Thursday, May 19, 2011

14 Chart: Ways To Discuss Your Position In An Argument

Referring back to this entry:, here is a chart that shows different kinds of interactions one can have during a discussion with opposing positions.

From observation, discussions where parties hold conflicting views tend to degenerate and become either flaming troll wars or stalemates when anything from contradiction on down through namecalling is applied.

When Counterargument, Refutation, or Refuting the Central Point are used, the discussion is far less likely to degenerate into a flaming troll war and is more likely to be productive - people are more likely to walk away from the discussion not only having a better understanding of others' views, but also having a clearer understanding of what they themselves do not understand or where they lack knowledge...


  1. C.O. said in this entry:

    When Counterargument, Refutation, or Refuting the Central Point are used, the discussion is far less likely to degenerate into a flaming troll war and is more likely to be productive - people are more likely to walk away from the discussion not only having a better understanding of others' views, but also having a clearer understanding of what they themselves do not understand or where they lack knowledge...

    In what wonderful universe does THAT happen??? LOL

  2. Hey cave76,

    The wonderful universe this is more likely to happen in is one where either there are ground rules already (such as ones at the Daily Kos) and they are effectively stated and moderated before a discussion and when one signs on - and when the people involved set out with the intention to have a conversation based on stating one's position and finding out what the other person or party knows even if it conflicts with one's position.

    This is not an easy thing to do. When one is emotionally invested in their position, and experience has led them down the path of where they're at - it's hard to keep that element out of the conversation. Yet I think it's something worth striving for to at least try it out first - then share experience and anecdote later on if you think the other party would be willing to listen. (Note that "if" there.)

    Having a discussion on the internet rather than in person is part of what makes it harder to maintain diplomacy or contain strong feelings. The combination of a lack of body language, tone of voice, and anonymity seems to encourage the idea in some people that anything goes - when it probably shouldn't.

    I can't prevent discussions from going downhill, but I can provide examples for conditions under which they're less likely to do so. If I apply everything above the line of contradiction and the other person or party doesn't, then I'd point that out to them, and tell them there's no point in having a discussion with them unless it remains on topic and isn't full of personal attacks.

    Sometimes you've got to just walk away. Some discussions aren't worth having because they aren't discussions any more. They're parallel monologues.

  3. Another option: If all else fails...change the subject and ignore the opposing view. That is the approach the CDC is using to distract from all of the negative publicity they are getting during the Lyme Awareness month of May.
    Zombie attack! Preparedness???
    That's right, Zombie attack preparedness is getting all of the attention over at the CDC--a ruse maybe--but no joke. Albeit, I want to caution you potential Zombie victims against a plan of running into the woods to hide from the dreaded Zombies, because there just might be life and mind sucking creatures waiting for you in the woods too, only these creatures are almost impossible to see and you wont necessarily know you have been bitten until it is too late. Strange but true.

    Furthermore, don't those silly people at the CDC know a Zombie bite is usually easily treated with a simple round of antibiotic...or is that antizombiotics? I forget things like that now; I guess I should have been more prepared when I ran into the woods to play...or was that only in Connecticut? I wish I could remember these things. They must be important if the CDC is trying so hard to raise awareness about them.

    Enough sarcastic humor. I'll take CO's word about which approach is more productive, but from what I have read on blog posts Cave76 is right in saying it is a rare occurrence.

  4. You must be the change you wish to see in this world.

    Idealistic, I know. But what can I say? I haven't totally lost hope in people to try.

  5. You are so right. It is a trait of all great leaders to stand alone if necessary, and speak of a better way to a better world. Unfortunately, great leaders like you are far and few between, so instead, the not-so-great leaders appeal to the masses who are suckers to persuasion from the methods of argument at the bottom of your pyramid, because that is where the drama comes from.

    The interaction at the top of the pyramid requires listening and learning, which most people in this country equate with school or work, so they prefer to interact with the same entertainment associated drama they receive from the politicians and the media.

    The problem is a cultural problem...a culture wanting drama and entertainment at a time when there is a much greater need for a culture of listening and learning.

    To support my claim I offer the popularity of television, politics, and sports today versus real news papers, philosophy, or academics today.

  6. Just Koz,

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Me, great leader? I don't think of myself that way. I'm just another human being who happened to get sick and find themselves in the middle of a controversy. My plan was to take a few weeks of antibiotics after a tick bite and get on with my life - I thought that was what was supposed to happen, right? No, not me.

    I would like to do something meaningful while I'm stuck and trying to scrape my way back to the life I had - or at least something close enough to it that it's almost indistinguishable - and what I've done is start a blog.

    I started it as a rant against writing that did not encourage critical thinking or present the science to the public (that Tribune piece) and realized in the process that there wasn't enough writing about certain topics in Lyme disease to begin with... I began writing about the kinds of things that I wanted to read as a Lyme disease patient because I got enough focus together to be able to do it. I would love it if more people would write about the science and present it to other people, because I really think awareness about it is going to help shift the tide in how this disease is handled.

  7. Just Koz,

    As to the rest of your comment...

    "the not-so-great leaders appeal to the masses who are suckers to persuasion from the methods of argument at the bottom of your pyramid, because that is where the drama comes from."

    I don't know who you mean by "the not-so-great leaders", but I am guessing you mean leaders of political parties and lobbyists in a general sense?

    If you're talking about people in the Lyme patient community, a lot of people are acting independently and have their own voice, through writing their own blogs about their experience. I don't see anyone leading them - we're all largely on our own here, with the help of some doctors and organizations willing to go to bat for those doctors and fund raising for them and some research.

    But from where I sit - and I don't know how it is for you - I feel like so much of what I have to do is figure things out for myself and decide what to do on my own.

    Other patients do some education about Lyme disease - largely on prevention, and to let people know that they, too, could be one of the unlucky ones to get sick and then find themselves not immediately returning to their regular life. Mostly, it's "this was my life before Lyme, and now, this is it". It's an important object lesson people need to know, it's just not all of it.

    Starting a blog about the science and some of the social issues around Lyme disease is my way to participate in the debate about Lyme disease and related tickborne diseases. Can it become more that this? Absolutely. I advise anyone who is a patient and who has it in themselves to do so to begin writing a blog that pushes past all the personal story, past alternative treatments, past some of the politics, and begin writing about the core issue: what evidence is there that Lyme disease can persist?

    Getting the message out there that the issue isn't resolved and there is debate and more research is needed is important. This doesn't mean that people shouldn't share their personal experiences - it's just that I don't think that's all we need to share.

    I'm not sure how to address the cultural problem you're talking about, but it does seem that politics is one topic people are willing to spend some time doing research on outside of work and school to make a decision. Does this candidate represent my values? What are they going to do about taxes? What's their stand on x or y issue? So there is motivation there to do some homework.

    The key in any of this - as in anything - is to tell people why something is important for them to know. Why is it important for people to know more about the science and research about Lyme disease? Some of what I write would be considered esoteric - yet it's pretty basic and just scratching the surface for biologists. Some of what I write is rant material - which is generally something people can relate to, even if they don't initially understand all of what I'm ranting about. Somewhere between those rants and the science lies the why... It's something to think about.

  8. Some blogs about Lyme:

    Treatment Lessons from the Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.
    Posted by Ashley van Tol under doctors, helpful hints, mold & fungi, viruses | Tags: doctors, lyme disease, mold & fungi, treatment |

    Remember the nursery rhyme about the old lady who swallowed a fly? I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the last few days. To me it illustrates something I learned at the Klinghardt conference last weekend.

    I’ve never thought too much about the order of treatment when it comes to Lyme. All doctors seem to have their own theories and protocols that work for them and their patients. Klinghardt treats in this order: parasites, then mold, then bacteria, then viruses.

    Why? Well this is where the old lady who swallowed a fly comes in. Klinghardt is treating from largest to the smallest micro organisms. If the old lady was right, she swallowed a cat to catch the bird to catch the spider to catch the fly… So theoretically the old lady now has all these animals inside her and each of those animals now also has all of the smaller animals inside them. The same goes for the micro organisms.

    The bacteria are infected with viruses, the mold is infected with bacteria and viruses and the parasites are infected with mold, bacteria and viruses. If you start by killing viruses they are going to be re-released into your system when you start killing the bacteria, and on up the line. Thinking like this, starting with the largest micro organism and working down to the smallest seems like the most logical way to go.


    Stem Cell Therapy for Lyme Disease?

    When the science of stem cell research was first announced, a battle was initiated that continues to rage on. On one side, the “right to life” organization fights for the embryos that are killed to obtain the stem cells. They are joined by humanitarians who argue about the possibility of cloning, and the potential theological questions that challenge the very definition of humanity.

    On the other side is the powerful medical community who offer glittering hope for new treatments where none has existed before. Some treatments are already being used successfully for certain types of cancer and birth defects. The speculative areas are en more exciting such as spinal cord injury, burns, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis’s diseases.
    For those of us with Lyme disease, especially neurological Lyme disease, we fear to hope, but the stem cell research has made great progress on brain diseases and dysfunction with specific therapies for Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases, and strokes.
    However, according to Dr. Burton Goldberg who has traveled to Mexico to learn first-hand some of the discoveries that have been made there outside of the intensely controlled environment of American medical research. (I found some great information at his site:

    Announced just recently (December 8, 2008) by Science Daily, a research team led by the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, and Albany Medical College has illuminated the important role of natural killer (NK) T cells in Lyme disease, demonstrating that the once little understood white blood cells are central to clearing the bacterial infection, and reducing the intensity and duration of arthritis associated with Lyme disease.
    “Our findings are that the NK T cells are critical to preventing the chronic inflammatory infection that causes Lyme arthritis and they participate in clearing the bacteria which cause it,” said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., the La Jolla Institute’s president & scientific director and co-senior author on the study, which used a mouse model of Lyme disease.

  10. ******************************
    The results with Medsonix have been astonishing. Please read the accounts that follow below. If you would like to talk to me, send me an email at, and we'll set up a phone conversation. I am not in the employ of Medsonix. I'll tell you what I think.

    You may want to know if we consider the Medsonix a "cure." My answer is, I don't know. I would love to think that it's a cure, but I don't know that it kills bugs. That's not what it's licensed for -- it's FDA approved to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and increase blood flow. It does all of that.
    Discusses antibiotic treatments and alternative tx as well. The author does caution readers to have a doctor supervise these"

    Some of the more popular therapies, in alphabetical order (not a comprehensive list) are:
    Acupuncture, andrographis, aromatherapy, artemisia, bee venom, Chinese herbs, cat’s claw, colloidal silver, colonics, colostrum, cranial sacral therapy, dietary changes, digestive enzymes, far-infrared sauna, garlic, glutathione, grapefruit seed extract, homeopathy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Japanese knotwood, liquid oxygen, lymphatic drainage, olive leaf extract, ozone therapy, resveratrol, Rife machine, salt and Vitamin C, spilanthes, Swedish sauna, tai chi, and various combinations of vitamins and minerals.

    That's just a sample. I'd like to know if there are any others.

    Connie Strasheim has a Lyme blog also.

  11. cave76,

    Maybe I'm missing something, but why are you posting links to all of these Lyme-related blogs and sites under this post on how to discuss your position in an argument?

    I was surprised, by the way, that the Medsonix comment didn't fall into my spam trap. Anything that comes across as a sales pitch usually automatically goes there - I've had to delete a number of pleas from companies or reps trying to plug their products here.

    I let yours go, because I surmise you are posting these for a reason and will comment why soon.

  12. Camp----- I was posting them as an example of what some (a lot?) of the Lyme disease blogs are like at this point----- in response to your wish I advise anyone who is a patient and who has it in themselves to do so to begin writing a blog that pushes past all the personal story, past alternative treatments, past some of the politics, and begin writing about the core issue: what evidence is there that Lyme disease can persist?

    The examples I posted were NOT what you hope to happen but rather an example of what is actually out there.

    My question to YOU----- just where will the bloggers come from? You're a refreshing anomaly in the Lyme world but how will you find others that not only 'get it' about Lyme but have the ability to do 'science-speak'.

  13. cave76,

    Unfortunately I can't give you more time for my response right now, but will try to give a more detailed response later. But to answer your question about where the bloggers will come from:

    I don't have to be the only one - I know there are others out there who could be doing this. There are biologists and microbiologists and doctors who have gotten Lyme disease themselves and have been thrown into the middle of a controversy and are trying to wade through the research, too. They could be writing and I encourage them to do so, even if only anonymously at first (though not being anonymous may give their writing more weight for detractors).

    Even if you can't write about the science yourself - you can do as others have done spread the word and share this blog with them, and copy and paste abstracts from here and Pubmed just to share that they are out there, and link to studies on lymeinfo, for example.

    The problem with some of the material in the blogs which you posted above is that they are not based on any scientific research out there, yet they sound "sciency". Okay, that's not a word - but my point is, there's a difference between sounding scientific and actually basing a hypothesis, or product on scientific theory, method, and research.

    I want to discuss this issue in an entry, because I think it's important. I've also found some online resources which show people how to sort out scientific fact from science... fiction? That's not entirely what I meant, but the intent is there... I meant science fact from science-like terminology or narratives. The distinction is like night and day.

  14. **biologists and microbiologists and doctors***

    Yes, they would be valuable bloggers. Especially those that themselves have contracted Lyme or knows someone who did.

    So where are they? (Rhetorical)

    Some reasons they might not be blogging (and I mean publicly) are------- if they're finding evidence that is worthy of publishing or of great signifcance and they blog about it to the gen. pop. they might have their 'evidence' stolen. (Yes, the scientific world is ALSO rife with less than honorable people!)

    Doctors have to be extra careful------ AMA and IDSA are watching. Also the insurance companies. And if that doc belongs to a practice with other doctors----- those collegues can and often will report them at worst or at 'best' ostrasize them. (I was witness to an llmd in the early days that had colleagues snickering about him!)

    As it stands at this point------- it's the rare blogger that can or will do what you suggest.

    I've read (and posted) many online resources on how to sort fact from fiction on several different forums. Mostly it got me banned (grin) but I'm sure it found fertile ground is a few people's minds. So----- one 'pupil' out of many? I guess that's what a good teacher considers success. And at this time---- it's still more or less one on one.


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