Dear Bathroom Stall,
I know that you don’t like me as much as my diary does, but I’m kinda out of options at the moment.
So, I wanted to talk to you about something I’ve noticed people doing. In our last conversation we talked a lot about whether or not someone was being dishonest in a discussion and discussed a particular tactic. I wanted to talk about another tactic, again whether being done intentionally or not, that I found particularly dishonest.
This topic is a little more complex however, let’s give it a try. Let’s say I’m in a conversation and I’m trying to make a logical deduction about something. I’m taking premises and then coming out with some conclusion based on the premises. Regardless of whether or not my deduction is valid or my premises good, the person quickly jumps to counter my argument by talking about me as a person. He makes claims that I’m a bad person, I’m obnoxious, maybe that I’m a liar and a thief or maybe that I’m some sort of immoral person. Is this a proper way to respond to a logical argument?
Now let’s break this down, because again, this is more complex. So the general rule with logical assertions is that it shouldn’t matter who makes the statement. If the statement holds objective truth, does it matter who says it? If Barney the Dinosaur says that the Vatican is in Italy does that mean he’s wrong because he’s Barney? What if some evil person said it… like Charles Manson, if he said the Vatican is in Italy would he be wrong? No… he’d still be right. So it doesn’t really matter who says something as long as it’s completely true.
So that’s the simple part, but what about credibility? These are easy questions, what if some random person who had some huge morally questionable motive to prove something correct makes a logical assertion based on premises you know nothing about? Like some horrible xenophobic person said that there was a negative correlation from foreigners coming into our country and IQ. What then? Well, IF what s/he said was true… it wouldn’t matter if s/he was awful. Maybe you question where s/he takes it, but if you can look up the facts… look at the pole or study and determine that s/he is absolutely correct on that one assertion. However, maybe you can’t find these said studies. You might take their character as a way to question their credibility, question whether or not these sources are good… whether or not they’re lying. However, regardless of their character that doesn’t CHANGE what the truth is.
So I guess, in a discussion, if someone tries to make a logical assertion just try and identify if the assertion is correct rather than attacking someone else.
But I know you bathroom-stall, you never attack other people… they just write all over your face. I’m sorry L