[lit-ideas] Re: Moderate Muslims

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 11:46:11 -0700



Well you are wrong.  I have described Simon's argument in great detail.  No
one objected.  Simon didn't say, 'Hey wait a minute.  That's not what I
mean."  Simon's argument, the argument I described as Simon's was
fallacious.  I understood it perfectly well.  Since it was fallacious and
you think it was not either you don't understand the nature of a fallacy or
you haven't understood the nature of the arguments here.


I have gone into all the issues presented in extreme detail spending time on
this that I would rather spend elsewhere.  Your sitting in our coliseum with
one arm through Simon's produces nothing to help him.  You merely hold your
other arm out and turn your thumb down.  Maybe Simon is pleased, but the
British Empire has collapsed. Thumbs are not arguments any more.  


To reiterate (trying to subdue my annoyance), Simon came after me wanting me
to admit that there were more extremists and fewer moderates as a result of
the Iraq war.  I asked his evidence and he referred to two terrorist
incidents and an unnumbered number of interviews he listened to.  His
"evidence" isn't really evidence.  It is anecdotal in nature.  Two terrorist
attacks?  There were at least two terrorist attacks before Iraq so we can
rule that out as evidence.


Interviews?  Even if the interviews Simon listened to were by terrorists
that said they became terrorists because America removed Saddam, how many
were there?  I gathered under ten and so used that number.  Ten terrorists
say they became terrorists because America and Britain removed Saddam.
There were at least ten people who became terrorists before Saddam was a
gleam in Bush and Blair's eyes.  We don't care what they think.  All we want
to know for purposes of Simon's argument is whether more became terrorists
or extremists as a result of the Iraq war than became extremists before the
Iraq war.


Had Simon said, "I believe there are more extremists as a result of the Iraq
war, he would have been on safe ground.  He may be wrong, but he is entitled
to his opinion even if it is wrong.  


What Simon is not permitted to do is to insist that someone else accept his
opinion unless the evidence demands that acceptance.  Simon thought he had
such evidence and insisted on several occasions that I must accept his
argument which he deemed irrefutable.  


I did not go after Simon to point out the flaws in his thinking.  He came
after me and presented his thinking as persuasive.   His belief was that
quantitatively the Iraq war increased extremists and decreased moderates.
Quantities are things you can count or approximate with a rationale of some
sort.  In Aerospace, for example, the perusal of a lot of data convinced
those involved, both the government and manufacturers, that there was a
correspondence between the weight of a product and its cost.  The Air Force
insisted that all proposals for changes include the weight so they could
compare it to the cost.  For some new proposals it was sufficient to know
the weight of the change only, in order to obtain a "ball park" cost before
going ahead.  Thus I would never argue that only direct quotes could provide
the data for costing a change.


Getting back to Simon's assertions however, he has never advanced reasons
for them beyond the anecdotes he referred to: two terrorist attacks and a
small number of interviews caused him to evaluate the quantities of
moderates and extremists and to determine that one has gone up and the other
down since the Iraq war.  We know from the description of the Fallacy of
Hasty Conclusion that Simon is guilty of it.  His claims about the
quantities of moderates and extremists are not based upon a large enough
sampling to make any legitimate claims.  My responses to him do not bear
upon his right to be wrong.  They bear upon his demand that I be wrong with
him. And your snide and snotty snippets aid and abet him in this demand.





From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Judith Evans
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 9:57 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Moderate Muslims


I am hammering away at you, Lawrence, because I believe you have failed to
understand the nature of the arguments here. 



----- Original Message ----- 

From: Lawrence <mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  Helm 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 5:45 PM

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Moderate Muslims




You are hammering me in such a way as to make me think you are in Simon's
state: unable to appreciate or understand the significance and nature of a
fallacy, and by implication, the significance and nature of Logic.  Perhaps
the practice of Logic is becoming a lost art in this modern world.  To be
free of the rules of logic seems to encourage many to make the most
outlandish and ridiculous statements and draw the most absurd conclusions.
The Sam Harris article quoted by Eric provides several cogent and alarming
of examples of the danger such faulty thinking can cause.







-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Judith Evans
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 9:29 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Moderate Muslims


LH> >>I was not able to determine that there were any moderates 

> in the Middle East because neither Omar nor I could find 

> hide nor hair of them.


EY> Let me repost an excerpt from this article to see if it can 

> advance the discussion.


Lawrence will be able to tell you which Fallacy you committed in

assuming this helps us determine whether there are any moderates

in the Middle East




Judy Evans, Cardiff

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