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View Full Version : A survey on indefensible positions


bjkeefe
05-02-2009, 12:58 PM
There's a poll at the top of this page.

cognitive madisonian
05-02-2009, 07:22 PM
1) Depends on your definition of torture. Better to use concrete terms.
"The Bush administration did not waterboard"
Well that would be an counter-factual statement. Being that it's inherently incorrect, there's no defense to it. But then who's going to argue it?

2) Pretty silly. Ask most Wal-mart employees or the businesses they drive under and they'll say no. Ask the young couple with two kids and a combined household income of $35,000 and they probably will have a different answer. Wal-Mart is good to them. Perfectly defensible.

3) A false claim, so not defensible.

AemJeff
05-02-2009, 08:13 PM
There's a poll at the top of this page.

If "defensible" means a plausible argument could be mounted, regardless of the relative strength of that argument, then I think the only good answer is number three.

JonIrenicus
05-02-2009, 11:55 PM
I chose anthropogenic global warming, however, I still find alot of the doomsday talk hysterical.


The earth is not going to die due to warming, NYC wil not flood, the seas will not rise 100 feet, etc etc.


Right up there with the so called environmental catastrophe related to building new fission reactors for nuclear power. It's non existent, not that many care, they just want a cause bigger than themselves to rail against.


And a last point, a more honest scientific rebuttal, and infinitely more persuasive one, would be to do an exaustive search for studies that go AGAINST your view.

falsifiability, in a word.


I believe X

the non scientific approach is to cherry pick arguments and articles that support the view of X. (The way many people argue on these and virtually all forums)

the more scientific approach would be to take those same arguments and articles and data and actively try and disprove ones belief in X.

And how many global warming catastrophists have done the latter?

pampl
05-03-2009, 12:15 AM
I agree with what everyone's said, but since I like anal retentive nit-picking I'm gonna go ahead and do it:

Counter-factual doesn't mean factually incorrect. It's a hypothetical situation predicated on something false being true, e.g. "if the Bush admin. hadn't waterboarded we would be more respected". It's not a factual claim; it's not directly about how the world actually currently is. The claim "the Bush admin. didn't waterboard" is factual in nature- it happens to be wrong, but it is trying to describe how the world actually is and not how it would be under other circumstances.

Falsifiability doesn't mean trying to falsify, it just means there's some theoretical way it could be falsified. Granted, there are a few trendsters who adopt legitimate enviromental concerns as more of an attitude than a belief, and for them it probably couldn't be falsified, but that's an entirely marginal group of people.

opposable_crumbs
05-03-2009, 08:42 AM
Bush. If torturing the english language wasn't enough, there is Abu Ghraib and rendition to consider.

cognitive madisonian
05-03-2009, 08:57 AM
The Bush administration was hardly responsible for Abu Ghirab anymore than Obama was directly responsible for that insane low flyover in NYC last week.

opposable_crumbs
05-03-2009, 09:18 AM
The Bush administration was hardly responsible for Abu Ghirab anymore than Obama was directly responsible for that insane low flyover in NYC last week.

There are those on the right who certainly attribute the flyover to the Obama administartion if not Obama himself.

I agree it's hard to define the amount of cupability the Bush adminstration has, if any, for Abu Ghraib but those found guilty of abuse are doing all the can to implicate others based on the torture memos. Most would agree that such is the length of the chain-of-command from Commander-in-chief to prision grunt, that such claims are difficult to make.

Rendition to torture sites (and the use of Afghan or Iraqi interrorgators who may use torture) is also problematic, though would probably be best summarised as 'the Bush administartion was complicit in torture'.

cognitive madisonian
05-03-2009, 09:33 AM
There are those on the right who certainly attribute the flyover to the Obama administartion if not Obama himself.

I agree it's hard to define the amount of cupability the Bush adminstration has, if any, for Abu Ghraib but those found guilty of abuse are doing all the can to implicate others based on the torture memos.

That's just typical defense attorney work ;)

I recall seeing pictures of others, perhaps defense contractors, as part of the AG package. So, the culpability likely goes a little bit further than just that group of uneducated people. The same way culpability for that flyover extends beyond the pilot who did the flying. But the responsibility ends fairly low on the chain.

Anyway, I think AG should have been handled internally. The release of those photos endangered our national security and our effort to leave a stable Iraq.


Rendition to torture sites (and the use of Afghan or Iraqi interrorgators who may use torture) is also problematic, though would probably be best summarised as 'the Bush administartion was complicit in torture'.

That program was initiated before Bush, though, and it will continue after Bush. I hold that as a simply reality of fighting a war on terrorism.

opposable_crumbs
05-03-2009, 10:00 AM
If it is accepted that the Bush whitehouse outsourced torture to either allied states, or more damagingly, to occupied client states who acted under US diktat, then doesn't case one pose real problems?

cognitive madisonian
05-03-2009, 08:39 PM
If it is accepted that the Bush whitehouse outsourced torture to either allied states, or more damagingly, to occupied client states who acted under US diktat, then doesn't case one pose real problems?

You'd still have a hard time selling it, because the claim is that the Bush administration did not torture.

One interesting comparison would be Fujimori. He likely was not directly involved in any human rights violations, but he gave an underling the carte blanche to do what was necessary to defeat the Shining Path. The underling then went and did some pretty heavy duty stuff, which Fujimori did not want to know about. Personally, I think Fujimori gets a bad rap: he revived an imploded economy and defeated a terrible Communist terrorist group.

Now, nothing the Bush administration did or outsourced reached that extent. I still don't find the basic statement to be indefensible because it's entirely plausible to assign culpability only to those who actually 'tortured.'

kezboard
05-04-2009, 04:03 PM
the more scientific approach would be to take those same arguments and articles and data and actively try and disprove ones belief in X.
And how many global warming catastrophists have done the latter?

I essentially agree with you (climate change is a serious problem, caused by humans, etc., but crazy rhetoric helps nobody) but you said something very silly there. By definition, the people who are "catastrophists" are not going to be going around actively and publicly trying to disprove their theories, because that would harm their rhetoric and the narrative they're trying to promote. But the difference between global warming catastrophists and, say, Large Hadron Collider catastrophists is that, even if the fantasies of both groups are equally implausible, the evidence shows that the LHC is most certainly not going to destroy the world and climate change is quite likely to give us some serious problems.

kezboard
05-04-2009, 04:11 PM
I have to go with global warming on this one specifically because of the word "hoax". I don't think the position that global warming isn't happening is indefensible, it's just wrong. But the idea that it's a hoax (or a conspiracy to create a global socialist government, thanks Vaclav Klaus) is straight out of crazy town.

You can't say that the statement that the Bush administration didn't torture is indefensible, because against all odds, people continue to defend it.