Let's stop moving the goalposts all around

From here:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=5134317&postcount=13

This is not directed solely to you, BobLibDem, but to everyone who plays this game. Please don’t play the moving goalpost game. If you mean two witnesses, say two witnesses. If you mean three, say three. If you mean four hundred, say four hundred. But if you ask for one, and you’re given one, be satisfied. If you’ve already made up your mind, say so. Because even if you’re shown ten witnesses, what is to stop you from moving the goalpost again and starting in on the fact that memory is unreliable and can be faulty? If there is no criteria that will convince you, just say so. If there are criteria that will convince you, then say specifically what they are, and then acknowledge that you are convinced when they have been given.

I see your point **Liberal, ** but isn’t this one of those “be careful what you wish for, you may just get it” instances? An argument asking for some singular evidence that there’s life after death might get John Edwards presented as proof. Although some might say that you’re getting “proof”, it doesn’t help the debate whether there actually is or isn’t life after death since the source is highly dubious.

Succinct precision of these goalposts would be nice, but I think we all know the spirit behind the questions when wanting evidence.

A short play:
John: “Gimme one reason I shouldn’t eat that delicious twinkie.”
Mary: “The packaging isn’t altogether good for the environment.”
John: “Ok, well, you have a point, it’s just not a compelling point.”
Mary: “Yes, but you did just ask for a reason, not a good one.”

What a ridiculous thread. People are criticizing Kerry for his conduct in Vietnam, and ostensibly voting for Bush because of that, even though Bush didn’t even go to Vietnam AT ALL. Then you’re gonna split hairs about who saw Bush reading flight magazines? Jesus fucking Christ. :rolleyes:

St. Pauler, why not ask for the evidence you require? If you want scientific evidence of life after death, then ask for it. It is okay to examine the evidence you are presented to determine whether it meets your criteria, but that’s not what I’m pitting. I’m pitting the deliberate use of tactical dancing in order to make your opponent do work for no reason, when you’ve already determined that indeed there is no evidence that would convince you.

Hey Lib, has anybody backed up that one fucking guy? My impression is that the answer is no. If you only have one witness to support an argument and his honesty is questionable, I don’t think it’s ‘moving the goalposts’ to ask for more or ask for some evidence that he’s not full of shit.

I have yet to hear about anyone that will vote for Bush because of Kerrys Vietnam record.

Gotcha, the danger in BobLibDem’s statement was that it was hyperbolic (IMO). I think his statement may have been off the cuff and was asking more for the preponderence of the evidence to shift for it to be conceivable that Bush served. Let’s try a different play.

Julio: “I think that every group agrees that the world needs to eat meat at this point to survive at some level”.
Ingmar: “PETA disagrees with that complete, as a matter of fact…”
Julio: “Well, PETA really isn’t a completely reputable source of information. Maybe if I saw those facts I’d see your point, but that’s still highly debatable.”

So that’s where Julio gets caught in this trap of making an absolute as was BobLibDem’s statement. But, if Ingmar were to continue…

Ingmar: “Well, the University of Talkingoutmy Massachussettes’ 1997 study of eco-veganism stated…”
Julio: “Ahh, well that lends more credence to the whole situation.”
A part of it is “the consider the source” as well as having enough evidence presented to support a claim. I see your point that avoiding this problem by creating these absolutes could be avoided by parsing our words before clicking submit, but at the same time, asking for additional info when the evidence presented is dubious should be acceptable as well.

I don’t think that’s Lib’s point though. If the response was “Okay, that’s one guy, but prove to me that one guy isn’t full of shit” because of some questionable quality of the witness, i think it would be acceptable to Lib. In fact, BobLibDem did that with his quoted sentence about not being convinced of the reliability of the man’s memory. Likewise if he had outright rejected the example, and said “That guy doesn’t count, because he’s questionable for such and such a reason, so you’ll have to provide a different example.”

The way it was phrased, it comes across as “Ok, sure, we’ll count him, but i’m not 100% sure about him. Now go fetch me another.” Since he didn’t refuse to accept the first provided example, he is effectively moving the goalpost by stating that there should be others.

Okay, let’s agree on some goalposts here. Nobody post any evidence until we’ve set the goalposts in cement.

I’ll start off:

I want to see that the evidence for Bush’s service is in the top 90% of evidence for servicepeople having performed the service.

That is, if we take 100 people at random who claim to have performed service in the National Guard within 5 years of Bush’s claimed service, and if we examine their military paper trail, I want to see that at least ten people have as many problems with missing or incomplete paper records.

If you show me that, and this is a promise, I’ll concede that it’s plausible that his service actually occurred and that there really does seem to be a pattern of incompetence among military record keepers. Until new evidence comes up, I’ll never suggest that he’s shirked military duty.

Fail to show me that, and I’ll keep suspecting that the gaps in his record aren’t signs of bad recordkeeping, but rather of deception on his part.

How’s that for a clear and immobile and reasonable goalpost?

Daniel

A damn good one, Daniel! :slight_smile: It’s clear what you want as evidence, and it’s clear that you’ll actually accept it as evidence. I really appreciate almost everyone understanding what I’m trying to say here. I’m probably as guilty of it as anyone, so I’m no exception to the pitting.

I think part of the problem is when the two sides don’t agree on where the goal posts are, or what they are.

If I ask for a cite for a specific assertion grounded in law or medicine or economics, and you use as your cite the Ladies Home Journal, and I tell you that is not a good enough cite, I have not “moved the goal posts.” I have refused to accept your citation as sufficient. If I demand a second one, it is not because I at first demanded one and am now demanding two (“moving the goal posts”), it’s because I at first implicitly demanded a decent cite, you gave me a crappy one, and I am again demanding a decent one (goal posts are in the same spot). IOW, I am not demanding another cite (quantity), I am demanding a different cite (quality).

If you interpret that as “moving the goal posts,” that’s your problem, not mine.

Here’s MY goalpost:

Show me some evidence that what somebody did three decades prior has any impact on who or what kind of a person they are now.

Lacking that… well… I guess I just don’t understand all the hullaballoo.

I agree with that, and that’s what I said just above. My gripe would be if you were given a cite from the American Journal of Medicine, and then you said, “Okay, find me one from the Academy of Medical Science.” Remember that BobLibDem specifically asked for “one person”, was given what he asked for, and then asked for others.

I present to you the last 3 years, 7 months of the Bush presidency.

Let’s not be obtuse, Brutus. Who do you think the people who are calling Kerry’s military service record into question are planning to vote for? :dubious:

I think it’s implicit in Bob’s request for “one person who remembers him showing up in Alabama for the National Guard” that the person offered has a credible story. Otherwise, I could meet his challenge by saying, “Hell, I was there, and I remember Bush!”

If he lacks the right to challenge the guy’s credibility (which is exactly what he did by saying he didn’t think the guy’s memory is reliable), if doing so constitutes “moving the goalposts,” then it becomes very easy to meet anyone’s challenge for evidence, simply by offering extremely shoddy evidence.

Frankly, I don’t much care about Bush’s military service in Vietnam. Had I been alive then, I would, in some form or another, have resisted fighting in the unjust war. I dn’t have any more respect for someone that cheoses to fight in an unjust war than I have for someone that chooses not to fight in the same. Kerry’s whole war hero thing dismays me.

But if Bush is lying about his past now, then it does reflect on his current character.

Daniel