GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2005-08 > 1122933571
From: Vince Brannigan <>
Subject: Re: (RSPW Recruiting) D. Spencer Hines
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 17:59:31 -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> <ab6dnZbx49Ta5HPfRVn-tQ@comcast.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SJ Doc wrote:
> On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 15:34:18 -0400, Vince Brannigan wrote:
>>you are I believe conflating two or even three different types of
>>in Usenet most reasonable argument fall into one or more of
>>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
>>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 under-
>>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.
> I see your point. I suppose I'm yet again the victim of Usenet in-
> experience. In both professional discussion and in hobby-related
> intercourse (wargaming, science fiction fanac), the value of empirical
> knowledge is extremely limited, and therefore categories (1) and
> (3) do not represent solid bases for assertions. One can use them
> as explanations of *why* one had sought other information to confirm
> or rule out a particular concept (personal experience in diagnosing
> and treating lung cancer, for example, once led me to misdiagnose
> a migrant farm worker as having this condition when bronchoscopy
> demonstrated - surprise! - that the man had cavitary pulmonary
> tuberculosis, a condition commonly seen by the generation of doctors
> preceding mine, but rare as all hell in our era of effective antimyco-
> bacterial chemotherapy) but without supporting citations from the
> literature - in medicine, from the most current available peer-
> reviewed sources if at all possible - conclusions based on one's
> personal experience just aren't going to cut it.
Actually in all of my medical legal work I'm often stunned by the
ability of highly experienced MDs to make incredibly effective diagnoses
from a handshake and a fast conversation (or even less. Once at a
meeting I was with a very senior German "frau and Kinder artz" (a kind
of combination prenatal care and pediatrician) when my wife (also a
physician) came zipping along said Hi and went on (she was chairing the
meeting) My friend turned to me and said "i didn't know Ruth was
pregnant' and she was, exactly one month, and we had told nobody, even
our parents. He was absolutely confident in his diagnosis.
Ive always found this ability to read people fascinating. (I dont have
it) My Judge could spot an expert who was exaggerating his confidence
in his results a mile away and would send me to the library to dig out
the facts. 99% percent of the time he would dismantle the expert the
Im stuck with trying logical argument from premises. Its kind of
tedious, but at the National Cancer institute, it certianly helps.