[extropy-chat] Insults in Posts (was Putting God to Rest)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Apr 25 15:46:33 UTC 2007

John writes

> Lee wrote
>> Your statements above are simply and totally stupid,
>> reflecting complete ignorance of psychology.
>> Moreover, they're insipid and ultimately meaningless,
>> being nothing more than empty rhetoric and name-calling.
> But I don't think you should be punished, far from it, I think you should be
> congratulated!  I loved the way the insults came right after your
> impassioned plea that we should all be polite to each other; it really did
> have a delightful Hofstadter sort of feel to it, like "this sentence is
> false".

:-)    Well, I hope that you truly did appreciate it, and that you knew
that it was deliberately ironical.  Alas, one just can never be sure in this

Surely you sensed a diminution of content as I myself went into silly
name-calling mode?

Hint:  just exactly *what* is added to an argument by throwing in
words like "idiotic", "stupid", "asinine", except to indicate your
frame of mind?  (Which I frankly seldom care about.)

>> if I knew that some people here on this list were
>> vociferously proclaiming that the NASA moon-landing
>> was a hoax, I would not choose to describe their
>> beliefs as "stupid".
> You say you wouldn't describe it as stupid, but I assume you'd still think
> it's stupid (if not then there is something seriously wrong with you).

Sorry to disappoint.  I'd merely think their statement wrong.  I know that
it's not terribly satisfying to fail to throw in pointless insults, but I like sticking
to facts. There are a lot of words for the verbally non-challenged to use in
its place: "bizarre", "misinformed", "preposterous", and so on, whose syntactic
objects clearly are beliefs not people, or the people who hold those beliefs.

Ack!  I can't keep up with the flood of email right now.  Sorry if this point
is being made by others.

> But I don't think you should be punished,

What a weird thought!   However did it enter your mind?  Punishment indeed.

Oh yes.  Sometimes people *are* expelled for vicious personal attacks. That's
fine with me.  Such noise really isn't interesting in the final analysis.


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