A few times lately, I’ve been reminded of the first part of this post from 2010. Especially this part (some slight edits):
I often find that the other side doesn’t mind being incendiary. They often drop bombs [like a personal attack], not based on reason or fact, and they want to be able to get away with that without a response. When I start to respond, usually by simply asking them the reasons or facts behind their statement, they shut down the conversation (with a rude interruption and raising their voice more) with something like, “Oh, I don’t feel like talking about that,” “I just know,” or “that’s just how I feel and you aren’t going to change that.”
Today, it was “you’re closed-minded. It’s not worth discussing anything with you. You won’t change your mind.”
Any attempt of a response from me was met with hostility to shut my response.
These recent unproductive discussions reminded me of why I started this blog — to try to have productive conversations — and reminded me to review these discussion tips that are always accessible from the top menu on the page for anyone to have to be able to help facilitate that.
In today’s discussion, when I asked someone to provide facts to back up a claim they made, it resulted in three ad hominem (personal attacks) and one red herring (change the subject) fallacies.
While I was being flamed with informal fallacies I searched the Nets to discover that the claim being made was not accurate, at least not as reported by four media sources and all of the media sources were mainstream.
It’s possible that there are other accounts that I didn’t see, but in the sources I checked, the stories lined up with each other and didn’t support his claim.
I don’t think this person was trying to intentionally mislead me.
I know from my own experience that I have a difficult enough time keeping all the information out there straight, which is one reason I like to start with the facts. I’ve been trapped in too many discussions where all of us — including me — were arguing about fiction, because none of us had our facts straight.
Added: But, I simply don’t think it’s productive that when someone challenges your claim to spin-off into fallacy land, either.
But, that pretty much sums up political discussions.
When discussing this event with my 7th grade son, he said it sounds like the sports arguments he has with his friends about whose favorite soccer team is better.