Friday, July 27, 2007

Why Doesn't Anyone Tell Me These Things?

Wow. I just read a post over at Hullabaloo and apparently war is hell. I had no idea.

Too bad for us that democracy's such a lousy idea that we can only force it on people by gunpoint. Oh wait, no. It was the terrorist groups who use America's aggressive foreign policy as a recruiting tool that we needed to blast to kingdom come. Or whatever. I like to watch things blow up. If only my mysterious knee injury hadn't prevented me from joining...


Donald Douglas said...

"Too bad for us that democracy's such a lousy idea that we can only force it on people by gunpoint."

Why is democracy a "lousy idea?" Is it true that we can only establish it by force?

Discuss citing specific sources of evidence to support your claim.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - Those were jokes. I actually believe the exact opposite of what I wrote and was mocking war supporters when I wrote this. I mocked their gung-ho attitudes towards war, their shifting reasons for invading Iraq, the idiocy of having done so, and even tossed-out a chicken-hawk line about the knee injury at the end. I shouldn't have had to explain that, but there you go.

To be honest, though, I knew this post would confuse you and thought you'd ask me about it if you read it. As I've learned, conservatives usually don't understand irony. You've shown me that repeatedly.

But I wasn't making an argument here. I just read Digby's post and was inspired to write a post on the theme from that: Ie, that war supporters don't seem to have grasped the horrors of war and think it's cool. So I decided to mock that attitude.

Beyond that, however, I completely refuse to debate you. You respect no rules of debate other than the ones you create and refuse to address any of the points I made or answer any of the questions I asked. You apparently refuse to even discuss the Condi example we started this with, while dogging me with things I don't believe and that I've told you I don't believe. You're working under the assumption that I'm dishonest and irrational, and are using that premise to ignore everything I write. And that's something I simply cannot tolerate.

I've actually got a longer tirade I'll post shortly on your commentboard which will layout my opinions on this further. I made one last attempt to engage you in debate and you just won't do it, so I'm ending our debates. If you still want to debate me after you read what I'm about to write, I might consider it, though I'd like to establish some basic ground rules (eg, that empirical data isn't the only basis for arguments). In fact, I think it's one of the lousier ones, paritcularly if you continue to believe that a person's claims count as empirical proof.

But I seriously doubt you'll want to debate me after you read what I write and I have no problem with that whatsoever. 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. If you're the one who gets to decide which arguments I can and can't use, then I will not debate. It's that simple.

repsac3 said...


Now I'm going to have to go back to Don's blog, again...

I love the way he pretends to miss your points in the name of "proving" you wrong...

At least he goes light on the ad hom seasoning, compared to some of his kind...

Doctor Biobrain said...

Actually repsac3, I'm thinking I'm going to post large parts of our exchange here, including my final diatribe, so you could just look here for that. And yes, the final blast is quite a doozy. Unfortunately, it's too long, so I'm editing it down.

Oh, and thanks for the support. I started to think I was losing my mind.

Donald Douglas said...

Doc Bio Brain: Do you read your e-mails? I sent out an olive branch last night, explaining my perspective on the exchange. I did say that I myself didn't want to continue the debate, although acknowledgment of my gentlemanly communication would have been respectful. Does that sound unreasonable?

While I may not appreciate irony (it helps if it's in good taste, I'd argue), you (IMHO) don't appreciate immitation (which they say is the sincerest form of flattery).

For example, after I gave you a primary source - Bush's press conference quote - you dismissed that as insufficient to make my case. I rebutted each of your points regarding N=1, fair and square. N=1 is the one who raised the methodolical challenge to my comment in the first place. For her to accept that source of substantiation was significant. But you brushed it aside, and you never claimed that N=1 was in error, only me. (That's not objective, but partisan, and this was supposed to be a rational debate irrespective of political positions, as you stated at the outset.)

Logic is fine, but some things are just plain illogical. U.S. troops as IED fodder? Pretty strange. Bill O'Reilly waves his hands at liberals who spout such stuff - beyond the pale, he'd say. And O'Reilly's one to seek confirming evidence for his points, for all his bluster.

My strategy about half way through our exchange was to fight fire with fire. You claimed to "respond to your points back on my page," right after you criticized me for coming over here to post. Which is it? I offered logical arguments as to why your point on fact versus assertion, while technically accurate, was methodologically impractical. How can you so easily dismiss centuries of history, using exactly the sources of evidence that I provided? That's debating? Who was controlling whom? You almost had me there for as second, you fluffy trickster!

To take your view, we'd have to assume that every statement was opinion, and not representative of the historical process upon which it comments. Or, we'd just have to say these statesmen are a bunch of liars, so who's to believe what-in-the-hell they have to say. To concede a point to you, to fully confirm that Bush was telling the truth would require outside, fully objective data to show how many families he'd visited. Yet, to follow your argument, could we ever "prove" that Bush truly cared about the troops, since we would never have independent data aside from the president's statements? You cannot operationalize the point at such a high level of abstraction. And reason, if anything, is practical, no?

I suggested early in our exchange that you call it a day so we could move on to other points. My last couple of posts were largely satirical (at least after I'd dispensed with one of your claims) - but, hey, I guess I shouldn't expect you to appreciate a little satire.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - Wow. I was so accustomed to reading the same non-arguments from you that I wrote a response to your comment without grasping that you had actually agreed with the basis for my entire main point.

Here's the first part:
To concede a point to you, to fully confirm that Bush was telling the truth would require outside, fully objective data to show how many families he'd visited.

And that's what I've been saying, except I'd drop out the "fully confirm" part. If someone is making a claim in order to advance their own personal agenda, we generally don't accept their claims without independent verification.

I wouldn't require this claim to be "fully" confirmed (ie, by an unimpeachable source, like an audit firm or peer-reviewed study). A simple statement from Newsweek saying that they had looked at the numbers would be enough confirmation, and I accept claims like that all the time, even if I don't find Newsweek to be unimpeachable. But I don't consider Bush's claim to be any confirmation at all, because I see him as a biased source because he's making a personal claim about himself.

BTW: 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.

But that wasn't the big part. The "thousands of families" part was always weak, as I believe Bush meets with these people for political purposes and doesn't care for them. So rather than taking that as some evidence that Bush cares for the troops, I take it as evidence that he's a manipulative jerk who is taking advantage of people he is personally responsible for harming. You disagree and that's fine, but that's my opinion because I hate Bush (I'm joking, as I don't hate anyone, but I had to say it). So I don't accept this as valid evidence that he cares for the troops.

But you then went ahead and stated the crux of my argument:
Yet, to follow your argument, could we ever "prove" that Bush truly cared about the troops, since we would never have independent data aside from the president's statements?

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. We have no independent verification. That's my point and why I keep talking about fact versus opinion. Facts can be used to prove or disprove things, but opinions cannot be. And because Bush's motives can't be accepted as fact, they remain in the realm of opinion and cannot disprove someone else's opinion; even irrational opinions we disagree with. And so your attack on N=1 for ignoring your evidence was always misplaced. That's been my point since my first comment.

Now could you please explain what the problem is? And in English, please. You can talk about operationalizing the point of abstraction, and while I get the gist of what you're saying, I don't understand why this is true. You can't know what someone's thinking, so you can't use their statements as if they were fact. What's the problem with that? That makes sense to me and I have no problem with that. Why is that a problem for you?

BTW, the president's statements would not be "independent data" so the correct sentence should simply state that we would never have independent data that Bush cared for the troops. Sorry to nitpick, but I didn't want the idea to stand that we had any independent verification of anyone's thoughts.

Now, if you like, I've already written a much longer comment addressing all of your points and I could post it. But now that I reread your comment, I don't think I have to. I've never understood what possible argument you might have, and it finally looks as if you've understood mine.

Oh, and my true purpose for all this was to convince you that there was at least one rational liberal out here. Now if I could just convince you to stop assuming we're idiots and start listening to us, I might just save you from the darkside yet.

Muthu said...

I may support the war,the very last weapon to destroy the bad force. But I'm still not clear in one thing, Is Iraq fight is a war? I don't think so...
Conservatories Norfolk