Cool PDF on the Dishonesty of Debate

From one of the concluding paragraphs:

We have therefore hypothesized that most disagreement is due to most people not being meta-rational, i.e., honest truth-seekers who understand disagreement theory and abide by the rationality standards that most people uphold. We have suggested that this is at root  due to people fundamentally not being truth-seeking. This in turn suggests that most disagreement is dishonest.

This reminds me, mostly, of debates about the illogicality of more federal gun control laws or using American military power to intervene in a foreign conflict that has nothing to do with national security (see, on this last point, my recent post “Imperialism: The Illogical Nature of Humanitarian Wars“).

Why, just the other day I was deleted by a female FB acquaintance for pointing out to her that her facts were wrong on gun control and that the numerous, hastily Googled  studies that she threw at my feet contained either errors in statistical reasoning (“saying that ‘more guns equals more crime’ is like saying ‘the black cat is a cat because it is black'”) or simply wanted to inflame passions rather than discern truth from tall tale.

On this second point, I even went so far as to suggest that since the piece did not contain any quantitative reasoning whatsoever, it would be safe to agree with me that it was merely an attempt to inflame passions rather than educate. The female (a UC Santa Cruz alumni, in her defense) did just the opposite: after acknowledging that the piece contained no intellectual argument whatsoever, she stated – matter-of-factly – that the piece was an attempt to document all 62 mass shootings over a 30 year period with visuals (posting the killers’ faces to a timeline) and explain that most of the guns used were obtained legally. Therefore, it was quantifying the evidence and proving that mass murders were on the rise, federal gun control is proven to work, and that bans on certain types of guns have been proven to work.

Indeed. This is the face of the enemy of freedom, and it’s not Satan. It’s the bimbo next door.

Read the whole PDF. Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea first.

A couple of tips for figuring out if you are on the right side of the facts or not:

  1. If you are defending somebody else’s words – especially the words of a politician, a religious leader or even an intellectual, there is a good chance you are on the wrong side of truth.
  2. If you attempt to justify the horrible crimes committed in the past by looking at the virtuous deeds that were accomplished because of the crimes, then you are most likely on the wrong side of the facts. For example Franklin Roosevelt’s policies did absolutely nothing to get the US out of the Great Depression. All economists are in agreement on this. Where they disagree is on whether or not his policies exacerbated the Great Depression – as most libertarian economists argue – or simply that the New Deal did absolutely nothing (Left-wing economists generally see World War 2 as the economy’s savior). Yet many people give Roosevelt credit where credit is not due. They even go so far as to overlook his ruthless campaign to rid the West Coast of citizens with Japanese and German ancestry (locking them up in concentration camps), copying Hitler’s policies of cartelizing the economy, banning Jewish refugees from entering our shores, and raising taxes to unjustified levels in order to carry out his worthless policies. Fidel Castro is another good example of this.
  3. If you take the argument personally, then you are on the wrong side of the facts. If you have a tendency to delete people on social media sites because they failed to acknowledge your genius, then you are on the wrong side of the facts.

Hope this helps!

5 thoughts on “Cool PDF on the Dishonesty of Debate

  1. I was going to say I didn’t agree with number 3 because I take threats of violence very personally, but on reflection you were talking about factual arguments rather than moral ones. At least I think so.

  2. “Indeed. This is the face of the enemy of freedom, and it’s not Satan. It’s the bimbo next door.”

    Hah! That made me laugh, “the bimbo next door.” Have an old, old girlfriend on FB who so far has not un-friended me despite the fact that her politics are about as offensive as any I can imagine, and I sometimes say so (she voted for “Obama” and is always posting “cutesy” things on FB about MO).


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