GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2005-08 > 1122924858
From: Vince Brannigan <>
Subject: Re: (RSPW Recruiting) D. Spencer Hines
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 15:34:18 -0400
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <kIuGe.firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <moyGe.171428$tt5.77829@edtnps90> <BF10D4C3.1A268firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
SJ Doc wrote:
> On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 06:54:59 -0500, Grey Satterfield
> <> wrote:
>>On 7/29/05 5:49 PM, "James Toupin" <> wrote:
>>>Hey! Come on now guys. I disagree with Hines too, but this is
>>>simply unnecessary cruelty. We all have episodes and failures in our
>>>lives that we would rather not have splashed all over the internet.
>>>Disagree with him, argue with him, point out the flaws in his
>>>and express your own point of view but the personal attacks just
>>>makes everyone in any newsgroup look like petty, childish fools. Let
>>>us have discourse and debate, not insults and debasing.
>>I agree. It's possible to go too far, even on Usenet, and this is one of
> I don't know about "too far," but what the hell does it gain? Insult
> (when it's done with some wit) is quite entertaining, and can rise to
> the level of art if it's literate and reasonably original.
All true but it rarely adds to the quality of the discussion
I mark it
> apart from attack on an intimate personal basis, which is not only
> off-topic (and thereby leads truly to the fallacy of *argumentum
> ad hominem*, or "disbelieve this asshole because he's an asshole,
> not because his position is bullshit") but also anti-intellectual.
> Let's say we had ourselves a dispute with a reasonably articulate
> adolescent - some barely pubescent teen weenie with little or no
> "street cred" whatsoever; no life experience, no academic credits
> other than the abysmal crap taught in the local Government Indoc-
> trination Centers putatively offering "public education." Let's say
> that this kid were capable of putting forth lucid and reasonably
> well-articulated arguments on a topic of interest in any of the
> various Usenet groups to which we're cross-posting right now.
> And let's say that - contravening the old "On the Internet, nobody
> knows you're a dog" practice - the kid is honest enough to admit
> his age and education right up front. We *know* that he's a kid,
> working from a kid's general fund of knowledge. (Or a police
> officer, "trolling the 'Net" in an air-conditioned office instead of
> getting out there in the community and pretending to protect
> people's lives and property, in which case we'd have to cut the
> stupid bastard even more slack.)
> Would we automatically dismiss that kid's arguments simply
> because the *source* is a person whom we might otherwise
> consider contemptible?
> So with Mr. Hines. He is beyond doubt irritating most of the
> time, and I hold his purblind Republicrat political sentiments
> perfectly representative of much that is reprehensible about
> the whole "conservative" movement in these United States,
> but I read his posts with regularity, and there is much to be
> found (particularly in his cut-and-paste posts) that is either
> interesting, amusing, or both. I'm rather grateful for his time
> and effort, and I wish the best for him.
you are I believe conflating two or even three different types of argument.
in Usenet most reasonable argument fall into one or more of several
1) argument from "experience" Those who have "been there done that" have
a special experience to add which we may not accept as gospel but
should respect as evidence.
2) Arguments from "authority" attempt to cite or present a person as
some type of expert whose conclusions can be believed because of some
special training or insight.
3) Arguments from "position" are based on unique access to information
or that a person who holds such a position must have unique knowledge.
4) arguments from "logic" attempt to state premises and logically
develop the conclusions form those premises.
any person who claims that their own personal position, authority or
experience is critical to the acceptance of their argument is open to
"disparaging" (often insulting analysis) of their personal understanding.
When one claims for example to be a "combat veteran" a legitimate
question is "what kind of combat and what did you see and do?
logical arguments are essentially impersonal. personal attacks simply
play no role whatever. similarly, while arguments from authority
position or experience of others may be useful, abuse aimed at the
person presenting such an argument is a waste.