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Posted by Harvey on January 30, 2002 21:14:23 UTC

There is a subtle difference between Alex and the situation that I just encountered. With Alex we are talking about someone who knows his stuff and is willing to show you where you are wrong. If he thinks he is wrong, then secretly Alexander bails out of the discussion (sometimes with silence, sometimes with dogmaticism). He is rude if someone is rude to him, and if he sees you ignoring (or ignorant of) what he considers obvious facts of science then he can be even ruder. One area that he is not rude is if you are successfully engaging him in a dispute of evidence. He may not pay attention to the evidence, but he is usually not rude in those areas.

The latter situation is entirely different. Alex is willing to argue and debate before he insults (as long as the position is not completely obtuse). In this situation he categorizes or judges all those who fall within this general scope (rationalists such as me, Americans, people not as smart, etc). Alex does this, but this person will pull the argument that he accuses you of being. If you give a rational reply, he simply pulls the argument further by saying that you still haven't reached the level that he of course knows (and he never justifies how he knows it). The more you attempt to win this person over to your logic, the more they pull the argument further and further with more and more ridiculous reasons. Rather, they entice you into insults and degrading communication.

So, I see that kind of communication as waste of time. Don't get me wrong, I like the individual. But, I don't have any interest in communicating with someone who likes subversive arguments such as these. Personally I don't even like bringing up this issue, but as a clarification this is what separates this situation from situations like Alex, Dick, Pearson, etc (whom I have had tense debates with in the past).

I will debate anyone as long as they are willing to argue seriously. Those who try the high priest arguments (i.e., only Ph.D.'s in physics know), or "I know something you don't, but am not telling", etc are really not good for me to argue with. I know what those kind of tactics bring me to say, and I just not that kind of person.

Of course, if others try doing the same thing they will get the same response from me.

Warm regards, Harv

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