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Flat out - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Flat out
If I hear/see one more person use the phrase "for a long time everybody thought the earth was flat" (or variants thereon) as a keystone of their argument in a debate, I won't be held responsible for the consequences.
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Comments
boyofbadgers From: boyofbadgers Date: October 28th, 2007 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Hear bloody hear.
From: jamboi Date: October 28th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

For a long time....

...everybody thought the earth was flat. They were unable to make that argument, I'm making up for lost time.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: For a long time....

Oh, do fuck off.
angoel From: angoel Date: October 28th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
You don't seem to be a very happy bunny at the moment. I hope that that's because you're venting it all into LJ, and that your reality is somewhat better.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your powers of observation amaze me.

Unfortunately it's actually because lots of other things are stressful at the moment; venting about the trivial things and taking my anger out on trolls and morons acts as a useful pressure-valve.

Also, my tolerance for idiots is quite literally plummeting in direct proportion to the amount of time I spend on the internet, because there are JUST SO MANY IDIOTS and it's impossible to STOP THE FUCKERS BREEDING (or even -- which would suffice -- STOP THEM TYPING).

Yes, yes, I am aware that for plenty of people out there I am part of the problem, and I'm certainly not part of the solution.
celestialweasel From: celestialweasel Date: October 28th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is that because
(a) the syllogism 'people thought something wrong was right therefore x' is bollocks
(b) because it is not actually true
(c) both
(d) other

Most people think it is true because of a crap song, but it is clearly round, lots of people knew it was round etc. etc.

j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
a) well, it isn't a syllogism, but yes, it's usually bollocks
b) it's not wholly true, it's impossible to tell in what sense it's true, and it's very rarely relevant to whatever people are trying to prove from it, so...
c) both, and...
d) it's just really cocking annoying, it's a big fat cliché, people act as if it was as a total argument-annihilator ("Ah yes but for a long time people believed the earth was flat, ergo I WIN I WIN I WIN!") and consequently it's usually delivered with an air of punchworthy smugness.

Basically, it usually seems to be used to mean "people were wrong about X, therefore they are equally likely to be wrong about Y" which is simply nonsense when used without any kind of qualification.

ALSO, it is often used as a proxy for "the vast majority are so stupid they'll believe any old shit", which i) is fairly unpleasant, and ii) is usually irrelevant, as iii) this "majority" usually just means "people the speaker disagrees with" or even in extreme cases "people who are not the speaker".

Also, most of the things for which Joe Blogs (he does, too, usually) uses the flat-earth comparison tend to be things for which Joe Blogs and the internets at large have far, far more evidence than flat-earth believers had for the flatness or otherwise of the earth. "We just don't know but we believe X" is one thing when you're trying to pick mud out of your teeth inbetween fighting off marauding beasts and your only real source of information is looking at what you can see with your two eyes; it's quite another thing when somebody is presenting you with strong scientific evidence for or against X and you're sticking your fingers in your ears saying "la la la FLAT EARTH FLAT EARTH".
From: jamboi Date: October 28th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
ALSO, it is often used as a proxy for "the vast majority are so stupid they'll believe any old shit"

The funny thing is, I made that argument to point out that people believe things that appear to make sense based on what they know and that often these conclusions, although false, still allow people to behave in a way that is actually completely acceptable (i.e.. knowing that the world is round makes basically no difference to how I behave at all).
hairyears From: hairyears Date: October 28th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

On the folly of sophistry and sincerity in stupidity...


I dunno, it's useful when you hear one of these key phrases that identifies the argument as worthless and the speaker as a fuckwit. From that point onwards you can just tune them out, knowing that you're saving time and irritation.

At some point I will list all these 'label' phrases; feel free to post a list of your own.



There is, of course, no point in pointing out that 'for a long time...etc' isn't actually true, and that a minority of humans who range beyond the horizon - or who apply the tools of logic to the world - have always discounted the fairy-tales of priests and second-rate philosophers. But what's the point of arguing with a fuckwit? They will continue to think that they are right and now, believing they have won an argument, will consider themselves publicly proven to be cleverer than you. *sigh* I just let them drivel as they will, and try to tune it out.

redbird From: redbird Date: October 28th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: On the folly of sophistry and sincerity in stupidity...

While it's useful to have such key phrases--one of the places I hang out is Making Light, where we've developed a great sensitivity to commenters using the phrase "you people"--that doesn't mean we shouldn't want to hit them over the head with a seal, nor yet that we don't sometimes need to point out the falsehood of their statements.

On the specific here, I shall start asking "how long a time?" and "which people?" Columbus was considered a fool in part because of how long people had known the Earth was round, and how large it is.
sbp From: sbp Date: October 28th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: On the folly of sophistry and sincerity in stupidity...

Which goes back to the Greeks with their wells and sticks.
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j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
The world can be divided into two types of people: those who believe that thinking the earth isn't flat is what separates us from the animals, and those who... no, hang on. MORNINGTON CRESCENT. Do I win?
wechsler From: wechsler Date: October 28th, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're too late. The anarcho-neologist terrorists have already won.
senji From: senji Date: October 29th, 2007 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
No, the river is in Knip so you get shunted to Euston Square.

ST JAMES' PARK.
bluedevi From: bluedevi Date: October 29th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Tangentially:

I presume you've seen this: Proofs of God's Existence.

But what you might not have seen is this rather inept parody, Disproofs of God's Existence.

The reason this interested me was that I found the Disproofs first, with no context, and thought it was written by an atheist to warn other atheists not to make lame arguments, and take the piss out of those who did. Written by the in-group, not the out-group. I got more and more confused because some of the Disproofs were actually rather good. Then I went up one directory level, found it was a Christian apologist site and went 'wtf? This is supposed to be pro-Christian propaganda? Try harder, guys.'

On the plus side, I did find out what a trilemma was.
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