Friday, January 20, 2006

Four words that are like fingernails on a chalkboard

Wherein I advocate the outlawing of a pernicious phrase

"Try this thought experiment"

Without fail, whatever follows will almost always be mindless and arrogant and wrong. If you see it, stop reading. Make a note of the author's name and try to skip in the future.

Who uses that phrase? People who are losing an argument.

Why do they use it? Because the sky in their world does not exhibit the same hues as ours and if only our feeble brains can be trained to the proper point of view, then we may see the error of our ways.

Does it ever work? No.

Why do they continue to use it? Because the rules of logic do not apply to them.

What should we do? I recommend castration, followed by a lengthy application of tar and feathers.

What's next? People who cry "Strawman" are getting out of hand and better watch it. Consider yourselves on notice.


Blogger Pooh said...

People attacking strawmen are also on the rise. It's not a linear relationship, but the correlation is both positive and significant. Just saying.

1/20/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

I think a dispensation should be given for those who employ that phrase and technique specifically in direct response to someone else who uses it, when they are doing so to point out a problem with the original thought experiment.

May I propose an amendment on those grounds?

7/13/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

Weird as hell to have a comment appear next to one of Pooh's for the first time in many moons.

I miss that.

(Also, separately, how fast 18 months have flown!)

7/13/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Agreed. On all accounts.

7/13/2007 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I never commented to Pooh's comment because it seemed like we were talking past each other. There is nothing wrong about attacking strawman (other than the general pointlessness of it), the problem becomes when people start running around squawking "straw man" like they just memorized some sort of argument taxonomy.

7/13/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/13/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

proposed amendment: Once a dumbass thought experiment as been put on the table, it is fine to answer with your own thought experiment for the purposes of belittlement.

7/13/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...



All in favor...

Oh. I'm not the chair pro tem?

First time in months I've walked into a meeting I didn't have to manage....

Anyway, I think it's a great amendment, entirely in the spirit of the original rule.

7/16/2007 02:04:00 AM  

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