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Author Topic: Stupidity!  (Read 2922 times) Average Rating: 0
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EkhristosAnesti
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« on: April 08, 2006, 12:10:45 AM »

I have come to often witness a rather desperate tactic employed by those looking for any excuse to evade dealing with the substance of an argument. It’s probably the number one tactic employed by those severely losing a debate, shortly followed by the straw man attack; it is the tactic of focusing on the rhetoric and satire of an argument, whilst evading the substance of the argument, as if that very rhetoric and satire mitigates the validity of the substance, or gives them a justification to not respond to the substance of the argument. Now some may be thinking that the very use of satire falls under the ad hominem fallacy; yet an ad hominem is only a fallacy when it is employed instead of answering the argument, as opposed to merely accompanying a direct answer to the very argument made.

When such a tactic is employed by a fellow Christian in particular, it often makes me wonder: Has this person ever read the Bible, or Patristic Literature? God The Father, God The Son, the Holy Fathers etc. they all used rhetoric and satire; all of them. They all insulted their opposition when the circumstances called for it. They all attributed some level of stupidity to those who were opposing certain truths.

Whiners: Read your Bibles, read the Fathers, and stop crying like little kids. If you’re accused of stupidity, take a step back and think to yourself: “Hmm…maybe I really am pretty stupid; maybe my opponent is simply calling a spade a spade…maybe the problem is with me…maybe, just maybe, the solution to this is to simply stop being stupid — it may require me to concede my position, but what is holding onto that position worth if it’s just going to make me look stupid after all?”
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2006, 12:13:41 AM »

Who is your "opponent"?

juliana
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2006, 12:16:31 AM »

This is not personal. It's something i've witnessed from many people on many occasions. There may have been a recent incident triggering my desire to actually post something about the issue, but I intend to keep the discussion focused on the general subject of my initial post.
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2006, 12:28:17 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,  
Actually I wasn't meaning that you were talking about anyone in particular.  I just thought the word "opponent" seemed rather combative.  I do admire your thoroughness and tenacity when explaining your point of view.  I am not a great debater myself.  I can agree with you that if one wants to debate a subject properly they should stick to valid points pertaining to the argument and not evade by bringing up side issues.  Satire is all good and well if you have substance to back your points.  However, I humbly say that you should be careful not to intentionally offend or make light of others weaknesses.

God bless,    Juliana
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2006, 12:42:21 AM »

Quote
Actually I wasn't meaning that you were talking about anyone in particular.  I just thought the word "opponent" seemed rather combative.

I really only used the term as a convenient point of reference to “the person who opposes your position/argument”; if you have a word that you feel could apply as an equally convenient point of reference, yet with “humbler” connotations, then I think I’d be open to it.

Quote
Satire is all good and well if you have substance to back your points.

I’m glad you agree!

Quote
However, I humbly say that you should be careful not to intentionally offend or make light of others weaknesses.

It really depends on the other person’s intentions and motivations. I would never dare to call someone stupid, who is innocently stupid at that, and who has no Ill-intentions towards me or who seems to have honest motivations for saying or doing the things he/she says or does.

If the circumstances are other than that, then I will freely point out a stupid person’s stupidity, especially if they’re puffed up, and consistently and deliberately making the same mistakes over and over again for unworthy reasons.

Whether or not one is offended therefore is not really the main issue of concern. The context may warrant that that person be offended. Christ used satire before the Pharisees in a manner that would clearly have offended them; they were the religious elite of their day, and yet he questioned their understanding of basic religious principles in a satirical manner that would undoubtedly have insulted them to the extreme i.e. He pretty much intended to offend them, if you consider the fact that their being offended was the foreseeable reaction towards the question that He posed before them.
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2006, 01:53:41 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,

Are you alluding to this argument with montalban in the "Free-For-All" board?
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2006, 02:01:35 AM »

I am not alluding to anyone or anything in particular.

Let us deal with the general issue regarding the validity of employing satire as an accompaniment to a substantive argument, even when it causes offence.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2006, 02:25:56 AM »

But yes, since you bring it up, the afore-linked thread is a good example of the point i'm making. I encourage everyone to read it from its inception.
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2006, 10:31:49 AM »

I have come to often witness a rather desperate tactic employed by those looking for any excuse to evade dealing with the substance of an argument.

Well, in my case I have come to the general conclusion that it is a waste of time to argue about faith and beliefs. So I usually just state my opinion and leave it at that. No one has to accept it, it is just an opinion.

I may back up my opinion with reasons, but it is a waste of time to try to convince others that my opinion is right. It is plain to see that anyone who holds an opinion 180 degrees different from mine must be a dumbass  Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2006, 11:47:46 AM »

Yes, Christians have been rude in the past. The Fathers, for example, constantly said that their opponents had gone astray due to demonic influence, and would mock and ridicule them. Even Jesus called his own disciples dense, and the civil leader various derogatory names. Paul did much the same. So you are in good company when you are being rude, as when you call a person stupid. On the other hand, the Bible also says thing like that we should teach with gentleness. If I quoted these passages, would you "take a step back and think to yourself" that maybe a less confrontational approach would get your point across better, or would you just attempt to refute it as you always do? I refuse to discuss things with certain people on this forum anymore, including  you, because I get the feeling that everything you do is done just to be contrary. If someone says black, you say white; if they say up, you say down. Go ahead and prove me right: respond to this post in your typical fashion  Grin I hope you don't.
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2006, 02:52:44 PM »

"But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife." (2 Timothy 2:23)

"...he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions." (1 Timothy 6:4)

I have the same argumentative streak and the same need to always be right.  What one of my mentors encouraged me to think is this: "What good is it to always be right if in the end you have no friends?  What good is winning an argument if you turn a friend into an enemy?"
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2006, 10:33:54 PM »

Some points:

1) None of us is Jesus or the Church Fathers, or on their level.  They were already living the deified life.  Hence their harshness at times came in a measured way.  Our harshness could just as well come from our own passions.

2) Rhetoric and debate styles were more widely understood then.  So people wouldn't have as easily taken offense.

3) The Church Fathers were often debating people who were clearly heretics who were against the Church.  I don't believe that anyone that posts on this forum is clearly AGAINST the Church.  

4) We moderators don't have the time to spend analyzing posts for their rhetorical or satirical merit in order to determine when a call of "stupid" is "warranted."

So please just be civil.

Anastasios
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2006, 10:54:16 PM »

Quote
None of us is Jesus or the Church Fathers, or on their level.  They were already living the deified life.  Hence their harshness at times came in a measured way.  Our harshness could just as well come from our own passions.

Very good points. What you said here reminded me of something that St. Ignatius said in The Arena...

Quote
A monk must be extremely cautious of carnal and animal zeal, which outwardly appears pious but in reality is foolish and harmful to the soul. Worldly people and many living the monastic life, though ignorance and inexperience, often praise such zeal without understanding that it springs from conceit and pride. They extol this zeal as zeal for the faith, for piety, for the Church, for God. It consists in a more or less harsh condemnation and criticism of one's neighbors in their moral faults, and in faults against good order in church and in the performance of the church services. Deceived by a wrong conception of zeal, these imprudent zealots think that by yielding themselves to it they are imitating the holy fathers and holy martyrs, forgetting that they--the zealots--are not saints, but sinners.

If the saints accused or convicted those who were living in sin or irreligion, they did so at the command of God, as their duty, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not at the instigation of their passions and demons. Whoever decides  of his own self-will to convict his brother or make some reprimand, clearly betrays and proves that he considers himself more prudent and virtuous than the person he blames, and that he is acting at the instigation of passion and deception and diabolic thoughts. We need to remember the Savior's injunction: 'Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.' (Matt. 7:3-5)

What is a log in this connection? It is the earthly wisdom or carnal outlook, hard as a log, which deprives the heart and mind of all capacity for true vision, so that one is quite unable to judge either one's own inner state or the state of one's neighbor. such a person judges himself and others as he imagines himself to be, and as his neighbors appear to him outwardly, by his carnal mind (Rom. 8:6), mistakenly. And so the Word of God is extremely just in calling him a hypocrite.

A Christian, after being healed by the Word of God and the Spirit of God, gains a true view of his spiritual state and of that of his neighbors. the carnal mind, by striking his neighbor with a log, always upsets and confuses him, often ruins him, never does any good and cannot bring any benefit, and has not the least effect on sin. On the other hand, the spiritual mind acts exclusively on the soul-sickiness of one's neighbor, compassionates, heals and saves him...

If you want to be a true, zealous son of the Orthodox Church, you can do so by the fulfilment of the commandments of the Gospel in regard to your neighbor. Do not dare to convict him. Do not dare to teach him. do not dare to condemn or reproach him. To correct your neighbor in this way is not an act of faith, but of foolish zeal, self-opinion and pride. Poemen the Great was asked, 'What is faith?' The great man replied that faith consists in remaining in humility and showing mercy; that is to say, in humbling onseself before one's neighbors and forgiven them all discourtesies and offenses, all their sins. As foolish zealots make out that faith is the prime cause of their zeal, let them know that truth faith, and consequently also true zeal, must express themselves in humility regarding our neighbors and in mercy towards them. Let us leave the work of judging and convicting people to those persons on whose shoulders it is laid the duty of judging and ruling brethren.

- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, (Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev, 1997), pp. 140-142
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2006, 12:37:03 AM »

Asteriktos,
what a wonderful quote!
Thank you.

Now at the risk of sounding just like the judgmental person that the Saint was pointing out, I will say that there is a tendency, especially in younger males with great intellectual prowess to spar and sword fight so to speak. It seems to me to be the intellectual and theological equivalent of "jock talk" -- locker room put-downs and one-upsmanship that goes on among athletes.

There is the context of iron sharpening iron. I can see that as okay in its context. Therefore, I think a "logical-rhetorical-satirical debate" section here where these folks can ply their skills (sort of like free-for-all, but strictly for rigorous intellectual debate on ANY subject (except maybe american politics) might be in order. It would be up to each one to judge him/herself before and after they post there as to real motive (showing off, or honing skills?). In fact I once suggested something along this line to the moderators.

But get this kind of debate off of the general discussion threads. This is a democratic forum - everyone, despite their intellectual prowess, debate skills or training in logic/philosophy should be able to post without concern for getting "jumped." There is especially the tendency to pounce on "weaker prey." I have seen it here. Some people don't think as logically and methodically as others. Yet I have seen a mean-spirited pouncing on people, especially newbies. Not to mention some posters here who just genuinely seem to not like one another.

Now there have been some newbies who have maybe needed to be "put in their place," coming on a bit strong and over-bearing. But I have seen some other posts that were just plain uncharitable and un-called for.

BTW, this is my anecdotal musing on this subject after two years posting here. So, you logical, evidential, back-up-your argument types, I am going to frustrate you severely and say that I can't offer you a specific at this point and I am not going to take the time to go find one. But if I see one that I, in my pride and weakness, deem to be of this variety I will come back to this thread to point it out, if that's okay.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2006, 07:42:30 AM »

TomS,

Quote
I may back up my opinion with reasons, but it is a waste of time to try to convince others that my opinion is right.

I don’t care if others don’t agree that i'm right. My problem is with those who are weak enough to attempt to justify ignoring the substance of my argument, simply because that substance may be decorated with rhetoric applicable to circumstances of the exchange taking place (e.g. rhetoric regarding one being stupid, who is actually saying stupid things). The way I see it, if you (not you personally) don’t agree with me, then don’t respond, or simply express the fact you disagree with me, and move on; but don’t try and imply that my position is invalid simply because I think you’re an idiot and have, as an aside to the main substantive argument, chosen to express the fact that you (again, just to remind you, I am not speaking of you personally) are.
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2006, 07:47:31 AM »

 Angry   Ooh, lots of arguing! If you enjoy arguing, don't moan about how others argue, you should be grateful they are entertaining you! If you don't enjoy arguing, then let's all kiss and make up! Kiss
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2006, 07:58:33 AM »

Asteriktos,

Quote
Yes, Christians have been rude in the past. The Fathers, for example, constantly said that their opponents had gone astray due to demonic influence, and would mock and ridicule them. Even Jesus called his own disciples dense, and the civil leader various derogatory names. Paul did much the same. So you are in good company when you are being rude, as when you call a person stupid.

Thank you for understanding!

Quote
On the other hand, the Bible also says thing like that we should teach with gentleness.

Believe me, I am quite well aware of these verses (e.g. the famous “be ready to give a defense in gentleness etc.” or something to that effect) The conclusion I draw is this: Being gentle and being rude are both equally applicable forms of attitude to a dialogue/discussion/debate. However, considering that they are inconsistent forms of attitude, we must furthermore conclude that their applicability is dependent on the context (since they can't be excercised simultaneously in one period of time, let alone simultaneously all the time). That's pretty much the point I made in my last response to jmell. If someone is making seriously impotent arguments, and at the same time that person is being a jerk, consistently, and without remorse, then they're asking for it. If someone is just innocently a not-so-bright person; their motivations are pure, and their intentions are honest; they're humble, and open to correction; then no way would the thought ever occur to me to demean them on the basis of the weakness of their arguments.

Quote
I refuse to discuss things with certain people on this forum anymore, including  you, because I get the feeling that everything you do is done just to be contrary.

I will certainly not accept that false interpretation of my motives. I have not always argued inconsistently with you; in fact there have been occasions where I have argued on your side. I simply argue what I believe to be right because I believe it to be right; it’s as simple as that. I'm sorry that you feel the need to read anything further into my intentions.

The reason behind the fact you will generally never observe me compromising my position on a thing, is not because I think I know it all, but rather because I generally don't vocally express my position on a certain thing unless I am at least 95% confident of its truth and accuracy. I have been corrected on many things, trust me; i simply have not been corrected on those things publically or openly, because at the stage where my conception on those things was incorrect or inaccurate, the only person ever aware that I held to such a conception was myself. Consider this a character flaw, or whatever, but that's how it is.

In any event, I think I made fairly valid points in my response to you on the “divorce” issue; I wish you’d see that. Maybe my tone to you in that particular response was a little uncalled for, but then again, you did seem to attempt to make it personal, and to imply certain things regarding my agenda here, which did tick me off.
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2006, 08:00:28 AM »

Angry ÂÂ  Ooh, lots of arguing! If you enjoy arguing, don't moan about how others argue, you should be grateful they are entertaining you!

Hmmm, not always. It can get rather tedious and boring.

Quote
If you don't enjoy arguing, then let's all kiss and make up! Kiss

Problem: I only kiss blue-eyed blondes (just don't let my fiancee know I said the bit about blondes).
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2006, 08:02:15 AM »

PeterTheAleut:

Quote
What one of my mentors encouraged me to think is this: "What good is it to always be right if in the end you have no friends?  What good is winning an argument if you turn a friend into an enemy?"

I'll be your mentor:

I encourage you to think like this: “What good is it to have friends, if your friends are stupid and the simultaneously think they’re always right and better than you? What good is it to keep a friend from becoming an enemy, when they seemingly wish to become your enemy by persisting in their stupidity in the first place?”

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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2006, 08:06:46 AM »

Anastasios,


Quote
1)   None of us is Jesus or the Church Fathers, or on their level.

Yet we are called upon to imitate their examples…indiscriminately.

I could use your above excuse to justify my inability to be gentle also. “I’m not expected to be gentle, or to show love, I am not Jesus nor a Father of the Church, or on their level”.

Quote
Hence their harshness at times came in a measured way.  Our harshness could just as well come from our own passions.

So you are implicitly agreeing that harshness “in a measured way” is okay. That’s good; my argument doesn’t extend any further than this. It is okay to call someone stupid, if it is measured and called for (a point I already kind of made — though not as clearly as I could and should have — in my last response to jmell and Asteriktos).

Quote
2)   Rhetoric and debate styles were more widely understood then. ÂÂ So people wouldn't have as easily taken offense.

Okay, so the flaw is with people today, who misunderstand rhetoric and debate styles and who hence easily take offense or find excuses to cop-out. I agree, hence the creation of this topic - to get people back on track.

Quote
3)   The Church Fathers were often debating people who were clearly heretics who were against the Church. ÂÂ I don't believe that anyone that posts on this forum is clearly AGAINST the Church. ÂÂ


I can quite easily find you examples where the Church Fathers called people stupid for merely misunderstanding basic concepts by virtue of their, well, their stupidity i.e. they weren’t vicious opponents of the Church, they were simply feeble minded people within and without the Church, who misrepresented or falsified certain truths due to their intellectual inabilities.

Quote
4)   We moderators don't have the time to spend analyzing posts for their rhetorical or satirical merit in order to determine when a call of "stupid" is "warranted."

I am not challenging the operation of this forum; I simply wish to assert a general point applicable to all forums of all kinds (i.e. not necessarily this forum (oc.net) or any other forum of its kind (internet)).

Quote
So please just be civil.

Ah, that just begs the question now doesn't it?  Wink

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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2006, 08:11:49 AM »

BrotherAiden,

I generally find no fault with anything you've said. If however your response was written with the thought that it would challenge the essence of my "beef", then you must have misunderstood my position.

I don't agree with "pouncing on the weak", as a lion may choose to pounce on an innocent deer for prey; my position advocates "taming the weak" as a stronger lion may pounce on a weaker lion that is being a smart a** and underestimating that stronger lion's strength, just to teach him a lesson and put him in his place.
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2006, 09:33:46 PM »

I think every culture is brought up a bit differently.  Western culture requires civil and gentle arguments so that they may at least read the substance in the midst of the insults.

At the same time, Eastern culture may be a bit tough, or too tough, especially when around Islamics, requiring strong-willed persons standing tough in rebuke to others.  The Pharisees and the many heretics the Holy Fathers dealt with, I believe, required this sort of arguing.

However, in this culture, in this Western culture we live in, in order to make effective arguments, we must "speak in their language" so to speak.  Thus, insults and tough lines are unnecessary, although tempting, considering the culture we come from, and I sometimes fall into this as well.

In addition, there were many examples of fathers, like St. Augustine's dealing with Leporius, who weren't so confrontational when dealing with heretics, and actually won Leporius' repentance.  It depends on the person you're dealing with and not something that works on all.

God bless.

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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2006, 10:05:29 PM »

Problem: I only kiss blue-eyed blondes

Heaven!  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2006, 10:06:50 PM »

PeterTheAleut:

I'll be your mentor:

I encourage you to think like this: “What good is it to have friends, if your friends are stupid and the simultaneously think they’re always right and better than you? What good is it to keep a friend from becoming an enemy, when they seemingly wish to become your enemy by persisting in their stupidity in the first place?”


I'll choose my own mentors, thank you very much! Angry I don't want some self-appointed mentor telling me how to think, particularly when it was the very mentality that you encourage that alienated so many people from me in the past.  What you offer me is the very sin of pride that I've brought to Confession countless times.
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2006, 10:35:41 PM »

So this is more of a question for the moderators:

Are we "allowed" to say "you're stupid"?  

I personally never would unless I was really ticked off at someone.  Saying that someone is an idiot usualy accomplishes nothing and causes more strife than understanding.  Although, i'm not going to lie...i've REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to say it several times.....and i'll leave it there...
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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2006, 10:40:39 PM »

EA
thank you for your response.
I wasn't challenging your original post per se. I was making a general observation, and as I noted, an anecdotal one at that (hence my lack of specific examples).

And I also noted that some have maybe needed to be reminded to "mind their manners."

I would just ask for discernment. Maybe re-read the post after getting up from the computer for a moment. Then edit before hitting the send button (if necessary).

Also, it's one thing for this more rigorous debate style to occur in free-for-all, but I also see it in faith issues and worse, in convert issues, where it is unexcusable when it occurs there because whether somone deserves a "smack-down" or not (in our own opinion, of which we ought to be at least a little self-critical regarding), this is probably the section most new converts or potential converts are reading and thus we should be the most charitable.
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« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2006, 10:13:56 AM »

I'll choose my own mentors, thank you very much! Angry

Alright, but that was your only chance.

Quote
I don't want some self-appointed mentor telling me how to think, particularly when it was the very mentality that you encourage that alienated so many people from me in the past.  What you offer me is the very sin of pride that I've brought to Confession countless times.

No, it doesn't necessarily have to do with pride. In my case it does, but what can I say huh? (I could acknowledge that i'm the chief of sinners, but that would probably give false implications regarding my humility).

I think generally, that if X is in actual fact alot smarter than Y, and yet Y consistently talks and acts as if he's the smart one, and as such constantly and unwarrantably underestimates and condascends X, even though X is in actual fact in the appropriate position to condascend Y and put him in his place, that X has valid reason to not maintain friendship with Y. Apart from Y's behaviour being a constant source of temptation to X, I think X would simply consider Y to be bad company.
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« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2006, 10:14:44 AM »

BA,

Fair enough; I don't really have any issues with what you've said.
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« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2006, 12:40:28 PM »

However, in this culture, in this Western culture we live in, in order to make effective arguments, we must "speak in their language" so to speak.  Thus, insults and tough lines are unnecessary, although tempting, considering the culture we come from, and I sometimes fall into this as well.

Since I enjoy studying rhetoric as an art form I thought I'd throw in a few of my personal observations that have come from reading history's great propagandists from Marcus Tullius Cicero and Caesar Augustus to Winston Churchill and Joseph Goebbels.

The essentials dont change from culture to culture, only the details. When dealing with the masses, mindless slogans and pure emotionalism have always worked best. You dont get volunteers for an army by logically explaining the necessity of the conflict at hand, rather you get volunteers by raising the flag and whipping up feelings of nationalistic or religious pride.

In intellectual circles people want to have their egos stroked, so they demand you mask the nationalistic or religious pride with the skills of rhetoric, they will then evaluate what rhetoric is most 'intellectually' (read emotionally) stimulating. Because of these egos they dont like anyone to be called stupid outright, that's beneath them, instead you must dismiss the other person's argument and imply in your debate that only a complete idiot would hold such an absurd posistion, if you win the argument you have effectively not only called the other person an idiot but you have also demonstrated that they are an idiot.

So while the technicalities may differ when addressing the masses or the intellectual elite, the goals and overall strategies are the same, discredit your enemies and destroy them, the more complete their destruction the greater your victory. But in both cases, play by the rules, a violation of the established 'rules' of the forum is the easiest thing for your enemy to exploit and unless you can discover a rule violation of your enemy and blow it out of proportion, you're in deep trouble, regardless of how good your arguments are.

So, yes, by all means call your enemy stupid, that's essentially the goal in a debate, but also abide by the rules of the forum; if you can evolve and expand the rules to make your propaganda more effective, great, go for it...but don't openly break the rules or the backlash will undermine your posistion.

A great example of this is with Caesar Augustus in establishing the posistion of the Emperor, in doing this he exploited the legacy of his uncle and adopted father, Julius Caesar, who he had declared a son of the gods by the Senate, implying his own divinity by extension, but never actually stating such a thing, which would not have been received well by the republican Romans. Also to this extent, he depicted himself barefoot, since Nudity was a symbol of divinity this depicting of himself barefoot again implied his divinity, but he was not entirely nude in teh statues, he didn't openly claim divinity. This move pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and ultimately helped Caesar Augustus strengthen his posistion for a long and prosperous reign. Some of his successors, on the other hand, were not quite so intelligent...Caligula would later openly declare his divinity in doing so he lost much suppord and soon thereafter be assassinated. Domitian later did not learn from this example, openly declared himself divine, and suffered a similar fate. The great propagandist knew just how far he could push the issue, went that far and no further, those less skilled and capable foolishly rushed out and had their heads chopped off.
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2006, 12:49:56 PM »

I think generally, that if X is in actual fact alot smarter than Y, and yet Y consistently talks and acts as if he's the smart one, and as such constantly and unwarrantably underestimates and condascends X, even though X is in actual fact in the appropriate position to condascend Y and put him in his place, that X has valid reason to not maintain friendship with Y. Apart from Y's behaviour being a constant source of temptation to X, I think X would simply consider Y to be bad company.

I've actually been on both sides of this issue.  I have often been the proud, intelligent person who spoke condescendingly to others, and I have lived with a person who did that to me.  What I've learned is that even if I am X (the truly smarter one) it is sinfully arrogant and judgmental of me to put ANYONE in his/her place.  Christ tells us to love one another and tells us that he who calls another man fool risks being condemned to the fires of hell.  I fear that this is exactly what you're doing to yourself by calling other people stupid.  Maybe you should follow the exhortation of St. Paul and do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourself.

Speaking now as one who has suffered the indignities of being the object of someone else's condescending attitude, I must admit that it is little short of purgatory.  Yes, I do try to distance myself from such people, but I would do this even if I were truly not as smart as the arrogant ba***rd.  It doesn't matter if I know I'm smarter or "dumber" than Y.  If Y speaks condescendingly to me and ridicules my intelligence, I am going to try to avoid him just to maintain my sanity.  Yes, I lose the other person's friendship, but in reality the other person pushed me away with his arrogance and judgmentalism.  But again, this is true if the other person really is smarter than me.

It has nothing to with the real or perceived disparity of intelligence between X and Y; rather, it all has to do with attitude.  If I constantly insult someone else's intelligence and call that person stupid, even if this is true, I deserve to lose his/her friendship. If someone else constantly insults my intelligence and calls me stupid, even if this is true, I'm going to distance myself from this person just to avoid the tempation to anger and bitterness.

Reading many of your posts, especially those in your recent argument with montalban ("Islam, Hate Enshrined"), I fear that you really are exalting your own intelligence and insulting the intelligence of your perceived opponents.  You are in no position to do this.  Your arrogance is truly sinful, and you need to repent of it.
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« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2006, 01:23:16 PM »

This has got 0, zilch, nada, nothin, τίποτα to do with Faith Issues.  That's why I moved it.  Cleveland
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« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2006, 09:51:02 PM »

This has got 0, zilch, nada, nothin, τίποτα to do with Faith Issues.  That's why I moved it.  Cleveland

Well it kinda does...It concerns the validity of using satire and rhetoric, even of the form which may strongly offend or insult another, within the framework of the Christian Faith. Essentialy, I am arguing that since God the Father, The Incarnate Word, and The Holy Fathers did, then likewise so may we, albeit conditionally.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 09:51:36 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2006, 10:02:05 PM »

PeterTheAleut,

Quote
What I've learned is that even if I am X (the truly smarter one) it is sinfully arrogant and judgmental of me to put ANYONE in his/her place.

And what i’ve learned, from reading the Bible in context and Patristic literature, is that it is sometimes necessary to put one in their place according to the specific circumstances; it is in fact, on occasions, potentially in their best interest (and that element of potentiality--as opposed to certainty--exists because ultimately it depends on how the one so being insulted appropriately responds). It is not so much a matter of exalting one’s self, than humbling the other person.

Quote
Christ tells us to love one another and tells us that he who calls another man fool risks being condemned to the fires of hell.

And then he called the Pharisees fools, and implied their stupidity when he satirically questioned if they had ever even read the Scriptures which they were supposedly scholars of in their day (I can look up and provide the relevant Biblical references for that which I claim to be Biblically grounded, but I will save myself the trouble and just assume that you will take my word for it). Context is everything.

Quote
Yes, I do try to distance myself from such people, but I would do this even if I were truly not as smart as the arrogant ba***rd.

I have friends who I would consider to be much more learned and intelligent than I, and I require them to put me in my place when I step out of line; I respect them for that. I appreciate it, and I learn from my mistakes. I don’t necessarily interpret them as being arrogant or prideful; they’re just doing their job as a true friend would.

Our differences in this regard are a matter of personality differences.

Quote
If I constantly insult someone else's intelligence and call that person stupid, even if this is true, I deserve to lose his/her friendship.

Context, context, context. I’m not sure how many times I have to repeat this word. I can think of occasions where calling a spade a spade is in the best interest of the person you are calling stupid i.e. one would be doing their job as a true friend by a) humbling the stupid person, b) giving the stupid person opportunity to re-evaluate his own self-conception of his intelligence, in the hope that, upon realising his stupidity, he may do something about it so that next time he decides to persist in an argument, he doesn’t make the same stupid mistakes, and assuming b) to be successful, consequently c) saving the stupid person from further and future embarrassment.

Quote
Reading many of your posts, especially those in your recent argument with montalban ("Islam, Hate Enshrined"), I fear that you really are exalting your own intelligence and insulting the intelligence of your perceived opponents. You are in no position to do this.  Your arrogance is truly sinful, and you need to repent of it.

You are free to interpret my intentions however way you wish. I did not create this thread to defend my own personal integrity or to attack the personal integrity of another individual. It is you who has decided to bring specific names and discussions into the context of this discussion.

I would appreciate it if you address the general issues without getting personal, with I or anyone else. Not that I particularly mind the fact you wish to present me as a prideful sinner who needs to repent; I am more concerned with the implications this has towards my position i.e. it implies that I am trying to defend myself as a Saint or something, which clearly I am not.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 10:34:58 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2006, 10:08:20 PM »

GiC,

Quote
In intellectual circles people want to have their egos stroked, so they demand you mask the nationalistic or religious pride with the skills of rhetoric, they will then evaluate what rhetoric is most 'intellectually' (read emotionally) stimulating. Because of these egos they dont like anyone to be called stupid outright, that's beneath them, instead you must dismiss the other person's argument and imply in your debate that only a complete idiot would hold such an absurd posistion, if you win the argument you have effectively not only called the other person an idiot but you have also demonstrated that they are an idiot.

That sounds fair enough when trying to severely discredit a position that you may find to be unreasonable, untenable, or simply untrue yet nevertheless advocated by one who is generally capable of reason and capable of grasping basic logic, and when your intended audience is beyond the opponent you are directly addressing.

When you are dealing with a person who is just plain stupid and who insists on pursuing stupidity arrogantly, then it is fair enough to be explicit about his stupidity, not because a reasonable outside audience won’t reasonably perceive this on their own (i.e. without being explicitly told), but because the stupid person just needs to be humbled. This is where I refer to the example of Christ and the Fathers.

At this stage I will quote J. P. Holding of the tektonics website, who I think expresses my position on this matter better than I could in my own words:

Quote
Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

Most Skeptics are too busy worrying about Abiathar and Ahimelech in this passage in the Markan parallel, but read closely it is a tremendous insult to Jesus' Pharasaic opponents. "Have you not read...?" Of course they had. The Pharisees were experts in the Scriptures. They read them every day. They were the Ph. Ds in Bible in their time. They slept in pyjamas with Old Testament passages inscribed on them. To ask them, "Have you not read...?" is to essentially call them stupid, unable to read what was in front of them, not having done proper study. This is proper in the public forum and a response to the honor challenge laid down by the Pharisees, who challenge Jesus on the behavior of his disciples. Jesus ups the ante by questioning their very knowledge of the Scriptures, a trait they most cherished.

The art of insult was highly valued in antiquity. Our modern "victim culture" encourages persons to find the art offensive, but before getting too judgmental, consider that in these honor challenges, the person who ended the game by throwing a punch was considered the big loser. Losing one's temper and throwing a punch was as much an admission that one could not keep up the battle of wits and had to resort to violence. When Jesus runs from those who pick up stones to stone him, he is not the coward, but the winner taking his spoils.

There are ample instances of such riposte in the Old and New Testaments (1 Kings 18 and Matt. 23 are excellent examples) and to the extent that the Tekton site is a public forum, Holding's actions are neither "un-Christian" nor any reason to suppose that discredit is put upon Christianity by such actions.

We see much the same in the work of the Church Fathers.

Other than that, that was a great post.








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"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
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