the data shows that reliance on the "popular science" model of public communication of science alone doesn't cut the mustard. And yes, scientists in general (although there are obvious exceptions) need to wear two communication hats (at least): the talking to media hat and the talking to other scientists hat. I think the emphasis on the positive outcomes of scientific endeavour is a good aspect of the "framing" argument.

One thing I don't like is what I see (and I am happy to be wrong) is the implied "one party" model. I think scientists that do the "popular science" route of communication to the public do a bloody marvellous job, I'm sure that Chris Mooney et al think this too btw. I think we need multiple strategies to reach as wide an audience as possible. However my real problem with the "framing" issue is that by engaging in it we destroy that which we seek to protect. Whether people realise it or not, there is a huge social cachet that science possesses. The vocal noise of the anti-Enlightenment bunches aside, people do not easily eschew reason and science. That cachet is based on the knowledge (unconscious or otherwise) that science and reason work, they produce quantifiable, real world results. The "framing" argument sails too close to the wind in terms of making science and reason just another well spun voice in an already crowed media marketplace. Granted it doesn't sail right into that area, but it gets closer to it than I think sensible. Why? Because I think if we portray science, even accidentally, as just another well spun voice we start to destroy that very hard earned, and very deserved, cachet.

Of course the caricature of the "endless repetition of facts and figures" and uber-technical presentations turn some people off (it should also be pointed out that it turns some people, non specialists but interested parties, on! ) So in part this "Respect Agenda" is not just about communicating respectfully but effectively. Giving people the best argument you can with the best information for their needs that you can. Thoughts?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,14:04   

Louis

Two quick points before I head to class (coincidentally a class for our new graduate students that teaches them about effective communication in the classroom, in a grant proposal, in a scientific presentation, etc.).

1) I am with you 100% on the "framing" arguments. The sound-bite approach is a race to the bottom. I don't want to win that race.

2) Non-scientists (I presume Demallien is one) have problems with two aspects of science that we take for granted. One is the notion that multiple lines of evidence, supporting a conclusion, is powerful support. Again in line with the sound-bite approach to life and science, many non-scientists think that if one line of evidence (out of dozens) is weakened, the entire framework must collapse. The second is that scientific ideas are forged in a crucible of criticism, and that ideas are considerably more important than persons. When someone questions your approach in a grant proposal, or questions your conclusion in a manuscript, they are not attacking you personally. And if you want to make progress, you need to listen to the ideas and not pretend that it is a personal attack.  Surely there are exceptions to this, as we all know. But in general, it works. It is a hard thing for non-scientists, particularly those whose ideas are weaker than their personalities, to fathom.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,14:37   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 11 2007,11:47)
Quote (demallien @ April 11 2007,11:32)
Albatrossity,

Help me out here.  Where's the contradiction? Judging by where you snip, you seem to think that I have claimed that Louis said "conclusively".  And yet, no.  Never said any such thing...

I imagine that, considering your earlier post, you'll be publicly admitting your error in this discussion shortly?

By repeatedly demanding that Louis demonstrate something "conclusively" or CONCLUSIVELY or CONCLUSIVELY you are putting words in his mouth. That is a de facto claim about what he said, and he never said anything of the sort.

Back at ya, and awaiting your admission of error. But based on your weaseling about the lack of difference between an adjective and an adjectival phrase, the sudden omission of the hyphen in your alleged adjective, and your failure to acknowledge your error about Latin grammar, I'll not be holding my breath for that.

So wait, if I understand you correctly, if I ask you for example "Albatrossity, what time is it?" then according to you I'm making a defacto claim that you have stated the time.  Maybe in Bizarro World!

My mind can not even begin to grasp how you can twist logic to arrive at that conclusion.

  
demallien



Posts: 79
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,15:05   

Louis,

Ahhh, I think I get something of your position which perhaps had escaped me earlier.  When you talk about behaviour being dishonest on a forum, you mean, for example that if someone contradicts themself, then at least one of the two contradicting statements must be "dishonest".  The fact that the person themself could consider themself as having been honest both times (due to not understanding that they have contradicted themself, or due to being stupid, or insane or whatever), your position is that for all intent and purpose we should treat that person's discussion as dishonest, even if the person themself is actually trying to be honest.  Is that right?

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,17:07   

Quote (demallien @ April 11 2007,14:37)
So wait, if I understand you correctly, if I ask you for example "Albatrossity, what time is it?" then according to you I'm making a defacto claim that you have stated the time.  Maybe in Bizarro World!

My mind can not even begin to grasp how you can twist logic to arrive at that conclusion.

Nope, you deleted a step. Let's go through this again, slowly.

Louis said something; in your flawed analogy it would be akin to "I think it is 4 PM." This is the step that you deleted; in order to claim that someone is putting words into someone else's mouth, there have to be some words uttered by that person first. That is most assuredly NOT the same thing as asking a question. He made a statement first.

You then construed that to mean something analogous to this statement:"You said that you could tell me that it is 5 PM!"

I concluded, and I am not alone in this conclusion, that you put words into his mouth. He never said 5 PM, you did. You are making a de facto claim that he said something, but he never did.

Hope this helps. Now can we get back to the real thread?

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,17:48   

Hey Dem, my dear, when someone admits that he has been trolling the board for almost a year using various sockpuppets, would you, uh, consider that "dishonest"?

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,19:22   

I have a method for dishonesty detection...

Premise 1. Person A claims that we should accept what they say because they have expertise in the topic ("I've studied this for a long time" counts).

Premise 2. Person A spouts demonstrably false nonsense about the topic.

Conclusion: Person A is lying. There is some ambiguity over whether Person A is lying about being an expert, or lying concerning the topic, but there is no doubt that one of those situations is in play.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,19:42   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 11 2007,19:22)
I have a method for dishonesty detection...

Premise 1. Person A claims that we should accept what they say because they have expertise in the topic ("I've studied this for a long time" counts).

Premise 2. Person A spouts demonstrably false nonsense about the topic.

Conclusion: Person A is lying. There is some ambiguity over whether Person A is lying about being an expert, or lying concerning the topic, but there is no doubt that one of those situations is in play.

Not that I completely disagree with you but I would propose an alternate scenario that disrupts this detection method.

Premise 1:  The person states they have some expertise and has studied this topic extensively.  (The source of their studies and the information they've digested runs counter to accepted theories or the common concensus of the discussion participants).

Premise 2:  Said individual spouts false statements according to accepted theory or board concensus.  (The statements made are absolutely believed by the individual given their past experience and sources of information.)

In this case the individual is not a liar, just well outside the accepted norm, quite possibly misled by the information that they are using to develop their "expertise".

In short, IMO this "liar" label is thrown around too much and possibly without cause.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,19:46   

I see no disruption. They've chosen to study erroneous sources, failed to check against readily-available sources, and thus are lying about being experts. You don't get to claim expert status by ignoring the mainstream.

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 11 2007,19:49

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
deadman_932



Posts: 3094
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2007,20:08   

I'd just like to stop in and say that whatever Louis said is absolutely correct and righteously true.  

Ad Homo-numb arguments are for people like that shady Richard Hughes fellow who is obviously wrong because he consorts with field voles and other unsavory types.

Also, on a side note;
k.e , you're being praised at the Dawkin's board as an exemplar of wit and thought-provoking posts -- I think most of the voters are drunk, though.  

Louis: I expect payment in bullion or grain alcohol. Or opium, if you have any left.

--------------
AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,03:06   

Wesley,

Thanks for your example. This has always been part of my point: we owe it to ourselves and our chums in debate to make the best case we can. Obviously we all fall short of this ideal on occasion (hopefully rare) which is where Albatrossity2's point about humility comes in, we have to be able to realise this potential source of error and correct it.

I agree that, should someone claim expertise which then turns out to be at least potentially false based on their clearly woeful understanding of their "expert" topic, that this could be a strand of evidence in favour of a claim of their being dishonest. I agree with Skeptic that we all can chuck the term around too lightly which is why in the OP I've emphasised that multiple lines of evidence are a better mode of operation. I'm sure that you agree with that btw.

I think when you have someone claiming demonstrably false expertise, using suspect sources, egregious quote mines goalpost shifts, a whole slew of exciting and varied logical fallacies etc then a really solid case can be made that they are participating in a debate in a less than scrupulously honest manner. Maybe the bar I'm personally setting is too high or too low for some people, but the point is that there is a bar, we can set it, we can base where we set it on the evidence we have available to us. Can we use this to make global or more profound personal comments? Not really, or at least not in any concrete fashion. Is that a problem? Nope.

Cheers

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,03:13   

Deadman,

I take no comfort from the support of a squirrel bothering Belgian.

Louis

P.S. Your usual order of opiates encased in hermetically sealed gold tubes and suspended in 25 year old "MacCraggen BallBuster" whiskey is on its way to you. Shall I include a side order of fissile uranium as a token of my appreciation or is it just a selection of touch sensitive nitrogenous explosives you are after?

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,03:50   

Quote (demallien @ April 11 2007,22:05)
Louis,

Ahhh, I think I get something of your position which perhaps had escaped me earlier.  When you talk about behaviour being dishonest on a forum, you mean, for example that if someone contradicts themself, then at least one of the two contradicting statements must be "dishonest".  The fact that the person themself could consider themself as having been honest both times (due to not understanding that they have contradicted themself, or due to being stupid, or insane or whatever), your position is that for all intent and purpose we should treat that person's discussion as dishonest, even if the person themself is actually trying to be honest.  Is that right?

Not really no. You've got one section but missed another few.

Whatever I or anyone else can detect from the limited information a person's posting habits all we can really comment about is the evidence we have: i.e. their words and posts. I don't think this can often easily be reduced to one offs, or simple examples, although I am sure they happen. It's not very common in my experience that adults engaged in a debate very obviously consciously, and deliberately lie in the "No I didn't break that vase Mummy" sense. What is vastly more common is a kind of "low grade" dishonesty of the type Wesley mentions and I elaborate on above. It's more to do with how a debate is conducted and whether someone is willing to distort and obfuscate in order to "score points". Which is why I've been advocating a cautious approach to the topic of dishonesty, and one based on collecting the evidence and then making a case that is refutable by the evidence. I think a simple contradiction on its own is insufficient to establish such a case. As part of a broader series of demonstrable posting traits it might be a key part of an overall pattern.

As I've repeatedly said: a) concrete comments about people's character are difficult to make based on limited information (like posts on a message board). Sure, broad inferences can be made, but we must always realise that in the absence of complimentary evidence fro other sources that those inferences could be flawed, b) I'm not interested in what/who people are in the real world if I'm engaged in an online debate with them, I'm interested in how they conduct themselves in the online debate. If they conduct themselves dishonestly (by using all those lovely tactics I mention above) then one can build at least a prima facie that they are behaving dishonestly in the context of that debate. What this says about them globally is irrelevant and not my concern.

The point of this is that there are certain methods of debate and discussion which by their very use mark people as dishonestly conducting that debate or discussion. As I've said repeatedly one of these things being used is unlikely to be sufficient evidence of dishonesty, but through the course of a discussion if one can reasonably eliminate the possibility that one's opponent is merely stupid, misled, ignorant, or unwilling then one can come to the tentative conclusion that they are acting dishonestly. Or we can have the sort of scenario that Wesley mentions in which someone is being so manifestly dishonest that it stands out. It's not cut and dried, nor is there necessarily a General Law of Dishonesty.

So no, your example doesn't work and isn't anything like what I am saying. Go back and read the OP again, this time for some modicum of comprehension. A simple contradiction isn't sufficient. If this person had contradicted themselves, no matter how sincerely, it could easily be incompetence or error, however, if they repeatedly contradict themselves AND engage in strawmen AND refuse to admit the contradiction AND quote mine AND use logical fallacies AND pull the "persecution" card if their claims are refuted AND......etc then one might reasonably be able to build a case that this person is behaving dishonestly.

Obviously it goes without saying that this is not a one size fits all, we must judge each case on it's merits. Equally obviously the sincerity of someone's belief can be a factor. However, sincerity is not an excuse for shoddy argumentation (my points about respect and civility in the OP). If we respect our opponents and their arguments we owe it to them and to ourselves to do the best we can to establish our claims. We owe it to them and to ourselves to  be humble and admit when we are wrong or when our claims are refuted. If someone believes themselves to be honest and demonstrably isn't, they are delusional and dishonest! It's a tough old world! In fact the false shield of "sincerity" or even of "faith" is one often hidden behind by people arguing dishonestly. Dishonesty doesn't have to be the bare faced, outright, consciously chosen lie, human psychology is a little more complex than that. People can be dishonest without consciously deciding to be so. I mentioned a couple of example in the OP. Which of course you'd know if you'd read it for a modicum of comprehension, which the less charitable amongst us might think you haven't.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,04:25   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 11 2007,21:04)

Quote
1) I am with you 100% on the "framing" arguments. The sound-bite approach is a race to the bottom. I don't want to win that race.


I think we do people a disservice if we assume that they cannot cope with the real world as it is. I'm not 100% anti "framing", I am in many ways very for some aspects of it, I just don't think it's our only tool, and I think that if we misuse this tool we are actually damaging the most valuable aspect of the thing we are trying to protect. A flip side to the stuff I have already mentioned is that science and scientific knowledge can be thought of as a very important yardstick. It's a very good concrete measuring point for our ideas. We live in a society in which (as you mention below) people rarely separate the idea and the person who has it. Scientific knowledge in its continual improvement and the scientific method in its insistence that we don't simply rely on how passionate we are about our ideas or how nice they are or what have you but on external standard over which we have no control are very humbling. They illustrate starkly human impermanence and fallibility, the history of science is littered with errors from the most august Nobel laureates to the lowliest lab tech. In my opinion (very open to question! ) it's the only field of human endeavour that does so on a rigorously evidential basis.

Quote
The second is that scientific ideas are forged in a crucible of criticism, and that ideas are considerably more important than persons. When someone questions your approach in a grant proposal, or questions your conclusion in a manuscript, they are not attacking you personally. And if you want to make progress, you need to listen to the ideas and not pretend that it is a personal attack


I call it the "reverse argumentum ad hominem" which is a) probably the wrong name and b) probably demonstrative of my ignorance of its real name!

It's the illogical and fallacious habit of taking refutation or criticism of an argument to be personal criticism. I find it is the hardest thing to overcome in a debate with another person, and it is the basis for the humility problem you mention earlier. It's bloody hard to admit when and where one is wrong when one feels that it is a repudiation or invalidation of the self. The trick is to realise that this isn't the case, ideas are not necessarily immutable core elements of the self. Incidentally I think that this is one of the issues we have in combating recidivist religion, the faith is so deeply tied to ideas about self, in-group membership etc that abandonment of the idea seems like destruction of the self. However I could be wrong about that because I've never been religious, so those are just my external observations.

Quote
Surely there are exceptions to this, as we all know.


Ah you've met my old PhD supervisor! Criticise an idea of his, and he made it personal in order to force you to back down. Any criticism he did give was always very personal. Difficult to deal with but not a bad bloke per se! For your average dictatorial psychopath.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,07:41   

Quote

Ah you've met my old PhD supervisor! Criticise an idea of his, and he made it personal in order to force you to back down. Any criticism he did give was always very personal. Difficult to deal with but not a bad bloke per se! For your average dictatorial psychopath.


More OT: when Diane and I applied for graduate schools, we picked the schools by identifying particular people who it seemed we wanted to work with. We traveled to Boston, Tucson, Hawaii, and Texas to talk with those people beforehand, and had telephone conversations with the rest on the list. At one place we didn't go, after about 45 minutes speaking with the investigator, he left us in the care of one of his graduate students, who promptly told us that we should find somewhere else unless we didn't mind having good ideas we had re-assigned to lab pets. A little research beforehand can help avoid the worst of the psychopathic dictators...

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,08:43   

Even further OT: I did the research beforehand, met the guy I worked for at a conference, chatted to students and postdocs alike and deliberately chose to work for the guy as a) I love his science, b) I knew what I was getting into, c) he's a "big name" which never hurts the CV and d) I figured I was such a wonderful person he would never be mean to me and that even if he was I could put up with his fabled crap without becoming annoyed.

I was right about all except d), and on that I was wrong about on so many counts it hurts! What's that Philip Larkin poem? "They fuck you up your mum and dad, they don't mean to but they do. They give you all the shit they had, and add some extra just for you!" I reckon a similar thing could be said for my supervisor, except for the bit about "not meaning to"! He was very deliberate.

Basically I only have myself to blame! ;-)

Louis

P.S. All jokes aside he really was a great supervisor. An inspiring scientist, a great administrator and hellishly efficient and a stupendous manager of time. His people skills on the other hand leave much to be desired.

--------------
Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,09:20   

Quote (deadman_932 @ April 12 2007,04:08)
I'd just like to stop in and say that whatever Louis said is absolutely correct and righteously true.  

Ad Homo-numb arguments are for people like that shady Richard Hughes fellow who is obviously wrong because he consorts with field voles and other unsavory types.

Also, on a side note;
k.e , you're being praised at the Dawkin's board as an exemplar of wit and thought-provoking posts -- I think most of the voters are drunk, though.  

Louis: I expect payment in bullion or grain alcohol. Or opium, if you have any left.

Grovelling eh?

You know the only way an American can become a Gentleman is to marry a Kiwi ............and NO I'm not available!

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,09:47   

Quote
You know the only way an American can become a Gentleman is to marry a Kiwi




????

Sounds kinky to me. Personally, I wouldn't put anything past Deadman. Or near him for that matter. Have you heard what he does to squirrels?

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,10:13   

Quote (Louis @ April 12 2007,17:47)
Quote
You know the only way an American can become a Gentleman is to marry a Kiwi




????

Sounds kinky to me. Personally, I wouldn't put anything past Deadman. Or near him for that matter. Have you heard what he does to squirrels?

Louis

Nip, nip, nip scratches nose, wiggles ears and looks in both directions ......no I haven't heard .....excuse me I see some nuts that need my attention...I'll be back.

How does he do them?....oops there's something over there that just has to looked at .....now.

Where was I ....oh yeah, did you say squirrels? Look out there's a tree that must be climbed at once.

OK time for a rest.....now just bring me up to date on...ooops time for a vigourous bout of push ups.

It'll never stand up in court you know.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,10:23   

K.E.

Are you trying in your inimitably subtle and wonderous way to tell us that now Deadman has emigrated you and he are having some sort of homoerotic squirrelerisatory love in?

Well you heard it here first folks.

Well done you guys, I'm all for promoting love, as long as you get the squirrel's written consent in advance.

Louis

P.S. I've just got off the phone to Dave Scott he says: GODDAMN OZZIE HOMOS WITH THEIR HORSE NOSHING AND SQUIRREL BOTHERING, THEY ARE WHY ATHEISTICO-LIBERAL-EVO-FACISM IS RIFE. FRANKLY THEY NEED AN EX MARINE CHEESY COMESTIBLE CONSUMER LIKE ME OVER THERE TO FERTILISE THEIR BEGGING FEMALES AND WHUP THEIR LILLY LIVERED KANGAROO MOLESTING ASSES INTO SOME SORT OF MICHAEL DELL SHAPE. HOMOS.

--------------
Bye.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,14:15   

FIELD VOLES ARE NICE. YOU BIGOT. DARWINISM LEADS TO BIGOTRY. SHOITE, I WISH BIGOT WASN'T A FRENCH WORD, IT SOUNDS SO HOMO.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
deadman_932



Posts: 3094
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,14:40   

I HAVE ONLY ONE THING TO SAY: SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP AND SHUT UP!
Quote
His people skills on the other hand leave much to be desired.
YEAH YOU DO!!1!

Quote
Grovelling eh?
No, I'm jealous.  :angry: That should have been ME on the stage getting that award, not YOU, you pervert.

I will not descend to Richardthughes pathetic level of Darwinain hate.

--------------
AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 12 2007,14:46   

CRY ME A CHEESY POOF LADEN RIVER DARWIN LOVING EBOLA SPREADER. YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A LOT OF TALK AND A SQUIRREL. DT

--------------
Bye.

  
  73 replies since April 05 2007,05:35 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (3) < [1] 2 3 >   


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]