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    Thread: Argumentation Is Pointless

    1. #26
      Dionysian stormcrow's Avatar
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      Why did you find it necessary to respond condescendingly to DreamBliss' proposition to the ladies of DV in the "horny and single" thread?

      I don't take the Op seriously. But he obviously takes his position seriously because I would assume that he believes that arguing that arguing is pointless is pointless (but then why make the thread in the first place?).

      If the Op is offended then I apologize that he misconstrued my posts to be malicious. If the mods believe that I am crossing the line, then I will respectfully discontinue my behavior at their request.

    2. #27
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by PhilosopherStoned View Post
      Dammit. I saw my name in your post and accidentally read it.
      There's an ignore function on the forum, I turned it on a month or two ago.
      PhilosopherStoned likes this.

    3. #28
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by stormcrow View Post
      Why did you find it necessary to respond condescendingly to DreamBliss' proposition to the ladies of DV in the "horny and single" thread?

      I don't take the Op seriously. But he obviously takes his position seriously because I would assume that he believes that arguing that arguing is pointless is pointless (but then why make the thread in the first place?).

      If the Op is offended then I apologize that he misconstrued my posts to be malicious. If the mods believe that I am crossing the line, then I will respectfully discontinue my behavior at their request.
      Whatever the mods think is not my concern. And it's up to the OP whether or not he deserves more respect for his argument. But you prove his point when you choose not to give him any respect and instead use the thread as an excuse to display superiority.

      Like I said, I'm all in favor of good humor, but in terms of constructive discussions it doesn't serve much purpose. It only seems to serve a purpose in argument when trying to dominate rather than grow.

      There is ambiguity though, satire for instance is difficult to pinpoint. My favorite TV show, the Daily Show, often uses humor to tell the truth.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 02-10-2012 at 02:09 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    4. #29
      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      There's an ignore function on the forum, I turned it on a month or two ago.
      Yeah, I've done it with a few members but I always end up turning it off. I guess I'm just a masochist.
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

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      Quote Originally Posted by stormcrow View Post
      If the Op is offended then I apologize that he misconstrued my posts to be malicious. If the mods believe that I am crossing the line, then I will respectfully discontinue my behavior at their request.
      If I was offended by every slightly negative thing that's been said about me on the internet, I would have killed myself by now.


      Quote Originally Posted by stormcrow
      I don't take the Op seriously. But he obviously takes his position seriously because I would assume that he believes that arguing that arguing is pointless is pointless (but then why make the thread in the first place?).
      I don't take myself all that seriously either, lol. I am serious about this however. And yes, I do believe that arguing that arguing is pointless is pointless, but I never explicitly stated that I made this thread to argue. Besides, arguing is just something that happens; it can't be avoided. I'm just saying that it's pointless.

      Yes, I'm aware of the multiple levels of irony surrounding this thread; notice my signature.

      And I'm still not entirely sure about Omnis Dei's opinion on all of this; I'll have to read his on-topic posts sometime (when I have time, that is XD).

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei
      My favorite TV show, the Daily Show, often uses humor to tell the truth.
      Daily Show, ftw.

    6. #31
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      I have to say your point contradicts the quote you used. I was defending/elaborating on the quote you used, but I find the conclusion you drew from it to be wrong.

      If an argument would mean the difference as to whether or not you breed, in an evolutionary sense it is extremely important. Just because society has grown more complex since the days where it was really so simple that one single argument would decide the future of your genes, this doesn't mean there are various levels of dominance which still play a role. Besides, this is assuming evolution only works through genes, and that ideas do not also evolve and dominate other ideas.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    7. #32
      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I have to say your point contradicts the quote you used. I was defending/elaborating on the quote you used, but I find the conclusion you drew from it to be wrong.

      If an argument would mean the difference as to whether or not you breed, in an evolutionary sense it is extremely important. Just because society has grown more complex since the days where it was really so simple that one single argument would decide the future of your genes, this doesn't mean there are various levels of dominance which still play a role. Besides, this is assuming evolution only works through genes, and that ideas do not also evolve and dominate other ideas.
      My oh my. I find myself reading and responding again.

      First off, when anybody cares about your opinion on the validity of a given argument, they'll surely ask. I wouldn't hold your breath. In this case, profound truths (the uselessness of arguments) are often contradicted by other profound truths (the absolute necessity of argument). I would expect you to understand this.

      Second, of course evolution operates on ideas. This is memetics. Evolution operates on languages as well. Operating off of the whole language as a subset of memetics idea, I actually predicted (though didn't publish) that the most frequently needed words would be the shortest and that these would be the slowest to change. About two years later I read that the most frequently used words are the shortest and are the slowest to change. I was right again. What a surprise. They even went so far as to say that language appears to be an evolutionary system. Well, can't blame a scientist for caution I suppose.

      At any rate, this isn't genetic evolution. This is memetic evolution. One's darwinian (ok, with epi-genetics a darwinian system occasionally simulating a lamarkian one). Memetic evolution is pretty close to larmakian system.

      One day, I'll figure out how to formalize all this stuff and then I'll be able to prove things. Then I'll really be in a postion to ruthlessly mock creationists and new agers. I think that the key is a proper definition of "species". I started a thread on this but it got dismissed as too abstract. hahahahaha
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

    8. #33
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      Why do you phrase things as if we're in disagreement only to more accurately articulate my argument?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I have to say your point contradicts the quote you used. I was defending/elaborating on the quote you used, but I find the conclusion you drew from it to be wrong.
      Ah. Well, thanks for telling me I'm wrong in such a mature fashion, lol.

    10. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ezpata View Post
      Here's my viewpoint:

      1. Humans don't argue to learn from each other, we argue to win and show dominance towards other humans.

      2. Anything that is done purely to win/show dominance is pointless.
      Adding to your argument:
      3. In order to win an argument, ultimately one's argument must better model reality.
      4. Modeling reality is useful.
      Conclusion: Argumentation is useful.

      wat.
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      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      If you know how to argue correctly you never have to lose.

    12. #37
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      I think the moment you bring winning and losing into the equation, you are no longer arguing correctly.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    13. #38
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      Probably took me 5 or 6 years of arguing on the internet, before I realised that I was often just arguing for the sake of arguing. Then I became more self-critical, and I realised that I was also at times defending view points I didn't believe in, or that I knew had faults, which I was trying to hide with misdirection and so on. This is all very subconscious, and it is easily observed in discussions with newbie debaters. It's a very compromising personal feature, and does indeed ruin discussions and debates everywhere, like politics, religion, climate change and so on. People on all sides do it. It's not something you can't get rid of though, and we absolutely have a lot of great people on DreamViews, who can engage in debate, without compromising. And that's great.

      Example of being self-critical: It took me about 20 minutes to write this post.
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    14. #39
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      so, by arguing your point in this thread...you are trying to assert your dominance?

      Your argument is flimsy at best.

    15. #40
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      The dominance of an idea. The idea being propositioned here is that people do not argue in order to learn, they argue in order to feel good about themselves. Long ago enough, they would argue in order to become the dominant member of their group. This motivation continues to echo in our arguments today. It is natural to identify with what you believe, even though what you believe is a transitory construct. But to accept what we believe may be wrong, we invite others to dominate us. And it's certainly possible for two people with disagreeing viewpoints to argue without dominating each other, but that's not how it usually works. Most of the time, without even being consciously aware of it, we are invested in our opinions, even if logically we understand uncertainty principle and that we are going to learn more and at the very least evolve our opinions in time. It doesn't matter because it always feels like admitting that you're still learning gives the other person unwarranted advantage.

      In other words its the feeling that our ideas are under attack, and therefore we are under attack, which causes this dilemma in the first place. Funnily enough, when you feel sure about something, you don't feel the need to prove it to anyone. For instance I don't feel the need to prove to anyone that I am sitting here typing on my keyboard right now. If anyone tried to prove this wasn't so, I wouldn't feel the need to defend myself at all. I would mostly just feel sorry for them. Another example would be in the thread mcwillis started in IS about using your amygdala to activate your frontal cortex. Because I went through the practice and had success with it, when people criticized it I didn't feel the need to defend the idea at all. I only felt sorry for them that didn't have access to the same function I did. And my responses were centered on trying to help rather than proving my point. But in other threads, I'm presenting a theory without such easily verifiable certainty, and even though I know it's just a theory I feel like the theory is worth my time to defend, because if I just call it quits and decide it's not worth arguing, I'm essentially admitting the theory has no substance. Or conversely if I criticize someone else's posit I feel obligated to continue criticizing it because I feel like giving up my opposition validates their opinion in an unjustified way.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      A dominant idea is usually a winning idea, right?

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      But not a true idea. When you think of it in terms of winning and losing, you remove the prospect of learning something, or teaching something for that matter.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      But not a true idea. When you think of it in terms of winning and losing, you remove the prospect of learning something, or teaching something for that matter.
      So you're saying that competition breeds false ideas that no one can learn from. I'm curious, since only pure freethinking leads to novel ideas (conflicting with solidarity among peers), how healthy competition amongst freethinkers facilitates some undesired outcome even when the end goal is the same?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      But not a true idea. When you think of it in terms of winning and losing, you remove the prospect of learning something, or teaching something for that matter.
      I'm guessing that a true idea is most likely to "win" in the end, but a false idea can easily be the winning idea. For example, I guess you could say Hitler was pretty good at winning arguments, but he did so with "untrue" (pretty much agreed on by everybody but that 's subjective) ideas, yet his ideas were largely considered to be true for a long time.

      I think this is exactly why "winning" an argument is pointless, compared to using a discussion in order to find a better understanding. It is possible to win an argument using untrue ideas, and it is possible to lose using true ideas and vice versa.

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      Rhetoric, logic, and dialectic are your friends; argumentation has such a pejorative connotation.

      It's also probably one of the most ethical skills one could ever practice.

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      Liberal tendency: to value accuracy above all else.

      Conservative tendency: winning the argument is more important than accuracy.

    22. #47
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      I think the problem of a winning argument and a losing argument is the same as the problem of a true argument and a false argument. Consider this, when you talk to someone and you both agree, you still utilize different terminology much of the time because you came to the same conclusion from two different places. Essentially, we all have our own model of reality in our heads, and this model cannot be dislodged by a superior model, only improved through transactional communication. When someone tries to prove their argument is true and the other person's is false, they are essentially claiming that person's entire model of reality has no value, at least in regard to this particular topic. This disables their ability to learn, because teaching is not about replacing someone's model of reality, it's about improving it. A religious person doesn't change their opinion because of one single argument, but if the person they're arguing with speaks carefully enough, they can plant the seeds of doubt which will eventually grow into a whole different belief system. This belief system still grew from their previous model though, it did not replace it any more than a tree replaces the grass. It simply takes the sunlight from the grass often enough until the grass is forgotten.

      To connect this metaphor, I'll be paraphrasing The Secret, please forgive me. When you're in a relationship (of any kind) with someone and you spitefully focus on their negative traits, you reinforce these qualities. When you focus on their positive traits, you reinforce these traits until the negative qualities wither away and are forgotten. It is the same in argument, you can only coax the positive, you cannot destroy the negative.

      So in order to avoid domination based arguing, you also have to avoid a true/false dichotomy. You sort of have to disidentify with your argument, which essentially means understanding this is what your experiences have led you to believe right now but that doesn't mean it's true. This allows you to weigh in based on your experiences rather than prove yourself in a tug-of-war. In fact, the dichotomy of self/not-self is the same as true/false but that's a tangent for a different thread.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 05-27-2012 at 12:38 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    23. #48
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      See Omnis, you have an extremely strong liberal bias on this subject - to you learning from a conversation (argument, what have you) is the most important thing. Often the people you're arguing with have a strongly conservative viewpoint, and are only concerned with defeating you with no concern for whether you or anyone learns anything in the process. You will never be able to convince them that accuracy (truth, learning) is the most important thing... all they care about is smashing you because they don't like the way you think.

      And talking about false dichotomies - it's also important to understand that neither viewpoint is necessarily the 'right' one - they're just two very different human tendencies - people are strongly polarized along this line and will always argue about it. Once you realize that a certain kind of mind just isn't impressed at all with accuracy but that that kind of mind has certain tendencies the liberal mind lacks (such as strong group loyalty for one) it becomes clear that both strains of thinking serve a valuable purpose - in some cases conservative tendencies are the best response, and at times of change or at the forefront of scientific research the liberal seeking for what's true is what's needed. Both tendencies serve the species.

      What's really ironic is that it seems everyone (at least the last few respondents on this page) is really agreeing with the OP - that when people argue for dominance they aren't helping to do anything productive. Some are validating that this is indeed how they argue and they don't see any problem with it.

      But what's suspect in the OP is the word Pointless. Is dominance at the cost of accuracy really pointless? Only if you have the liberal hankerin' for accuracy above all else. To the conservative mind dominance is far more practical and important. Consider this for instance - another strong conservative trait is to value a strong authoritarian father figure who is obeyed almost like a god. Sort of goes hand in hand with the idea that dominance is important, no? And also the conservative tendency to place a great deal of importance on authority (rather than to seek actual scientific facts as liberals tend to do).

      Heh - sorry, this is my latest kick - just got done with The Republican Brain and found it extremely enlightening on so much that's baffling about human behavior.

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      I think most people want to be right and want to know the truth. So while that is true about people's subconscious desire to dominate, it isn't as likely that they consciously would rather dominate than know the truth. They kind of just get into that mindset, and it is hard for people to get out of it. Even extremely liberal people can get stuck into that way of thinking. I think it is probably a rare person who consciously says they have no interest in the truth and just want to be right.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      I think it is probably a rare person who consciously says they have no interest in the truth and just want to be right.
      Or left, as the case may be.
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