How Not to Argue:
written January 1, 2009
I donít know if this is something that a lot of people do in general, or if I just hang around a bunch of mindless retards, but I cannot count the number of times Iíve heard somebody arguing passionately about something, or even just carrying on a normal conversation, and then cite their facts by prefacing the info with
They say. Weíve all heard them before:
They say the divorce rate is 50%.
They say you eat an average of 5 to 8 spiders while you sleep every year.
They say we were never really looking for weapons of mass destruction.
They say carbs are bad for you.
They say if you nose itches, somebody is thinking about you.
Weíve all heard theses pseudo-facts spewed about with confidence, as though
they are some sort of super elite, all-knowing, all-encompassing sect of experts on every topic imaginable.
They just sit around, think random shit up, and write it in stone. Who exactly are they? I absolutely love to interject this question into peopleís mindless ramblings and passionate arguments. Iíll usually get some half stammered, I-just-got-caught-off-guard-spewing-bullshit-and-I-donít-really-know-what-Iím-talking-about-so-Iím-going-to-try-to-be-as-dismissive-as-possible answer, like
researchers, or my personal favorite,
experts. As if those arenít the vaguest possible authorities. I donít want to get too technical here, but there is no such thing as a credible group of authorities merely labeled
scientists. You could gather together fifteen or so physicists who are
experts about crap like gravity, antimatter, and whether light is a wave or a particle, but they would have no clue whether or not carbs are bad for you. And even if you gather a group of
experts on nutrition, different
experts have competing theories. If you read ten different books by ten different nutritionists, dieticians, medical doctors, gastro-intestinal surgeons, or whatever
expert you choose, in each of those books youíll get a different opinion on what is healthy and what is not, depending on a variety of factors and circumstances. Rational arguments aside,
expert is such a vague, undefined, arbitrary term, anybody can be an expert on anything. The book Skinny Bitch is a national best seller on nutrition, and one of the authors is credited as a
self-taught know-it-all. Howís that for an expert? When I hear the indefinite pronoun
they as a source of information, I automatically assume
they are as credible as a self-taught know-it-all. Hell, if thatís the standard weíre going to accept, then Iím an expert on poker, driving, and sex. Each of those activities was self taught, and in each of those activities, I know all that I know about the given subject at this moment. Thus, I am a self-taught know-it-all. For that matter, so is everybody else that has ever played poker, driven a car, or engaged in penetration.
Think before you say something stupid. I hate you.
- How Not to Argue:
- Poker, Driving, and Sex - Everyone's an Expert
- Ineffective Communication
- People You Should Hate
- 10 Reasons You Should go to Law School
- You Get What You Give
- The Reality of Law School
- Skinny Bitch Book Review