Argument weakening alert
I've read the conversation up to now. There are less fuel-to-fire words like "utterly irrelevant", and some interesting arguments. People noticed in recent posts a decline in quality.
* vague phrases, prone to easy rejection that alas are written by also vague phrases, then apologies, diluting interesting exchanges
* citing Wikipedia, where someone cherry-picks a debated counter-argument like it were just truth
(I think I spotted base rate fallacy
and ad hominem
, there may be others.)
* some interesting paths of discussion drown out when people react on superficial areas
How about :
* trying to spot fallacies in one's train of thoughts, then think again ;
* reading one's writing before posting ;
* double checking if words are clear, not prone to misunderstanding or otherwise weakening the discussion.
IMHO these are good practice for oneself and others we interact with.
Not claiming I'm perfect. I fell, fall and will fall into some pits, like everyone, thanks gmalivuk for explaining one of my mistakes.
One could quote examples of terms above but I'm not sure if it would rather feel like finger-pointing (upsetting people rather than making the conversation more interesting, and I definitely want the latter). Drifting in meta-discussion would also lessen the discussion.
Actually, the latter posts reminded me about the Argument Clinic
. That sketch is more than funny, I think it's actually interesting on the logical side and on the human relation side. But not an example of good practical argument!Back to topic
Several paths for discussion were opened. We've seen how the meaning of marriage and has evolved through time and is different among current people.
I found enlightening the part of the debate about species and history of life and humanity. There's a parallel between the idea of species and the idea of marriage, both are rooted in some pre-existing reality (in the sense of: something that exists whatever we think about it).
Getting clear in one's mind that species have blurry contours and corner cases reminds that "species" we're discussing about are a simplification of reality (in the sense that actual individuals live a lot of details we leave aside when discussing, but what details are okay to leave aside ?).
When we're arguing about marriage, we're trying to make sense of the facts we observe, question our own ideas and opinions, which are simplifications of reality.
Simplification of reality is a useful and powerful tool that allowed humanity to build the civilization we live in. Yet simplification of reality also leads people to sometimes ignore important areas and take wrong decisions that sometimes backfire sooner or later. I fail at this (sometimes painfully) like all of us.
Anyone to refresh the debate in light of this ?