Monday, January 29, 2007
Doggerel #57: "You Use Bad Words!"
Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
As has been mentioned before, it's not at all uncommon for skeptics to become extremely annoyed as an argument carries on, especially if it involves a woo repeatedly ignoring arguments, spouting doggerel, changing the subject, or making specious accusations. Naturally, some start using a chunk of language that has been arbitrarily declared taboo in an effort to get a point across.
One way to get skeptics to use even more nasty language is to complain about their language while ignoring the arguments containing the objectionable words: Like many entries in the Doggerel series, it is, as you probably guessed, another subject change, specifically in the vein of the "style over substance" fallacy. Whether or not a skeptic uses taboo words has nothing to do with the validity of his arguments. If a drunken sailor makes a valid point, it's still a valid point, even if he's suddenly mobbed by the FCC.
Personal note: I've got nothing against the forbidden words, but I like to carefully choose when to use them. It helps to add emphasis.