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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:15 AM   #1
JoeBentley
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Pedantics and Anti-intellectualism.

I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.

Pedantics really has become it's own subcategory of anti-intellectualism in argumentatives, an almost fetishized obsessive need to take the side that is 99% correct to task for the 1% they got wrong (and even "got wrong" is too strong a term for simply not being more linguistically precise then the discussion requires) while ignoring the 100% the other side got wrong and I'm rapidly losing patience for it and the subtext is always the same "If you're not 100% correct it's somehow wrong to tell other side they are incorrect even if their incorrectness is on a scale far beyond yours."

A long time ago I lost all patience with the "Every discussion must be fair and balanced! All strong opinions must be equally wrong!" crowd and this is the newest version of it. I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.

Pedantics really has become it's own subcategory of anti-intellectualism in argumentatives, an almost fetishized obsessive need to take the side that is 99% correct to task for the 1% they got wrong (and even "got wrong" is too strong a term for simply not being more linguistically precise then the discussion requires) while ignoring the 100% the other side got wrong and I'm rapidly losing patience for it and the subtext is always the same "If you're not 100% correct it's somehow wrong to tell other side they are incorrect even if their incorrectness is on a scale far beyond yours."

A long time ago I lost all patience with the "Every discussion must be fair and balanced! All strong opinions must be equally wrong!" crowd and this is the newest version of it. I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.
It's monotreme.

I kind of agree with you, mindless pedantry is annoying, but I'm not convinced it's that big a problem.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.

[

take the side that is 99% correct to task for the 1% they got wrong (and even "got wrong" is too strong a term for simply not being more linguistically precise then the discussion requires) while ignoring the 100% the other side got wrong and I'm rapidly losing patience for it and the subtext is always the same "If you're not 100% correct it's somehow wrong to tell other side they are incorrect even if their incorrectness is on a scale far beyond yours."

A long time ago I lost all patience with the "Every discussion must be fair and balanced! All strong opinions must be equally wrong!" crowd and this is the newest version of it. I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.

Pedantics really has become its own subcategory of anti-intellectualism in argument, an almost-fetishized obsessive need to reject the side that is basically the right one because of some some small error, some one percent it got wrong.

I'm losing patience with people insisting on fairness and balance, who also reject any strong opinion: It must be wrong.

People seem to be set off when they see an unfair dispute between somone with a much stronger intellectual position than the other. These people see it as bullying or something.

So, to give succor to the losing side, they nitpick the side that is right.

I will no longer tolerate this.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.

Pedantics really has become it's own subcategory of anti-intellectualism in argumentatives, an almost fetishized obsessive need to take the side that is 99% correct to task for the 1% they got wrong (and even "got wrong" is too strong a term for simply not being more linguistically precise then the discussion requires) while ignoring the 100% the other side got wrong and I'm rapidly losing patience for it and the subtext is always the same "If you're not 100% correct it's somehow wrong to tell other side they are incorrect even if their incorrectness is on a scale far beyond yours."

A long time ago I lost all patience with the "Every discussion must be fair and balanced! All strong opinions must be equally wrong!" crowd and this is the newest version of it. I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.
Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.
Bob: Platypus lays eggs and they are mammals, so you're wrong, a turtle is a mammal.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
.. but I'm not convinced it's that big a problem.
It's that big of a problem. Better, not that much of a problem.

What?



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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:33 AM   #6
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I agree with you but like arguing so you're wrong.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:36 AM   #7
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I agree with Joe, as far as what I call the "door crack" argument. This is where a door must always be left open just a crack for that portion of uncertainty.

I have found that woo loves to shove a pointed shoe into those cracks and force the door open. Before you know it, you find yourself wasting energy on that rather than the entire room of subject matter that the door protects.

My metaphor needs work. Better put a lid on it.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:36 AM   #8
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It should be Alice and Bob, not Bob and Ted.

Also, that's not how the Voight-Kampff test goes.

Also, pedantry isn't the problem. Pedantry to evade meaningful dialogue is the problem.

Last edited by theprestige; 22nd March 2017 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.
Originally Posted by calebprime View Post
Pedantics People seem to be set off when they see an unfair dispute between somone with a much stronger intellectual position than the other. These people see it as bullying or something.

So, to give succor to the losing side, they nitpick the side that is right.
Could either of you cite some examples to support this bit, because I've never seen it. I may have seen people already on the losing side of an argument resort to pedantry if they don't have any stronger argument left, but not an ostensibly neutral party joining an argument and using pedantry to even things up.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:42 AM   #10
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I agree jumping in with a simple counter factual that is mostly useless for the classification of life forms is wrong.

A person who understands the basics and realizes that neither of the other participants has grasped an extremely basic knowledge of mammals. That person should step in and say no you're both missing the simple distinguishing feature, having mammary glands, it's right in the name idiots, go back to elementary school.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:42 AM   #11
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My first thought on reading the OP was "No, Ted, turtles aren't mammals because lady turtles don't have tits". What does that make me?
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
My first thought on reading the OP was "No, Ted, turtles aren't mammals because lady turtles don't have tits". What does that make me?
Obviously not a replicant.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Could either of you cite some examples to support this bit, because I've never seen it. I may have seen people already on the losing side of an argument resort to pedantry if they don't have any stronger argument left, but not an ostensibly neutral party joining an argument and using pedantry to even things up.
I was just doing a pedantic re-write.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:52 AM   #14
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... plus platypuses and echidnas are cool - egg laying, elecrolocation and venom, does it get any better?
Is it so wrong to introduce them into a conversation?
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
.......Pedantics really has become it's own subcategory..........
You mean pedantry, surely.
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That's what we've sunk to here.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:53 AM   #16
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Who you calling a platypus?
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:55 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.
No. Clear language and factual claims are important.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:55 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
You mean pedantry, surely.
Yeah, that's better.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 06:56 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Obviously not a replicant.
No - but I can be a bit of a dick sometimes...
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Could either of you cite some examples to support this bit, because I've never seen it. I may have seen people already on the losing side of an argument resort to pedantry if they don't have any stronger argument left, but not an ostensibly neutral party joining an argument and using pedantry to even things up.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...5#post11605865
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
No - but I can be a bit of a dick sometimes...
Just don't fill up on that. K?
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:16 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
No - but I can be a bit of a dick sometimes...
Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Just don't fill up on that. K?
You're really milking the joke now.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:16 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by calebprime View Post
I was just doing a pedantic re-write.
D'Oh, sorry, I missed that completely.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:20 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Could you be a bit more specific, there seems to be pedantry enough to go around in that thread, but I can't really see where anyone is giving Jabba support through pedantry. The closest would be JT512 and to me he just seems to be being pedantic because that's what he's like.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:28 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by calebprime View Post
People seem to be set off when they see an unfair dispute between somone with a much stronger intellectual position than the other. These people see it as bullying or something.
I don't think that's exactly what happens. I think the third party gets into an unrelated debate, and gets lumped into the even-wronger position due to the basic human categorization of "if you're not with me, you're against me."

In your example, I think Alice butts in and gets into an argument with Ted about egg-laying mammals that stretches for three pages because god forbid anyone ever admit to being wrong on the internet about even the slightest of things, meanwhile Bob latches onto Alice for support and Ted starts treating Bob and Alice as if they represent the same position on the mammality of turtles, and to an outside observer it does indeed look like Alice is arguing Bob's side just because Ted was a tiny bit wrong.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:36 AM   #26
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Sometimes it ruins a joke.

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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:40 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
No. Clear language and factual claims are important.
The importance of taxonomic accuracy varies greatly from conversation to conversation. Strict adherence to an arbitrary taxonomy is almost never the most important thing in a conversation.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:43 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.

Pedantics really has become it's own subcategory of anti-intellectualism in argumentatives, an almost fetishized obsessive need to take the side that is 99% correct to task for the 1% they got wrong (and even "got wrong" is too strong a term for simply not being more linguistically precise then the discussion requires) while ignoring the 100% the other side got wrong and I'm rapidly losing patience for it and the subtext is always the same "If you're not 100% correct it's somehow wrong to tell other side they are incorrect even if their incorrectness is on a scale far beyond yours."

A long time ago I lost all patience with the "Every discussion must be fair and balanced! All strong opinions must be equally wrong!" crowd and this is the newest version of it. I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.
It's "its".
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Old 22nd March 2017, 07:43 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
I dunno, that kinda looks like two jokes to me, with someone feeding a setup in between.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 08:49 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I dunno, that kinda looks like two jokes to me, with someone feeding a setup in between.
And the faux pedantry was the better joke.
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Old 22nd March 2017, 11:02 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Could you be a bit more specific, there seems to be pedantry enough to go around in that thread, but I can't really see where anyone is giving Jabba support through pedantry. The closest would be JT512 and to me he just seems to be being pedantic because that's what he's like.

Fudbucker is stating that he/she is only in the thread to see the "skeptics" be taken to task. He/she has no interest in the volume of wrong that is Jabba's argument, but only the 1% of wrong that has been put forth by those who do not agree with him.
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Old 23rd March 2017, 02:24 PM   #32
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Down with pedanterasts and pedanterism!!!!
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Old 23rd March 2017, 02:44 PM   #33
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It's just a poor definition of a mammal and I would say something.
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Old 23rd March 2017, 02:46 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The importance of taxonomic accuracy varies greatly from conversation to conversation. Strict adherence to an arbitrary taxonomy is almost never the most important thing in a conversation.
In this case classifications are the subject of conversation.
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Old 25th March 2017, 04:23 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
My first thought on reading the OP was "No, Ted, turtles aren't mammals because lady turtles don't have tits". What does that make me?
It would make your answer re: mammals correct, and the example used in the OP a strawman.

But you have incorrectly attributed the mammal explanation to Bob, whereas it was Ted that would have said, "No, Bob, turtles aren't mammals because lady turtles don't have tits.".
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Old 25th March 2017, 05:43 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.


When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.
No. Clear language and factual claims are important.


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Old 27th March 2017, 11:01 AM   #37
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Quote:
Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.
The correct response from Ted would be: "All Turtles are cold-blooded, all mammals are warm-blooded therefore, a Turtle is not a mammal.."

Considering that reptiles can be either viviparous or oviparous, Ted's original response is incorrect.
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Old 27th March 2017, 11:03 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The importance of taxonomic accuracy varies greatly from conversation to conversation. Strict adherence to an arbitrary taxonomy is almost never the most important thing in a conversation.
Of course it's not the most important, but it's pretty crucial to agree on the facts (nitpicking) and the terms used (semantics( if we're to make any progress. The trick is to not get bogged down in them.
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Old 26th April 2017, 07:53 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Of course it's not the most important, but it's pretty crucial to agree on the facts (nitpicking) and the terms used (semantics( if we're to make any progress. The trick is to not get bogged down in them.
But you know as well as I do (you've spent enough time in a certain topic with a certain someone, to name just one example) to know that not getting bogged down in semantics and nitpicking isn't exactly easy and in certain circles it's damn near inevitable.

You know that almost always this is one side pretending we're not agreeing on the facts and terms, not any real honest confusion.

You've played the game enough. You've done the dance with the people who pretend the conversation can't go forward until everything is linguistically and argumentatively the way they want it. You've seen the faux-obtuse act. You had to deal with someone playing the split every hair game. You've dealt with the various thread nannies running into discussions to take the side with the stronger argument to task for some meaningless nitpick criticism.

You've seen nitpicking and pedantics used in the manner I'm talking about.

I still do think my original statement has some merit and validity. Modern argumentatives, especially on the internet where this has reached pretty much maximum saturation at this point, have become nothing but pedantics and nitpicking at lot of the time.

Like I said the internet is so protective of the very idea of pedantics as a virtue I knew when started this thread the single most common response I was going to get was people doing the whole cutesy-poo "Oh you complained about people being pedantic so I'm going to be pedantic at you but joking but no really" routine. It was inevitable. It's not just that the internet likes being pedantic but it's so damn proud and almost defensive of it as a concept, like the internet wouldn't know how to function if it couldn't correct grammar and point out minutia that has nothing to do with the actual core topic being discussed and is insulted you'd even suggest the idea.

And it's not necessary. If Ted says 2+2 = 4 and Bob says 2+2=a rutabaga we don't need Harry to run into the discussion to take Ted to task for accidentally... calling the tips of your shoelaces argyles instead of aglets or whatever in an off the cuff metaphor he used.

You can always split the hair. You can always drop the level down. You can always go "Be more specific, be more precise," you can always wait for the person you're arguing with to make some off the cuff irrelevant mistake and bring the entire discussion to a screeching halt while you scream "LOOK AT THAT!" but there's a valid and real reason that concepts like nitpicking and pedantics and semantics and hair splittings and rules lawyering and related concept exist as negatives and not positives in our culture.

To paraphrase Carl Sagan if you ask me for a recipe on how to bake an apple pie I don't have to start at the Big Bang for the recipe to be complete and valid. Every discussion doesn't have to encompass everything.

And yes I do feel that this mentality is at least a minor factor in the growing anti-intellectualism in our society now. Nitpicking an argument in order to get "the win" doesn't advance either side, it trust frustrates them.
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Old 26th April 2017, 09:04 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
In this case classifications are the subject of conversation.
What a coincidence! I'm conversing about classifications!
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