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That Grinds My Gears: "Arrogant"

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  • That Grinds My Gears: "Arrogant"

    You know what really grinds my gears? When people try to win an argument by calling the other person “arrogant”, “elitist”, or something similar.

    In typical arguments, this usually happens when the first person has provided clear evidence in support of their argument and their argument is more forceful because of such evidence. The second person, instead of addressing the evidence behind the argument, makes the accusation of arrogance. It’s an attempt to get others to classify the provided evidence as personal opinion presented instead as fact, to personalize the argument instead of addressing the evidence on a factual basis. It’s transparently a false argument, and I try to call it out whenever I see it.

    Definitions of arrogant:
    Google dictionary: “Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities”
    Merriam-Webster: “exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner.” Also “showing an offensive attitude of superiority.”

    Here you can see that in an argument, it’s an attempt to address the person instead of the evidence. And another important concept here – if the first person has good evidence to support their argument, then their argument IS SUPERIOR. That’s not arrogance; it’s the way critical thinking works, and an important foundational concept in scientific discourse. In many societies, its not polite to disagree and its certainly not polite to imply or state outright that there might actually be a way to determine the relative truth of two different arguments and that all arguments aren’t equal exchanges of equally valid opinions. This is a key difference between a scientific mindset based on critical thinking and other ways of seeing the world.

    Here are two examples of this phenomenon:

    Post from Postural Restoration Institute thread.

    Evidence In Motion post on the classification of the transitional DPT degree.
    I find even more hilarious when the people calling me arrogant are doing so as anonymous internet commenters.
    I may be arrogant. I also might be a crack cocaine dealer. I might be a civil war history buff, an amateur radio operator, and a stamp collector. You cannot ascertain any of these things based on what I’ve written in these examples.
    But that's kind of the point, isn't it?

    Because agreeing to intellectual standards in an argument and addressing the evidence rather than calling names is just too hard for some people. And that's really unfortunate.

    The Inspiration. (adult language)
    Last edited by Jason Silvernail; 16-07-2011, 07:23 PM. Reason: Peter Griffin Link.
    Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT
    Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
    Fellowship-Trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy

    Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist


    The views expressed in this entry are those of the author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

  • #2
    Nice post. I've seen all the family guys 2-3 times.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well Jason, people call me arrogant all the time, but that is just because they are jealous.

      How have you been?
      I haven't been here for awhile, but you are looking good in your picture.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Randy. Long time no "see".
        Why would jealousy lead them to call you arrogant?
        It's an old picture but I appreciate the kind words.
        I'm doing great, thanks, and hope you are as well.

        Welcome back?
        Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT
        Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
        Fellowship-Trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy

        Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist


        The views expressed in this entry are those of the author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

        Comment


        • #5
          from Post from Postural Restoration Institute thread.
          Our professions need MORE of this type of strong debate and questioning, not less. The "tea party" atmosphere in therapy is contributing to a dangerous level of complacency and our scientific background and care of our patients hangs in the balance.
          But I guess that's just my "arrogance" showing through again...
          Here here..

          I have been horrendously guilty of trying to create the "tea party" atmosphere. Leaving that behind is hard but I find that I desperately need some strong debate. It is one of the things I admire about the Buddhist practice of debating in order to gain wisdom on one hand while at the same time holding compassion for all beings in the other.

          It is easier to do everything else in the world but that sincerely I would wager.
          Byron Selorme -SomaSimpleton and Science Based Yoga Educator
          Shavasana Yoga Center

          "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" Richard Feynman

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Randy!

            How have you been? I haven't been here for awhile, but you are looking good in your picture.
            I totally agree. I look at Jason's avatar, then mine, and who would you rather have in a foxhole with you as the mesos are lobbing muscle grenades?

            Jason's avatar makes me think of "stand and deliver." Mine makes me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail---"Run Away..."
            Last edited by Ken Jakalski; 17-07-2011, 09:27 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ken Jakalski View Post
              Mine makes me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail---"Run Away..."
              that is such a good visual. Wish I had coaches like you back in my school days.

              I'm scared of Jason:angel:
              Byron Selorme -SomaSimpleton and Science Based Yoga Educator
              Shavasana Yoga Center

              "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" Richard Feynman

              Comment


              • #8
                Jason is our resident Sheepdog. However, some of us are llamas. We stand our ground, between sheep and predator, use level eye contact, and spit long distances.
                Diane
                www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                @PainPhysiosCan
                WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                @WCPTPTPN
                Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                @dfjpt
                SomaSimple on Facebook
                @somasimple

                "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                Comment


                • #9
                  "Arrogance" is often used in the same breath as "scientism". Yes, both are forms of ad homs.

                  Jason doesn't scare me, but I can count on him scaring what does scare me.
                  We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are - Anais Nin

                  I suppose it's easier to believe something than it is to understand it.
                  Cmdr. Chris Hadfield on rise of poor / pseudo science

                  Pain is a conscious correlate of the implicit perception of threat to body tissue - Lorimer Moseley

                  We don't need a body to feel a body. Ronald Melzack

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I seem to recall a blog on BIM recently that discussed the nature of argument and how it was one or lost by shifting subgroups in the "audience" form floating to intransigent positions and if I remember aright implied that evidence often had little to do with winning or losing - I may have over read the post. I just went to look for it and cannot find it so cannot post the link here. It explained at least in part why the best evidenced argument does not always win. In the end the use of ad hom is a tactical attempt to discredit the argument via the person and unfortunately human nature being what it is it does carry weight - wrongly - but it can win arguments.

                    ANdy

                    p.s. in case of misunderstanding I am in no way endorsing its use or appropriateness for winning arguments as far as I am concerned it sucks


                    p.p.s. fascinating article about Llamas however it has doen nothing for the mental image of Diane spitting long distances
                    Last edited by amacs; 18-07-2011, 12:52 PM. Reason: clarification
                    "Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it." A.A. Milne

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ANdy-
                      I think you mean Evidence-Based Arguing.

                      I think this is why we can't really have detailed scientific discussions without also having an understanding of critical thinking and the ways in which people naturally respond to arguments they disagree with. I've found that in addition to ad homs like "arrogant", I've noticed another popular tactic which is less direct but just as false as an argumentative strategy. The one I'm thinking of is comparing some aspect of your opponent's position to a group you already dislike and by doing so put them in a convenient category which lets you disregard their argument.
                      "Oh, you say xyz? Well that's just like [evil conservatives, awful liberals or insert disliked group], they do that stuff all the time..."

                      What probably keeps my gears from getting all the way ground down is that these sorts of false arguments are a normal way people respond to having their ideas challenged and dealing with cognitive dissonance or arguments they aren't prepared to address. So as bad as it is, its also human.
                      Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT
                      Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
                      Fellowship-Trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy

                      Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist


                      The views expressed in this entry are those of the author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes Jason, They're just being human. I need to remnd myself of that each day.

                        As Elaine once said on Seinfeld:

                        People, they're the worst.
                        Barrett L. Dorko

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                        • #13
                          What probably keeps my gears from getting all the way ground down is that these sorts of false arguments are a normal way people respond to having their ideas challenged and dealing with cognitive dissonance or arguments they aren't prepared to address. So as bad as it is, its also human.
                          There is so much human behavioral psychology loaded into this statement that I'm almost reluctant to address it, but- as is my natural inclination- I'll do it anyway. :angel:

                          Most of us on some level understand that the current system that we work in to make a living- indeed to survive- is irrational. Politicians and policymakers who don't know a damn thing about what we do or how best to treat a patient with persistent pain make decisions everyday that impact what we do, how we get paid for it and who can avail themselves of it. These truly arrogant morons continually throw wrenches into the daily lives of health care professionals.

                          To survive in this environment, many of us simply go along with the idiotic policies passed down to us, but some of us develop very "creative" ways to game the system. Chiropractic, for example, is a field of manual therapy almost entirely based on gamemanship, marketing and three-card monty. There are many other manual therapy fields, including myofascial trigger point therapy, that are merely "kinder and genter" variations on this essentially dishonest scheme.

                          It makes perfect sense in this irrational context that individuals would conflate the ideas they hold with who they are. We are thrust into a hyper-defensive posture with regards to our ideas because if these ideas that "work" are taken from us, what will we have left? How will we charge for our services? How will we document progress? How will we make the payment on the $100k worth of exercise and isokinetic equipment we have sitting in our treatment space? How will we get that research grant from the NIH?

                          How will we survive?
                          John Ware, PT
                          Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
                          "Nothing can bring a man peace but the triumph of principles." -R.W. Emerson
                          “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot
                          be carried on to success.” -The Analects of Confucius, Book 13, Verse 3

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