Sunday, September 30, 2012

Apparently You Need Definitions

If you're here, you probably followed a link I posted in response to something you said that relates to one of the words defined below.  I've collected them here as a courtesy to save you time in looking them up.

I've created this post because I keep falling into these arguments where someone is behaving badly (in my opinion), and treating another group of people like something the cat dragged in.  Sometimes I am part of said group (and therefore consider myself to be acting in "self defense") and sometimes I am not. If the latter is true, I try to make it clear whether I am defending someone else or trying to determine the validity of your treatment of that group.  (Sometimes I fail at clarity.)

But I find that most often, after laying out my case, someone gets mad - and rather than basing their rebuttal in any kind of logic or reason, my opponent tries to counter with an ad hominem... defined below. (See - this is useful already!)

If you have just questioned whether your behavior (or mine) is bigoted, intolerant, or is demonizing someone else, this should help answer your question.  If you're confused about my uses of doubt and faith, this should clear it up.

Enjoy! (And scroll down for a post script.)

ad hom·i·nem  (hm-nm, -nm)
Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason:Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives.

big·ot  (bgt)
One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
obtuse or narrow-minded intolerance, especially of other races or religions. — bigot, n., — bigoted, adj.

de·mon·ize  (dm-nz)
tr.v. de·mon·izedde·mon·iz·ingde·mon·iz·es
1. To turn into or as if into a demon.
2. To possess by or as if by a demon.
3. To represent as evil or diabolic: wartime propaganda that demonizes the enemy.

doubt  (dout)
v. doubt·eddoubt·ingdoubts
1. To be undecided or skeptical about: began to doubt some accepted doctrines.
2. To tend to disbelieve; distrust: doubts politicians when they make sweeping statements.
3. To regard as unlikely: I doubt that we'll arrive on time.
4. Archaic To suspect; fear.
To be undecided or skeptical.
1. A lack of certainty that often leads to irresolution. See Synonyms at uncertainty.
2. A lack of trust.
3. A point about which one is uncertain or skeptical: reassured me by answering my doubts.
4. The condition of being unsettled or unresolved: an outcome still in doubt.
faith  (fth)
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belieftrust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.

ob·tuse  (b-ts, -tysb-)
adj. ob·tus·erob·tus·est
a. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
b. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity: an obtuse remark.
c. Not distinctly felt: an obtuse pain.

tol·er·ance  (tlr-ns)
1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.
a. Leeway for variation from a standard.
b. The permissible deviation from a specified value of a structural dimension, often expressed as a percent.
3. The capacity to endure hardship or pain.
4. Medicine
a. Physiological resistance to a toxin.
b. Diminution in the physiological response to a drug that occurs after continued use, necessitating larger doses to produce a given response.
a. Acceptance of a tissue graft or transplant without immunological rejection.
b. Unresponsiveness to an antigen that normally produces an immunological reaction.
6. The ability of an organism to resist or survive infection by a parasitic or pathogenic organism.

zero-sum game
A situation in which a gain by one person or side must be matched by a loss by another person or side: "It's not a zero-sum game in which either youth or pensioners must lose" (Earl W. Foell).

Assuming you're really curious about how I tick, you are welcome to read all of the things I have posted previously.  They are publicly available for that very reason.  To save you time, here are some posts that may show my approach to earlier situations in which I might have used the above list:

Using Your Brain Is Not a Team Sport

How to Tell if You Are a Bigot

In Defense of Friends

Pot and Kettle: Former Facebook Friends

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