31 August 2005

Censored by Sharpener!

Andrew at the Sharpener has proceeded to remove my comments from his site, post-argument! There were no swear words or personal abuse by me, just contradiction of their argument. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that someone who is anti-choice on abortion and pro-capital punishment, should also believe in censorship of someone's views. It is very sad when someone has to defend their argument in this way. They should be ashamed!

41 comments:

  1. As I posted over at The Sharpener:

    If you continue to be childish, and refuse to answer the points put to you, insisting instead on attacking other commenters, I’m just going to delete your comments.

    When you post something that doesn't do this, I'll let it through. The onus is on you. Continuing to insist that you've refuted our points, when you've done nothing of the kind, is not debate. It's just a 'who can shout the loudest' contest. Frankly, I don't have the will to play silly games.

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  2. 'Tis true, refutation loses all its joy when the refuted can't deal with it.

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  3. So its ok for you to attack me, but not for me to attack your arguments. Its not exactly a level playing field is it?

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  4. Blimpish you are talking about you and Andrew as the 'refuted' aren't you?

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  5. Neil: You have yet to attack our arguments. Do so, and I'll happily let the comment through.

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  6. How can you say after god knows how much debate and actually moving your position, that I have not attacked your arguments?

    So I haven't come up with any legitimate points?

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  7. Neil: You haven't engaged in debate. You've smeared people. You've misquoted them. You've slung abuse. You've made logical leaps which make no sense. You've claimed that people have said things they haven't done, or that they think things they don't do. You've ignored every explanation and clarification provided to you. You've distorted other's arguments and positions until you're comfortable arguing against a straw man. That isn't debate.

    What's more, you haven't moved my position. The other commenters did. The ones capable of debating intelligently.

    And no, you haven't come up with any legitimate points. As I said above, once you stop acting like a child, I'll let your comments through. Until then, I have to ban you to uphold some kind of quality control. I've already had several people say they strongly disagree with me, but that they won't comment because you're on the thread. That, at least, should give you pause for thought.

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  8. "How can you say after god knows how much debate and actually moving your position, that I have not attacked your arguments?"

    Who knows how much debate? God? I thought he didn't exist. [cue evil laugh]

    "So I haven't come up with any legitimate points?"

    His eyes, opened.

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  9. So you were arguing with someone who made no legitimate points and yet you felt the need to write many hundreds (if not thousands) of words of reply?

    Andrew, I'm not sure what (in your wisdom) you are going to allow me to say.

    The problem here is hurt pride! You've backed down and you don't want to admit somone you have being calling a idiot has influenced your change of heart. I'm sorry if that offends you. It takes a great man to admit he's wrong, you just can't bring yourself to do it.

    As for capital punishment/abortion. you said this;

    "The point is that consistency leads to all sorts of logical dead-ends. It doesn’t alter the strength of an argument."

    How can this be misquoting you? It is very clear what you mean. Why would you argue this is you wasn't admitting to being inconsistent?

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  10. In the hope of enlightenment. Shoulda known better.

    (Incidentally, I'm the death penalty man here, and I accept no inconsistency on that question, as would Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, or countless others. But Andrew's point is well made.)

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  11. Andrew admits his inconsistency in that statement. How do you account for that? I wasn't arguing for or against capital punishment, as you well know. So Kant etc are irrelevant!

    I was arguing that it is inconsistent with Andrew's anti-choice on abortion argument that innocent life should not be killed if possible.

    This is the mis-representation of my arguments I have had to put up with from both you and Andrew, while simultaneous being peppered with abuse. You have tried my patience to breaking point, but it has paid off for me, because Andrew has been forced to move his position (even if only a little). I actually think you are going to go away and rethink yours as well because you must know you are wrong.

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  12. I actually think you are going to go away and rethink yours as well because you must know you are wrong.

    Or not.

    My reference to Thomas and Kant was not concerned with their support for the death penalty, but for their support for it combined with the fact that neither of them were exactly big crusaders for abortion, to put it mildly.

    In a bizarrely silly moment, I'm going to take you through this one more time. None of this is my reasoning, it is all fairly well established stuff that's been believed for centuries. Whereas the morality of slavery and abortion have been discussed throughout the history of Western philosophy, and the morality of the death penalty for a shorter time, the argument that no one can believe a pro-life and pro-death penalty position is beloved of Lefty hacks but no more.

    We earn our place in society by the extent to which we discharge our moral obligations to the best of our means and abilities.

    So long as we do that, then we are entitled to society's support and protection.

    When we fail to fulfil our moral obligations, then that support and protection comes into question.

    When the extent of our failure to fulfil our moral obligations damages society or its members, then society is obliged to punish.

    Society, through its embodiment in the state, has the power to use lethal force to punish those which threaten it. That applies to foreign nations, and it applies to criminals.

    Therefore, prudential objections notwithstanding, the state can apply lethal punishments against those properly identified as enemies of society.

    If you believe (as I do) that a foetus counts as a human person, then as long as it meets its moral obligations as much as possible, it is entitled to support and protection by society. As a foetus isn't going out to rob or murder, that's a no-brainer.

    But that in no way compromises the ability of society to act lethally against those who fail to meet their moral obligations to the relevant extent. A serial murderer or a traitor acts in a way that no foetus can.

    So, criminals can be punished, but other people cannot.

    Now, human institutions being necessarily imperfect, the processes through which we identify people as criminals (i.e., the criminal justice system) will sometimes get the wrong man.

    If you're utopian, you will say that one error invalidates the whole system. But if it invalidates the system for the death penalty, it does so for prison too; if the harming of innocents wrongly convicted is wrong, then it is as wrong for death as for life imprisonment.

    So, to summarise: the 'right to life' is contingent upon living responsibly; a foetus cannot be deprived of it because it has no range of action to act irresponsibly (by the same token, we shouldn't execute those insane or mentally incapacitated at the time of their crimes); a competent adult found guilty of committing certain acts deemed heinous by society, can forfeit that right.

    Now, if you must answer, I want only to read specific criticisms that refer to the argument as expressed above. References must also be taken in context. Every time you fail to meet these rules, and revert to "No! I'm right! I must be right!" type, I will subject to you to the worst of my vituperative, eviscerating but hilarious invective.

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  13. For a start I said 'innocent life'(as once again you well know), so all the bumph about guilty people is irrelevant!

    Life imprisonment is not the same as the death penalty because a mistake can be rectified (however imperfect the compensation might be).

    Andrew's argument was not based on harm, it was based on 'not killing' innocent life.

    So, much as you try to move the goalposts, I am not going to let you get away with it.

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  14. Neil: You know full well that the comment about inconsistency related to your argument about capital punishment and innocent lives. I simply pointed out the corollary to your comment, to show the inconsistency.

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  15. Neil: As you asked again over at The Sharpener, I have deleted your comments where you have displayed bigotry or a lack of respect for your fellow commenters. I would do the same if a BNP member turned up and started spouting racial hatred. I see you in the same terms. Your comments are notable for their almost total irrationality. Your lack of respect for opposing viewpoints is not appropriate for The Sharpener, which as I've said before is a forum for intelligent adult debate. Once more, when you post something respectful, coherent, logical, on-topic and non-abusive, I'll let it through the filter.

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  16. Neil, I agree with you. I'm completely in favour of allowing women to make their own decisions about whether or not to have an abortion.

    Why, then, do I find your arguments so ridiculous and unpersuasive? Why am I embarrassed to find myself on the same side as you? Could it be that there are both good arguments and bad arguments for most positions, and that you have a talent for homing in, unerringly, on the worst ones? And for being childish, for misrepresenting your opposition and for resorting to personal abuse and irrelevance when challenged?

    Or am I just failing to grasp the subtlety of your arguments? Maybe if you used more exclamation marks I'd find you easier to follow.

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  17. Neil says:

    "For a start I said 'innocent life'(as once again you well know), so all the bumph about guilty people is irrelevant!"

    I said:

    "Now, human institutions being necessarily imperfect, the processes through which we identify people as criminals (i.e., the criminal justice system) will sometimes get the wrong man.

    "If you're utopian, you will say that one error invalidates the whole system. But if it invalidates the system for the death penalty, it does so for prison too; if the harming of innocents wrongly convicted is wrong, then it is as wrong for death as for life imprisonment."


    I thank you.

    Neil then says:

    "Life imprisonment is not the same as the death penalty because a mistake can be rectified (however imperfect the compensation might be)."

    That doesn't always happen though, does it? People rot and die in prison - there's a fairly large probability that a small number of innocent people will suffer unto death under that system.

    If you're argument's true, it proves too much: that we should not punish anybody. You could make a practical judgement that you're not prepared to handle the closure of the death penalty for that reason (from previous discussions, I'd guess Andrew is here), but it is only practical and not a difference in-principle.

    So, those points are now refuted. Please, go back to the argument and try again.

    (Incidentally, re all this inconsistency stuff - you say you're driven wholly by scientific method and yet you believe in human equality. The two don't fit; the evidence clearly shows great human inequality.)

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  18. Andrew, we have reached an impasse completely here. I agree I was very direct and crude in my comments, but read your post!

    Look at how you are condescending to women (talking about them turning lesbian) and stuff like that. You claim this highbrow position, but I really do think you have disapeared up your proverbials on this one. To compare me to a BNP supporter is to go too far. In fact BNP supporters would probably be welcome on your site, from what I have read.

    You have re-written history in this debate, it is shameful.

    Tom, you obviously have known Andrew and Blimpish longer than me, you share a lot of the same opinions, just not on abortion. What can I say, maybe I was naive in my approach to debating. But read the comments again. I am direct, but I happen to find the patronising tone of Andrew's post offensive. Why is it ok for him to offend? By the way, read my comments, nowhere do I use personal abuse, show me examples if you can? The same cannot be said for Andrew and Blimpish, who have showered me with abuse. Yet they have the cheek to call me childish! I use as many !!! of these as I like, if thats the main criticism, well what can I say? I admit you guys have got a talent for the English Language, I don't think it extends to logic though. You probably all went to public schools. Well done for being so privileged. Goodbye!

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  19. Look at how you are condescending to women (talking about them turning lesbian) and stuff like that.

    Neil, I really don't want to be patronising, but that was an obvious, although not very funny, joke. When I write, I expect people to give me the benefit of the doubt over things that are obviously meant in a light-hearted way.

    To compare me to a BNP supporter is to go too far. In fact BNP supporters would probably be welcome on your site, from what I have read.

    It really isn't going too far. You categorised Blimpish on the basis of his religion. That's not really any different than categorising him on the basis of his race. It makes you a bigot. BNP supported wouldn't be welcome on our site (it's a group blog - I don't own it), as we have a very clear policy on bigotry and racism.

    I apologise if I have offended you, but the manner in which you approached this debate was really very frustrating to deal with. My emotions got the better of me at times.

    You probably all went to public schools. Well done for being so privileged.

    Another example of bigotry. I prefer to treat all people with equal respect, regardless of their race, religion, or upbringing. It's a shame you won't extend the same courtest.

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  20. You are wrong again! Criticising religion is NOT the same as criticising race. I suppose Richard Dawkins is equivalent to a BNP supporter as well then. Religion is an idea that people can change their views on, so it is perfectly legitimate to criticise it, race is something you can't change so it isn't. I don't need lessons on race from someone like you.

    You are condescending to women (then laugh it off as a joke). Would you make a joke about race like that in what you 'claim' was a serious post. It is your views that are a joke, mate. You have got me very very angry. But you have made me see something very clear. Like I say, if you can live with your self deception, then fine. Goodbye!

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  21. Public school, eh? Not likely. Local comp, rough area. Learned very quickly how to deal with pompous arseholes. Comes in handy.

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  22. Criticising religion is NOT the same as criticising race.

    No, it's not. But assuming that all religious people are the same, or that they all hold the same view, or believe the same thing, is really no different in principle from assuming that all black people are the same. That's what you did to Blimpish, not criticising his religion, but assuming you knew his views because he said he was religious. That makes you a bigot.

    You are condescending to women (then laugh it off as a joke). Would you make a joke about race like that in what you 'claim' was a serious post.

    Of course I would, because I'd assume that my readers would be intelligent enough to see that it didn't represent what my real opinion is. Please don't make me explain to you the concept of irony.

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  23. Neil, describing people who are anti-choice as "irrational religious nuts" sounds pretty abusive to me. And you accused me of going to public school, which I also find offensive. But that's the least of my criticisms, and we're all abusive at times - it's the stupidity of that kind of claim, not the offensiveness, that irritates me.

    I've never met either Andrew or Blimpish, and share few opinions with them, so far as I can tell.

    As for my education, I went to a state comprehensive in Leeds. I find it quite offensive to people who've been through the state school system in general that you would conclude that anyone who has "a talent for the English language" (thank you) must have been privately educated. If we all made assumptions like that, I'd assume from the ineptitude of your argument style that you went to private school - but I've no idea where you went to school, and I don't care.

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  24. Richard Dawkins is not the same as a BNP supporter. But it should be said that, while he's a very great scientist, he's a laughably inept pseudo-philosopher. And his theory about 'Brights' is roundly falsified by your existence.

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  25. Blimpish, I take the public school comment back. But you lot are beyond contempt, you will realise that someday. If there is a God then I doubt he'll let you in!!!!!

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  26. Does "you lot are beyond contempt" count as personal abuse, do you think?

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  27. [Neil mode on]

    If there is a God then I doubt he'll let you in!!!!!

    So now you're agnostic? You mean Blimpish has brought you closer to his point of view with his argument. You mean he's the winner?

    [/Neil mode]

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  28. That'll be between me and Him. I'm glad to see you now say if, accepting that you've been unable to conclusively refute His existence. (No cause for shame, much better men have failed.)

    Tom: I've always known I'm beyond contempt. Better that than beneath it.

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  29. Tom, there is a context to everything. I'm through arguing with you guys because, I've realised now that you perfectly well understand what I'm saying but are choosing to ignore it and distort it for your own means. Thats up to you, but I know who is telling the truth and that is what matters.

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  30. Andrew, I knew you were going to say that, look up what atheist means!

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  31. Neil: Nah, I know better than to use cheap semantic tricks to try to win an argument. I believe you're an atheist, old bean.

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  32. You could have fooled me! Your whole life seems based on it, if you really believe the stuff you write in your blog.

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  33. What does my belief in what I write have to do with the way in which I argue for it? The two are quite distinct things - one is a statement of faith, the other is a logical progression from axiomatic statements to conclusions. It should be pretty obvious, especially to you, that people can believe things without being able to argue for them in a particularly effective way. Or that people can argue for things effectively, and yet not believe in them. Your cabinet ministers are pretty good at the latter.

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  34. We are not really talking about anything constructive anymore, are we?

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  35. No. So, when are you posting your retraction?

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  36. God this is excruciating...

    Without wanting to sound tooo sanctimonious, what would any normal person, or blogging newbie, get out of this discussion?

    Go outside while the summer's still with us.

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  37. Can't. Stuck in the office.

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  38. You've got a point there. To make matters worse I'm in a basement with no natural light.

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  39. Eek. Corner desk, 4th floor - plenty of sunshine, but a bit stuffy.

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  40. B4L, you are totally right. This whole discussion doesn't reflect well on any of us!

    Their pathetic bully boy tactics has just resulted in a load of drivel comments, which eventually got me to go down to the beach for a swim. So it was eventually worthwhile for me. Feel much better now.

    But I'm not going to let them get away with slandering my reputation.

    My comments on religion were that; because the majority of people who are anti-choice on abortion are influenced by religion their arguments are invalidated.

    In no way is that bigoted, to compare this comment to a BNP supporter as Andrew does is plainly ridiculous.

    I think its about time people realise that views like Andrews'and Blimpish on abortion are offensive. Just look at how Andrew belittles women in his post 'joking' they should turn Lesbian if they want to avoid getting pregnant. This is not funny. If anyone is the bigot it is him for posting such obvious rubbish.

    He compares me to the bigotry of the BNP but has a link to the fascist website 'cross of st george' on his sharpener blog.

    I think by looking at his posts and comparing them to mine it is quite obvious who is closer to the BNP. I'm not the one advocating banning abortion, pro-capital punishment, against immigration, pro-guns etc..

    Believe you me, I have 'debated' with the people on 'CoSG' and it rarely gets above the level of 'I hate brown people cos they smell' arguments! This is the people andrew is siding with.

    Andrew has got so muddled about his inconsistency in being anti-choice and pro-death penalty that he nows claims he never said that 'innocent life should be saved if possible', in which case where does that leave his argument for saving zygotes (even if you believe his ridiculous argument that they are equivalent to humans).

    On religion, I don't think religious views deserve respect because they are plainly absurd.

    Rational people should base their views on what the evidence supports not just 'what cannot be dis-proved philosophically', otherwise you can believe anything and whats the point in that?

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