Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Well What Should People Be Arguing About, Then?

So some say no one should waste their time arguing about this, that, or the other, where "this" is typically religion, "that" is politics, and "the other" is - if I'm not getting this confused - the broad topic of the nature of reality, how we can establish it, how we can know what is known, and to what extent we can say that we share or do not share a reality. People say it's a waste of time to argue about these things. Well I have to ask: "What then should people be arguing about?

I say we should argue about demonstrable scientific fact! No wait. Demonstrable scientific fact is repeatable. We shouldn't argue about it. We should simply impugn the parameters of the experiment that we believe have spoiled the results, redraw the experiment with more rigorous design, then run the improved experiment and write up the results! Why argue about it when we can experiment about it? Satisfying.

Maybe we should argue about whether earth cycles slowly through stages of extreme global melt and extreme global freeze or humanity controls the weather? This is dumb, though. There's no either/or there - false dichotomy alert! The answer is yes. Earth cycles continuously through freeze and melt. And yes. Humanity controls the weather. "Controls" in the sense that Ralph Hinkley flies. We haven't got the supersuit instructions down yet, but we know dozens of heating and cooling factors, and several of them are demonstrably strong factors, capable of exerting meaningful effect to heat or cool, on a global scale - and subject to human manipulation. Where we can influence, we can study that influence. Where we have effect, we can understand that effect. Effect plus understanding equals control. All it takes is huge government funding for pure research in these areas. Done! Next.

So I'm not sure what it is really that we should be arguing about. As far as people in general go, what's really worthwhile? Of course for individual people and situations, we can argue about who was rude when by doing what, and whose meaning wasn't really what they later claimed it was. Those are perennials! Nobody ever seems to think that kind of argument is a waste of time.

Should people be arguing about what to have for dinner? Where to go on vacation? What to do for the weekend? The specifics of a bet? Who looked at who else's body part(s) how, and/or why that is/isn't demeaning or offensive? Whose fault this last patch of unsatisfactory sex has been? Whose turn/responsibility it was to do specified onerous chore (not necessarily an unrelated question to the preceding)? These are also all areas people seem to believe are well worth arguing.

Perhaps we should argue about peoples' clothes and hair!

You know, I've noticed something about people who think it's a waste of time to argue about politics, religion, or reality in general - which we can easily call "subjectivity" if it will make you, you specifically I mean, happy. The people who call these kinds of argument a waste of time tend to fall into three broad types. They are generally either the confused/inarticulate who can't put together/get across a cogent thought, and don't enjoy being embarrassed on that count; the decisively-convinced, who have a permanent opinion and who know from experience it's certainly a waste of anybody's time to argue against it; or the reformed bad arguers, who have learned the hard way that the way they do it (or did it), argument just causes bad feelings, and never does create a valuable understanding.

Now that sounds like something to argue about! Potentially!

1 comment:

dogimo said...

But please note: all three of those broad types as described above are dead right. Arguing is a waste of time for them!