Monday, July 19, 2010


If I never, ever see anyone on the internet

1. Referring to formal logical fallacies by name,
2. Referring to Godwin's Law, or
3. Acting like either of these things mean that they "win" an argument,

ever again, I will be extremely happy. I mean seriously. If it is possible for conversation to get stupider, I don't know how.

I think "strawman" is my least favorite, mostly because the bulk of the times that I see people invoking it, all it means is that they're too dense to understand what the other person is saying, typically because they don't know how to see the world outside of their own tiny little sphere of understanding.

(Inspired by looking over still more comment threads at Pharyngula.)


Dan said...

Ha...I'm doing the same thing. It's totally Becky's fault!

Richard said...

And you know? Sometimes it makes sense to refer to Hitler.

Recommendation: stop reading Pharyngula.

almostinfamous said...

If it is possible for conversation to get stupider, I don't know how.

i think that some blogs exist primarily to plumb these depths. the more popular the blog, the deeper the rabbit hole goes.

Justin said...

I hear ya. I once had a long thread with one commenter on my blog. He started misapplying logical fallacies to my arguments and the argument then devolved into a meta argument about how he was mis-using fallacies. Very frustrating, but the end result was a realization of just how much of a time-wasting exercise it could be to argue with someone on the internet. It's just not that important for me to be seen as 'right.'

The only worse comment threads I've been host to were when a weird stalker began flooding my comments with strange remarks, which ended when I instituted comment moderation.

Ethan said...

Dan, Becky has a lot to answer for. You have a lot to answer for, Becky!

Richard, that's probably good advice. But then who would I make fun of? (I obviously need to make fun of someone, right?)

almostinfamous, does that mean I should regard my almost nonexistent readership as a badge of honor? I'll take it. You can also be assured of your brilliance by virtue of being one of the few to recognize mine!

Justin, all I can say is this: that is depressing.