Semantics whoring

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Semantics whoring

Post by Lusankya » 2009-02-24 09:03am

How to deal with it? My current tactic is to tell them to stop being whiny little bitches, but it doesn't seem to faze them.

Instead, when you tell them to go look it up in the dictionary, they bring out gems like this:
I haven't even said that the dictionaries were inadmissible, only that it is ridiculous to believe that they settle anything by virtue of being The Almighty Dictionary. They don't. Jesus.
I really don't want to bog the debate down into "No. Really, the dictionary definition of gullible is right," but that's what they seem to want to turn it into.

This is the second time in the last month that someone's tried to turn a debate into semantics whoring, and it's not as though they're even doing it about particularly controversial or charged words. The first time it was with "bisexual" (Apparently for that guy, "The dictionary doesn't define my life") and this time it's with "gullible and easily persuaded". I can only assume they're doing it because they know their argument doesn't have two feet to stand on, because if it did, then you'd think they'd just accept the definition that I pulled out of the dictionary for the sake making the argument move along.
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Re: Semantics whoring

Post by Samuel » 2009-02-24 12:07pm

Beat them to death with the dictionary. :P

Technically the dictionary can be wrong, however, they have to give a reason why it is wrong and give the alternate words they want to use. If the word is too over broad, split it into two different words.

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Re: Semantics whoring

Post by Count Chocula » 2009-02-24 01:30pm

This looks like a variation of the classic Wall of Ignorance. Your debating opponents don't seem to understand, or don't want to understand, that a clear knowledge of what words mean is critical to effective communication. Dictionaries are useful because they provide context and meanings of words - duh! They should know that.

Tell 'em straight up: "If you can't even understand the meanings of the words I'm using, you have no business trying to debate ideas with me. You losers."

Alternatively, you could ask them what the meaning of "is" is. 8)
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