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iamthemob's avatar

Do people think that there's an lack of intellectual diligence in answers on this site?

Asked by iamthemob (17147points) September 2nd, 2010

This isn’t universal of course, and of course it’s a mirror of society generally – I’m wondering people’s opinions, though. I think there is in a lot of cases. I of course don’t think I’m right all times…but I attempt to answer with an eye towards the logistic fallacies in my argument. I FAIL to do so of course…I like to think I try to admit this when I do.

However, there is often a trend for people to talk from their position rather than address the strengths or weaknesses of various assertions. I found that this means the most productive discussions play off of that…and I found that I get the best discussions when I ask something in a purposefully inflammatory manner. I also think that the recent question asked about whether people have had their opinions changed by something which was asked on Fluther shows the potential lack of this diligence – people almost universally said no. This indicates either or both (1) the answers are unconvincing, which indicates a lack of depth somehow; (2) the people reviewing the answers so believe they’re right that they are unable to see their own fallacies or assumptions.

So, do people see this? If so, how?

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67 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

I tend to agree, but OTOH, there’s a broad spectrum of behaviors, and you can’t really generalise about something like that.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I shouldn’t be expected to change my well-reasoned principles based on what others may consider to be their own well-reasoned argument. ;)

iamthemob's avatar

@HungryGuy

Sure we can. Generalizations are appropriate when we are asking “whether more likely than not.” A broad spectrum of behaviors can always be averaged – and if the average lacks intellectual rigor, we should know that…

JilltheTooth's avatar

I can appreciate the cogency of some of the arguments here, but I have noticed that there are a lot of discussions where I have no reason to believe that a user is more educated on a given topic than I am. Some are, some provide reliable links, but many, although couching their arguments with sophisticated rhetoric, are not. The trick is to tell the difference.

iamthemob's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille

NO offense intended…but that’s what I’m talking about. (1) one assumes that his or her argument is well-reasoned (2) there’s an assumption that one well-reasoned principle is equal to another (3) that well-reasoned arguments should make someone change their opinion rather than inform it potentially…etc.

How do you think that applies to the question? (I ask seriously…if you’re being rhetorical (in either a playful manner considering the question or otherwise) I’d love to here why it could be an important consideration).

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth

Do you think that a level of education should be a consideration when we’re talking about the rigor of the discussion? I think you make an interesting point…thanks!

Isn’t the beauty of something like this that we can divorce the argument from the speaker? It allows us the opportunity to assume nothing about the other person’s prejudices or assumptions or background until it is clear in the argument?

iamthemob's avatar

ERG – my last question sort of was an example of MY rigor issues at times (ah, rigor FAIL on my part) – it was stylized in a manner to suggest both what I think and what I’d want to hear. Dernnit…

Ignore the tone, any responder please. Answer however about the purpose of the internet forum…

Your_Majesty's avatar

I think so. But I noticed that many people seem and tend to misunderstood one’s intention in his/her question,thus they ignore their real purpose to help/explain the root of the question. This is more common in curious-based questions.

iamthemob's avatar

@Doctor_D

Are you saying that some people ignore the intent of the question because they believe such intent may be based on an assumption?

If so, I think that’s an example of intellectual rigor. Do you? And how might this be improperly approached…?

downtide's avatar

When the phrase “logical argument” is involved, I’m out. I don’t think I would recognise a logical argument, never mind be capable of using one.

bob_'s avatar

There are several things going on. Some people don’t use this site to “be intellectual”. We’re here to, for the most part, kill time, so we don’t really care about the important philosophical debates others want to engage in.

Others do try to put a lot of thought into their answers, but then there’s a very vocal minority who won’t shut up about what they believe and hijack threads.

Also, it’s logical fallacy, not logistic fallacy. Apparently, we need more intellectual diligence in questions, too ~

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@iamthemob- Aristotle’s Law of Identity.
A thing is what it is.
There are no shades of grey.If two people disagree about an absolute,them one of them is wrong.
Reasoned principles based on metaphysical absolutes are not negotiable.
Btw,I do think there is a lack of intellectual diligence on this site.
Do I care very much? not so much,no ;)

iamthemob's avatar

@bob_

(1) if they aren’t here to engage in such debates…they ignore the questions. If they add something snarky or unhelpful, it can be modded out. So this shouldn’t be an issue.

(2) hijackers are part of the problem, sure. But they can help show why or how an argument is wrong to those watching…and of course, if they aren’t adding, that’s what I’m talking about.

(3) crap, your right about the logical fallacy. I forgot to edit! Snap. But that comment (although indeed presented in a less-than-serious manner) may be an example of the problem. This question is clearly trying to explore an issue of how people approach the argument. Criticisms about underlying assumptions and questions that go to surface issues distract from the underlying assumptions and questions in issue. This comes up a lot when people look at typos and assume the depth of the content is affected by necessity.

the100thmonkey's avatar

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bnyhan/nyhan-reifler.pdf

At the very least it’s interesting, even if you don’t find it convincing.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Yes. I’m not sure how this could be improperly approached as this situation could be sporadic (as some users are more apathetic here) and another cycle of question here. But I can say that people who did that usually justify the content of the question without even bother to investigate it even further.

iamthemob's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille

Okay. But I’m confused…you are discussing one type of question or discussion? What are you trying to say?

Also, what is a universally acceptable metaphysical absolute?

iamthemob's avatar

@the100thmonkey

AWESOME contribution…so on point, and presented in an on-point manner! :-) I must read this…

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob

1. Yes. I thought you meant in the site in general, not only in “serious” questions.

2. Okay… so, what’s the point, there?

3. It’s “you’re”.

iamthemob's avatar

@bob_

What do you mean when you ask what’s the point?

You got it, I see. ;-)

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob You say that hijackers are indeed part of the problem, but then that they also help. As in serving as an example of what not to do?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@iamthe mob-Don’t play coy with me.I have addressed your question.Now go look up metaphysical absolute ;)

the100thmonkey's avatar

@iamthemob – you really should. Learning is done by the learner. I’m taking a break from teaching (I’m not at work till tomorrow), so if you don’t want to read it, there’s little point in being churlish about it.

This thread is starting to remind me of the countless “why does everyone else’s English suck?” threads.

iamthemob's avatar

@bob_

As in demonstrating a response that is based on an inability to address an issue without bringing baggage, and then refusing to acknowledge that’s the situation. They can be both productive and disruptive.

iamthemob's avatar

@the100thmonkey

I really, really hope that the person asking that question meant it to be as layered as I want it to be…

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob Yeah, um, I fail to see how that is productive.

iamthemob's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille

Not coy. I understand the concept but still don’t understand it’s applicability in this context.

Reasoned principles based on metaphysical absolutes are not negotiable

Please explain further…I don’t know what you mean when you are talking about a reasoned principle, and how it applies here.

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob Because the purpose of the debate is that, to debate ideas, not to learn about how to exchange ideas and properly leave one’s baggage behind.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@iamthemob – I really really hope you take the time to read an academic paper that provides some empirical data and hypotheses that answer some parts of your question.

Multi-layered is really just code for “messy”, which also goes part of the way to explaining why you’re having such a hard time getting a straight answer, let alone one that confirms your buried hypothesis.

iamthemob's avatar

@bob_

Through debate assumptions about the reasoning one uses to arrive at a certain conclusion regarding an idea can be revealed. If these assumptions are not based on any evidence, or evidence suited to the argument, then we have to go back to the assumption and re-evaluate.

Also, seeing how people may refuse to acknowledge certain things reveals to others how they may have to revise the presentation of their position in order to attempt to address that refusal.

So to come to more productive solutions, we sometimes need that.

Which brings an interesting coloring to this question itself….

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob This is getting irritating. Are you a liberal arts major?

I’m done here.

iamthemob's avatar

@the100thmonkey

Wait, I was commenting on the english language question you mentioned – I am unclear what you are addressing in your last post now (I feel like you were addressing me discussing YOU’RE post as being multi-layered)...

…but if not, more please! Lost here…

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@iamthemob -Do you live in the real world or do you live in Fantasyland?
If you told me your mother was Minnie Mouse,and you gave me a reasoned argument as to why you thought this was so,would you expect me to lay aside the absolutes of the universe in which we live,and believe you or think that you are a lunatic?

iamthemob's avatar

@bob_

Ahh, bob. That was cute. Getting personal as part of your thread! That’s helpful.

I hope you played the role intentionally. That would be awesome.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@iamthemob – I see.

Forgive me, I misinterpreted your brevity as pointing to another part of my post, and then your subsequent response as sarcastic.

QED?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@bob_ I hear you. I’m bored stiff. ;)

iamthemob's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille

I think I live in the real world…that’s my basic assumption, though…what are you trying to get by asking?

Why do you think I expect you to do law aside the absolutes of the universe? You’re asking about the most extreme situations. I’m mostly curious about the every day ones.

It’s not clear what issue you’re trying to address about your reasoned principles unless you’re referring to a specific one. To your Minnie Mouse example, I say “Nope” based on what I assume you share with most as the general assumptions about the nature of the universe.

But if I say I think “Boredom is evidence of an undeserved sense of intellectual superiority,” and this is a reasoned principle of mine, is that unassailable because it is a reasoned principle based on things that are generally accepted as true?

iamthemob's avatar

@the100thmonkey

Are you asking about QED? Or was that just wicked, wicked clever…

jerv's avatar

I am cynical enough to think that any non-intellectual answer seen on Fluther fall under the umbrella of any internet site being a “mirror of society”.

That said, Fluther is a flawed mirror, and I for one am glad that this is the case. Most of the people here are intelligent, inquisitive, and open-minded (or at least open-minded enough to debate you instead of just calling you an idiot) and those are three qualities I don’t see too often in the average person on the street. That is why I decided to stay here.

BTW, I believe you meant “logical fallacies” as opposed to “logistic fallacies”
Logistic (adj.) – Of or relating to logistics.
Logistics (n) – Management of the supplies and transport required for an operation.
;)

iamthemob's avatar

@jerv

- – I don’t know if the mirror is as flawed as you think. I fear at times that it is the people who consider themselves as intelligent and inquisitive and have both objective evidence and subjective experiences that support that determination may end up being more stubborn than those who don’t.

- – I have already been corrected on the logical fallacies part…and totally, that was a speed typing issue and a lack of editing on my part. However…see above at how the correction was presented, and I think you’ll see evidence of what is causing me to ask this question. I appreciate your method as coming from a clarification and assistance standpoint, as it is phrased for me to allow that assumption…:-)

I don’t think though, given a broad understanding…logistical fallacies is that much less appropriate, now that I’ve considered it…:-)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Yes, I think there is, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fluther is set up in a way that encourages rapid answers to keep a conversation alive, so most people tend to answer off the top of their head. I honestly don’t have the time to put proper research into my answers and analyse every phrase for holes that people might pick on, so my posts are inevitably flawed.

Fluther isn’t the most intellectual site around, but it is a lot more so than other similar sites I’ve seen. I think we’ve got the balance just right.

jerv's avatar

@iamthemob My iPod “auto-corrects” me like that _all _ the time.
@FireMadeFlesh Intellectual often (though not always) means boring. I agree that the balance here is pretty good.

iamthemob's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh

I think that’s right, and one-off answers should be encouraged, regardless of the research behind them.

But if you’re statement is challenged, and you respond in a way to support your previous statement, shouldn’t you back it up? And if you can’t, shouldn’t you admit that and offer it up to the community to provide something to help you out?

iamthemob's avatar

@jerv

I don’t think that it shouldn’t be fun…but intellectual shouldn’t ever be boring, right? (I have a feeling you agree with me on this one…:-))

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@iamthemob Maybe in a strict intellectual debate that would be the correct thing to do, but I think Fluther is more of a conversation between friends. I will provide sources where possible if they are requested, but for the most part I just don’t have the time to do so. Most of my sources are also accessed via my university databases, and to link to them would be to give away my identity and my login details.

iamthemob's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh

But in a conversation between friends, if someone asked you, “Why do you think that,” you’d state your best reasons wouldn’t you?

And you can also mention the resources without linking to them…that’s not necessary…

If you can’t provide a reason for why you think the way you do, shouldn’t you wonder if your statement or answer has real merit?

I feel like otherwise you just kind of want to say stuff (not you, but the general “you”). If that’s the case, if someone disagrees with you, you have to just kind of bow out or you’re being, as far as I’m concerned…dishonest.

Nothing says you have to stick with a thread if you don’t want to.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@iamthemob Of course I would state my reasons, but they wouldn’t necessarily be backed by rigorous research.

“If you can’t provide a reason for why you think the way you do, shouldn’t you wonder if your statement or answer has real merit?”
Certainly. That was the trigger for my release from Christianity – I realised there was no legitimate reason to be a Christian. If someone disagrees with me, I will argue the point for the sole reason of finding out more about what they think and what I think. It is not dishonesty, it is just a way of looking for answers.

YARNLADY's avatar

If I was only interested in intellectual diligence I wouldn’t waste my time here. There sites that are specifically for intellectual discussions and their moderators keep it that way.

I prefer to discuss a reasonably thought out, experienced based opinion. I find “in my experience” or “it seems to me” to be quite satisfactory.

iamthemob's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh

It sounds like in the context you’re talking about…the discussion of why you don’t see the merit in Christianity for you…is one where you’d be refining the discussion, and giving reasons and argument. If you had an opinion, and someone presented something that refuted that opinion, you wouldn’t change your opinion without showing why the interpretation is wrong, the data is wrong, there’s a contrary family of evidence, etc. If you can’t do that, you have to adjust your position I think…

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

I wouldn’t separate “intellectual diligence” from “reasonably thought out.” I more am concerned with exchanges where it seems people hold to their opinions…and don’t seem to incorporate the rest of the conversation in to the responses.

If that’s what people are here for…fine. But if that is what you’re here for (the impersonal you, not YOU you, ;-)), then I hope you don’t expect me to take any account of your opinion.

faye's avatar

Philosophy major?

iamthemob's avatar

@faye

Cute. I’m not having fun with it, though. So if it was meant as light hearted, sorry to take it heavy.

If not, nope. I’m a lawyer. I’m trying to see what people think is wrong with the world, how they approach certain issues generally, how that might improve the democratic process through collaboration on a community level using the internet as a way to express and argue through ideas.

It’s not working.

faye's avatar

Yes, lighthearted. You know, you just might not be seeing the ripple your words begin.

iamthemob's avatar

Wow. That was really nicely phrased.

Thanks. You’re right.

Seriously good show.

CMaz's avatar

Lack of intellectual diligence.

Is like seeing the value of a watch, only for the time it tells.

rooeytoo's avatar

I save my intellectual diligence for when I am working on the solving the problems of the universe. I come here to hear the opinions of others on subjects that interest me and to give my own as well. Also to have a giggle along the way. I gave up debating when I left high school.

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo

but if you do debate, you should do it well.

CMaz's avatar

“I save my intellectual diligence for when I am working on the solving the problems of the universe. ”

And that is all the time I hope.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ChazMaz – absobloodylutely! I am always hard at it. Did you see my note about the free movie site?

faye's avatar

Free movie site??!

iamthemob's avatar

Ooh – guys, luv ya…but hijack much? :-)

Time for the PM y’all.

rooeytoo's avatar

Look here

@iamthemob – we are whispering so it is allowed

and I have already solved all the world problems on my list for today

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo

faye didn’t. And I don’t know how you were (Fluther) raised, but this is my house. :-)

faye's avatar

Sorry, excitement overcame me.

rooeytoo's avatar

omg, another jealous flutherite, @faye I hope you are tugging on your fetlock or forelock to show your great sorrow at the disturbance we have caused. I know I am. I thought Fluther allowed whispering in anyone’s house but I could be wrong.

faye's avatar

overcome by remorse

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo

seriously wrong, seriously. you all should be ashamed

Although out loud, I was joking around. I hope that was clear with the emoticons. It was getting a little long, back and forth, so I felt like the thread wasn’t the best place for it, considering it’s off-topic.

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