ANST - To Dennis O' Connor

Dennis O'Connor dmoc at
Wed Aug 6 09:04:42 PDT 1997

 -----Original Message-----
From: Garth <green at>
>Just because somebody has a different opinion than you does not make
>their argument invalid. You might try doing some formal debate. 

I think you have it wrong.  "Validity", in the sense used in logic
and argument, does not apply to opinions.  It applies to the
construction of the argument supporting that opinion.  To simply
repeat oneself, or to accomplish an identical effect by stating
"I stand on my words", is an invalid form of argument.  Validity
does not even address whether the axioms underlying an
argument are true or false (and therefor does not address 
whether the conclusions drawn are true or false); it addresses
whether the conclusion was reached by applying logic to
the axioms. With a valid argument, we know that if we agree 
on the axioms, then we must agree on the conclusion.  Conversely, 
if we disagree on the conclusion, we know that disagreement must 
stem from a disagreement on the truth-value of one or more axioms.
(Either that, or one of us is being irrational.) This is in fact the value 
of using *valid* arguments: it allows us to work towards an understanding 
of our differences.  Invalid arguments often have the reverse effect.
This is why IMHO it is appropriate to castigate people for using
invalid forms of argument, as you have done.

>As I said in my original reply; I simply reject your cynical attitude.

I have shown much more cause for having a cynical attitude
(which contrary to your claims, I do not have, but regardless ..) 
than you have  shown for not.  I have put forth an argument, and 
you have responded as if you were involved in some childish 
"is ... isn't ... is ... isn't" exchange. Support your opinions,
or spare me and the 'net the mere repetition of them.  I do
not particularly care which of those options you choose.

>If you are so miserable in the SCA why don't you find something else to
>do on the weekends?

Do you have evidence that I am "miserable in the SCA" ?  
If so, I'd like to see it.  Without it your question makes as
much sense as the classic "Are unicorns blue ?" question
(none) and is about as honest a question as the classic
"Do you still beat your wife". Which reminds me,  Garth, 
do you still beat your wife ? (Get the point ?)

BTW, the very title of your posts makes it likely you intended
to engage in "ad-hominem" attacks, and I think it pretty obvious
that you have indeed done so.  Such attacks are of course invalid.
Resorting to them is often seen as a sign of not being able to
support your position by any valid argument.  They are also
often taken as an invitation to "flame".  (It made me smile to see
you use them.  Kindling for the fire is always nice. Heh heh heh!)

I have commented on the obvious weakness of your arguments.
You have responded with remarks that do not address my *arguments*
at all, but rather address *me*: that I am cynical, that I do not enjoy
being in the SCA, that I do not understand formal debate. Anyone
with any knowledge of me will, I think, agree that all those accusations
are very untrue: I am sanguine, I enjoy events, and I believe I have
demonstrated many times my skill at formal debate, and at flames,
too, when the latter more suits my purpose and inclination. If I
thought your opinion mattered a damn (which I do not) I would
take offense.  But instead, I simply recognize that you have much
to learn about conducting a rational debate on the 'net, and have
endeavored to instruct you.  I recognize that this instruction no doubt
annoys you, especially as it points out the inadequacy of your conduct
in a public forum, and therefor probably causes you embarrassment.
Possibly you will react angrily, and thereby further embarrass yourself.
 If I had wished to spare you that embarrassment I would have replied
privately, but I felt that the instruction I believe you so obviously need
can also be of some use to others, and so I have not spared you.
Dennis O'Connor               dmoc at
I'm having close to too much fun with this. :-)


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