medicine to the deadPosted: December 13, 2010
An interesting discussion with my brother this weekend I don’t want to loose.
”Arguing with a man who has abandoned reason is akin to giving medicine to the dead.” –Thomas Paine
Interesting. The act of argument is based on emotion. Emotion is not based on reason. Yet it is emotion that creates, produces, reorders, integrates, and is dynamic where reason is static and boring. “Akin to giving medicine to the dead”, you say?
One cannot ‘dose’ the emotion you seek to provoke, Thomas Paine. You can only make a timid attempt with these words by attempting to stifle the “unreasonable” things you speak so poorly about.
Ian, your comment makes me angry.
You assume too much me thinks, senior. In your framework that you created it kind of makes sense. But the world is not this way; emotion is not the basis of argument. I would prefer the emotion comes in response of someone insulting the truth (based on reason and evidence). One shouldn’t argue because one is emotional. Emotion (in my view) is akin to rhetoric, while reason is akin to honest inquiry and evidence.
If emotion is not the basis of argument, why does one incessantly attempt to prove that they are right and the other is wrong? The fact is, argument is anything but being “akin to giving medicine to the dead” One’s reason is defined by belief. The word “belief” is a noun and is neither reasonable or unreasonable. Argument that you know the truth is quite emotionally based on how you reason. Implying that any emotional response to heretics that are “insulting the truth” doesn’t help your assumption on argument not being based on emotion, brother.
This quote is hypocritical; it claims to be reasonable yet entices emotion by humorously saying “na nanana na-na! I’m reasonable and everyone who doesn’t agree with me isn’t!”
Again, an interesting response. And I’m glad I made you angry, Dustin!
Not everything is equal. That is what Paine is saying. Some idea’s are much better than others (and are not connected with arbitrary assertions, but are connected with factual evidence). Someone can argue anything– right, wrong, whatever. Paine is saying, when someone refuses to listen to accepted facts then it is like talking to a brick wall. Argue all you want but, 2+2 will equal 4. I think of it like arguing with a drunk person. Paine is not saying he personally has a monopoly on reason, he is saying we shouldn’t waste time on fools.
2+2 does not *always* equal 4. Please define if you are using an ordinal, nominal, ratio or interval scale to come to this conclusion.
The fact is, you believe that 2+2 equals 4 and you will come up with any empirical evidence the makes sense to you to prove your belief.
You make an absolute claim saying: “Argue all you want but,” I know the truth.
Now, I’m not going to call you stupid, drunk, or say I’m right and you’re wrong or that further argument with you on this topic is like giving medicine to a dead person. Not only would that make me no better than Mr. Paine by provoking an emotional outcry from you, but it would claim that I actually know something that is absolute: That my beliefs are “right”
Calling for the context in which 2+2 is used is all you are doing. The completed equation equals 4, as I have described it. I would not believe you would even take yourself seriously if you were not involved in anything but an argument. There are few things in this world that are “facts,” but they do exist none-the-less. Also, I am not concerned with beliefs. Reason is not arbitrary, beliefs are. They are opposite and not interchangeable terms as you have made them. You think that Paine “believes” in reason, thus his “reason” is reduced to his personal belief and he has no right to push his beliefs on people. Reason is proven through evidence, it requires “something” to recommend it. Belief requires nothing. This is the sort of thing that Paine is railing against. This will also be my last comment. P.S.- I would love to be “no better” than Thomas Paine.
Aiden Fleming P.P.S.– I just re-read our posts and I wasn’t calling you stupid or drunk, I was speaking generally. Sorry if it came off that way, brother.
Here are the facts (do take me seriously):
2 (piles of sand) + 2 (piles of sand) = 1 (pile of sand) [nominal]
2nd place + 2nd place does not equal 4th place [ordinal scale]
So, in not all cases does 2+2=4. Arbitrary and belief is where one chooses to classify the presence of absolute zero. Example: 0C does not imply the absence of all heat.
Now, you can oppress me or blow me off by saying I’m proverbially dead to you but stating an absolutist belief of the answer of 2+2 and that the argument is hereby closed is no better an idea or belief than mine.
George Orwell wrote a book about this.
And I’ll stick to my guns on this: if it weren’t for emotion or belief, there would be no advancement, creativity, or dynamic thinking (a.k.a. progressive thought). Bicycles and helicopters would not be invented because they defied the laws of physics of the time. Obama would not have been elected president if it weren’t for emotion or belief (“Yes you can!”, “Hope!”, “Change We Can Believe In!”).
My point is that discourse/argument is never the equivalent to giving “medicine to the dead” no matter how irrational or unreasonable the discussion may seem. People listen – and it does make a difference.