Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
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16-01-2013, 07:03 PM
Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
Hello all... I'm relatively new to the forums, so if there's a thread out there that better discusses this, feel free to link to it.

I'm wondering if anyone struggles with the line between attacking an idea and attacking the person (both from a giving and receiving end). What is your line? How do you define it? How do you handle when the situation is jumping back and forth over the line?

Its something that I have a hard time with. I know from a logical perspective a person calling my ideas illogical/crazy/whatever is not the same as calling me crazy, but as a human, we are not purely logical. We have emotions and gut reactions. And when someone attacks your arguments it can feel like you're being attacked. In some ways, your ideas are extensions of who you are. How do you disentangle you from your beliefs? I struggle with this as a former Christian who often feels like the things I used to believe were crazy, and when I attack the ideas, I'm in a way having an argument with former self. But I can also understand why someone might be hurt by the things I say.

I believe having rational discussions is imperative to change. I know I was convinced by evidence to change my beliefs, so I know its possible, but having a heated, personal attacking debate is never conducive to learning and growth. I like to think I don't personally attack others, but I have felt personally attacked. Who knows, I may have inadvertently made someone else feel personally attacked as well.

Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts.

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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16-01-2013, 07:25 PM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2013 07:28 PM by PoolBoyG.)
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
Never bring in the person, or the persons motivation into the discussion. If you want to educate, never do it. If you just want to harm someone, or humiliate, then by all means.

Everyone responds to different teaching methods. Some people might only be reached by shouting and insults - but those cases have to be rare. Not even worth considering.

Ignore everything else and only focus on the argument - the claims made, and the evidence used to support the claims.

Personally, I lash out now and again - usually attacking a persons motivation for thinking one way or the other. Those instances won't generate anything worthwhile and is a failing on my part. I suppose those were in an attempt to shut someone up. If I couldn't change someone's views, then prevent them from spreading that view. I honestly believe some people are broken and can't be changed - but I'm not so pessimistic enough about people (yet?) to want to shut them up for the "greater good".

Focus on the topics at hand, learn from the exchange, and if there's nothing of value being gained, walk away. It could only get worse from then on.
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16-01-2013, 08:08 PM
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
Personally, I'm ok with ad hominem. However, it is never ok to use it in placeof a valid argument. That is illogical. If at all, it should only be used in addition to a valid argument.

Having said that, it depends on your opponent and what you wish to accomplish. Unfortunately, ad hominem attacks - even when used in addition to a valid argument - tend to turn people off to whatever argument you're making. You could make the most foolproof, logically-sound argument which could never possibly be refuted, and if you top it off with "Now shove it up your ass, you stupid fuck", your opponent may completely disregard any argument you've made before that. It's not intellectually honest of them to do so, but most people are not intellectually honest. So, if you're going to use ad hominem attacks, be aware that there is a risk.

That's why I tend to withhold my personal attacks until I realize that I'm arguing with a brick wall and my words are getting nowhere. At that point, they've thoroughly pissed me off and I no longer have any reason to hold back. Rolleyes

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16-01-2013, 08:20 PM
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
(16-01-2013 08:08 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Personally, I'm ok with ad hominem. However, it is never ok to use it in placeof a valid argument. That is illogical. If at all, it should only be used in addition to a valid argument.

Having said that, it depends on your opponent and what you wish to accomplish. Unfortunately, ad hominem attacks - even when used in addition to a valid argument - tend to turn people off to whatever argument you're making. You could make the most foolproof, logically-sound argument which could never possibly be refuted, and if you top it off with "Now shove it up your ass, you stupid fuck", your opponent may completely disregard any argument you've made before that. It's not intellectually honest of them to do so, but most people are not intellectually honest. So, if you're going to use ad hominem attacks, be aware that there is a risk.

That's why I tend to withhold my personal attacks until I realize that I'm arguing with a brick wall and my words are getting nowhere. At that point, they've thoroughly pissed me off and I no longer have any reason to hold back. Rolleyes

That's pretty much how I see it. I don't attack people (or I try not to) I will attack what they say or when they refuse to see real evidence. If it becomes tiresome, they are only restating their position and adding no evidence to refute what I am saying (outside of their own conjectures and speculations), I get bored and just stop. You can't teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Edited to add: welcome to the TTA.


The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind. -- Marquis de Sade
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16-01-2013, 08:45 PM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2013 09:10 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
(16-01-2013 07:03 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  Hello all... I'm relatively new to the forums, so if there's a thread out there that better discusses this, feel free to link to it.

I'm wondering if anyone struggles with the line between attacking an idea and attacking the person (both from a giving and receiving end). What is your line? How do you define it? How do you handle when the situation is jumping back and forth over the line?

I handle the receiving end of ad hominems particularly well because I really don't give a shit about what you think. I'm still fucking trying to figure out what I think. My reaction is typically passive and probing. I'll ask for your advice once I have a coherent idea about what the fuck's going on. ... Haven't asked for advice yet. ... Don't think I ever will.

(16-01-2013 08:08 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  That's why I tend to withhold my personal attacks until I realize that I'm arguing with a brick wall and my words are getting nowhere. At that point, they've thoroughly pissed me off and I no longer have any reason to hold back. Rolleyes

That's good. But there is no argument or debate anymore and I just wanna shove their heads up their fucking ass and drown them in their own fecal matter. But they haven't pissed me off, they can't fucking piss me off, nobody can piss Girly off. Girly don't get pissed. I won't fucking allow or admit it. ... But I will dick with someone who dicks with me, I mean just for my own motherfucking personal amusement. ... Is that wrong?

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16-01-2013, 08:59 PM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2013 09:02 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
My favouritest ad hom comes from these boys:








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16-01-2013, 09:09 PM
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
(16-01-2013 08:45 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  That's good. But there is no argument or debate anymore and I just wanna shove their heads up their fucking ass and drown them in their own fecal matter. But they haven't pissed me off, they can't fucking piss me off, nobody can piss Girly off. Girly don't get pissed. I won't fucking allow or admit it. ... But I will dick with someone who dicks with me, I mean just for my own motherfucking personal amusement. ... Is that wrong?
No? Is that an invitation? Not that I would. I wouldn't be able to. I don't even think I've tried, really. Have I? Wait, you gave me the eye of doom once. Does that count?

Welcome to TTA Persephone!

I get the whole thing with the arguments with the self. It's a daily thing I go through, but managed to keep my sanity intact knowing it's their shit, not mine. I've tried my best to understand that and not internalize as much as I used to, because that was the ultimate brick wall I've faced.

If things got to the point you'd describe, it's game over. There's sadly no win-win. You could call me the pink sheep who came from a black sheep community. I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. It was several painful years before I realized the truth: some people can't come out of their beliefs. It's too ingrained, and yeah, it is an extension of themselves in their own heads, sadly. Indoctrination is cruel not only to those indoctrinated, but to those who are no longer/aren't.

I would take a break, if it's leading up to verbal attacks. If they come to you, sure, dish it out. If you go to them, well, you already have a good idea about what's to happen.

Best to you on your journey,

CTS

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25-01-2013, 07:07 PM
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
(16-01-2013 09:09 PM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  Welcome to TTA Persephone!
Thanks! I'm happy to be here!

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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25-01-2013, 07:08 PM
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
(16-01-2013 08:20 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(16-01-2013 08:08 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
Edited to add: welcome to the TTA.
Thanks!

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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28-01-2013, 01:47 PM (This post was last modified: 28-01-2013 02:16 PM by FSM_scot.)
RE: Personal Attacks vs Attack the Idea... Where do you draw the line?
(16-01-2013 07:03 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  Hello all... I'm relatively new to the forums, so if there's a thread out there that better discusses this, feel free to link to it.

I'm wondering if anyone struggles with the line between attacking an idea and attacking the person (both from a giving and receiving end). What is your line? How do you define it? How do you handle when the situation is jumping back and forth over the line?

Its something that I have a hard time with. I know from a logical perspective a person calling my ideas illogical/crazy/whatever is not the same as calling me crazy, but as a human, we are not purely logical. We have emotions and gut reactions. And when someone attacks your arguments it can feel like you're being attacked. In some ways, your ideas are extensions of who you are. How do you disentangle you from your beliefs? I struggle with this as a former Christian who often feels like the things I used to believe were crazy, and when I attack the ideas, I'm in a way having an argument with former self. But I can also understand why someone might be hurt by the things I say.

I believe having rational discussions is imperative to change. I know I was convinced by evidence to change my beliefs, so I know its possible, but having a heated, personal attacking debate is never conducive to learning and growth. I like to think I don't personally attack others, but I have felt personally attacked. Who knows, I may have inadvertently made someone else feel personally attacked as well.

Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts.
This is only my opinion, you can take it for what it's worth:
Personally, I like the direct insult approach. That's why I always get banned from forums. I'm not a nice guy, I like to kick ass and take names. What I've learned about atheists over the years is:
#1) They like to appear as sweet-mouthed little pussy cats while they passive-aggressively attack Christians, but as soon as you tell it like it is, directly calling a spade a spade, they run off to Mommy (the moderator) whining that they are getting picked on. I dont like atheists and I know they dont like me. I would respect one that had the guts to be himelf on a forum instead of this "I know many Christians that I like" crap, when I know they hate Christians. If they didnt, why would they give a damn what Christians believed? I mean, there is no God so who cares? Wrong, they hate God. They believe there is a God and they hate and want to disparage Him. Look at what they say and the way they say it.
#2) Atheists only go after Christians. They dont care about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or whatever cuz atheists are agents of Satan. Satan only wants to stop God and knows that the other religions arent real so he concentrates on trying to stop Christians. I'm not saying that atheists know they are doing Satans work, they just let him tell them what to do or say without knowing it. They think its all their doing.
#3) Atheists like to bloviate. They state their opinions as fact and then curse Christians for doing the same thing. Neither the atheist or the Christian can state what they believe is fact. All the scientists in the world can say that through scientific investigation they have proven the world is millions of years old but that's just BS. That is their opinion. Their scientific tests are their opinions. Their methods, radio carbon dating, etc. are just so much fluff. No one can prove that it is fact, just opinion. No one knows.
I could go on and on but you get the point.
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