For some reason, in a failed argument people behave like Lewis Carroll characters, focussing minutely on word choices and surface meanings. “You said that was unforgivable. Fine, since you won’t ever forgive, there’s no use talking.” More than once I’ve got into an argument on a thread, and when I finally figure out what the problem is, it’s the precise wording of the very first paragraph I posted, wording I’ve half forgotten since I’ve stated my point better since.
If you’re one of the people who does this... er, well, don’t do that. Do-overs are allowed. If you watch carefully, you’ll often find that people’s positions converge to some extent in the course of an argument, as people add missing qualifiers and adapt to attacks.
Many people, venturing outside their field, are convinced now and forever by the first book they read. It’s nice that they’ve read a book; but it’s not enough to argue with experts in that field who’ve read many books.
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