Re: Are Beliefs Like Clothes? & gender

Sunah Caroline Cherwin (
Sat, 16 Aug 1997 14:24:42 -0700 (PDT)

>>Eric Watt Forste writes:
>>>Many people have the experience (possibly illusory) of being able
>>>to think more clearly, and particularly of being better able to
>>>detect flaws in ideas, when they are in an argumentative frame of
>>>mind. Argument also represents an opportunity to invite other
>>>people to find flaws in one's ideas. Possibly argument is the chief
>>>means by which ideas are improved.
>>The theory needs to be coupled with a theory that explains why it is
>>easier to find flaws in ideas if individual people tie themselves to
>>specific ideas, rather than critiquing ideas one doesn't feel
>>especially tied to.
>If ideas serve a role in sexual selection, then an opposing ideas espoused by
>a potential rival is obviously more of a threat than one that is not. Hence
>we may have more motive to find errors in an argumentative setting than
>otherwise, even with a sham rivalry.
>Not a theory, but a starting hypothesis.

Some linguists see a male tendency toward argument not as part of
present-day sexual selection, but as legacy code in which
(to put it broadly and generally)

*men* communicate to seek status
(originally for sexual purposes)

and *women* communicate to form connections
(originally a habit that led to fathers and other community members helping
support them and their kids).

I find the styles of argument on the Extropians list not as gendered as on
other lists, but in mailing lists in general (again, broadly) I see support
for this.

Sunah Caroline Cherwin           +   +   
Member: HTML Writer's Guild        +        Member: San Francisco Webgrrls