Re: E X P O N E N T --December 2001 Members Newsletter

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 15:38:02 MST

On Mon, 10 Dec 2001, E. Shaun Russell wrote:

> Personally,
> I can't envision any practical reason for an ad hominem exchange, and
> unless someone can make a really good case for when and how ad hominem is
> productive, the rule should remain.

I made such a case. If you consciously attack someone with the intent
of having them seriously question whether their position is wrong,
perhaps "wrong" as in "seriously evil" or based entirely on facts
generally accepted as erroneous (e.g. "the holocost never happened",
"we never landed on the moon", etc.), then you are doing it in an
attempt to be of service to the other individual.

For example, I think if in response to my proposed response to the 911
attacks, someone had said, "Look Robert you blithering idiot, thats just
wrong, you are such a complete asshole", I think the attack would
have been justified. Of course the attack would have to be accompanied
by the reasons the source feels that is the case (otherwise it is mere
name calling). I doubt many of us give such careful thought as to
whether such words will be able to have the desired effect on specific
individuals that many of us can use that tactic effectively.

As I said previously, such attacks may only be effective when accompanied
by appropriate facial cues, vocal tones, or perhaps when you know the
individual personnally and there is a greater than average respect
quotient between the people involved.

So I hereby grant people limited rights for ad hominem attacks against
me *provided* they are doing it within the guidelines outlined above.

If you want to preserve the "geniality" of the list, then simply do it
to me offlist.


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