April 19, 2006

Dear Would-Be Philosopher Kings of the Internet

This abuse of the concept of logic has got to stop.

If I encounter one more dude in the Feministe comments passing off his demonstrably biased assumptions as "logic," even as that "logic" is being shown to be "not very logical at all, actually," I am going to lose my mind. Claim logic as the exclusive domain of your sex if you must, guys, but then, please: Acquaint yourselves with what the hell the stuff IS before attempting to use it. Hint: If it leads you to an absurd conclusion like, "You hope this woman's telling the truth; therefore, you hope she was raped!" . . . it's probably not "logic."

I assert that if you continue to pervert logic in the service of such silliness, this man has more claim to being the intellectual heir of Aristotle than you do. Also (and I add this purely for spite), he is much more wealthy, handsome, and talented than you are, O Aspiring Aristotle of Mom's Basement.

That's point one.

Point two: This abuse of the Socratic method has also got to stop. Here is a comment I received today:

A question, though.... why are you hanging around a mailing list when your default assumption to explain something you don't like includes labelling the people there as racist?

That was written in response to this portion of my post:

Someone on a mailing list I'm on recently posted about having been the victim of a crime; but it wasn't a rape, and this person was the right color.

Number of people who challenged this person: Zero. Because we don't do this with any other crime.

. . . and that comment would have been quite the Socratic little zinger, I guess, if only it hadn't depended on the three false premises that (1) I had called anyone "racist" or that (2) to do so was my "default assumption" or that (3) I employed this assumption to "explain something [I] don't like."

That's a fucking boatload of false-premise goodness to cram into one question. But I know why some guys like to employ this method: It's so that when you call them on it, they can go all virtually wide-eyed and innocent and say, "But I was just asking a question."

Yes! Yes, you were! But here's the thing: When your first-grade teacher told you there was no such thing as a stupid question?--That teacher lied to you. Further, I am not your mommy. I'm not going to be stricken with guilt at having come down on you so harshly for your faux-innocent question. YOUR QUESTION WAS IRREDEEMABLY STUPID, Socrates.

You are hereby all sentenced to courses in Remedial Philosophy.

To be taken only after you pass Remedial Reading.

With a grade of "B" or better.

Posted by Ilyka at April 19, 2006 11:34 AM in hell is other people

Why is the internet so full of freakin' morons?

Posted by: S0crates at April 19, 2006 03:05 PM

I misread, I was wrong, and needlessly snarky to boot. That's what I get for posting pre-caffeine, mea culpa. I should have remembered my Piper... "when you don't understand what someone is saying, don't call them crazy, ask them what they mean".

Meh. I'll think more, and comment less.

Posted by: Craig at April 19, 2006 03:17 PM

Love it! I'm going to use that last paragraph, as is, the next time I'm "questioned" by one of these idiots.

Posted by: j0lt at April 20, 2006 11:06 AM

Another problem is all sorts of wrong results follow logically from bad premises. Garbage in, garbage out as any good programmer knows. Logic is a tool for thinking. Using it wisely is another matter.

Posted by: Ron O. at April 20, 2006 01:21 PM

Logic? Logic? We don't need no steeking logic!

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at April 20, 2006 08:19 PM

The one phenomenon that appears to have not dissipated since my first, fledgling hitchhiking on the Information Superhighway, lo those many, MANY years ago (a/k/a Usenet):

People assume that, in their insular world of IntarwebNetAOL "anonymity," they can do/say/be whatever they want to -- with no consequences.

They are different, the consequences, but they are all too real. Thus my waving bye-bye to my blog after three years.

Moral of the story? Jerks are jerks. Whether they be the drunk at the end of the bar, the heckler in the audience, or that troll in your comment section.

And logic? Wherinhell do you 'spect THAT to fit in?



Posted by: Margi at April 21, 2006 10:02 AM

Regarding the stupid question bit:


Posted by: John at April 24, 2006 11:26 AM