Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why I typically don't do informal debates on internet forums

"I don't think you have what it takes to hold a debate with a Jew."

You heard that right.  I, Doug Benscoter, don't have what it takes to "hold a debate with a Jew."  I'm not sure who should be offended more: Jews or Gentiles?

18 comments:

  1. I would say that anyone of either group who takes offense at the stupid remark of some fool has shown himself worthy of the remark.

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  2. I usually find anyone challenging people to debates in comments sections - rather than just, you know, debating then and there - to be a waste of time. But they usually are unintentionally offering comedy.

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  3. Honestly, if he wanted to say that I didn't have what it takes to debate him, then I'd just shrug the comment off. I have thick enough skin to debate people who are abrasive. Nevertheless, I continue these debates while reminding my counterparts that insults are counter-productive to rational debate.

    The problem is that this gentleman made a sweeping overgeneralization about my alleged inability to debate any Jewish person. Not only is that quite simply false, but it's offensive. If I heard a fellow Catholic tell a Protestant, "you don't have what it takes to debate a Catholic," I would kindly reprimand him. Maybe he wouldn't have what it takes to debate, say, Robert Sungenis, but maybe he could debate someone who is less of an academic.

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  4. My point is that it's unmanly to "take offense" at such a stupid comment -- and especially to "take offense" on behalf of some anonymous collective someone else. That's something women and "liberals" and academics do. Men deal with the content-and-stupidity of the comment/assertion, not the feelings that can be milked from it.

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  5. I do not know the context of this quote, but how is saying that you think someone has or doesn't have this or that qualities an insult? He probably means 'a Jew who knows the Jewish religion through and through' and I have no idea how familiar you are with the Jewish religion, but it seems possible that there are actually key understandings about the Jewish faith that you lack and so, maybe, he is right.

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  6. Walter, no. In context, it was a direct personal attack. I'm not making a huge huff over this. I'm just pointing out that internet forums are most often not the places to have construction debates. The reason is for ridiculous comments like the one we're talking about.

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    1. OK, but how are we to infer this context from your comment?
      I had a discussion with a Calvinist e.g. who told me he thought I wasn't up to a debate with a Calvinist because according to him, I failed to understand the subtleties of Calvinism. I think he was wrong, but I didn't feel in the least insulted by his remark.

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    2. You're right, I didn't provide the context. By the way, my previous comment should read, "constructive debates."

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  7. Ilion, it's not unmanly to take offense at stupid comments. "The Nazis were okay" is a stupid comment. It's also incredibly offensive.

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  8. Let's reverse things for a moment and you guys can tell me if you think this isn't offensive. I say to a Jewish person, "I don't think you have what it takes to debate a Christian." And, I say this without any background knowledge of the person's education or intelligence. Can you imagine the uproar that would cause?

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    1. Actually, no, I do not see why there would have to be any uproar at all. Stating an opinion as an opinion shouldn't be a problem. And a preson who says "I think" is just doing that. He is expressing the opinion that the other person doesn't have what it takes. Just like you have expressed the opnion on several occasions that I don't have what it takes to discuss Thomism with you. I don't agree with thta, but I don't see it as an insult either.

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  9. Doug, It is indeed unmanly to act like a woman (*), or a "liberal" or the typical academic.

    (*) By which I mean, not a *real* woman, like our grandmothers, but what passes for womanhood these days -- junior-high schoolgirl psyches, no matter the chronological age.

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  10. Walter, you're being obtuse.

    "I don't think you have what it takes to hold a debate with a Jew" is in no way comparable to "I don't think you understand Thomism." It's not even comparable to "I don't think you're trying to understand Thomism."

    The comment was meant as a put-down and insult; that Doug allows it to be an insult to him -- ostensibly in the name of other people, in collective, whom he doesn't even know -- is a different matter from the clear intent.

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    1. How am I to know the comment was meant as an insult. All I know is that Doug thought it was an insult. That may be true, but it could also just mean that his opponent genuinely believes that Doug does not know enough about Judaism to debate this particular issue, just as Doug probably genuinely believes I do not have enough knowlegde of Thomism. I think I do have sufficient knowledge, but that does not mean I take Doug's statement as an insult.
      Just as I don't take 'Walter, you're being obtuse' as an insult, although you don't even say 'I think you are being obtuse'.
      That's just a misundertanding on your part, not an insult.

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  11. Walter,
    Your argument/defence is that you (yourself) are either too ignorant or too stupid to understand the comment/charge.

    And yet, *knowing* that you don't understand what you're talking about, still you dispute the meaning of the comment/charge with those who do understand it.

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  12. Ilion

    I don't even take 'you are too ignorant or too stupid to understand the comment/charge' as an insult, and that's far worse than saying 'I don't think you have what it takes to hold a debate with a Jew'.
    But, I can understand that maybe not everybody is as tolerant as I am.

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  13. Watler,
    You're not really paying attention, are you?

    I didn't say that "you are too ignorant or too stupid to understand the comment/charge" ... I said that that I what *you* are saying about yourself.

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  14. Ilion

    I did not say this about myself. My argument is not that I am too stupid or ignorant to understand the comment, but that since I do not know the context of the comment, I am in no position to judge whether this was an insult or not.
    And even if what I said implied what you said, a less tolerant person would probably take your choice of words as an insult.

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