Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Spat on Me Blog

So there's this guy who doesn't like my definition of property from first principles. He thinks it leads to insanity if I don't epicycle it back up to reality. (Plus accusing me of being circular.) His name is James Andrix.

You know what bothers me? The possibility that he's not as hapless as he appears.

Logical skill isn't a uniform. He may just be lacking some particular concept or have a particular blindspot.

If so, he might actually have seen a real objection. However, it certainly doesn't look that way. If he is how he looks, then the only productive mode for this communication is me educating him on how to think.

But, I don't know. I can't say for sure. And that bothers me.

Naturally, if I could prove conclusively (or close enough) that he really is hapless, I would stop pretending to take his ideas seriously. I would simply attempt to educate him. If that was rejected or failed, I would be able to cut my losses a lot sooner.

Here's my main evidence: I've altered my thoughts on his thoughts. He has not altered his thoughts on mine. In other words, he's a bot and I'm a human.

Other evidence; he is fond of ignoring critical parts of my responses. He demands definitions of things that are A: Obvious. B: Things that are "not well defined, but this fuzziness is immaterial to my argument." (Paraphrased. This is another species of ignoring my rebuttals.)

Now, ignoring my rebuttals is not an honest debating tactic. Of course, he might be doing it by accident. This is actually much worse for his logical skill, but at least it's not vicious.

However, it's really really hard not to insult him back. I'm tempted to go all meta on his ass and tear his comments into little self-contradictory pieces. It wouldn't be pretty, and I would feel bad afterword. (I would feel even worse if he decided this savaging could pass.) As you can see, this temptation is somewhat irresistible to me. I have to take him down somewhere.

But, short moral; don't act like a dumbass if you want me to take you seriously and remain civil. It can be done. It's straightforward. I'm actually very forgiving of mistakes, as well, as long as they are, in fact, mistakes. And yes, I can tell the difference. (Just like Molyneux claims he can.)

Basically, I've been acting like A: I've just misunderstood his argument, and B: that if he's misunderstood mine, there's no way for him to see that he's done so. (Yes I have found out how to do both of these at once.)

But really, once I have to start assuming B, I should just give up. I should start pointing out what he's actually doing, as factually as possible. Naturally, he'll just keep doing it, so I'll keep repeating myself.

We seem to have come to our senses and are even getting somewhere.

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