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repost from tcsblog 1

Alice comments:

For some sensible discussion of the issues, rather than just Dan and Elliot fighting with each other, see the TCS list

Excuse me, but that's extremely insulting. If you disagree with me, argue it. If you agree, then acknowledge I'm making important points relevant to growing TCS (if I'm right, then what I'm saying is important), rather than belittling my ideas.

The tendency to see a disagreement and then declare that both sides are wrong because they are fighting, is perverse. The most well known example is WRT Israel and terrorists. People decide both sides *must* have done lots wrong, and must both be guilty, simply because there is a large-scale disagreement and there are arguments put forward on either side of the issue (not necessarily true, but just attempts). Nevermind that one side could be right, and the arguments against it wrong. Nevermind that condemning the right side would be a great moral failure.

Here, too, Alice sees a disagreement, labels it a "fight", then refuses to pay attention to who's right, and just takes the stance, in effect, that all fighting is bad therefore we're both wrong. Hello? That's moral relativism. (Incidentally, moral relativism is one of Dan's qualities that I don't hold with.)

Elliot Temple on November 24, 2003

Comments (6)

I'll respond mostly on my own, if blogger stops being irritating.

However, I had to respond to the accusation that I'm a moral relativist.

I have very clear views on what is and is not moral, Elliot. Some of them even coincide with yours.

I have a tendency to "waffle" on some issues when discussing them with you. Why is this? The answer is simple, and it has nothing to do with relativism.

The issues in questions are ones on which I disagree with you. You are an intelligent person, who will sometimes offer clear and convincing arguments on issues. Unfortunately, on the issues in question (the ones on which we disagree, note), you tend to make bland, unsubstantiated statements with little followup or explanation. Rather than dismissing these out of hand, however, I try to examine them and discern the purpose behind them.

I rarely manage to figure out what you mean, but while I try I am certainly undecided on which of us is right. Generally, we part ways before I am given any convincing data or figure out what data was implied in your cryptic remarks, and so I conclude that you were wrong, and I was right, and return to my (apparently unrefuted) views.

Even assuming that in each and every one of these cases, I was wrong, and I believe several bad things, I fail to see how I end up a relativist.

Dan at 5:05 PM on November 24, 2003 | #168

Either provide a counter, or admit that you wrongly labelled me.

Dan at 9:41 PM on November 24, 2003 | #169

d00d i'm watching chobits, i'll read your comment later. sheesh. it hasn't even been 5 hours since you posted.

Elliot at 9:47 PM on November 24, 2003 | #170

Oh. Fair enough.

Dan at 10:12 PM on November 24, 2003 | #171
<p>"I rarely manage to figure out what you mean" -- glad you admit you don't understand. now, why exactly would i want to talk to you? i think i don't.</p>

<p>as for relativism, one word: jews</p>

Elliot at 10:48 AM on November 25, 2003 | #172

One word for you: Huh?

Dan at 2:00 AM on November 26, 2003 | #173

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)