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Arguing with Bart

May 26, 1997 02:21 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

Since 7 of 12 posts this digest are from Bart, I have used a
person's name in the header despite netiquette.  My post
will respond to some arguments, but more than that to the whole
tone and technique of argumentation.

I gave a five paragraph response to a single question posed by
Bart yesterday about karmic consequences.  My goal was to try
to explain my perspective; Bart's goal seems to be to "win" by
harassing his "adversaries" with questions or accusations putting them on the

e.g. to Jaqi--
> 	How do you understand a Lodge to be defined?

What difference does this make?  If he answers, won't you find
some petty point to argue about, again putting him on the

to JRC--
> who might benefit from it as possible. I guess you want it kept to a
> very select few.

How in the world can that be deduced from his comment?

to Doss--
> look at any one issue as a litmus test. For example, would you say that
> if someone is not a member of the E.S., then they are not a good
> Theosophist?

> 	And, from your comments, I must assume that you think I am currently
> living in an area where eastern traditions are the ones that are
> practiced?

What?  He's obviously suggesting that westerners have something
to learn from easterners in this regard.

to me:
> 	How would you define "money"? Given your definition, how is it possible
> to love money?

I won't try to define money for you, Bart, nor explain how it is
possible to love money.  This question feels like harassment
coming from a win/lose perspective rather than an honest
approach to dialogue.
> 	The "slippery slope" analogy is not a valid logical construct.

What in the world does this mean?  How can any analogy be a
"valid logical construct"?

The technique that I allowed myself to be harassed with for far
too long by someone else on this list is this:
1. Take the position that others have to explain themselves to
you, but that you don't owe them an explanation of anything.
2. Get them to invest time and energy in trying to
explain their point of view.
3. Then pick whatever points of their explanation
you want to challenge, ignore the rest, and further demand that
they explain those.
4. Maintain the position that they must defend and explain
themselves, and see how long you can get them to play that game.
If you can get them to expend great amounts of time and energy
explaining and defending their point of view, and all you have
to do is demand further explanations and defenses, you "win."

Having been dragged into this game, like a complete idiot, over
and over by many people on the Internet, I have at last come to
recognize it, and say "Hell no, I won't go."

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