Thursday, March 28, 2013
I was inspired to write this post by a dust-up that I discovered upon returning home from running some important errands.
Erica said she really did not see any difference between Dee Dee’s lie compared to the defendant’s lies. She was concerned that the jury might disregard everything Dee Dee says according to the once-a-liar-always-a-liar rule, and she asked if that would hurt the prosecution case.
Although she claimed to be a Trayvon supporter worried about the outcome of the case, many of you smelled a rat, so to speak, because she accepted the defense argument that Dee Dee’s lie destroyed her credibility and she was placing the burden on us to refute that claim. As someone pointed out this is exactly what the defendant’s supporters have been saying. Not surprising, therefore, that several of you accused her of being a troll.
Meanwhile, we have beaten that issue to death here and concluded that Dee Dee’s lie will have little or no impact on her credibility or the prosecution’s case. I have written several articles on the subject and many of you have added your thoughts in the comments. I think I can safely say that we left no stone unturned and our conclusion and the basis for it are easily accessible here at the site.
I cannot think of a reason why anyone familiar with this site would not also be familiar with our recent debunking of the-prosecution-is-crumbling scenario. In other words, I do not understand why Erica did not know the answer to her question. After reviewing the exchange of comments, I believe people were justified in suspecting Erica was expressing unreasonable and incomprehensible approval for the defendant’s thoroughly debunked idea that Dee Dee’s credibility had been destroyed and the prosecution’s case was “crumbling.”
I do not know if Erica actually had read any of my posts or the comments by others regarding this matter. However, I think she had a duty and responsibility to inform herself as best she could regarding the matter before she expressed her opinion and she should have explained why she thought her idea had any merit, rather than merely assuming that she was right, a telltale sign of troll behavior. She also should have been prepared to expose the flaws in our various arguments rather than complaining about being attacked.
In other words, she should have realized that she was expressing support for a thoroughly discussed and discredited idea and therefore she should have expected to be challenged and maybe even accused of being a troll. Therefore, she should have been prepared to defend her thesis by supporting her statement and exposing any flaws that she found .
Erica did neither. Instead, she took the attack personally and rebuked people for challenging her.
This was not a successful strategy and only confirmed initial suspicions that she was a troll.
I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on the troll issue, so I will not ban her or divert her comments into a purgatory file.
I am instead going to use this situation as a teaching opportunity to hopefully reduce, if not eliminate the possibility that an innocent inquiry might lead to someone being banned by mistake.
I think Erica is capable of reasoning her way through the evidence, reaching her own conclusions, and clearly expressing those conclusions here on this blog.
However, she and everyone else, including me, has to acknowledge that from time to time someone is going to disagree with something we say and challenge us. This is especially true if we express an opinion that is contrary to the group consensus reached after the matter in question has been extensively debated and firm conclusions have been reached.
In other words, we have a duty to inform ourselves to avoid revisiting resolved issues and wasting time reinventing the wheel.
When challenging someone’s idea, each of us has a duty and responsibility to the person whose comment we are challenging to focus on the statement or conclusion to which we object and clearly express our objection and the basis for it.
Rarely, if ever, will there be a valid reason to personalize the challenge by attacking and insulting the person who made the comment.
In turn, rarely, if ever, will there be a reason for the person being challenged to attack the challenger with insults, instead of defending the merits of the comment challenged.
In other words, the debate should be about the merit of the idea expressed and not about the person who expressed it.
A big exception, of course will come up as it did with Erica when she endorsed a defense opinion that the national media recently supported. She endorsed it without qualification ignoring multiple recent posts and a thorough analysis debunking it. People are going to challenge anyone who does that because the opinion expressed has been debunked and the person expressing it has not offered any new evidence, reason or argument to justify reconsidering the matter. As such, the person’s comment is an annoying distraction that often derails thoughtful debate and consideration of new matters or issues.
We learn by making mistakes and there is no reason to pretend we are perfect.
Just know that from today forward every time anyone challenges consensus, they should expect to be questioned and be prepared to support their theory with new evidence while explaining what is wrong with the consensus opinion or theory. Relying on discredited arguments or unproven assumptions is not acceptable.
This is the way mature and responsible people engage in debate, learn and grow as human beings. We are inevitably more knowledgeable and better people from participating in this process throughout our entire lives.
We do not stop learning when we leave school. We go to school to acquire the tools to learn and communicate, Our true learning begins when we leave school and continues until we cease to exist.