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Critical thinking
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 23, 2007

Myron Magnet explores some interesting aspects of the culture which surrounded the Duke rape case specifically and how they relate to the greater culture at large. A couple of paragraphs which struck me as interesting were these:
Part of what a university should teach is the critical reasoning power to analyze situations like these, with claims and counterclaims, and determine what actually happened. But the last few decades’ transformation of the academic worldview unfitted Duke administrators and faculty from making such a judgment. Like the scientists Swift’s Gulliver met in the kingdom of Laputa, they have one eye that looks inward at themselves and one eye that peers outward toward the farthest heavens, leaving no organ to perceive the reality right in front of their noses—the reality that, as George Orwell says, takes a constant struggle to see through the fog of orthodoxy.

Even for the clear-sighted, that reality takes an effort to discern, because we see the world not in an unmediated way but through the prism of our culture (and even of our class or subgroup), which can both clarify and distort. In the act of observing, we also interpret and judge, according to the terms of our culture’s values, morals, and manners. Our power of reason has limits, so that we have to depend on aid from education, tradition, belief, on what Edmund Burke called “prejudice”—again, all products of culture, built up from the inherited wisdom and experience and sometimes superstition of mankind.

Critical reason’s task is to peer through the cultural web in which we are enmeshed to perceive clearly the reality that actually exists, including the man-made reality of the social order, whose terms give our lives meaning. We have to question our culturally created assumptions to clear away attitudinizing or propaganda or superstitious prejudice. But the professors sidestep this challenge, simplifying and flattening these complex truths about culture and consciousness. They reach the false conclusion that all descriptions of society and our nature are not just colored or refracted by our cultural assumptions but are mere propaganda, aimed at convincing others that the world is as our class or subgroup wishes it to be. Moreover, since the profs believe that not just the social order but also what we take to be “human nature” is man-made, whoever wins the propaganda battle gets to mold society and human nature—human reality itself—into the shape he chooses.
Critical thinking is becoming a lost art as is obvious with some of the thinking we see displayed here daily in the comment section here from a certain member of academia. We also pointed to another recent example in a couple of posts about rationing and health care, one, by Dale, entitled "Impervious to Reason". Magnet is also discussing essentially the same thing using the Duke rape case as his vehicle. So much of what passes today for 'critical thinking' is, in fact, "mere propaganda" that supports prejudices that those holding them haven't been taught how to properly examine.

There are consequences for this willful abandonment of critical thinking in favor of cultural orthodoxy:
From these assumptions flows academe’s well-known mania for unmasking Western civilization (including its literature and art) as a machine for oppressing the nonwhite, non-rich, and non-male. This worldview—which grants its adherents a sense of superiority over their supposedly racist and sexist fellow men and also a belief in their own special power to remake the world by their words—appears so self-evident on campus as to be impervious to such realities as accelerating black success, for example, or the crowding out of male students by female ones on college campuses themselves.

But woe betide any apostasy from this dogma, as witness the fate of Lawrence Summers, fired as Harvard’s president for impiety about both race and “gender.” Not only did he suggest that African-American studies professor Cornel West ought to do a little real academic work, but he intensified the outrage by hinting that the reason great male mathematicians far outnumber female ones might—only might—have to do with differences in innate ability rather than with inequities in schooling.
The groundwork was set in the '60s for this shift and what were once institutions of critical thinking are now institutions which develop a favored orthodoxy and inculcate students in that orthodoxy. In many cases that orthodoxy has become a new form of religion and, as Dale suggested, its acolytes are "impervious to reason". It is, in many ways, an academic "dark age" which will eventually take its toll on our culture and our future.
 
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I remember my college days in the late 60s early 70s seeking professors who encouraged debate and discussion. While most of the time this type of open and honest debate was encouraged, certain topics were being subverted. Any discussion that did not take the anti-war Viet Nam position was squashed and ridiculed by these same professors who encouraged open debate on other topics.

And as the years have progressed, this "attention of dogma" as opposed to "attention to detail" has become more and more rampant. Although you can say it may have begun with academis, the disease has spread. Journalism, the finer arts to include film, painting and sculpture, and even the scientific community has been beset with the attitude of the politically correct.

Initially, I believe you could lay it at the feet of "politically correct". But it has morphed into more than that. When you respond responsibly to a set of circumstances, you could be said to be politically correct. But now, you cannot wait to respond to an issue. You have to get out in front and force the into the politically correct arena before anyone has a chance to open the debate. And the Duke rape case, Imus, Truthers, and even the global warming issue are mere symptons of the corruption of "critical thinking" that has become rampant in our society.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Critical reason’s task is to peer through the cultural web in which we are enmeshed to perceive clearly the reality that actually exists, including the man-made reality of the social order, whose terms give our lives meaning. We have to question our culturally created assumptions to clear away attitudinizing or propaganda or superstitious prejudice.
That is one of the best descriptions of what a college education should be, and I daresay most educators would agree. Depending on the field, I think the nihilist version of post-modernism where all you have are ’different stories of reality’ is on the wane, in part because it ultimately leads to pointless ’deconstruction’ and ’analysis’— not of reality, but a discourse.

I think this tendency is because of the nature of reason itself — you can’t ultimately use reason to make certain claims about reality. The Fideists recognized this flaw in the 17th century (Pascal and Bayle) and anticipated post-modernism hundreds of years earlier, saying the way to avoid this flaw is embrace faith in God. Burke saw it as well, and correctly realized the French Revolution, by ignoring culture and tradition, would become a disaster. He took this limit of reason and focused on tradition and culture as the true grounding of society, classic conservatism. Rousseau saw it and decided reason over nature was the cause of all human ills. Nietzsche saw it as well, and looked at the individual as needing to rise above the ’noise,’ to create an "Uebermensch." He realized as well that such absolute relativism could not be defeated by reason alone, and relativism meant reason could be used to rationalize anything — the 20th century’s evils would not have surprised him.

To me the balance has to be reflection on sentiment. The Rwandan genocide wasn’t just another story or another culture. It was evil! When one watches "Cry Freetown" a documentary by Sorious Samura about Sierra Leone, it’s clear that emotion transcends culture, we connect to how people suffer. Over the years I’ve become convinced that 95% of the opinions held (maybe more) are chosen based on sentiment or emotion, and then people use reason to build a rationale for what they believe is true. Ignoring sentiment and trying to focus on pure reason creates furtile ground for post-modernism to operate because, ultimately, it gets defeated not by reason alone (that can’t be done), but by a pragmatic appeal to sentiment. Something inside of us says "we are human, that means something, somethings are wrong to do, and that’s f***ing obvious to anyone with a heart!" That reality transcends culture, and connecting reason with a reflective (rather than reactive) consideration of sentiment — and being honest about the role sentiment plays in shaping we believe — is perhaps the best way to avoid the pit described above.

The road to fascism comes when this kind of thinking is embraced:
whoever wins the propaganda battle gets to mold society and human nature-human reality itself-into the shape he chooses.
Anyone in education who thinks that way has no business in education. The goal is to give students critical reasoning tools to make judgments for themselves, understand their limitations, engage others rather than see a clash of ideas as a personal fight, and continue to learn and seek truth.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Within limits I think people do a pretty good job creating their own reality and creating something that is actually real.

I was thinking about this after going to a local art fair, getting a chai latte and looking around the shop of the ladies who hosted the fair. Think Earth goddess. Not extreme, just... a clear lifestyle choice that was apparent in the clothing (I’m tempted to say costume) and atmosphere and decor.

And I think that probably it worked. I think that they likely did manage to create a little pocket of alternate reality. Heck, the taro cards probably worked too.

And it was really nice. Really appealing.

But if they were projecting that reality outward onto the rest of the world, they were in grave error. No matter how real it was for them, it wasn’t *real*. Not even for ladies like me who came to drink chai latte and wander between the artists stalls looking at the strings of turquoise, paintings, and blown glass.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Synova: That’s the point of education, I think: to understand the different bits of reality, be able navigate that art fair, a NASCAR race, a Sicilian beach, ice fishing in Minnesota, a Russian sauna, a Chinese city, and all the other social constructs out there, realizing that all the social scenery isn’t "reality" but cultural/social creations — and the futility and danger of trying to assert one as the proper one over all others. And, having done that, to ask questions about ethics, values, and truth. To me the reality that underlies all these constructed "worlds" is our common humanity. I think a well educated person spends his or her entire life trying to learn more and figure out what that common humanity means for the choices we make.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I think that the futility and danger of trying to assert one as the proper one over all others is... yes, I mean obviously I just said that creating little pockets of alternate reality works... but it’s not the one over the other that needs to be asserted. It’s necessary that we reserve the right to analyze and judge. I think the futility and danger of insisting that not only should we not assert one filter to define other cultures but that we must not assert any filters at all, is more dangerous than the danger of cultural myopia.

Perhaps it’s putting culture above biology. We’re not much into biological determination these days. But biology is real and humans are human no matter what culture they inhabit.

I suppose I more or less said what you just did. I just think that in our country, today, we’re more in danger of the error of seeing all cultures as equal than seeing our culture as proper. And really, all cultures are not equal in the way they care for the humans in them. We seem to think that we simply *must* point to our own faults if we point to the faults of others and the result is an assumption of equivalence rather than the ability to analyze and rationally compare.

And it’s not as though our culture isn’t willing to find the good things in other cultures. We do that. It’s almost a compulsion to acquire those things and graft them on to what we have.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
But the professors sidestep this challenge, simplifying and flattening these complex truths about culture and consciousness. They reach the false conclusion that all descriptions of society and our nature are not just colored or refracted by our cultural assumptions but are mere propaganda
Wow - seems like she pretty much nailed the good Prof from Maine....
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Critical thinking is becoming a lost art as is obvious with some of the thinking we see displayed here daily in the comment section here from a certain member of academia.
I assume that this refers to Scott Erb. Since you qualified your statement with "some" you are undoubtably correct, but you would be correct for every single person commenting or writing here since I doubt very much that any of us has thought and written every single time using our critical thinking skills, especially to the best of our ability. Case in point - McQ’s comment I excerpted here. Second case in point, Meagain’s comment. Meagain, I’d say you know a thing or two about ’flattening complex truths’ yourself.





 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Meagain, I’d say you know a thing or two about ’flattening complex truths’ yourself.
Say what you will Grimshaw. Can we agree that Scott brings it upon himself? How many threads exist in the archives here clearly showing Scott twisting and recreating reality? The difference between he and I is I accept when I have made an error and move on. The record clearly shows he does not.

Flattening complex truths? Sure, when it makes sense. But then I’m not empowered by a state run institution to do so with a captive audience. He is.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The difference between he and I is I accept when I have made an error and move on. The record clearly shows he does not.
To be fair, I can think of once he’s done it. Just to refrain from ruining the magic, I debated him on that thread no further.

Tragically, his reversion to form was...quick.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Captive audience? So college students are forced to go to his school and take his classes and cannot challenge him in class?

I don’t think Scott deserves the amount of acidity given to him. Scott is more often than not civil and reasoned in his comments; that doesn’t mean I agree with him, but the wanton insults directed at him, as opposed to his ideas, are not something he "brings upon himself."

I don’t think "the record" clearly shows what you think it shows. I think you see what you want to see. How apt considering the topic.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
I don’t think "the record" clearly shows what you think it shows. I think you see what you want to see. How apt considering the topic.
The record speaks for itself.

Scott makes salient, clear arguments occasionally, and when he does I give him credit. And I will agree with you he is civil. If he would just stay true to the words he writes, I’m sure he’d get a lot less grief around here.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
What surprises me (and makes the ’impervious to reason’ comment really ironic) is that in cases like this I’m pretty much in the same camp as McQ, critical of the kind of ’post-modern’ tendency in some of academia the article refers to. In fact, I agree with most of what McQ’s post and the article he cites claims. That should be clear from my posting here and my blog especially. But yet McQ accuses me of doing precisely what I totally oppose. (I didn’t comment on that at first because, well McQ’s seems to be instictively insulting me without regard for what I write so it becomes easy to just brush aside).

Meagain, if you read what I wrote, you’ll see that I totally oppose what you say "sounds like" me. My view on political disagreements is like Walter Lippmann’s "The Essential Opposition." It’s not enough to tolerate free speech, but to engage other opinions, to try to persuade and be persuaded, to listen, not just argue. And believe it or not, I do listen and challenge my own views.
If he would just stay true to the words he writes, I’m sure he’d get a lot less grief around here.
Could you explain this — all I am in this blog is "the words I write," or maybe some click my blog and read "the words I write" there. I think at some level political discussion has a danger for becoming entrenched in anger and emotion because there are certain basic issues that can’t be proven, and are simply interpreted differently. For people with different views the alternate interpretation is frustrating, because they are sure it’s wrong, and can’t understand how the other person can’t see that. I think the problem isn’t not admitting when one is wrong (I’ve done that a lot — such as my false claim that support for Vietnam was always above 50%; after 1968 it wasn’t) or even apologizing for going over the line (I’ve done that too). The problem is those areas of inherent contention, with different values, assumptions and interpretation. One thing I like about the way people react to me is it’s helping me explore what I say and in what kinds of issues do people get angry, and figure out how to improve my communication on those sorts of things.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This looks like a perfect time to repost my fake but accurate account of a discussion with Erb (based on many real-life experiences):
McX: The earth orbits the sun.

Erb: No, McX, you have no idea what you’re talking about. The earth is not in orbit around Alpha Centauri. In addition, there is no moon around the earth.

McX: Umm, my statement is accurate. Here is evidence. You’re talking about a different star. Plus, your statement about the moon is completely wrong. Here is more evidence.

Erb: You need to take an astronomy class. I know the earth does not orbit Alpha Centauri. I should know since I own a telescope.

McX: You are insane.

Erb: You really shouldn’t resort to emotion. Your insults prove that I’m right and you know it.

McX: Didn’t you claim that I had no idea what I was talking about in stating the earth orbits the sun? Didn’t you state that earth has no moon?

Erb: The reality is that earth and Alpha Centauri have no significant relationship in orbital matters. You just can’t accept reality.

McX: OK, you really are insane.

Erb: The band Rush has a quote involving rage. Rush Rulz!

McX: You’re talking about Alpha Centauri while the rest of us are talking about the sun. You stated there is no moon.

Erb: Nothing you have written contradicts what I said. You know it.

McX: Everything I have written proves that you are wrong. I even linked to evidence.

Erb: Your evidence is irrelevant. It had nothing to do with earth’s moon orbiting Alpha Centauri.

McX: What are you talking about?

Erb: Your claim that earth’s moon orbit’s Alpha Centauri is obviously wrong. You just can’t admit it. It’s not hard to admit you made a mistake. You should try it sometime. No one will think less of you.

McX: Just answer these questions: Didn’t you state that I "had no idea what I was talking about" after I wrote that the earth orbit’s the sun? Didn’t you state there is no moon around the earth? When did I ever say anything about Alpha Centauri?

Erb: [crickets]
Seriously, Grimshaw...how many times do people have to experience this type of discourse with Erb before we’re allowed to dismiss him as a joke?

Feel free to dialog with Erb all you want. But don’t begin to tell me or anyone else that Erb is "more often than not...reasoned in his comments." Not when he purposefully and repeatedly misrepresents people’s points. Erb HAS brought it upon himself.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
One thing I like about the way people react to me is it’s helping me explore what I say and in what kinds of issues do people get angry, and figure out how to improve my communication on those sorts of things.
Amen Scott - I’m happy if we can get you to do those things, though McQ did link to something you commented on 7 or 8 years ago recently that made me think ’damn, he’s been at his for a LONGGGGGG time’. I’m curious if the leopard can ever change his spots...
I think at some level political discussion has a danger for becoming entrenched in anger and emotion because there are certain basic issues that can’t be proven,
I may be wrong Scott, but it seems to me most people that disagree with you are frustrated, not angry. Any long time reader of this blog will know what angry feels like around here. Just dig up the archives and look at the MK effect. Now MK could rile up the horses. Sometimes to good effect, but usually for naught. With you, I find myself always having to go back to a previous post you wrote in the same thread, and I have to keep handwritten notes trying to follow the logic... then another reader swoops in and lays out your inconstancies and.... {crickets}...

I’m just sayin’...
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
JWG - why don’t you try real evidence to make your point? Your fake but accurate account is mildly amusing, but I’ve been reading this blog for awhile I don’t recall many conversations like that (I do, however, recall many of them with Mkultra). Not saying they aren’t there, but I’d say your characterization is - to put it mildly - hyperbolic, especially of late. Any chance you are so entrenched in your own views that you can’t/won’t see things from his point of view? It’s interesting that when I’ve made this complaint, responses never cite examples of the objectionble behavior. Neither you nor Meagain offered anything substaintal. Is it so hard?

I’ll also add that several of you complain about Erb’s inability to admit when he’s wrong or see the light, etc. but I’ve noticed a change in his comments (generally) since I’ve been reading them; his viewpoint seems to be more libertarian than before. I think some of you have made up your mind about him and nothing is going to change it. That is not what I would call critical thinking let alone classically liberal.

Just for the record, I don’t know Scott Erb and a careful study of my comments will show that I disagree with him often. I just think many of you are over the top in your responses and it doesn’t reflect well on you. I’m accustomed to a higher level of discourse here (and I’m glad MKultra was banned because he was a useless *ss) which is why it’s one of the very few blogs I read.
"How will you say to your brother, Brother, let me take the grain of dust out of your eye, when you yourself do not see the bit of wood in your eye? O false one! first take the wood out of your eye and then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your brother’s eye."
This is the last thing I’m going to say about this as I’m tired of it and I’m sure you are too.



 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Meagain, I honestly don’t recall when someone has "laid out my inconsistencies" and I’ve ran away. I tell you what, I’ll make you a promise. If you point out a specific case at any time in the future where you think I’m being slippery, dishonest, or running away from something, point it out. I’ll deal with it directly. I don’t mind disagreement or heated debate; I just prefer not to take it personally. The reaction I get here is so different than my experiences in the real world that I’m genuinely interested in figuring out why — am I doing something wrong? Is it bad communication, or am I just in a kind of medium of discussion where disagreement tends to be personalized?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I don’t think Scott deserves the amount of acidity given to him."

Civility and reason are wonderful things. I am reminded of a song.

The Nazi, whom we once abhored,
is now gemutlichkeit.
For when he isn’t making war,
there’s none could be politer.
He woos Miss Liberty with zeal,
he bows with grace and rigor.
To kiss the hand and click the heel,
before he clicks the trigger.

You confuse a veneer and occasional truth with reality. Have you ever wondered why he is the only person receiving "wanton" insults? The fact that you consider us ALL to be in error makes me suspect your judgement.

"I think you see what you want to see"

Mass hallucination? Nah, just a vicious right-wing-fascist conspiracy.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
One more thing. An insult delivered with civility is still an insult. I prefer to do my insulting directly and clearly, as befits my Anglo-Saxon forebears. I leave it to other, more sophisticated and educated, folks to make their insults veiled in mild and temperate language, or indirectly. I prefer the forehand to the backhand.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"JWG - why don’t you try real evidence to make your point?"

Gimme a break. Do you think we take notes? Keep a diary?

" I just think many of you are over the top in your responses "

Any idea what causes such mass bad manners? I guess we are all just a bunch of louts.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Grimshaw - Erb has the ability to make some very salient comments from time to time - as does JWG. Unfortunately for both, they tend to marry a particular argument, which renders all following comments hyperbole (and once decending, usually JWG’s are informed and well agrued, but still wrong... and yes, I am guilty as well). Reactions to Erb are ebb and flow - when he is not playing dogmatic partisan, mostly his comments are silently ceded. But that is the problem of a centrist site where we know partisans are (mostly) respectufully bickering - ceding a known oppontent’s point of view is difficult - particularly when they refuse to cede to my POV, and expecially when it is on an insignificant point.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
JWG - why don’t you try real evidence to make your point?
The recent debate over cloture that covered three threads is a perfect example. That’s why I kept up the commentary with Erb.

Here’s the end portion of that discussion:
[Erb] Tell me what I have wrong here
Easy to do
[Erb] ...Senate chooses to limit debate and let the Senate majority vote
This should more accurately read "Senate chooses to limit debate through UNANIMOUS CONSENT and let the Senate majority vote on the legislation."

In this possibility, 100 senators have agreed beforehand to allow the legislation to move to the next procedure (the vote on the actual legislation). I note for the mathematically challenged that 100 > 60.

Without the unanimous consent, a cloture motion would be required which would require 60 senators to allow the legislation to move to the next procedure (the vote on the actual legislation).

In BOTH possibilities (there are no other possibilities if a final vote is to happen) at least 60 senators must give permission for the legislation to move forward. NO LEGISLATION can get out of the Senate under ANY circumstances without permission from at least 60 Senators.

McConnell and Reid are both on record stating the same thing.

The obvious question and answer for your 1991 example:
Q: Did the resolution require and obtain permission from at least 60 senators?
A: Yes

Debate settled.
[Erb] Reid was criticizing the GOP for doing the former rather than the latter
*ALERT* Erb Logic *ALERT*
You’re trying to change the nature of the debate again. This argument started with you claiming that it was correct to claim that it was a "GOP demand" that 60 votes were needed for the legislation to pass the Senate.

Unless you’re going to also claim that it is correct to say that:
1) A criminal defendant "demands" that a jury unanimously find him guilty, and
2) A president "demands" that Congress needs a 2/3 majority to override his veto

then it is INCORRECT to claim that a Senate rule requiring 60 votes (or unanimous consent) before anyone can vote on the actual legislation is ever a "GOP demand" (or a demand by any minority). It is a rule — a requirement — a necessary activity that cannot be avoided under any circumstances.

60 senators MUST choose to allow legislation to move forward, or it is dead.

Reid can complain that republican senators are choosing not to give permission — that was NEVER the debate.

The rule has nothing to do with how the senators choose to vote. The GOP isn’t demanding either unanimous consent or 60 votes for cloture. The RULES demand either unanimous consent or 60 votes.

Did the Colts demand that the Bears had to win the NFC conference before they would face them in the Superbowl? Of course not. It was already a requirement.
[Erb] you’ve never once shown anything wrong in what I’m claiming. Not once.
Well, besides teaching you the rules of the Senate, I also previously demonstrated the error (over and over and over) of your use of Erb Logic to twist the original claim into it being necessary for 60 senators to "favor" or "support" the legislation. No such claim was ever made.

And I demonstrated that your claim that cloture was "rare" was factually in error (to put it nicely).

To summarize:
1) "GOP demand" in error
2) 60 senators must "favor" legislation in error
3) cloture motions "rare" in error
Erb:

JWG: A lot of words, but you don’t point to one thing I got wrong. Face it, you’re just trying to spin, weave, grease and slither, but the reality is, you can’t counter what I say. Oh well, you are not in a position where you can do any harm. A minority of over 40 can filibuster, or can choose to leave it to the majority. In 1991 they chose to leave it to the majority of the Senate, the GOP in 2007 chose to filibuster. Reid was critical of that choice. You’re dodging, weaving, and using a lot of words, but you can’t deny reality. Pathetic. But, again, you’re not in position of responsibility, so you’re harmless.
JWG
Erb, just for the record (and because I think Erb Logic is hilarious) I have a few questions. I doubt you’ll have the courage to answer them:

1) Did you state repeatedly that it was a "GOP demand"?
2) Did you state repeatedly that McQ’s argument was that 60 senators must "favor" or "support" legislation?
3) Did you state that cloture was "rare"?

Make sure each answer begins with a Yes or No.
Erb never responded...and he can’t use the excuse that he left the debate because these 3 points were raised previously in the discussion when he was still engaged. Additionally, he was still making comments in other threads so he hadn’t left the blog.

This discussion that covered three threads (because Erb brought it into two other threads by taunting McQ for not admitting he was wrong — using an altered McQ argument of course) is typical of Erb. This is only a small sample from the end to point out that:
1) Erb changes the argument into a ridiculous caricature
2) Erb doesn’t admit the change and keeps twisting it
3) Erb avoids direct answers about his own words

I am not the only one who has repeatedly experienced it.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
BTW: I’m offline until about 5 pm EST (Tues). I don’t want to be accused of abandoning any further debate on this issue in case Erb actually addresses any specific points.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG: I never responded because I stopped reading that thread after my last comment. But here I see your response.

My point: criticism of Reid was unwarranted because it was a choice to filibuster rather than do like the Senate did in 1991, choose to allow the Senate majority to vote after limited debate. In that thread I pointed to two times where McQ suggested that 60 must support a bill, one was "Bill doesn’t have 60 or more votes, then it doesn’t continue in the process." I don’t recall stating cloture was rare, I do recall stating that filibusters are rare (rare meaning far few things are filibusters than are passed without filibuster). By not agreeing to limit debate, or to allow the vote to go forward with majority rule, I interpret that as a demand by the GOP that the bill have 60 votes in favor to pass.

So I don’t see what, exactly, you think I had wrong, or even where we disagree in the details. Reid criticized the GOP for obstruction the same way anti-war Senators would have been criticized for obstruction if they had filibustered in 1991 when support for the war was 52-47. You never have denied my points, instead you try to reframe it as a debate about the rules of the Senate (yet we agree the rules of the Senate allow filibuster but don’t require it), rarity of filibusters (which I don’t think you can deny given how much gets passed without a filibuster), and what McQ’s claim was (I quoted one direct quote above where he says the bill must have 60 votes).

Simply, Reid wasn’t being dishonest or disengenuous, and you can’t show anything to the contrary. I have not changed the debate either — the point I’m making now is precisely what I made in my first response. I’ve just added for emphasis the 1991 vote as an example to show that even in a very emotional and contentious issue the Senate can and does limit debate and allow a simple majority to pass major legislation.

But you can have the last word. I’ve stated my position and readers can decide what they think.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
JWG: OK, I went back and read the last comment in thread 6450, which I had stopped reading as well. In the last comment you quote Reid as himself interpreting the need for 60 votes on major legislation. If he said that, 1) I strongly think he went the wrong route and abused the filibuster; and 2) I take back my criticism of McQ for saying Reid was being disengenuous — if Reid supports using (I’d say abusing) the filibuster this way, then he shouldn’t criticize the GOP for doing so as well. Reid does indeed seem to be having a double standard, I hadn’t realized he’d said that. Sorry for the confusion.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"The fact that you consider us ALL to be in error makes me suspect your judgement.

"I think you see what you want to see"

Mass hallucination? Nah, just a vicious right-wing-fascist conspiracy."
Nice timactual. A perfect example of twisting my words. I wasn’t addressing you specifically and I never said EVERYONE is in error. If the shoe doesn’t fit...
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Meagain, I honestly don’t recall when someone has "laid out my inconsistencies" and I’ve ran away. I tell you what, I’ll make you a promise. If you point out a specific case at any time in the future where you think I’m being slippery, dishonest, or running away from something, point it out. I’ll deal with it directly.
That’s a deal Scott - and if you keep your end of the bargain, the next time I’m on my way to Machias to visit my Dad, I’ll buy you a couple of beers...
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"I wasn’t addressing you specifically "

So? You may have been specifically addressing JWG, but you were criticizing ’several’ of us. I confess, I read messages addressed to others. Sue me.

" I never said EVERYONE is in error."

So some of us who wantonly criticize Erb are in error, and some aren’t? The criticisms are pretty uniform. What do you do, draw straws to choose who is ’wantonly’ criticizing?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
That’s a deal Scott - and if you keep your end of the bargain, the next time I’m on my way to Machias to visit my Dad, I’ll buy you a couple of beers...
Sounds good. Machias, eh? I’ve been there a couple times, a beautiful area. Real downeast Maine.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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