MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Partly Cloudy
Collapse Photo Bar

9/11 Conspiracy theories: "any reasonable person"

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

Are there really things that "any reasonable person" must believe? What about evolution, global warming, 9/11 conspiracies, and Saddam's WMD program?

Absolutely. Any reasonable person would think so.
5
63%
Of course not. But you might have a very good reason for thinking otherwise.
3
38%
 
Total votes : 8

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:37 pm

For those of you playing along at home:

Before TomDavidson starts misrepresenting my statements again, I'd just like to sum up our respective positions.

Marvell: does not state as a fact that Dick Cheney (or any other Bush Administration official) had any involvement in the planning of the 9/11 attacks, or prior knowledge of the attacks. However, Marvell remains willing to consider the idea, since it is not out of the realm of reasonable possibility, based on Marvell's own subjective interpretation of Cheney's previous behavior.

TomDavidson: knows for a fact that no one in the Bush Administration had anything to do with 9/11. Why? Because they, being Americans, just wouldn't do that. And anyone who thinks anything different is a wack job.

So - which of these two positions is more characteristic of a 'reasonable' outlook?
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:39 pm

Marvell wrote:TomDavidson: knows for a fact that no one in the Bush Administration had anything to do with 9/11. Why? Because they, being Americans, just wouldn't do that. And anyone who thinks anything different is a wack job.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, eh?
I'm playing along at home and I haven't read anything from TD that resembles the words you just attributed to him.
Prof. Wagstaff
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8866
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 6:35 pm

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:40 pm

TomDavidson wrote:And I've never argued that I don't engage in sophistry. I quite like sophistry. And based on your previous posts, I suspect you do, too, when it's not biting you in the ass.


Perhaps. However, you couldn't prove it by any of the toothless rhetoric yer tossing out.

You haven't laid a glove on me, much less done any ass-biting.
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:40 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Marvell wrote:TomDavidson: knows for a fact that no one in the Bush Administration had anything to do with 9/11. Why? Because they, being Americans, just wouldn't do that. And anyone who thinks anything different is a wack job.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, eh?
I'm playing along at home and I haven't read anything from TD that resembles the words you just attributed to him.


It's 'sauce' for the goose.

And yes - when in Rome...
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:44 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I'm playing along at home and I haven't read anything from TD that resembles the words you just attributed to him.


So someone other than TomDavidson wrote the following?

"Consider the following poster's "helpful" restatement, which is certainly no more distorted than mine: "He's saying Cheney's verifiable personal history would make his overseeing the deaths of thousands of American citizens not inconsistent with his previous actions."

Yeah, that is what you're saying. And I'm saying that's baldly ridiculous."

So why is it baldly ridiculous again? Other than because TomDavidson says it is?
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:45 pm

Marvell wrote:And yes - when in Rome...

I've been waiting for 4 long pages for this thread to devolve into a toga party!
Prof. Wagstaff
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8866
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 6:35 pm

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:46 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Marvell wrote:And yes - when in Rome...

I've been waiting for 4 long pages for this thread to devolve into a toga party!


Well, it started in the vomitorium - and it just went down hill from there.
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

Postby TomDavidson » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:50 pm

What's especially ironic about this is that I made this particular observation -- that I'm being "unreasonable" about this -- before Marvell did.

And, yeah, if my argument in starting this thread was that everything has to be considered a valid opinion in all situations, I'd be slapping myself for hypocrisy right now. Even still, I find myself uncomfortable with saying "no, even this much leeway is ridiculous." Like I said earlier, I don't think it's conducive to healthy conversations -- as Marvell's semi-erect dander makes clear -- and can distract from the bigger issues.

The problem I have here (and the problem I suspect Prof. Barrett has from the other side, if he really believes that our government's being run by slavering ghouls) is that some opinions are dangerous, especially when you can't fact-check them in any real way.

Holocaust denial gets brought up fairly often in this sort of situation as an example. I'm not sure that I agree that it's inherently dangerous, but it's a good general case: here we have something that most of us agree is important, but which becomes harder and harder to factually prove every day. Is it worthwhile to have a discussion on the specifics of the Holocaust with someone who, because of his political biases, is convinced that the entire thing was a convenient fable? How "reasonable" do people have to be?

In this case, I'm comfortable saying that the bar should be set fairly high when arguing that anyone knowingly killed three thousand innocent people. And I'll even go so far as to say that the bar should be even higher when we're talking about elected representatives and/or other public figures. It's fun to joke about Martha Stewart being a man-eater, and perhaps some people could even extrapolate her hypothetical cannibalism from other personality traits they've observed (like excessive grooming), but you'd probably want to have something more than a psychological profile before you start making "Martha Stewart ate Christopher Lowell!" T-shirts, or even seriously suggesting things like "Hey, anyone seen Dean Cain lately? Didn't he appear on the Martha Stewart Show once?"

-------

Edit: Since more came in as I was typing, I'll reply to it here.

Arguing that it's perfectly reasonable to assume that Cheney conspired to kill thousands of American citizens based on what we know of him is "baldly ridiculous" because the situations aren't equivalent. My brother once stepped on an ant; is it "reasonable" to assume that he'd shank a puppy?

Like I said earlier, though, it boils to some extent down to basic premises. My basic premise is that most people perceive -- even in their own internal morality -- a distinction between the kind of wickedness that Cheney clearly practices and the kind of wickedness necessary to, unprovoked and without warning, bring down a set of office towers with people still inside. If you don't grant that premise, if you do believe these things to not be qualitatively different, then I freely concede that you probably aren't seeing merit in a single word I'm saying.

Sadly, the ability to reconcile first principles is the Holy Grail of communication, and I don't think they've got a pill for it yet.
Last edited by TomDavidson on Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TomDavidson
Senior Member
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:58 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:50 pm

Marvell wrote:
So why is it baldly ridiculous again? Other than because TomDavidson says it is?
Because never before in Cheney's verifiable personal history has he overseen the deaths of thousands of American civilians going about their daily routines. He's overseen the death of American soldiers and foreign civilians, to be sure, but just because you don't want to make a distinction between soldiers and foreign civilians dying overseas and Americans being slaughtered while they go to work in the morning doesn't mean there isn't one.
Prof. Wagstaff
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8866
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 6:35 pm

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:55 pm

TomDavidson wrote:Holocaust denial gets brought up fairly often in this sort of situation as an example. I'm not sure that I agree that it's inherently dangerous, but it's a good general case: here we have something that most of us agree is important, but which becomes harder and harder to factually prove every day.

Uh ... no it doesn't, not unless the evidence is being destroyed.
The Nazis were positively proud of their genocide and went to great pains to document it. There are handwritten personal accounts, a gazillion photographs and even films which portray in excruciatingly gruesome detail a whole slew of the atrocities they committed.
Prof. Wagstaff
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8866
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 6:35 pm

Postby Madcity Expat » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:04 pm

TomDavidson wrote:Holocaust...here we have something that most of us agree is important, but which becomes harder and harder to factually prove every day.


Without devolving into the minutiae of Marvell versus TomDavison, I would point out that this statement is unsustainable. The Holocaust is one of the most well documented large-scale events in human history. Just because primary witnesses are dying off doesn't mean that the historical record is dying off with them. Holocause deniers may somehow find the distance of time as cover for their fallacious claims, but anyone with a passing familiarity with the historical scholarship on the Holocaust can easily bury them with documentary evidence.
Madcity Expat
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1261
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: mill-e-wah-que..."the good land"

Postby Madcity Expat » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:06 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
TomDavidson wrote:Holocaust denial gets brought up fairly often in this sort of situation as an example. I'm not sure that I agree that it's inherently dangerous, but it's a good general case: here we have something that most of us agree is important, but which becomes harder and harder to factually prove every day.

Uh ... no it doesn't, not unless the evidence is being destroyed.
The Nazis were positively proud of their genocide and went to great pains to document it. There are handwritten personal accounts, a gazillion photographs and even films which portray in excruciatingly gruesome detail a whole slew of the atrocities they committed.


Damn... I'm shadowing Wagstaff again...
Madcity Expat
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1261
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: mill-e-wah-que..."the good land"

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:36 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Marvell wrote:
So why is it baldly ridiculous again? Other than because TomDavidson says it is?
Because never before in Cheney's verifiable personal history has he overseen the deaths of thousands of American civilians going about their daily routines. He's overseen the death of American soldiers and foreign civilians, to be sure, but just because you don't want to make a distinction between soldiers and foreign civilians dying overseas and Americans being slaughtered while they go to work in the morning doesn't mean there isn't one.


Obviously there's a distinction. The only question is how meaningful that distinction is to a Dick Cheney.

If you feel that this distinction is of overpowering meaningfulness, that's fine. But since neither of us can see into Dick Cheney's soul, stating that a differing opinion is 'baldly ridiculous' seems a little, shall we say, strident.
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

My dander is FULLY erect, thank you

Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:44 pm

TomDavidson wrote:Arguing that it's perfectly reasonable to assume that Cheney conspired to kill thousands of American citizens based on what we know of him is "baldly ridiculous" because the situations aren't equivalent. My brother once stepped on an ant; is it "reasonable" to assume that he'd shank a puppy?


A.) I never said I assumed Dick Cheney did anything. All I said was that I wouldn't rule it out.

Here we are six whatever pages into this thing, and you still can't bring yourself to argue against what I actually said.

B.) FBI profilers, looking to determine whether a suspect might be a serial murderer, look for three behaviors in adolescence. One is pyromania, and another is cruelty to animals - I forget what the third one is. Not all pyromaniacs or puppy-kickers turn out to be serial killers, obviously - but all serial killers exhibit some of these behaviors.

So it may not be reasonable to 'assume' that he'd shank a puppy. However, to say that it would be 'baldly ridiculous' to suggest that your brother would ever shank a puppy, since puppies are different than ants, would be an incredibly shitty argument to make. Being that it's a logical fallacy and all.

Put another way - why do you keep hitting yourself?
Last edited by Marvell on Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Marvell
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6980
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:28 pm
Location: At one with time and space

Postby Chuck_Schick » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:56 pm

Marvell wrote:But since neither of us can see into Dick Cheney's soul ...

In the same way that one cannot ring a bell in a vacuum.
Chuck_Schick
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 10385
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2001 4:41 pm
Location: back atcha

PreviousNext

Return to Local Politics & Government

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Stebben84 and 3 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

cron
Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar