Tuesday, October 19, 2004
- Reply 15790: Robert Bowman[Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:31 am](John 8:58: Rob #20: Where we go from here (again))
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If we both keep posturing like this, we're going to throw our hips out. It is quite ironic for you to suggest that I have been trying to control things on a site you control. We've had a dust up. We're working it out. That's the bottom line.
Obviously, as I indicated, I have not had the time to get to the BOTTOM of your LAST OF FOUR LONG NEW MESSAGES. You could have just said that you felt like you had presented all the arguments you needed to, and the forum could open as soon as I felt the same about mine. You did something quite different than that, and I would be derelict in my duty if I didn't call you on such debate tactics. I complain about what I see in the presidential debates, too, so you're in good company.
I hoped you would see the humor in some of my remarks. I guess I'm not in a position to attempt levity at this late date.
Given the constituency of this site, I never expected a neutral audience, nor would I expect equal treatment in a poll. Now please, people, that's NOT ad hominem -- that's an observation about demographics. Which brings me to this exaggerated sense of the ad hominem. Honestly, have none of you participated in a debate before? For one thing, ad honinem is a technical term in logic that refers to a close analysis of an argument for the technical weakness of conflating things about the source of an argument with the argument itself. As such, identifying an argument as committing the ad hominem fallacy is a defensive instrument in debate. In other words, one says, "That argument commits the ad hominem fallacy." I occasionally commit the ad hominem fallacy. But it is not an ad hominem to challenge an authority as biased, if the authority's testimony is being accepted as proving a point without argument. If the authority makes an argument, then it would be an ad hominem to declare the authority biased rather than refute the authority's argument. I hope that is clear. Now the remarks of mine that have been pointed to in this discussion as "insulting," and "maligning," are also not ad hominems because they have not been arguments or parts of arguments. Nor is it an ad hominem to point out patterns of misrepresenting the evidence, as I explained two posts ago.
Finally, Rob, it is my job to be hard to please. You can rib me about it; that's fair. We both have complaints about the other's tactics, and that's understandable. Debates get rough some times. Robert Hommel and I also had a couple of tense moments in our exchange, but I think they worked themselves out. So please don't waste time faulting me for things you yourself do. We both try to score points at the other's expense, and that's the nature of what we are at. Please understand that I do not fault you for introducing new arguments, or for belatedly answering criticisms I made three months ago. It was the circumstances in which a pause was called for and you ignored that call to rush in new material that I was critical of. I don't blame you; if I were you, I would have done the same thing, given the state of your position. But since you knew that I had said I wouldn't have time to address any new material, you knew quite well the situation you were creating by introducing a big load of new material, and then declaring yourself ready to open the forum. So let's both knock off playing the injured party. I set myself up to be taken advantage of, and you obliged. I have no one to blame but myself. So let's jsut get on with it. And please pardon me for not recognizing the material in your post 15 as somehow a distant cousin of some remarks you made in your book. It really is so reformulated from the latter as to take the form of a new angle on the material. A much clearer formulation than in the book, I think, so congratulations. So onward.