Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Doggerel #156: "Don't You Think It's Suspicious That You Spend so Much Time on This?"

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

Woos love to talk about talking about arguments. That is, they seldom address the points made in arguments, but love to talk about the presentation, presumed motives, and the people presenting the arguments. In short, they love irrelevant trivia and pointless speculation.

In this particular instance, they seem to think that simply presenting a well-thought out argument is evidence of sinister motives. Of course, it never seems to occur to woos that people are capable of caring about the truth enough to do proper research or even just be on watch for logical fallacies. It's my guess that woos are just too cynical to have a high opinion of people. Throw in martyr complexes, ignorance of Hanlon's Razor, with loads of hubris, and a woo can make any perceived opposition into a malicious conspiracy.

Skeptics like me have a natural drive to spread knowledge and correct errors. Science works by error correction. Woos often frustrate or amuse me because they pull subject changes in order to avoid anything to suggest that they're fallible. The most direct route I can think of to deal with an argument is to address it head on. If the skeptic says there's no good evidence for your position, you provide good evidence. (No, anecdotes still don't count. Pay attention to why next time.) Instead, woos try to turn something irrelevant about the argument into some kind of emotional point. With this particular doggerel, they try to make passion and diligence into unpardonable sins.


Aaron Golas said...

A classic example: "Boy, for not believing in God, you atheists sure talk about Him a lot!" I heard Dinesh D'Souza use this general approach at a recent debate. My blood's boiling just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to use that one on my sister (an english lit teacher): "Boy, for not believing in the Wife of Bath, you sure talk about her a lot!"

Anonymous said...

Well I don't know about anyone else but I have many rebuttals saved in a text file (as they never seem to change their points). With a familiar subject it takes all of 5 minutes to cut, paste and tidy up an argument ready for posting