Thursday, October 10, 2013

The other problem with "debates"...

Every now and then some asshole comes around and makes a statement to me like, "You got your ass handed to you in such-and-such debate."  (Of course he doesn't really mean a debate, he means some exchange between me and someone else on the internet that he might have witnessed, or been involved in himself.  But for the sake of speech pragmatics, we understand what he means by "debate".)

The problem is that anyone can just SAY such a thing.  Here, I'll do it right now: wasn't that hilarious when MRAs lost every single "debate" ever in the history of "debates" between MRAs and feminists?  Gee, that was sure something, wasn't it?  They lost soooooo bad, I almost felt bad for them.  Like, you'd think they'd win maybe one out of the no doubt thousands that have gone on in recent years, but boy, they really do suck.

Amazing little trick, isn't it?

My point here is that you can't really goad me by making a statement so insipid as, "You lost such-and-such dispute once, according to my interpretation, and I will give no objective analysis or further explanation to demonstrate why."  It's emotional baiting.  It's banking on the notion that I will be angry and insulted by the suggestion that someone's arguments were more robust than mine, or that my arguments were defeated by counterarguments once upon a time.  The thing is that I don't really fucking care what some anonymous douche on the internet thinks about my arguments if he can't explain why he thinks they weren't good enough.  And what the fuck would you know about it anyway?  Are you the grand arbiter of all internet "debates"?

My arguments stand alone.  They don't require your approval, and if they don't convince you I have no reason to believe that it's because my arguments aren't sound because it's even more likely that you just can't accept reason because of your own biases and ignorance.  I wish I knew the study, but alas I've forgotten it, but I remember in one of my undergraduate philosophy courses reading a study on critical thinking and sound reasoning abilities in a population of educated people.  Details aside, the study basically concluded that even amongst highly educated professionals (including doctors, lawyers, and PhDs in several topics) that fundamental logical reasoning was only consistently strong in 20% of them, and only reliably robust in 2% of them.  I.e., even amongst the most educated people in the world, only 2% of them understand basic propositional logic in context.

So when some fool on the internet tells me that my arguments weren't strong enough to "win" a dispute, there's statistically a 98% chance that he quite literally doesn't understand how to fucking reason soundly anyway.  Considering my bachelor's degree is in mathematical logic, I'm fairly convinced of my formal reasoning abilities.  But even that aside, it brings up the other problem with "debates": THEY'RE NOT BASED ON LOGIC ANYWAY.

You win debates with strong rhetoric, not strong logic (though logically reasoned arguments can, on their own, make for a strong rhetorical device).  Rhetoric is the art of persuasion.  Just because I didn't persuade you it doesn't mean I'm wrong, especially when you go into a discussion with an agenda which a debate, pretty much by definition, necessarily entails.  Very rarely do people arbitrarily choose a side and decide to debate that side.  They have an agenda to support that side already.  No wonder why you don't convince your opposition no matter how objectively correct you can be with your presentation.

So, on the contrary, all of you men/MRAs out there who say I can't do logic and can't debate: I know way too much about logic and debates, which is why I know that I don't give a flying fuck about your estimations of me "winning" or "losing" them.  My arguments stand on their own.  And since the majority of what MRAs and feminists dispute has nothing to do with logic anyway (empirical science and academic research is not logic-based, it's evidence-based, you fucking morons) and also concerns matters of subjective ethics, then you can be a brilliant logician and still have shitty attitudes about gender and culture.

In short, I'm not impressed when I make a thesis and the response I get is for MRAs to just scoff at it and arbitrarily declare that I'm wrong without any analysis or worthy counterarguments.  I mean, if it helps you sleep at night to just call me wrong all the time, whatever dudes, I don't really give a shit.  I lose no sleep over the faith I have in my reasoning abilities.

I can't end this without again mentioning the self-entitled nature of men, especially men of the MRA variety or those similar.  They've gone so long claiming that women are "illogical" and that men are inherently more "logical" that they never even bothered to learn what logic was and then just assumed that women can't refute them in a discourse.  So now they just feel entitled to be the supreme judges of an argument's merits without feeling the need to explain themselves.  Must be nice to feel like you were born with special authority.  I thought you guys were supposed to be meritocrats?

These guys are such a joke.

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