Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Arguing Made Simple - Incoherency is your Friend

Sometimes you don't have a lot of time to make a reasoned well thought argument. You know the issue you must discuss, and you know the right answer, but coming up with an actual argument in favor of your position would take too much time or energy. What do you do?

Do you shirk the field of argumentative battle? Heaven forbid. How are you going to paste those people who have the gall to think differently from you if you walk away?

Instead you should harness the power of incoherence.

The American Heritage Dictionary describes Incoherency as "Incoherence." Thank you American Heritage Dictionary. And it defines Incoherence as "[t]he condition or quality of being incoherent." Once again, thank you American Heritage Dictionary. And finally the American Heritage Dictionary defines incoherent as follows.
in - co - her - ent

1. Lacking cohesion, connection, or harmony; not coherent: incoherent fragments of a story.
2. Unable to think or express one's thoughts in a clear or orderly manner: incoherent with grief.
Now that we've defined incoherence (and fill precious inches), let's see how you might use it in an argument.

Say for example you want to argue that Christmas is being ruined by Leftists and Liberals. Well you could do a lot of research and find examples of Christmas being ruined by Leftists and Liberals. But that would take a lot of work; and such examples would doubtless be covered with that most hated of qualities, nuance.

So let's take a page from Bill Murchinson's latest article and see how the power of Incoherence can suggest something.
Our paper currency informs us that "In God We Trust," but try affirming that proposition at, say, a high school commencement. Or try praying it, if you want to see how long it takes an ACLU lawyer to get to the courthouse.
I've prayed literally dozens of times and have yet to fall afoul of the ACLU. But wait. Did Murchinson mean pray at a school commencement? Or prayer at all? It's unclear. You don't know exactly what he means. But you can assume it means that liberals are anti-Christian jerks (particularly the ACLU).

That's the power of Incoherency. Let's see another example.
The dispute makes no objective sense, of course. "Holiday" means "holy day." Holy for what reason? For the reason that Christ was born: absent which occasion the stores wouldn't be bidding you, come max out your credit cards. You'd think we could have sailed on another 40 or 50 years serene in our Christian pan-denominationalism.
Interesting; Murchinson seems to be admitting that happy holidays shouldn't be offensive, while simultaneously ignoring all other religious and ethnic festivities in what we call the holiday season. I guess Murchinson believes that if a Jewish person hears Happy Holidays he should feel as included as when he hears Merry Christmas.

Anyway I hope these tips help you in your arguing with others; remember if you can't be sure, be confusing!

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