Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Bush Invented Terrorism and the Ideology of Hate

Has anyone ever suggested that terrorism didn't exist before Bush took office or that certain radical Muslim groups didn't hate us? Of course not. I've even spoken with a few truly wacko liberals in my time, and I have no doubt that even they would agree that radical Muslim terrorism existed before Bush came along. For anyone to even suggest that anyone believes such a thing should be considered an utter insult to the intelligence of anyone forced to listen to such drivel.

So how is it that the Bushies continue to argue against such absurd strawmen? It was mindnumblingly dumb the first time they said it, and it hasn't gotten any more intelligent with age. Hell, I somehow imagined that the Bushies had dropped it. But lo and behold, I made the mistake of flipping to my local NPR station yesterday, forgetting that they don't play music at that time of day, and caught the tail end of an interview with Condi Rice making that very stupid argument.

She wasn't even sly about it. She came right out and stated that, despite what Mr. Liberal Strawman argues on a daily basis, terrorism existed before Bush and these people have always hated us. And that meant that Bush isn't to blame for all the anti-American terrorism that his actions created. And what did the interviewer do after Condi said that? What else: she thanked Condi for coming and wrapped up the interview. Or maybe it was a dude interviewer, I can't remember. I was too busy trying to pick the pieces of my brain off the windshield and seats.

And is it at all possible that the interviewer didn't know what a pile of crap Condi had just laid on his/her listeners? I honestly don't know. But even if they did, they very well couldn't correct Condi about it. Why, she'd never come on the show again. It's one thing to make a minor factual error or have an honest disagreement about something. But there's a point of imbecilic obtuseness that one reaches after which it simply isn't polite to talk about it. Like when some homeless guy tells you about the invisible mouse cars flying on your head while pissing himself. And you can't do anything but nod, smile, and look for the nearest exit. This kind of thing happens all the time. It's just not supposed to happen when talking to the Secretary of State.

Neo-Cons Say the Damnedest Things

And really, isn't this one of the key ways that the neo-cons have succeeded as well as they have? They say the most damnedest things possible and just blow everyone's mind. Their material is so completely screwball and they say it so confidently that the listener begins to question their own sanity. After all, how could such sane looking people be so entirely wrong? But they are. They're entirely wrong. And the human intelligence just has trouble dealing with that and decides to split the difference.

And for all the tough talk liberals give about the media being fools for buying into the neo-con arguments, don't you believe it. Cheney didn't get where he is by fooling idiots. He's a tough cookie, and if you faced him in a boardroom discussion, you'd probably get your ass handed to you. For as crazy and wrong as he is, there's unlikely to be anyone who would think you won the debate. The best you could hope for is a draw, and you should thank your lucky stars for that. Same goes for Condi. You'd start off feeling confident, but when facing people who don't give a damn about the truth and have a penchant for taking arguments which are entirely unpredictable and mindnumbing; you'd be left entirely speechless and frustrated. That's how they do it.

But it goes beyond that. People have a weakness for being polite to people they like. And being polite means not crapping on someone's parade when they disagree with you or say something stupid. Even in the blog world, you're likely to slam some dude much harder in his comment section than in the personal email exchange that follows. And it's even harder in person. And that's why Condi was allowed to repeat such tripe in a national interview. Not that the interviewer necessarily believed Condi's idiocy, but simply that it would be too rude to even ask her about it. The nicest thing they could do is to end the interview, and that's exactly what happened.

And really, isn't that what my complaint is? If Condi had a better argument, she'd have made it. I don't expect her to admit defeat right there on NPR, so I guess she had to repeat that lame argument. But it was for no effect whatsoever. She convinced no one with her argument; nor did she offend anyone she hadn't offended long ago. So my real complaint is simply that NPR didn't embarrass her by asking her to explain what she was talking about. Does she really believe that terrorism can't be made worse by our actions? That's entirely idiotic. And she'd have just stalled for time while insisting that her point was entirely sensible. And then it would look like they were harassing her.

But again, I understand why they couldn't do that to her, so I guess I don't know what my complaint really is. I guess I'm just showing off how I know everything and just wanted to mention that these fools are still making these foolish arguments. But I guess you probably knew that too. Sorry for wasting your time.


Donald Douglas said...

Terrorism has indeed become more serious since Bush took office. And it's not just because of Iraq. But of course terror activity predates this administrstion.

I see no deep analysis here, though. Looks like you can't stand Bush and the "neocons."

Donald Douglas said...

Hey man! Your as bad as N=1! Liberals never want to defend their own arguments. They just attack the critic. Let's see the analysis, Mr. Methods. Bush invented terrorism? That's a joke, right?

I've debunked your own points back over on my page.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald: That would be "You're as bad as N=1!"

It's not too hard to debate someone who can barely write. Just joking of course (tied into this comment, for anyone just joining in).

And of course, you're entirely mistaken. I will defend any argument I write, and will gladly recant if my facts or logic prove faulty. Tell me how I'm wrong and I'll explain myself. I love a good debate, especially if it involves stuff I wrote.

And yes, the "Bush Invented Terrorism" headline was entirely a joke; and a fairly funny one, if I say so myself. Not only did I not write about that subject, but it goes against what I wrote. That's my kind of humor.

Donald Douglas said...

Hey Biobrain: My bad! You got me on that one! Touche! I type too fast sometimes. I'm more careful on my own page, or at least I can go back and fix the typos with Haloscan! LOL!

Besides the corrections - duly noted, thank you - you've never substantiated your (not "you're") claims against Condi and the neocons. You call them names, like imbecile and liar. Is that reasoned debate?

I've responded decisevely to your rebuttal on my page. I've provided more evidence to smack you back down, which I did with ease! For all your longwindedness, it's all a bunch of sound and fury. You haven't made a compelling point to rebut my arguments. If anything, you confirm my claims of liberal obfuscation and evasion (case by case, which can provide confirmation of a general hypothesis).

People who read the exchange will know the more "rational" argument. I would expect you to denounce N=1 much more forcefully, first. Then give me some proof that Bush deliberately equivocates or lies when he says he cares about the troops. If you're (not "your") going to claim he's not sincere, show it.

If we didn't take the statements of presidents, prime ministers ambassadors, etc., as valid, we'd have no basis for diplomatic history. Of course, postmoderns reject diplomatic history, so what can you do? It's all social movements and "people's histories" nowadays. But that's another story.

Have a great day!

Donald Douglas said...

That should be "decisively." So you can skip that right off, and get to defending your allegations of the administration's lying.

You're a chivalrous adversary, I must say, but I know over time the power of my arguments will draw you back from the dark side.

(Hey, if you had Haloscan, you could correct my mistakes - how's that for hubris!)

Doctor Biobrain said...

Hey, don't worry about typos. I never do and was just teasing. Secondly, I'm not post-modernist and neither are most liberals I know. We believe in an objective reality that exists outside of our perspective. They might say they believe in a subjective reality, but I don't believe them. And as I said at your blog, you're the one who seems to be arguing that facts are based upon our beliefs, so it looks like you're the post-modernist.

Regarding the "reasoned debate" in my post. I wasn't giving a debate. I was stating my opinion to people who already agree with the basic premises of my argument. I almost never get rightwing readers, so it would be a waste of time and space for me to repeat in every post my reasons for believing that the Bushies are incompetent fools who lie. But I've been writing this blog for over two years, so I'm sure you can find those kind of arguments too.

Secondly, I've read enough of your blog to see that you do the same thing to Democrats, so I don't see where you're coming from. You believe that Reid and Pelosi are incompetent liars who do not have America's best interests in mind. You believe that most liberals and anti-war people are "anti-American". I find that term to be incomprehensible and a cheap slur designed to stifle debate, but you use it repeatedly. So you can put the highhorse aside.

Finally, you're totally grabbing the wrong side of this post. This post wasn't about Condi, Bush, or the neo-cons. This post was about NPR and the interviewer who allowed Condi to repeat that bogus argument. And I was saying how this was indictive of the fawning media, which allow these people to say anything and get away with it. I wasn't making the point that the Bushies are idiot liars. That was the premise for my point regarding the media.

You apparently do not agree with Condi, so why don't you say so? Do you think she was being honest when she answered that question? Do you think she honestly believes that anti-war people blame all terrorism on Bush? Do you approve of what she did? Do you think it's odd that the NPR interviewer didn't ask a follow-up question regarding her odd statement? That was the point I was making.

We can discuss my opinions on why I believe the Bushies are incompetent liars, but that wasn't really the point of this blogpost. And in case you were wondering: No, I can't prove that they're incompetent liars; just as you can't prove that Dems are incompetent liars. We can just give our reasoning and hope the it makes sense to other people.

Donald Douglas said...

Bio Brain: What's a "pile of crap"? This whole post is about NPR not challenging Neocon lies: "Neo-Cons Say the Damnedest Things." The further you evade, the sillier you look.

In any case, you're just blowing smoke over on my page. You're probably the most serious dodging obfuscator I've come across. You seem like a nice guy, so I've been willing to continue the exchange.

Even N=1 disagrees with your main point: She accepted the Newsweek citation as a valid source. IT WAS BUSH SHE DIDN'T BELIEVE, not the form of subtantiation. If I had been debating what a liberal President had said, N=1 would have had no problem. Hate Bush equals no validation.

Now, you've provided no outside verification for anything you've said. Why is that? You're like the emperor with no clothes. It's all twisting and squirming to get out from actually supporting your points. Not once, mind you, have you made an empirically supported claim.

Personal statements are valid sources of empirical confirmation. Ask any prosecutor who snags a conviction on the basis of witness testimony, or any defense attorney trying to have a testimony stricken. There are rules of elementary debate. You do not accept these rules, obviously. It's funny though, this whole thing started with the asssertion that President Bush deliberately employs U.S. troops as IED fodder. Most rational people would rightly dismiss such a remarks as miles beyond the pale. You are not rational, and you've demonstrated it by arguing ad nauseum fact versus assertion, missing the forest for the trees.

The irrationalism thread's done - I'm giving you the last word. Be careful with yourself. It'd be a cruel irony if you went to trial only to be convicted with witness statements a judge accepted as fact.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Douglas - How could you be confused about this? As I said, I was using the Bushies' mindblowing obtuseness as the premise for my post regarding NPR and the interviewer. Their behavior is the premise, not the argument. And I used it as an unspoken premise because all of my readers already believe it to be true and it would be a waste of time to repeat what people already know.

But for your sake, I'm not even going to try to explain any of it to you. If you haven't gotten it by now, you're not likely to get it from me. I don't really even blog about that kind of stuff. I do analysis, not straight reporting. But if you're honestly interested, I strongly recommend reading The Carpetbagger Report each day. You'll see more rightwing lying and foolishness than you can shake a stick at. I trust everything he writes. But be prepared for solid left-wing blogposts without any nutty posts. And don't hit the messageboards too much, as they're really not going to agree with anything you have to say and it's really not a debate forum. And for god's sake, don't tell them I sent you.

And are you suggesting that Condi's response wasn't a pile of crap? You have yet to respond to any of my questions regarding Condi's lame response. To me, that was good evidence of the standard lying Bush argument and was a main part of the post; yet you really haven't addressed it.

Donald Douglas said...

Bio Brain: You claim to appeal to logic, but your real skills are obfuscation and evasion. Turning the tables is your best card. A classic lefty tactic, which confirms - almost better than I could have imagined! - the original premise of my post on N=1: Liberals will not back their own statements, and will run from supporting anything they allege. I cite your own quote above in support of the thesis:

"I'm not even going to try to explain any of it to you."

You also fall back on the easy out of assuming the intellectual density of your interlocutor, which is in essence an ad hominem:

"If you haven't gotten it by now, you're not likely to get it from me."

To quote a link from your Wikipedia reference, ad hominems consist of "replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim."

Nope, no producing any evidence on your side! You're just one more in that great line of lefty debate dodgers!

BTW, a commenter left a remark this morning on my page, and I thought I'd pass it along:

"Donald: You are discovering the trials and tribulations of trying to argue points with the wilfully ignorant."

You've said nothing that makes any sense in this exchange. Not one commenter on my page has supported your premises. You're a bit confused, I might add: You refer to "Gould" in your rebuttal, but you should be citing Popper. But hey, citing accurately the methodological source for the theory of scientific falsifiability obviously does not matter to one who holds complete contempt for the ethical standards of logic, evidence, or argumentation.

I rest my case, but with a prediction: You'll again refuse to support anything you claim. You'll insist you've "won" the debate through superior "logic," and you'll once more obfuscate the basic substance of this whole exchange with more agrumentative legerdemain and ad hominems.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - You completely missed my point. I wasn't insulting you and that wasn't ad hominem. I wasn't even making an argument. I was just pointing out that there is no evidence I can tell you that you will agree shows the Bush Administration to be bad. It would take much too long to make any case in my favor, so I thought it was better to direct you to Carpetbagger, who does a much better job than I at highlighting this stuff every day. It wasn't that I thought you were too stupid to understand. I thought you'd disagree with my intrepretations of this stuff and it would be a waste of our time to bother with it.

And why do you continue to ignore anything I ask you regarding Condi's statement? That was a good example of what I was talking about, yet you continue to ignore it. Why?

Donald Douglas said...

Bio Brain: Outsourcing arguments to Carpetbagger? I thought liberals opposed outsourcing. Hey, if the sidestep works, go with it!

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - I don't really call that outsourcing as much as an admission of defeat regarding proving any point to you on this. I normally don't shy from a fight, but believe this is too daunting of a task for even me to undertake. I've known what a sham-artist Bush was since he was my governor, while you still think he's Honest Abe. That's like the Grand Canyon of differences and we just don't have enough common ground to bother debating that issue right now. Especially as you'll attribute all of my opinions to "irrational Bush hatred". So that debate just isn't going to happen.

And why do you continue to ignore my point about Condi? If you like, I could find a quote of her saying this. But I'd just like to know if you agree with the strawman she created, and whether you believe that she should be allowed to say such drivel without a follow-up question.

You wanted an example of deceptive Bush Admin lines, and that's a good example. So let's talk about it. Why does Condi continue to make such absurd arguments? Does it embarrass you?

repsac3 said...

After reading your exchange with Donald on his blog (where he obfuscates & denies any difference between what Bush says and objective fact) with the best of 'em), I had to come here to comment.

I'm sure you already know you won that argument, but Donald as much as admitted it near the end, while challenging you on eyewitness testimony at trials:

You had said:

"Instead, [judges] use their judgment and opinions to decide how valid the testimony is and then give their verdict as an opinion based upon what they heard."

To which he replied:

"Well how often is that? You need to provide a frequency interval to substantiate your point. Why should I believe this as true just because you say so? "

Why should he, indeed...

Perhaps for the same reason he believes Mr Bush about his hardest job, no? Bush said it, ergo Truth.

Thanks for the amusement...
I trust you won't mind if I stick around for a bit, & explore... (Bloghopping, today...)

Donald Douglas said...

repsac3: I was baiting Bio Brain in that quote, but I guess you didn't appreciate it. Turned the tables, deployed fire against fire, so to speak. If Bio Brain's argument's so good, then he'd be able to rebut my point. He's stating an opinion, ergo, there's no way we can validate it, no?

My point all along is not so much that he's wrong, but that his view has no widespread acknowledgement under methodological epistemology. If we took his argument as correct, we'd be throwing out centuries of science, history, politics, and so forth.

I bet you're just mad I'm neoconservative. That's just my opinion, though!

repsac3 said...

DD sez: "He's stating an opinion, ergo, there's no way we can validate it, no?"

What I quoted Dr B as saying was an opinion?

"Instead, [judges] use their judgment and opinions to decide how valid the testimony is and then give their verdict as an opinion based upon what they heard."

I can't speak to methodological epistemology (& confess to not completely understanding what it is), but I understood Dr B's point to essentially be "saying it doesn't make it so."

Bush says one of my hardest parts of his job is to console the family members, who've lost their life

Hillary says she supports the troops.

You say I'm mad because you're a neocon.

Any/all these statements may be true.
Any/all of 'em may be false.

But without something more concrete than the statements themselves, they are not proof of anything aside their own existence as statements. (In other words, the only thing they prove is that the words were spoken or typed, not whether the words contain any truth.)

Few historians would belive that George Washington mistreated his troops on the basis of a single statement (or 100, for that matter) found in letters written by one soldier under his command. Only when many persons in a position to know report the same events in similar ways do those events become historical "fact," based on the preponderance of the accumulated evidence. Historians would also probably take George's own statements about his treatment of his underlings with a grain of salt, as it might be "colored" by his close relationship with the subject of the statements.

I'm not sure I understand why the fact that N=1 accepted your argument should have any bearing on whether Dr. B or anyone else does the same. As you yourself admit, she's a bit "out there" sometimes.

Finally, for what it's worth, I bear you no ill will for being a neocon. I simply do not share your view of the world.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - You're a neocon?? Really?? I had assumed you were a straight conservative, as I've never encountered a true neocon and thought they only existed in think tanks and secretive DoD groups formed by Cheney's minions. Or perhaps you were joking.

Either way, this isn't my reponse to your message to me, which I'm still working on. I just checked this message and thought I'd ask.

Donald Douglas said...

repsac3 (I almost wrote repcon3!): I actually think Bio Brain made a pretty good argument, although it was more useful for my case to have him defend his statement on how judges decide. How do we know they base their decisions on the process Bio Brain elucidated? Some might, some might not. I don't concede Bio Brain's point on opinion versus fact because I see no reason that the president's own statement cannot validate the claim that he's visited families.

Now, if I were writing a scholarly paper, I'd footnote multiple sources, and if I did, that would mean Bio Brain would have additional confirmation of the assertion. I didn't argue the point about Hillary Clinton because I believe she indeed supports the troops. Bio Brain made a fallacy in assuming that all conservatives reject the idea that Hillary supports the troops. I cannot debate a point upon which I'm in complete agreement.

In any case, if Bio Brain argues that an opinion is not valid to substantiate a point, then the same method can be applied to his claims. Thus, we could go around back and forth all day because know one can show that anything they say is more than mere opinion.

This whole thing really started when I took exception with Bio Brain's ironical, funny, or whatever, allegations that Condi lied. I don't believe she lied. In fact, I think that's lefty propaganda at work. So, if she in fact did lie, I'd need verification. Instead of supporting his own point in response to my argument that there was no deeper logic to his case, he attacked me in my debate with N=1, and by extension lended credibility to her claim that Bush pushed longer troop deployments for IED fodder. I'm not going to let that slide. N=1 quit the field knowing that she couldn't defend her position. Bio Brain didn't quit, he just went on the offense.

I'll concede he makes a good argument, but again, according to my epistemology, according to Bio Brain, there's no way to operationalize independent statements to be utilized as empirical data.

Thanks for jumping in - my prediction, by the way, that Bio Brain would continue to claim he's logic was superior proved correct. Theory can lead to hypotheses, and hypotheses to prediction, and in this case mine was confirmed.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - This is a response to your comment to repsac3.

Regarding judges, I'm fairly convinced that with the exception of a crooked judge or jury, they all use their judgment to determine if a witness is telling the truth. What else would they do? Flip a coin? I didn't understand this point of yours. Judges and juries are permitted to ignore witness testimony that they don't find credible and this isn't considered a problem. And this applies to our case where N=1 ignored testimony she didn't find credible, and you then denounced her for ignoring it.

And why didn't you tell me that you had a problem with my Hillary Clinton example? I used her because many conservatives consider her to be a she-devil. But I would have easily changed it to Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. Or any mainstream Dem would do. I'll even use Michael Moore if you like, I don't care. They all say they support the troops.

So does Moore's claim to support the troops override your opinion that he does not? No. Then this confirms my point. We are not required to change our opinion based upon someone else's statement and are allowed to ignore it if we think the statement is false.

Regarding Condi, in the example I gave, I didn't say that Condi lied. I said that she used a phoney strawman to evade the question and thus deceived NPR's listeners. Specifically, she clearly implied that liberals believe that terrorism didn't begin until after Bush invaded Iraq. And then she knocked-down that strawman by stating that terrorism did exist before the invasion. Yet nobody said it didn't, so she didn't answer the question. That's not lying. That's utter deception. I can explain the deception if you want, but it's the basic strawman argument so I don't see why that would be necessary.

So here are the questions for you:

Do you believe that liberals think terrorism and anti-American hatred by Muslims began after we invaded Iraq? Or do you think that liberals think it started before that, but got worse because of the invasion?

Why do you think Condi said liberals say this? Do you think that Condi believes this to be true of liberals, or do you think she was intentionally deceiving NPR's listeners?

Should the interviewer have asked Condi a follow-up question regarding her answer? Examples could be "Who actually said that terrorism didn't begin until after the invasion?" or "What do you say to critics who point to evidence that terrorism has gotten worse after the invasion and blame the invasion?" Those are completely legitimate questions, yet the interviewer wrapped-up the interview rather than ask these basic questions. Do you think that was good reporting?

Please note that I'm only asking for your opinion and not asking you to read minds or state facts. I just want to know if you agree with what Condi said in this interview and if the interviewer should have asked a follow-up question regarding her response.

Fade said...

wOW. lET ME be the first to break through the long winded bulshit and say: *ever-so-succintly*

Donnie: You Are Full of shit.

Thank you.

Donald Douglas said...

Doc Bio Brain:

Fade's comments, here and over at my page, don't auger well for the power of liberal advocacy and argument. He deploys some serious profanity, with a little racism and homophobia thrown in for good measure. I've deleted his ranting indiscretions, as I believe that a blog's host has a responsibility to keep the comments free from hatred and bigotry. As I've read lately, that's not been the policy at Daily Kos, and I'm sure countless other lefty blogs. But that’s my opinion, subject to empirical validation.


Now, back to our discussion at hand:

I think it's too early for you to call it a day. You mentioned that N=1 original objections fully confirm your analysis. Not so, but let's look at the sources:

Here’s your claim first, followed by N=1’s original riposte:

“I reread N=1's comments and it appears she made the same point and was always in agreement with me about doubting Bush's veracity and requiring independent verification to believe his statement. I think you misread her statement or something.”

"Thank you for providing the quote from Newsweek. That Bush stated he visited several thousand troops is without independent verification, though. My counter to that is that he exaggerated, and that the number is far fewer."

As you can see, N=1 does argue for "independent verification" outside of that I provided. But she should have stopped there! When she counters that President Bush "exaggerated," she has in practice retracted her call for outside information. To exaggerate is to represent as greater than is actually the case; it is to overstate. If N=1 alleges that Bush has overstated his case, then she is accepting at base that his statement can be used as verification that he indeed visited thousands of troops. So, while we know that outside records from the White House would provide statistical validation of my claim, logically you remain isolated in your claims of opinion versus fact. N=1 undermines your argument, and you have yet to rebut my contentions of constructionism versus neopositivist methodology.

You need to address these points before you can proceed, although I do concede on pure logical grounds you make a good case. You have undercut your own argument, though, by appealing to N=1's own statements.

Now, back to your points about judges:

You make a huge concession to my unimpeachable rebuttal on witness testimony on my page:

“Regarding judges, I'm fairly convinced that with the exception of a crooked judge or jury, they all use their judgment to determine if a witness is telling the truth.”

Now that’s gold! You’re “fairly convinced”? That doesn’t sound too authoritative! Fairly convinced is the same as saying you don’t have enough power of independent verification to make a compelling foundation for your points. You protest vehemently that we cannot rely on opinions to verify a point. See here:

“Yep, that's right. We cannot "prove" that Bush truly cares for the troops, as we are not mind-readers and can't know what he's thinking. Therefore we cannot use his thoughts as evidence, because we don't know what his thoughts are.”

The same could be said to your eminently unsure point about judges. We are not mind-readers: Your point is an opinion, strongly couched in uncertainty. It is not the “fact” standard you have required for substantiation. This section blows up much of your intellectual thrust.

I imagine you lowered your guard a bit by my “concession,” which was simply recognition of your point, using a counterfactual example, to show how we would have to prove my assertions correct. Recall that if we took your logic all the way, independent statements, speeches, memoirs, telegraph cables, diplomatic minutes of meetings, would all be impeachable and unusable.

You have never addressed this point, so you practice the same obfuscation you decry:

“You haven't really been debating me anyway, as you won't address my points or rebuttals. You continue to act as if you're the judge of the debate and not an equal participant, and that's just no way to have a debate. I cannot debate someone who insists that my arguments are so invalid that they won't even explain why they're invalid.”

Now, as I’ve said all along, you’ve made the point ON LOGICAL GROUNDS that opinion can’t be used as fact, but then you’ve cited examples and made statements that undermine your argument. Here’s one more:

“We can discuss my opinions on why I believe the Bushies are incompetent liars, but that wasn't really the point of this blogpost. And in case you were wondering: No, I can't prove that they're incompetent liars; just as you can't prove that Dems are incompetent liars. We can just give our reasoning and hope that it makes sense to other people.”

We can give our reasoning? We can hope it makes sense to others? You don’t sound too confident in your original assertions! What has happened throughout this exchange is that you’ve been unable to meet in the middle to concede any of my points. For example, above you assert that N=1 confirms your original points. You got frustrated, though, when I used your own logic to disconfirm your case.

My strategy was tit-for-tat. Tit-for-tat results when participants in an exchange defect from cooperation. The phenomenon is captured by the prisoners’ dilemma:

In the prisoners' dilemma mutual cooperation (in which both prisoners keep quiet and get 5 years) would ultimately fail for each prisoner fears of being sold down the river; the end payoff (in which both prisoners confess and get 10 years) is inferior to the cooperative outcome of mutual silence, but it's impossible to achieve joint silence because each fears defection of the other. The incentive structure to confess is the dominant strategy, as no matter what the other side does, the prisoner will get less time (if convicted while keeping silent as the other prisoner confesses, the penalty would be 15 years). Defecting from cooperation (individual confession rather than mutual silence) is the dominant choice.

This is my response to your claims that I was “controlling” the debate. I wasn’t controlling so much as playing tit-for-tat.

In conclusion, my debating techniques are completely valid when placed in the context of a strategy of cooperation. I think you’ve made very powerful arguments – that’s a concession – but I also think you’ve badly undermined some of your own points. At this point, your best bet would be to acknowledge where we find common agreement. Then we could come to a mutually acceptable set of parameters for future debates. I have learned a lot from the exchange – in fact, you are a chivalrous interlocutor, let me be frank, and correct myself!

Doctor Biobrain said...

The arguments you make here are moot, as you’ve already conceded my two main points on this commentboard. And that makes all this wrangling unnecessary. But just so you won’t accuse me of avoiding them, I will briefly address each point. But again, none of this is relevant, as you’ve already conceded my points elsewhere.

Besides, most of your points here involve extreme parsing of sentences to make any case at all. That’s fairly embarrassing. For your N=1 point, you are reduced to using the word “exaggerated” to argue that she had conceded your point. I disagree entirely. I don’t think she meant that to mean what you say it means, as evidenced that she continued to ask for independent verification after she said that he was exaggerating. I take it as meaning that she never trusted his veracity at any level. She was not disputing that he has met with some families, but thinks his claims were exaggerated and did not trust them.

And then when I point this out, you pretend as if I’m conceding that her opinion on Bush’s veracity binds my argument. But I’ve made no such concession. I simply found it unnecessary to state this again, as it was obvious that N=1 was not in disagreement with me, so this point became moot. But regardless, N=1’s argument was never binding on me. Even if she thinks that Bush’s claims are factual, that does not make them factual. Her opinion could not make them fact, anymore than your opinion could. But as I said, she was in agreement with me on this point, so your point was moot.

Even more embarrassing is your insistence that my use of the phrase “fairly convinced” somehow undermines my argument. I was actually being facetious and believe with ABSOLUTE certainty that judges and juries use their judgment and opinion to determine if a witness’s statement is credible. What else would they do? Flip a coin?

The same goes for your point on historians. In regards to unverified statements, nobody is required to accept them as absolute truth and we rely upon our judgment to decide whether to accept any claims. And that goes for judges, juries, historians, N=1, and Donald Douglas. You cited a claim of Bush’s that you choose to believe, but which N=1 rightly chose to ignore. There was no problem with this. I’m fully aware that historians rely on historical statements and find it offensive that you continue to pretend that I don’t. But in no case do historians use unverified claims as fact.

One big hang-up for you seems to be that you think there is something wrong with opinions. I do not. You seem to think opinions are weak, which would explain why you continue to pretend as if your opinions on Bush are factual statements. But as Popper explained, your statements on Bush are not falsifiable, therefore they are not factual statements. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that you cannot use your opinions to refute N=1’s opinions.

But again, it’s pretty embarrassing that you’re resorting to the absolute interpretation of single words to make a case. This isn’t a court of law. This is an informal debate. If you are forced to rely on absolute meanings instead of intended meanings, I will end all of our debates immediately as it will confirm that you are not debating honestly. I only kept this going as long as I did because it seemed you had dropped some of your dishonest tricks. It looks like you’re back at them again.

Finally: No, I find no middle ground with your position. I don’t even find your position to be comprehensible and I’ve stated that repeatedly. You have no real argument, but instead rely on minor points, odd parsing, and trickery to even continue this debate. You’ve already conceded my point that Bush’s claim requires independent verification. You’ve already reached the conclusion that we cannot accept Bush’s thoughts as factual because we do not know his thoughts. And it now comes down to you explaining why we can’t “operationalize” this. We cannot know what Bush’s thoughts are, so they cannot be used as evidence. It’s that simple.

Again, this response does not serve as my current argument, as that was made at the link I cited above. I am merely writing this so you can’t claim that I didn’t address your points. But all of this is moot, as we’ve already moved the argument elsewhere and it negated all of these points.

BTW: I find nothing wrong with dirty words and don’t understand why you find them objectionable. Words are words. For me, telling someone they’re full of shit is no different than telling them that they’re wrong for being irrational Bush-haters. It means the same thing. I don’t know why you think your insults are more acceptable, because they’re not. The phrase “You’re full of shit” has a real meaning and Fade honestly believes it applies to you. I also don’t believe in deleting comments, but as I said regarding N=1, people can run their blogs as they see fit. You felt the need to delete Fade’s comments just as N=1 deleted yours. I see no difference.

Oh, and if you state a policy of deleting objectionable comments, then you are implicitly stating that all non-deleted comments are not objectionable. That’s what’s got O’Reilly’s website in trouble, as he has left-up many objectionable comments, thus implicitly endorsing them. I believe in leaving all comments, no matter what they say. If someone makes an idiot of themselves, that’s their business. I like that Daily Kos doesn’t delete other people’s stuff. That’s how I think responsible sites should be run.

Donald Douglas said...

Doc Bio Brain: Nothing is moot in this debate, because you've been unable to make your case beyond a reasonable doubt.

You dismiss parsing words because they show the inconsistencies of your reasoning. Dismiss them all you like. You'll need more outside intervention than that provided by Fade to realistically have a chance of ideational acceptance and legitimacy.

You plead my babbling incoherence as a reason for not engaging. It is not my problem if you can't comprehend an argument. Ignoring my points because you find them incomprehensable does lot delegitimate them.

I don't have a problem with opinions, in fact I've used yours to damage your central points. You can't be "fairly sure" on the one hand, and then say you have "ABSOLUTE" certainty on the other. You're backtracking, self-contradicting, and it's underhanded and sneaky - and you have the chutzpah to call me a trickster! Well, as I learned as a small child, it takes one to know one. In any case, I already noted you're the one who's a fluffy trickster, so you lose points for unoriginality!

Besides, in fact I engage in no trickery at all. My debating tied you up in a specific strategy of tit-for-tat, which was called for by your obstructionism. Where does it say I cannot examine every word under consideration in this exchange, be they N=1's or yours? You have no credible reason to dismiss the fact that N=1 argued that Bush's statement was an exaggeration. As I've said, sure we could find independent confirming statements in the records, but to insist on excluding all personal statements is extreme. Historians and political scientists don't do, and neither did N=1. Indeed, she's the one who raised the evidentiary challenge in the first place, which makes her statement highlighting the importance (and relevance) of exaggeration all that more weighty.

But I've been proven correct in this exchange before, and you've done so again with your irrational exasperation at alleged "extreme" parsing. I'm of the belief that language - even one word - must stand for something. To dismiss words for advancing too narrow an intepretation is constructivism - that postmodernist pathology I held you up to already. You can't escape it, as much as you try. You say you're the real rational one, the great debater, but when faced with a point you cannot rebut you throw up your hands and say it's a moot point: I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore! It's all a conspiracy!

I'm "fairly sure" that you won't budge, because for the life of you, you must succeed in your position that liberals are rational. You said Condi Rice's words were "a bunch of crap." You'd have to define it, though, because common parlance sees "crap" as lies, but all you can do is declaim that you called the administration a bunch of liars, or at least all you can say that is that their lies can't be proven, because they're opinions. Tell me then: Why do you denounce NPR for not following up Condi's points? If it's all opinion it doesn't matter. We'd have to prove that either the administration made terrorism worse or not. We can't use just a statement. In fact, using your argument there's no reason to listen to radio interviews in the first place - it's all conjecture and meaningless.

But hey, you're not consistent in your usage of the opinion versus facts claims. Points that confirm your thesis you'll endorse; rebuttals that reject your thesis you'll denounce. Looks like we'll be back to the prisoners' dilemma: Mutual defection it is, if you can't concede one ounce of your incoherent abstractions.

You have made a good point about opinion, but your own unwillingness to back your method when applied to your own statements demonstrates the poverty of your epistemology on the whole.

In my opinion 9 out of 10 people would denounce N=1's statements as the ravings of a lunatic, or if she were considered serious, they'd castigate her vile allegations as the worst of the worst America-bashing. But behold: You'll place your own reputation on the line defending them. That's commitment, but not necessarily reason.

repsac3 said...

Don: "As I've read lately, that's not been the policy at Daily Kos, and I'm sure countless other lefty blogs. But that’s my opinion, subject to empirical validation."

Actually, that that's not been the policy at Daily Kos & elsewhere is a fact, Don. (You really seem to have trouble distinguishing fact from opinion, don't you?)

Its also not been the policy on at least one "righty" blog you've been frequenting of late. Whatever one thinks of "naughty" words, hatred, & bigotry, they are most certainly not a partisan issues, as your statement implies. That said, I agree that such things are poor substitutes for advocacy for and argument in support of one's position.

Doc Bio: Irrationality is its own reward... You might just as well congradulate his "win" & move on...

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald – Look, one reason I call you a trickster is because you continue to attribute statements and beliefs to me that I have repeatedly denied. I have never defended N=1’s opinion on Bush’s motives and have repeatedly stated that I thought it was wrong and irrational. I have never suggested that personal statements are always untrustworthy and I don’t believe they are. I have never suggested that opinions are “meaningless”, and think quite highly of them. These are all phoney-baloney ideas you attribute to me as your only way to defeat my arguments.

And I already said I was being facetious when I said I was “fairly certain” about how judges and juries consider evidence. I was intentionally understating my certainty to be ironic, because I was always 100% certain about this. In fact, I found your request for a “frequency interval” on this to be entirely laughable. My wife laughed about that too. What is your idea on how judges, juries, and historians judge personal statements, if not by using their judgment and opinion? I have no idea why you’re disagreeing with me on this.

And if you think that N=1 agreed that Bush’s claims are factual, then why did you denounce her for denying factual evidence? What exactly have you been attacking her for if she agreed that Bush’s claims are factual? Did she deny your evidence or didn’t she?

And as I’ve said, all of this is moot. Perhaps you didn’t mean to, but you’ve already conceded my main points. I repeat, you’ve already conceded my main points. You agreed that Bush’s statements require independent verification and that we cannot truly know what his motives are. And those are my main two points.

So all the rest of this is moot, because they were just minor arguments to support or deny my main two points, which you’ve now confirmed. And as I keep saying, this has nothing to do with agreeing with N=1’s opinion, but only on whether we can disprove it. While her opinion is irrational, it is not disprovable.

As for our Condi debate, I asked some straight forward questions regarding your opinion. Before we can debate, I need to know what you’re opinion on this issue is, because you’ve never said what they were and continue to evade explaining your position.

If you refuse to answer them or explain why they’re bad questions, I will refuse to debate further on that issue. It’s that simple. You need to explain if you agree with what Condi said, whether you thought she was being intentionally deceptive, and whether her deceptions should have been questioned further. I’ve already given my opinion and it’s the blogpost. Now it’s your turn to tell me your opinion on this.

BTW: From the context of the blogpost, it’s obvious that the “pile of crap” was what Condi had said in the interview. And while that technically was a “lie” (ie, intentionally attempting to deceive people), that isn’t a generally accepted definition for some people and I felt the distinction was unnecessary for our discussion.

repsac3 said...

Just so you know; eight months later, Don is still convinced you lost this argument... He just brought it up again on his new blog AmericanNeoCon , as though I'd ever wade back into these twisted waters... The guy is passionate... I'll give him that... 8>)

Doctor Biobrain said...

Passionate? I prefer the word "committed", as in what needs to happen to the poor guy. What a nutjob!

Americaneocon said...

A nutjob?

I don't recall, Biobrain, that you'd resort to argumentium ad hominem, but in reveiwing the debate here, I do recall how sleazy your debating practices ended up being, particularly when you you wouldn't apply a fact based rebuttal to your own arguments.

Look at the debate here. You can see that once I applied a strict decision rule about your example of judges, you were flummoxed.

Here's a quote for you:

"Conservatives have long been amazed by liberals who ask, indeed demand, of every conservative they meet to give reasons for each and every of their views, yet when faced with logical answers that astound them, either retort with some jibberish that bears no relevance to the issue being discussed, make some snide remark, or immediately seek to change the subject that they themselves so insistently started."

I applied it to Repsac as well. You're two peas in a pod, and obviously you've sunk to a new low with the name calling.

Totally intellectually dishonest. Repsac's no better.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Look numbnuts, insults are NOT ad hominem. Ad hominem means that I'm trying to refute your arguments by attacking you and suggesting that because you're a flawed person that your arguments are also flawed. It'd be like you dismissing my arguments because I'm a liberal. It's the same thing people do when they try to dispute Global Warming by suggesting that Al Gore wastes energy or when they attack Darwin in an attempt to dispute evolution; as if showing someone as a fraud somehow undermines what that person said. I understand that folks who try to pose as intellectuals like to toss out the words "ad hominem" every time someone insults them; but it's an incorrect usage. It applies to argument techniques; not name calling.

When I called you a nutjob, I wasn't refuting anything. I was calling you a nutjob because that's exactly what you are. But I'd NEVER suggest that conservative arguments are somehow refuted because they're advocated by people like you. They're too easy to refute without resorting to such silly gimmicks. That aside, I wasn't talking to you. I suppose I should have remembered that you might get an auto response to this or something, but I didn't. I was just responding to Respac and didn't imagine anyone else would see it.

I try to avoid namecalling against people I'm debating with, as I find it just gets in the way and people use the insults as an excuse to avoid addressing the debate points. But frankly, I don't care if I insult you, as I'm so done with you. You're a pathetic scoundrel who couldn't develop a rational argument to save your life. It's all insults and empty taunts with you, even if you avoid actual name calling. Or stupid stuff like you suggesting that I'm using "argumentium ad hominem" when I wasn't even making an argument. But I'm kind of glad to see you back, as I've recently discovered a newfound love for telling people off; and you make as good a target as anyone. What, with your snide superiority and absurd lack of rationality; you're a perfect target for this kind of thing.

Oh, and I did appreciate that you still remembered me after all this time, but I can't say I did the same of you. It took me a bit to remember who Respac was referring to; and then it all came flooding back. Anyway, stick around, go to hell, I don't care. You're just a silly joke and everyone with a brain knows it.

repsac3 said...

I was just checking out the rest of the article from which NeroCon's "conservatives have long been..." quote comes, and landed on this little bit: CFP: The Root Cause of Why Some Liberals Are Unresponsive to Logic and Debate: "He or she does not have to give proofs and those who dare to challenge the scientist’s assertions are heretics."

Now, who does that quote about proof (& indeed the title of the whole article, save that misplaced word "liberal") really describe; us, or 'mericanNeroCon?

Think about it...

repsac3 said...

Professor NeroCon: As I've said elsewhere, I cannot force you to reply to my comments in these blog posts. All I can do is point it out when you don't, and leave it to those who read our words to speculate as to why you refuse to reply...