Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Unfair argumentation methods IIIa: Follow-up to preceding post

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Looking at some further comments, the situation has changed in character, but remains bad: After reconciliatory statements by Darsh (a born diplomat, it appears; taking a very “New Testament” approach) the tone of the comments have gone from “You are an evil idiot.” to “You are horribly misguided and should do your best to benefit from our wisdom.”—something so absurd that I do not know whether I should laugh, cry, or get mad. (In fact, I will be unsubscribing to the comments, seeing that there is little knowledge and information to be gained, but much aggravation.) In many ways, it is like a group of average fifteen y.o. school girls trying to lecture an intelligent adult. Certainly, these women would do well to read up on the Dunning-Kruger effectw

These follow-ups demonstrate several other common components in similar discussions (mostly from a larger context than, specifically, rape):

  1. An undue and over-large tendency to claim the moral high-ground. (While everyone tends to make this erroneously at least some of the time, those whose who are bit further in their development tend to do it less often and for better reasons—and stand a far greater chance of legitimately doing so.)

    Similarly, some people (in particular women, for some reason) have a tendency of considering someone who (in their opinion) is factually wrong to, ipso facto, also be morally wrong.

  2. Claims along the lines of “We are so tired of explaining this again and again.” or “It is not our responsibility to teach you. You have to learn for yourself.”:

    Firstly, if person A wants to convince person B, it is the responsibility of person A to provide the corresponding arguments. It is not acceptable to just claim to be right and ask the other party to educate himself. If the issue is recurring, write an article on the issue for future linking—or link to a pre-existing one.

    Secondly, many of these claims, in my experience, have been made in cases were the point to be explained is either flat-out wrong or, at best, implausible or just applying in some special cases. If someone goes around claiming, e.g., that the world is flat, then he has to live with repetition—other people will want to know what leads to this claim, before they give it any credibility.

    Thirdly, there are many, many issues where more rational and better informed people have gone to lengths explaining e.g. that the “women earn 70 cents of the dollar” claim is at best highly misleading, at worst completely bogus—yet this does not stop feminists from repeating it again, and again, and again. (This specific issue will be discussed in one of the upcoming articles.)

  3. Reversal of Hanlon’s Razor and presumption of guilt, even to the point of considering someone guilty in the absence of any sign or indication of a crime. (As if a police officer would arrest a man with the claim “He has a criminal face, so he is bound to have robbed the little old lady next door.”—even when there is no indication whatsoever that the little old lady has actually been robbed…)

  4. The common “If you have not been raped, your knowledge in any related question is, ipso facto, inferior.” theme of rape discussions (often extended to any and all aspects of the discussion in question, even if not actually rape-related):

    Obviously, this is a grave fallacy, because this only relates to a part of the subject—and, in fact, seems to cause more clouding of reason than enlightenment. In what way, e.g., does being raped increase a woman’s ability to judge the risk of any particular man being a rapist? (On the contrary, in many cases, her ability will decrease due to an irrational fear—as is the case with other crime victims too.) In what way would she be better able to judge a semantic difference between blame and responsibility? What constitutes a reasoned argument and what a vicious personal attack?

Notably, while being a rape victim is horrible, it is not an excuse for an adult woman to behave like a child, to ignore what others actually say (as opposed to interpreting in something completely different), to use unfair argumentation methods, to use personal attacks, or similar. If she cannot abstain from this, then it is in the best interest of the discussion that she voluntarily abstains from taking part in it at all. In fact, while I am very much in favour of free speech and debate, such excesses as those by violent rabbit (possibly also blue milk, herself) are justifiable cause for a forced exclusion from the debate. In contrast, there is nothing in any statement by Darsh that would warrant an exclusion. (Note that the critical issue is not what opinion is held, but how it is promoted, how others and their opinions are treated, etc.)

Of course, in the end, these women do more harm than good to their cause by antagonizing men who might have been sympathetic to it, diminishing their own credibility severely, or even (depending on whom and what discussion) appearing as man-haters, fanatics, or rabid feminists.

Statements like the following certainly do not help:

Cristy:

I tried to comment on this post earlier today, because it made me think about the parallels with how female victims of homicide are accorded some ‘responsibility’ for provoking their male killers (by trying to leave them, for example), while male victims are not (despite having threatened the life of the female perpetrators and subjecting them to years of violent abuse).

In reality, to all evidence I have seen so far, it is exactly the other way around: Women are given a systematically more lenient treatment and are given access to the provocation excuse (in various forms and shapes) to a higher degree—even to the point that some feminists have argued for the inclusion of this systematic difference in the law it self (including, IIRC, Harriet Harman). Cf. e.g. the related categories at http://www.mens-links.net/home.aspe.

As an aside, I use the phrase “ipso facto” in this article series at a rate far higher than I usually do. This is for the simple reason that faulty “ipso-facto thinking” is common in many of the situations and groups discussed.

(If you wish to comment, please make sure that you have read Unfair argumentation methods I: Preliminaries first.)

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Written by michaeleriksson

June 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm

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