The great debate debate

Dear Jesse:

I’ve read what you’ve written.

You wrote:

@Jerry Armstrong: Dear Jerry, just so you know I don’t argue or debate with anyone on news groups or blogs. You seem to have many questions and you seem to have many contridictions to “My Story”. I have two suggestions for you.

1. Please take the time to read what I have written. I think if you do, many of your questions will be answered.

2. Write your own book or start your own blog. You don’t need to ride my coat tail to suddenly bring up all of these counter points.

Well okay it’s three.

3. Keep reading, it can only help.

Thank you, Jesse Prince

May 4, 2011 1:10 PM

In most instances, I really wasn’t seeking arguments, or even debate actually, but facts. I understand why you would characterize my requests for facts as requests to argue or debate, but these are different things.

It’s true that in my first communication in the recent series I asked you to rethink what you had written about people who settled with Scientology. I would certainly have been happy to debate my request, or my facts in support of my request, but the rethinking of what you had written could have been done without debate.

A debate, of course, on blogs, is a discussion of a proposition – something offered for consideration or acceptance — between two or more people. And debates, virtually necessarily, involve facts; the better the facts, potentially the better the debate.

When a blog permits comments, as you do, the blogger, essentially, is inviting debate; that is, discussion of what the blogger offers for consideration or acceptance, and discussion of what the commenters offer for consideration or acceptance.

I haven’t opened up my blog for comments, so I’m not, on my blog, inviting discussion of what I’m offering up for consideration or acceptance. Maybe that will change, but for now I’m clearly not inviting debate. Whenever I post something on a newsgroup, message board or blog like yours, I know I am inviting others to debate whatever I write; that is, to discuss what I’ve offered for consideration or acceptance.

That doesn’t always mean, of course, that I debate everything that’s offered for my, or others,’ consideration or acceptance. I wouldn’t consider, however, not discussing what’s offered for consideration or acceptance – debating — because of a policy or rule of never discussing what’s offered for consideration or acceptance – debating. I could see where not discussing anything offered up for consideration or acceptance could be desirable on, for example, Mount Athos, or in Scientology, but not on blogs that invite discussion.

People are free to take whatever I post on my blog to forums where debate is invited, and I would have an expectation of what I write being debated, or at least being there for debating, at such sites. So really I am inviting discussion of what I offer for consideration or acceptance on my blog. I’m just not having the discussion on my blog.

The fact is that you offered a number of significant claimed historical facts and opinions on your blog for consideration or acceptance. Accepting only acceptance, or saying you don’t debate, on a blog you control that invites debate, is debatable as a strategy.

Regarding my taking the time to read what you’ve written, I debated this in a discussion of what Michael Hobson offered on this topic for consideration or acceptance on your blog. I also posted my response to his offer on my blog:

I assume, to be at all reasonable, you must mean in your suggestion that I am to read what you’ve written on your blog. Ironically, as you can imagine, it was precisely because I did read what you had written on your blog that I had the questions I had to ask.

I think that, where it was relevant or appropriate, I quoted that part of what you’d written that I was asking questions about. I attempted to provide from what you’d written enough context to make what I was asking about or discussing easy to understand. Along with the questions I asked, these quotes from your blog should demonstrate that I’d read what you’d written, or at least that I had made a real effort to demonstrate that I’d read it.

I could have made it easier to get, I suppose, and stated, as I’ve done above, that I’d read what you’d written before quoting what you’d written and asking questions about it. I really thought that would have been obvious, but, perhaps obviously, it wasn’t.

The idea of debate, on forums that invite it, being something to be avoided, as if avoiding it is a superior activity or path to debating, has acquired some new proponents recently, on the forums, and to me, there’s no debate.

I actually did read what you had written before I formulated my questions, and I even read what you had written after I formulated them in order to discover if you had provided answers in a different place from where I had excerpted the quotes that caused me to have the questions. I won’t repeat my questions now, but I was quite sure that the answers are not in what I’ve read that you’ve written.

In a situation like this, where the person asking you questions is sincere, and his questions are on-topic and reasoned, it’s not great form to tell the sincere questioner to go read what you’ve written. If the answers do exist in what you’ve written, the appropriate response is to direct the questioner there.

Regarding writing my own book or starting my own blog, I imagine that from the links in my comments on your blog, you know that I have a blog.

I have a couple of books, but, as you know, I have the Scientology judgment to take care of in the case in which I asked for your testimonial help, the case in which Bob Minton was my co-defendant.

You’re right that I don’t need to ride your coattails to suddenly bring up all of these counter points, whatever they were. I think you must mean my bringing up facts, or what I’d considered facts, that might have counterpointed certain facts in what you’d written. Rest assured that I brought up whatever counterpoints I brought up as suddenly as I did simply because you had just brought up the points I was moved to counterpoint. And, importantly, you provided the opportunity to counterpoint your points by opening up your blog to questions, or to discussions of the points you offered for consideration or acceptance.

I have an approach that is different from refusing to discuss facts I offer for consideration or acceptance, and actually necessary for my survival and peace of mind. I appreciate when someone questions my facts, especially when someone points out something I’ve said or written that is not the best factually. I’m very aware that anything I write can be used in court cases to challenge me or impugn my facts and character. Consequently, if I have my facts wrong, I’m grateful when they’re pointed out and I have an opportunity to correct them. I’ve testified in Scientology related cases something over 70 days and written many declarations or affidavits, and this approach and standard have served me well. I’d suggest giving it a try and see if it doesn’t work for you.

Riding your coattails in order to bring up counterpoints, or for any reason frankly, is a very funny image. I hadn’t even thought of you with coattails until you suddenly announced I was riding them. And then it reminded me, and just keeps reminding me, of this old sailors’ work song sung, so they say, in Canada’s donkey age. The original mentions Québec and Miramichi. I got my implant in Music class, I think in Grade 7. Way O and away we go.