Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Youtube arguments.

This is liable to be my most boring post in a long time, as it revolves around a personal and petty squabble on youtube. It's not (really) philosophical, it's not about DnD, it's not all that clever, and there is generally speaking, nothing you can learn from either of us. this is why I usually don't take part in Youtube arguments.... ok, that's just a lie. I do and I actually get a kick out of them, but I'm aware that they devolve quite quickly. 

Usually they're fairly limited, Youtube only gives you a set amount of space in which to operate, and quite frankly I find it too restricting. I usually don't take debates further than a couple of posts, however I (mistakenly) made an exception in this particular case. 

This all started when a poster called Monibuhai made a comment on this video, and the author of the video responded with what I felt was a mistaken opinion of the original poster. I responded (my first mistake), and he asked questions I viewed as genuine so I took the time to answer them, even if it took multiple posts. 

That was my second mistake. He then responded to all of them.... which is fine. Except he did so also separately branching them off into different directions. I responded to all of them, and later to another response of his to someone trying to make the same point as me (albeit with far more patience and eloquence after my 10th attempt at explaining my position).

It has now turned into such a tangled web of posts that it's nigh impossible for the readers to discern where any of it is going or what the responses relate to.

I am sure Proudfootz's version of events will be different to mine, and I will invite him to comment once I am done writing this. I will also be inviting the two other posters involved. 

I will also include in the comments section a complete, ordered, transcript of what is on the youtube forums. I have not changed any words, though I have moved posts around, and removed headers. This is likely to be what you should read first before hearing either side to this story. 

So what happened?

He ended his video with "If you're not familiar with the Quran, I think this (Ibn Warraq's book) is a very good place to start". Me and many other people, felt that surely, if you're unfamiliar with the Quran, maybe a good place to start would be reading it. I felt that your opinion on the Quran would be least biased if you had read nothing about it beforehand.

That is all. I felt first that proudfoot merely misspoke, but later I felt he genuinely does not want you to read it without first being primed by his (and Warraq's) opinion. I find that exceedingly intellectually dishonest. I find it to effectively be "Please don't read this with an open mind, please read it only after a 200 page criticism of it".

When I tried to point this, and only this, out. Well.... that's where the fun began. 

The original poster mentions: 
Warraq's position. 
Warraq's background. 
Warraq's education. 
Warraq's personal history. 

First: Does that sound like someone who has not considered Warraq's position? I would suggest not. I may be mistaken.

"Why not consider [his] opinion?"
"I don't think it's fair you're accusing him of not considering his opinion"
"Why is it 'not fair' that I point out that a different point of view is worth consideration"

Interesting... seems Proud misunderstood my comment. Notice my bold is something unfair, whereas his bold is not. Surely an honest mistake. 

Lets carry on:

I say pretty much what I say above: 
"If you're unfamiliar with the Quran, maybe a good place to start would be reading it"
"I never suggested that anyone NOT read the koran"

Did I say he did? I merely suggested the order should be Quran-> Warraq, rather than his suggestion of Warraq -> Quran. Nevermind, another honest mistake... I'm sure we can sort this out. 

I repeat:
"You are accusing him of not considering Warraq's opinion, when he may have. That is unfair. You are therefore, at best, angry at him for disagreeing. That is also unfair."

Now maybe I shouldn't have described him as angry. However...

"Why do you think it is 'angry' to have a different POV? Why is it 'unfair' of me to point out the obvious implications of the original post?"

While I suggested he seemed angry at Mo for disagreeing with him, he seems to have taken it as me thinking all disagreements are angry. Well, I guess another honest mistake... hmm...that's 3 by now. Also, notice his bold has yet to match mine. Well I guess..wait 4? Well... I guess online people can easily misinterpret stuff. 

Well, I'm sure we can sort this out... maybe...

As I said above the "obvious" implication to me was that he had considered Warraq's work. I've considered it, and I'm perfectly capable of writing a post identical to his. 

"I don't think they're obvious implications. 

I expect people to read the source, make up their own minds. Not have their opinion coloured on the matter prior."

"You are mistaken if you think I have recommended (as the original post did about Warraq) that anything *not* be consulted."

Did I say that somewhere? At this point I reread my entire list of posts. I certainly didn't intend to. All I want is the order changed. Read it with an open mind then consult whatever additional material you want. Turns out I didn't. Well...I guess another hone... ok, you know what, at this point I doubt his sincerity. Is he doing this on purpose to make a point? I specifically said "Not have their opinion coloured on the matter prior". In other words an order of events is suggested. 

What follows is a series of verbal barbs and repetition, followed by:
"So you do believe in consulting the source before consulting material about a source"
"You continue to make the false claim that I have told anyone to not read the koran."

What the hell? Is someone writing things on my account waiting for him to reply then deleting them? Obviously he is honestly mistak... oh for f*** sake, he's lying. This is some cheap debate tactic he's employing... no.. no.. stay calm, maybe he has some condition. Natural human psychology. Confirmation bias. I dunno something that makes this guy not reprehensible. 

Ok, how about this, lets see if he answers any of my questions. 

"The original poster claimed the only 'proper way' to understand islam is to accept it"
"Please, once, demonstrate where the poster makes that claim."

No response... maybe he missed it... could be an honest mistake. (Anyone keeping track at home?)


You know what... maybe it's me. Maybe I was too rude initially that he just wanted to get back at me for that and therefore didn't see the points I was making. Well, I suppose that's... wait what is he saying over here...

"Many people seem to be offended by the suggestion that mental growth is possible".

I proceed to read the entire 2 years of posts to try to find one person who has made such a claim. It seems he thinks anyone who disagrees with him is now disagreeing with "mental growth". 

I offer this:
"I will take back every word I have written to you on the topic if you can find someone who you claim is "offended by the suggestion that mental growth is possible" who will say so themselves, without you inserting words in their mouth."

Isn't that fair?

Hey, a new player:

"If you subtract Ibn Warrik's book it would not effet Islam at all but if you subtract the Quran there is no Islam as we know it. Explain to me why we should read his book before we read the book that launched the faith?"

Hey look, it seems he agrees with me on the topic. That was pretty straightforward. 

"I am not trying to 'subtract' the koran - never said such a thing! So long as folks like you float such false accusations it is hard to take you seriously at all."

What a surprise. Another honest mistake from proud.

So! In the interest of fair play, I'm fascinated by what Proud's take on the series of events was and have invited him to comment. It could very well be that over the course of 3 days and with... 42 posts, he has yet to address my initial concern at all. (Nor incidentally, any other concern). 

I have questioned the other two posters regarding his assumptions about them, and if they respond I will post them. 

If you've read this far I applaud you!