Criticism

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wenglund
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Post by wenglund »

Mister Scratch wrote: The reason your point is not coming across, Wade, is because you are conflating "the personal" with "entities." Nobody is calling YOU as "piece of filth" or "a cult." People sometimes say that about Joseph Smith or The Church, but YOU are not the Church, and thus criticism of the Church cannot and should not be misconstrued by you or anyone else as being "personal criticism." Once more: nobody is criticizing you personally. Unless you want to somehow claim that YOU are actually the Church, then your argument doesn't really make much sense.... Know what I mean?

Edited to add: Wade, I think you are going to have to explain how a criticism such as "The Church has been dishonest about itself in the past" can somehow be transformed into a personal criticism of Wade Englund.


No, I think the reason I am not coming across is because you and others aren't answering the questions that I have actually asked. You each seem intent on making points that are...well...beside the point.

Care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Mister Scratch »

wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote: The reason your point is not coming across, Wade, is because you are conflating "the personal" with "entities." Nobody is calling YOU as "piece of filth" or "a cult." People sometimes say that about Joseph Smith or The Church, but YOU are not the Church, and thus criticism of the Church cannot and should not be misconstrued by you or anyone else as being "personal criticism." Once more: nobody is criticizing you personally. Unless you want to somehow claim that YOU are actually the Church, then your argument doesn't really make much sense.... Know what I mean?

Edited to add: Wade, I think you are going to have to explain how a criticism such as "The Church has been dishonest about itself in the past" can somehow be transformed into a personal criticism of Wade Englund.


No, I think the reason I am not coming across is because you and others aren't answering the questions that I have actually asked. You each seem intent on making points that are...well...beside the point.

Care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Sure. You asked what kinds of criticism I find useful or enlightening, and I said that I find criticism of the LDS Church to be useful and enlightening. As for what seems to be your side-question (i.e., "Do you ever find personalized, ad hominem attack to be helpful?") I would have to say, No. Argumentum ad hominem has never been helpful to me, imo.

Edited to add: Wade, if I were an institution such as the LDS Church, I would really love it and appreciate it if people criticized me for whitewashing history, or if I kept my finances a secret. However, I am not an institution such as the LDS Church, and so this seems a rather moot point. Also, who are you to be speaking on behalf of the Church this way? Again, I have to point out what seems to be a conflation of "personal" with "institutional" on your part.
Last edited by Mister Scratch on Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by wenglund »

Polygamy Porter wrote:Good hell Wade, you are babbling. I counted eight "you"s.

I fully understand that many members of the LDS Inc cult will never see the truth. That does not bother me, because those that I care about and love are now out, including my wife and all of my kids!

While I would like to get my inlaws out, it is not a priority.

by the way, last Friday at work I had an opportunity to share the truth with two non Mormon coworkers.

Both guys are black and I overheard them talking about Mitt. I told them that I am a former Mormon and could clear up ANY question they had.

One asked if it was true that blacks were looked down on and were told they would not get to see god, up until 1980 or something.

I spent a good 20 minutes going down every racist teaching from briggie to peterson to mckonkie right up to the 1978 date. I ended by showing them the sure sign of the nail handshake to give to the next set of pesky missionaries that bothered them.. "What is that?" "Has it a name?" ahh hahh ha hah good times!

Each night that you goto sleep, remember one thing Wade, Polygamy Porter and tens of thousands of other former Mormons are spreading the truth to the un garmented masses!


I looked in vain for a direct answer to the question that I asked. Care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

Fortigurn wrote:
wenglund wrote:This isn't a discussion of why people have been banned, or what may or may not have happened at MA&D.


Wade, I am addressing directly your comments here:

I get the impression from various critics that LDS apologist can't handle much if any criticism against the Church. The critics point to various things (numerous bannings from websites like FAIR/MA&D, the lack of participation here by certain apologists, etc.) as evidence in support of this alleged aversion to criticism.

Previously, I have pointed out that there have long been, and still are, critics who are permitted to post on FAIR/MA&D, which then would suggest to the reasonably minded that there is at least some tolerance of criticism on the part of apologists.

[...]

I submit that it isn't that either party has a complete aversion to criticism, but rather their aversion is understandably towards certain types of criticism. Each party's aversion is to destructive criticism, not constructive criticism.


I have given evidence that the LDS apologists on MAD cannot handle much, if any, criticism against the church. I have given evidence that they are averse to all kinds of criticism, not merely 'destructive criticism', and that the very presence of critics on MAD disturbs them.

I do not believe that your case (that both parties only object to destructive criticism), can possibly be sustained in the face of the evidence.


Well...let's test your theory by having you address the questions that I have asked on this thread.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

Mister Scratch wrote:
wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote: The reason your point is not coming across, Wade, is because you are conflating "the personal" with "entities." Nobody is calling YOU as "piece of filth" or "a cult." People sometimes say that about Joseph Smith or The Church, but YOU are not the Church, and thus criticism of the Church cannot and should not be misconstrued by you or anyone else as being "personal criticism." Once more: nobody is criticizing you personally. Unless you want to somehow claim that YOU are actually the Church, then your argument doesn't really make much sense.... Know what I mean?

Edited to add: Wade, I think you are going to have to explain how a criticism such as "The Church has been dishonest about itself in the past" can somehow be transformed into a personal criticism of Wade Englund.


No, I think the reason I am not coming across is because you and others aren't answering the questions that I have actually asked. You each seem intent on making points that are...well...beside the point.

Care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Sure. You asked what kinds of criticism I find useful or enlightening, and I said that I find criticism of the LDS Church to be useful and enlightening. As for what seems to be your side-question (i.e., "Do you ever find personalized, ad hominem attack to be helpful?") I would have to say, No. Argumentum ad hominem has never been helpful to me, imo.


On this thread I have yet to use the words "ad hominem" or "attack". Instead, I used the word "criticism". Now that that has been straightened out, care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Fortigurn »

wenglund wrote:Well...let's test your theory by having you address the questions that I have asked on this thread.


I can answer them, but since the argument you're attempting to use them to support has already been invalidated, I don't see the point. I have no objection to constructive criticism. I have an objection to destructive criticism. This is not the same as the average LDS apologist on MAD, who has a demonstrable objection to all forms of criticism, and also to critics generally, even if they aren't saying anything.

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Post by Mister Scratch »

wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
wenglund wrote:
Mister Scratch wrote: The reason your point is not coming across, Wade, is because you are conflating "the personal" with "entities." Nobody is calling YOU as "piece of filth" or "a cult." People sometimes say that about Joseph Smith or The Church, but YOU are not the Church, and thus criticism of the Church cannot and should not be misconstrued by you or anyone else as being "personal criticism." Once more: nobody is criticizing you personally. Unless you want to somehow claim that YOU are actually the Church, then your argument doesn't really make much sense.... Know what I mean?

Edited to add: Wade, I think you are going to have to explain how a criticism such as "The Church has been dishonest about itself in the past" can somehow be transformed into a personal criticism of Wade Englund.


No, I think the reason I am not coming across is because you and others aren't answering the questions that I have actually asked. You each seem intent on making points that are...well...beside the point.

Care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


Sure. You asked what kinds of criticism I find useful or enlightening, and I said that I find criticism of the LDS Church to be useful and enlightening. As for what seems to be your side-question (i.e., "Do you ever find personalized, ad hominem attack to be helpful?") I would have to say, No. Argumentum ad hominem has never been helpful to me, imo.


On this thread I have yet to use the words "ad hominem" or "attack". Instead, I used the word "criticism". Now that that has been straightened out, care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


I don't find *any* personalized criticism of me on these boards to be useful at all, Wade. I think the best criticism is aimed at institutions and arguments.

How does that answer suit you?

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Post by Seven »

Can you understand how, in similar ways, the criticism of Joseph Smith and Church history by former members may be viewed as "character slander and offensive" by those who retain their testimony?


No, this is something I don't understand. Can't you retain a testimony and still be honest about ethical behavior? If you believe leaders in the church are fallible, then why would this be offensive? Joseph Smith is not Jesus Christ. I think some have elevated him to such a level, that it's like taking the Lord's name in vain if you utter one criticism of the man.

Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
[/quote]

I don't understand why you equate personal criticism of critics to criticisms of the church. How are they the same?
Are you Joseph Smith?
Can we talk about Joseph and Fanny Alger without a critic being accused of trying to slander the Prophet to justify their loss of faith? This is the type of criticism that I see frequently from apologists instead of dealing with the topic.

I would value an apologist pointing out flaws in the critical interpretation of history. Correcting statements that may have been taken out of context by a critic is something I value. I see no value in making personal attacks on another poster's character.

I would value examining the reasons why critics feel bothered by * and why apologists are not.
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That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another." Joseph Smith

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Post by Who Knows »

I'll answer your question Wade.

I'd say it depends on how bad I've screwed up, or how bad I've screwed someone over. The bigger the screwing, the more/severe criticism I could (or should be able to) handle.
WK: "Joseph Smith asserted that the Book of Mormon peoples were the original inhabitants of the americas"
Will Schryver: "No, he didn’t." 3/19/08
Still waiting for Will to back this up...

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Post by wenglund »

Fortigurn wrote:
wenglund wrote:Well...let's test your theory by having you address the questions that I have asked on this thread.


I can answer them, but since the argument you're attempting to use them to support has already been invalidated, I don't see the point. I have no objection to constructive criticism. I have an objection to destructive criticism. This is not the same as the average LDS apologist on MAD, who has a demonstrable objection to all forms of criticism, and also to critics generally, even if they aren't saying anything.


I don't see where you have in any way invalidated the argument that I am attempting to make (except perhaps in your own mind and in the minds of those similarly disposed). In fact, your reluctance to answer my questions mitigates against your alleged invalidatution. The truth of the matter is, we haven't even scratched the surfuce here in determining what constitutes constructive vs. destructive criticism (which is what my carefully chosen questions are intended to explicate), so I can't see how something can be invalidated prior to even defining and clarifying what it is.

Now, if you wish to contribute to explicating the differences between constructive and destructive criticism, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

Mister Scratch wrote: I don't find *any* personalized criticism of me on these boards to be useful at all, Wade. I think the best criticism is aimed at institutions and arguments.

How does that answer suit you?


I didn't restrict my question to criticisms that occur on these boards. Now that that has been straightened out, would you care to try again?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Fortigurn »

wenglund wrote:I don't see where you have in any way invalidated the argument that I am attempting to make (except perhaps in your own mind and in the minds of those similarly disposed).


I have demonstrated that LDS apologists on MAD object to all forms of criticism, and even to the presence of critics on their forum (by their own admission). That means that you cannot claim that they only object to 'destructive criticism', invalidating your argument.

In fact, your reluctance to answer my questions mitigates against your alleged invalidatution.


Clearly you're not reading my posts, because I answered your questions directly:

have no objection to constructive criticism. I have an objection to destructive criticism. This is not the same as the average LDS apologist on MAD, who has a demonstrable objection to all forms of criticism, and also to critics generally, even if they aren't saying anything.


You wrote:

The truth of the matter is, we haven't even scratched the surfuce here in determining what constitutes constructive vs. destructive criticism (which is what my carefully chosen questions are intended to explicate), so I can't see how something can be invalidated prior to even defining and clarifying what it is.


I have demonstrated that LDS apologists on MAD object to all forms of criticism, and even to the presence of critics on their forum (by their own admission). That means that you cannot claim that they only object to 'destructive criticism', invalidating your argument.

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Post by CaliforniaKid »

Wade,

As long as criticism is reasonable, I accept and value it. It is something of a subjective judgment, of course, as to what is considered "reasonable". For example, I have received a great deal of criticism that was prompted by a misreading of my comments or a misunderstanding of my motives; usually in these cases I can correct the misunderstanding and the criticism is withdrawn. But if someone politely chastises me for holding irrational beliefs or for using an inappropriate tone in conversation, I consider that criticism very carefully. After all, the reason I seek out online forums like this one is to have intelligent conversations about belief systems, and to evaluate how well my own measures up against others'. It wouldn't make any sense to hold others to a higher standard than I hold myself.

On the other hand, I do not come to these forums to psychoanalyze people or to be psychoanalyzed myself. I would not want to receive overly personal criticism on a forum like this one, and I would not want people I don't even know to try to read my mind. Similarly, I do not try to read other people's minds. I take people's words at face value and try to avoid stereotyping.

Personal criticism I reserve for people I trust and people who trust me.

-CK

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Post by wenglund »

Seven wrote:
Can you understand how, in similar ways, the criticism of Joseph Smith and Church history by former members may be viewed as "character slander and offensive" by those who retain their testimony?


No, this is something I don't understand. Can't you retain a testimony and still be honest about ethical behavior? If you believe leaders in the church are fallible, then why would this be offensive? Joseph Smith is not Jesus Christ. I think some have elevated him to such a level, that it's like taking the Lord's name in vain if you utter one criticism of the man.


I think you unintentionally illustrate why certain criticism are ineffectual. If either side is only capable of seeing and respecting one point of view, there is little chance that the criticism in either direction will be valued by those towards whom the criticism is directed. Instead, each party may at times view the other party's criticism as "character slander and offensive", and not be able to understand why the other party would view their criticism in that way.

Are there types of criticism of critics that you do value?


I don't understand why you equate personal criticism of critics to criticisms of the church. How are they the same?
Are you Joseph Smith?


I am not equating the two. I am simply suggesting that there are efficacious and effectual ways to criticize in general, just as there un-efficacious and ineffectual ways of doing the same. And, by looking at what works for each of us when we are personally criticized, that may help vet what may work when criticizing other people and/or entities that those people may belong to.

Can we talk about Joseph and Fanny Alger without a critic being accused of trying to slander the Prophet to justify their loss of faith?


That depends on a number of factors that have yet to be explicated and considered (which is precisely what my questions are intentionally designed to do).

This is the type of criticism that I see frequently from apologists instead of dealing with the topic.

I would value an apologist pointing out flaws in the critical interpretation of history. Correcting statements that may have been taken out of context by a critic is something I value. I see no value in making personal attacks on another poster's character.


Since each person's posts are a matter of historical record, would you object to poster's being subjected to the same rules of criticism as other historical accounts and historical figures, and vice versa? Would you object to "personal attacks" on anyone's character via historical records? In other words, if you don't wish to have your personal character criticized, then wouldn't consistency suggest that you not criticize the character of others (including historical figures)?

I would value examining the reasons why critics feel bothered by * and why apologists are not.


That may be a topic for another thread. But, I suspect that the answer is simply: the apologist have a different point of view than that of the critics.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by Fortigurn »

wenglund wrote:Since each person's posts are a matter of historical record, would you object to poster's being subjected to the same rules of criticism as other historical accounts and historical figures, and vice versa? Would you object to "personal attacks" on anyone's character via historical records? In other words, if you don't wish to have your personal character criticized, then wouldn't consistency suggest that you not criticize the character of others (including historical figures)?


There's a difference between a personal attack and a legitimate criticism of character. Apologists object to any criticism of Smith's character, legitimate or not. They view any criticisms of his character as baseless and invalid personal attacks.

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Post by wenglund »

Fortigurn wrote:
wenglund wrote:I don't see where you have in any way invalidated the argument that I am attempting to make (except perhaps in your own mind and in the minds of those similarly disposed).


I have demonstrated that LDS apologists on MAD object to all forms of criticism, and even to the presence of critics on their forum (by their own admission).


Apparently, we have a different understanding of what it means to "demonstrate". To my way of thinking, you tossing out a number of unsubstantiated assertion does not a "demonstrate" make.

That means that you cannot claim that they only object to 'destructive criticism', invalidating your argument.


Again, the notion of "destructive criticism" or "constructive criticism" haven't been vetted at all, let alone sufficiently, such that validation or invalidation is even reasonably possible.

In fact, your reluctance to answer my questions mitigates against your alleged invalidatution.


Clearly you're not reading my posts, because I answered your questions directly:[/quote]

Then how do you explain this statement in your post just previous to the one I am now responding to: "I can answer them, but since the argument you're attempting to use them to support has already been invalidated, I don't see the point."

Either you answered the questions, or you didn't because you think there would be no point. Which is it?

You wrote:

The truth of the matter is, we haven't even scratched the surfuce here in determining what constitutes constructive vs. destructive criticism (which is what my carefully chosen questions are intended to explicate), so I can't see how something can be invalidated prior to even defining and clarifying what it is.


I have demonstrated that LDS apologists on MAD object to all forms of criticism, and even to the presence of critics on their forum (by their own admission). That means that you cannot claim that they only object to 'destructive criticism', invalidating your argument.


See above.

Now, again, if you would like to vet the difference between constructive and destructive criticism, that would be appreciated.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by beastie »

The problem is, once again, the inability to distinguish between oneself and one's LDS beliefs. It all feels personal to the True Believer, because they are so defined by their religion.

Apologists do not have a problem with criticisms when they feel that they can successfully address them in a way that retains belief. But the problem is that there are serious problems facing Mormonism that are not so readily reconciled. Joseph Smith' polyandry is one example - so when critics keep returning to that issue, it feels like "destructive" criticism.

IMO, the real differentiation between constructive and destructive criticism is whether or not the criticism is designed to reveal the truth of whatever matter is being discussed. Believers would probably agree with that definition, but since they "know" the truth must include maintaining belief in the LDS church due to their spiritual testimonies, then criticisms that easily lead to serious questioning of that truth, no matter how plainly or politely stated, feel "destructive" to them. That is why it is simply a no-win situation, and, IMO, always will be pointless.

True believers - those who are so absolutely convinced that they now believe in the "truth" that nothing will persuade them otherwise, and often they refuse to even consider that they may be wrong - are going to feel personally attacked in conversations with critics, regardless of how careful the critics may try to be. The one exception seems to be critics that seem to hold out hope of reconversion or conversion. (such as those who criticize some aspect of the LDS belief system, but in other ways, seems to be persuaded by other LDS points - for example, IIRC, a popular either EV or Catholic critic on ZLMB often stated he thought the Book of Mormon was difficult to explain and was, in a way, "miraculous" - he could get away with much more than other critics).
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Post by wenglund »

Who Knows wrote:I'll answer your question Wade.

I'd say it depends on how bad I've screwed up, or how bad I've screwed someone over. The bigger the screwing, the more/severe criticism I could (or should be able to) handle.


That makes sense. The challenge, though, as I see it, is that more often than not there isn't a concensus on whether someone was "screwed over" or not, and to what degree they may have been "screwed over" or not.

Where there isn't a concensus, or in other words in cases where you don't believe you have "screwed" anyone over, would criticism about you "screwing" someone over be valued and effectual?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

Fortigurn wrote:
wenglund wrote:Since each person's posts are a matter of historical record, would you object to poster's being subjected to the same rules of criticism as other historical accounts and historical figures, and vice versa? Would you object to "personal attacks" on anyone's character via historical records? In other words, if you don't wish to have your personal character criticized, then wouldn't consistency suggest that you not criticize the character of others (including historical figures)?


There's a difference between a personal attack and a legitimate criticism of character. Apologists object to any criticism of Smith's character, legitimate or not. They view any criticisms of his character as baseless and invalid personal attacks.


You are right, there is a difference between personal attacks and legitimate criticisms of character. What you may not understand, though, is that such differences are more often than not in the eye of the beholder. What you may view as a personal attack on your character, may be to someone else (an LDS apologist perhaps) a legitimate criticism of your character, and vice versa.

Since there is little chance of seeing eye-to-eye in such cases. the question then becomes whether criticisms in such cases are valued and workable?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by wenglund »

beastie wrote:The problem is, once again, the inability to distinguish between oneself and one's LDS beliefs. It all feels personal to the True Believer, because they are so defined by their religion.

Apologists do not have a problem with criticisms when they feel that they can successfully address them in a way that retains belief. But the problem is that there are serious problems facing Mormonism that are not so readily reconciled. Joseph Smith' polyandry is one example - so when critics keep returning to that issue, it feels like "destructive" criticism.

IMO, the real differentiation between constructive and destructive criticism is whether or not the criticism is designed to reveal the truth of whatever matter is being discussed. Believers would probably agree with that definition, but since they "know" the truth must include maintaining belief in the LDS church due to their spiritual testimonies, then criticisms that easily lead to serious questioning of that truth, no matter how plainly or politely stated, feel "destructive" to them. That is why it is simply a no-win situation, and, IMO, always will be pointless.

True believers - those who are so absolutely convinced that they now believe in the "truth" that nothing will persuade them otherwise, and often they refuse to even consider that they may be wrong - are going to feel personally attacked in conversations with critics, regardless of how careful the critics may try to be. The one exception seems to be critics that seem to hold out hope of reconversion or conversion. (such as those who criticize some aspect of the LDS belief system, but in other ways, seems to be persuaded by other LDS points - for example, IIRC, a popular either EV or Catholic critic on ZLMB often stated he thought the Book of Mormon was difficult to explain and was, in a way, "miraculous" - he could get away with much more than other critics).


While an interesting hypothesis, it is beside the point of the thread. This is not intended to be a discussion of why LDS apologist and members may take criticism personally, but rather what types of criticism are effectual and workable in general (based upon what one may value in the way of criticism of you personally), as contrasted with those that aren't. If you have some thought on topic, they would be appreciated.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
Last edited by wenglund on Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Fortigurn »

wenglund wrote:Apparently, we have a different understanding of what it means to "demonstrate". To my way of thinking, you tossing out a number of unsubstantiated assertion does not a "demonstrate" make.


They aren't unsubstantiated. I referred you to their own words.

Again, the notion of "destructive criticism" or "constructive criticism" haven't been vetted at all, let alone sufficiently, such that validation or invalidation is even reasonably possible.


We don't need to define these terms to demonstrate their response to criticism and critics generally./

Then how do you explain this statement in your post just previous to the one I am now responding to: "I can answer them, but since the argument you're attempting to use them to support has already been invalidated, I don't see the point."

Either you answered the questions, or you didn't because you think there would be no point. Which is it?


It's the third option which hasn't occurred to you - I said that I didn't see the point, but I answered them anyway. You can see that I answered them. I even quoted my answers for you.

Now, again, if you would like to vet the difference between constructive and destructive criticism, that would be appreciated.


Why? What's the point? What is the argument you are trying to make? What are you trying to achieve?

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