I identified and pointed out the undistributed middle in Baladeer's syllogistic reasoning, Ron. First and third legs were unconnected. Since you read the discussion, you understand this can only be disputed by a response that addresses the formal flaw in the reasoning, q.e.d. Unlike legal reasoning, which Aristotle distinguishes, I believe, as an inferior type, defects in formal reasoning must be repaired, like bridges, before traffic is driven across them.
In formal reasoning, disagreements of the kind you cite as acceptable are in fact not acceptable. That is why appeals to emotion such as the one you are making are permitted in, say, a court of law, or a public address, but are excluded in philosophical or scientic debate. Changing the subject "a little bit" is still considered a red herring. Looking for deeper motives for changing the subject doesn't do anything to repair the damage in the syllogism that's been offered. Until the syllogism has been repaired, any attempt to put traffic over it is a failure.
Ron, I have no position of power here. Zip. Zero, nada, none. The only appeal I can make is to reason. I have no pretty face. I have limited toleration for what I consider to be racial impoliteness, and I will not back down in the face of it. I have a limited set of shoddy but time honored tools to use. I try to use them with as much politeness and respect as I can muster.
For any personal sense of arrogance I project, I am sorry. I am flawed this way. If I slip into it again from time to time, I will willingly acknowledge the flaw again and again, and try to correct it. I will not pretend to believe that this sort of provocative discussion should be allowed to proceed without being shown up for the logical sham and travesty that it is however. I will not pretend that attempts to cover up the flaws in the argument with loud throat clearings and Deus ex Machina
appearances from authorities on high (Ron), repair the tatty workmanship of the premises. Not to my eye they don't.
Once we can decide how sound the actual argument is, without constantly trying to shift the basis or subject of it, it may actually be possible to settle it on the basis of actual reasoned discussion rather than pointless shouting.
I think that would be nice. I don't actually like opening myself up to the possibility of being shown to be wrong, as actual reasoned argument might show, but that possibility is there, you know. If we actually take the discussion point by point and look at it and work it through, both balladeer and I as representatives of two distinct points of view might actually learn something.
I do not say the points that balladeer raises are right or wrong, though I think them wrong. I haven't had a chance to examine them because they have been raised in an out of order fashion, and block the examination of the pieces of the argument that both of us SEEM to feel are most important. Dealt with in this way, these side issues are in fact red herrings, not simply because they are a change in subject and prevent the forwarding of the argument, but because the main discussion prevents a solid discussion of these other interesting points as well.
There are reasons for syllogistic, step by step reasoning. It is solid, it can be examined, its flaws can be discoved and worked through.
Of course I want to be right here. I have an ego and probably too much of one. I have a good solid element of blowhard to me; perhaps there's one of you who might claim they didn't (I myself, by the way would nominate TomMark, who actually doesn't seem to be a blowhard).
But thank goodness there actually other parts of me as well, difficult as they might be to find from time to time.
I actually want to understand as much about this seemingly un-understandable thing as I can. To do so means I have to risk feeling, looking like and occasionally being a fool. I think it's in a good cause.
As a post script, Ron, I may have called you riduculous at some point, but don't remember doing so. I think I'd be more likely to call myself ridiculous, whom I actually know well enough to be able to make a solid call on. I am often ridiculous, as are many of the people I value highly. I've frequently found many of the insults people use for each other something of a puzzle. But no, I don't believe I do find you ridiculous, actually. Enjoyably prickly at this point, I think, but I don't have much sense of your core. Certainly a lot of determination, there, though, and a driving sense of values and a settled sense of self. Probably be nice to have about three cups of coffee and a long discussion with you about poetry and the world sometime. Oh yes, Did I mention loyalty to friends? I should have mentioned loyalty to friends. Ridiculous, though? not that I can tell, though I suppose I can always hope. My best, BobK.