Skepticism

A Ten Step Guide to Intellectual Discussion in High School

Inspired while eating lunch today in the school cafeteria.
  1. Get really really angry.
  2. Assume at all costs, and no matter how absurd your opponents beliefs seem, that the person is just stupider than you are and isn’t trying to pull a satirical fast one on you.
  3. Take the assumed moral high ground.
  4. Refute any arguments you can using half-formed logic that may miss the point of the argument or not apply to the argument.
  5. If you do not understand an argument, ignore it. Under no circumstances request clarification or a citation as this would take time and might give their argument validity, or might reveal that they are, indeed, pulling a satirical fast one on you.
  6. Likewise, never take the time to look something up for verification. Just go off of things you have heard are true.
  7. When you find you can not continue ignoring an argument you do not understand, accuse opponent of Nazism using astounding over-simplification of the political ideology. Do this by ignoring, where applicable, the other aspects of Nazism including, but not limited to, anti-parliamentarism, anti-communism, (German) nationalism, militarism, opposition to economic liberalism, totalitarianism, anti-semitism, or racism.
  8. Remember, kids, Hitler was so evil that he had radioactive eggs coming out of his ears, and as the great Bill Bailey has pointed out, in extreme cases, vegetarianism can lead to genocide.
  9. When you still fail to have the intellectual high ground because you don’t understand the arguments and your opponent has not faltered to misplaced accusations, pretend that you don’t care about the debate subject anymore and go on with your daily life having learned nothing.
  10. If desired, judgmentally gossip about how insane your opponent is with extreme exaggeration of their stance or perceived stupidity.

Special thanks to Mike Godwin.

For more information see Voltaire, Landover Baptist Church, Poe’s Law, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, or The Onion.

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6 Comments

  1. March 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm —

    Ooh, you’re right. Also, it turns out that the internet works the same way.

  2. March 16, 2010 at 10:27 am —

    Err… Is that what someone else was doing while you were discussing with someone?

  3. March 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm —

    Admittedly, I was the one pulling a satirical fast one on them.

  4. Displaced Northerner
    March 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm —

    Sounds a lot like most “discussions” on a 24 hour news networks.

  5. March 17, 2010 at 1:48 am —

    Nah, they usually only get up to step 6.

  6. Lyra Lynx
    March 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm —

    I hate to admit but I’ve done step #6 ocassionally. All right a lot.

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