I just love it when people attempt to prove their point without addressing your point, supply facts, or even present a logical argument.
Probably my favorite of these techniques is proof by ridicule. I just became aware of someone addressing some of my writings in this manner as in, “Incidentally, this is the stupidest thing i’ve read so far today.” An earlier, even more blatant case is here.
Another methodology that gets high praise from me is proof by vigorous assertion–as in this case.
I would like to ask, “Who do they think they have positively influenced in this manner?” But I know that expecting people to be rational is irrational and that a great many people will think such methods are irrefutable when it allows them to continuing to believe what they want to believe. This is, of course, just a minor variation of Paul Simon’s acute observation.
Still, the people in the “undecided” category will have a greater tendency to “vote your way” when presented with such proofs by people that lack sufficient character to admit they were wrong. It can be frustrating but it’s not a fruitless exercise if it’s a public debate. One-on-one you might as well walk away from it. As Dale Carnegie said, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.”
Another applicable Dale Carnegie quote on this topic will be used for the QOD tomorrow.