Naming and blaming
A USEFUL test for an outsider trying to analyse an argument is to assume that one side is right and then to work out the consequences. If an analysis of eggshells conclusively proves that an egg is better opened at the big end rather than the small one, what follows? And if the assumption is reversed, how bad would it be to have got it wrong? Eggshells, as Jonathan Swift so bitingly observed in “Gulliver’s Travels”, are not worth getting cross about. The cost of a lifetime spent opening eggs incompetently is a small amount of wasted time and some spilled yolk. At the other extreme, take the question of whether Iran has nuclear weapons: get that wrong and you may either see Israel wiped off the map, or, alternatively, a catastrophic and unnecessary pre-emptive strike on Iran.
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