Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Doggerel #31.1: "Looks Like I've Touched a Nerve!"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

A lot of woos like to make a big deal about how irritated we skeptics can get in a discussion. The more trollish types seem to engage in their behavior specifically to irritate us, especially the drive-by sorts.

Other woos seem to think that we're supposed to be, or seek to be emotionless robots. They take our passion as signs that we're breaking down from contradictions. It's not. We're emotional, passionate beings. We just take steps to make sure that our passion doesn't contradict reason.

There are times when it's perfectly logical to get angry with someone. That's a big part of how I became a skeptic: By demonstrating their rage against apathetic woos while continuing to make reasoned arguments, many skeptics convinced me to pay close attention to them. At the time, I didn't have any reason to get annoyed at woos. When the skeptics applied pressure on both fronts, however, I saw them employ this bit of doggerel. Instead of their intended goal of making it look like the skeptics fell into robotic logic bombs, I ended up reading it as the woos picking up the Villain Ball, smugly commenting, "Your emotions make you weak."

Of course, they always neglect to think of reasons for our ire other than having our worldviews allegedly challenged. We could be annoyed by their mannerisms. We could be annoyed by the fact that they're defending known charlatans. We could be annoyed by the fact that they don't understand, or even don't read our arguments. We could be annoyed by having words put into our mouths. There is no shortage of alternate reasons for anger.

It doesn't matter how passionate someone is when they argue, how angry they get, or if they end up throwing a temper tantrum: If they present sound arguments, those arguments remain sound. No amount of psychobabble about an arguer will change the evidence or the soundness of his position.


King of Ferrets said...

Huh. Why'd you redo this one?

Bronze Dog said...

Just felt like I needed to update it. Included my deconversion story to jab some concern trolls while I was at it.

Valhar2000 said...

You introduce an interesting theory here. I thought that most woos did this becuase it is eiaser to "win" arguments this way, but this idea fo yours that they think skepticism implies lack of emotion, and any creeping emotion is therefore a sure sign that the skepticism is breaking, interests me strangely.