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Claims of ignorance don’t work on me

February 13, 2013

In my various discussions with people from around the globe, I find myself privy to certain undeniable “tactics”, regarding the nature of opposing discussion. They’re fallacious to be sure, I’m just not 100% what to call them. If someone knows the technical terms, I would love to know. That being said; these tend to go hand in hand whether I see them. And they occur in the following order…

“You’re just ignorant.” This would be true if I was actually engaging in conversation to learn something; which I do quite often. But when I’m in discussion, debate or argument, I come fully prepared. Stocked, locked and loaded with information you probably haven’t even thought of. I’ll also carefully dissect every iota of information you bring to the table to verify its veracity. No no, I’m not going to simply take your words for it or claims that it’s “obvious”, because the facts often conflict with the narrative.

If I actually was ignorant in something, I would admit it; like I did above. You can certainly attempt to illustrate my ignorance with new information; but the information first needs to be new, and then it needs to hold up against scrutiny. If it doesn’t, I will reject it as a regurgitation of tired outplayed arguments that have no business being in front of me.

“You don’t understand.” This assumes I’ve reached a different conclusion than you based on the same thing I’ve read/seen/heard/etc because I’m not understanding the material correctly. Quite the contrary, I simply have a different opinion or conclusion than you do because I understand it. Now perhaps this might play to our individual biases, but you can’t assume that everyone that reads the same book will hold your opinion of it. And this goes quadruple for any opinion piece on some random persons blog (mine included).

In my last debate, people used both of these against me. When I called them out on it, I never heard from them again. This may work on other people, but it doesn’t work on me. I actually research the topics I discuss. I think about their history, the implications, the subtle nuances of communication the author is attempting to make. So when I make a judgment call, I’m not doing it by pulling a rabbit out of my ass. And when it happens to disagree with your viewpoint, you accusations of ignorance not only insult me, but they demean your position when your defense becomes a fallacious one.

I’m not ignorant (in specific cases at least). The amusing irony being that most skeptical people tend to know more about the subject they discuss then the proponents do.

Sometimes we can chalk our differences of opinion up to subjection, as in the case of movies, art, music, etc. There are some things I like, and some things I don’t; much of which I find beyond explanation. I’m not going to get on your case because you possess different taste buds.

But when it comes to facts; you’d have to be ignorant to make an argument that flies in the face of all contrary evidence. Actually, at that point you’re not being ignorant; you’re just being stupid.

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