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FLIMFLAM Steering Committee Meeting

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Description: A cheeky peek into the decidedly muddled world of defending woo-woo…
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Mefiante
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« on: February 09, 2010, 16:07:51 PM »

Recently, some agents of SEEC (Sceptical Enquiry and Evaluation Corps) contrived to infiltrate a group known only as FLIMFLAM (Fudging Lucidity by Introduction, Maintenance and Furthering of Logic-defying Argumentation Methods).  For some time, the activities of FLIMFLAM agents had been a source of some considerable perplexity for SEEC.  Although the precise details of SEEC’s infiltration coup presently remain confidential, the infiltrators managed to make a sound recording of FLIMFLAM’s last ever committee meeting and also to identify the codenames of the attending committee members.  What follows is a partial transcript of that meeting.

Mrs Queen: “As your FLIMFLAM chairperson, I would like to welcome all of you to this special session.  As you know,…

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right!”

Mrs Queen: “… this meeting … Er, what?  Please allow me to finish the introductions.  As you know,…

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  It isn’t.

Mrs Queen: “Please, Mr Bishop, we have a prearranged agenda.  Let’s try to abide by it.  You will have ample opportunity to contribute shortly.  As I was about to say, this meeting was called primarily to gain some clarity on the strategies and techniques we approve of and use in public debates.

Mr Knight: “Seconded!  Huh?  Oh, sorry.”

Mrs Queen: “Here among us, that’s quite alright, Mr Knight.  But be aware that outside of here that outburst would have earned you two demerits – one for agreeing and one for apologising.  Where were we?  Ah yes, we will want to formalise our argumentation methods for stricter quality control, better coordination and so that we may know…

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  It’s wrong.  Wrong.”

Mrs Queen: “… how…”

Mr Rook: “But what if it isn’t?”

Mrs Queen: “Listen, Mr Bishop, please stop interrupting.  And you too please, Mr Rook.   We’ll get to these questions soon enough, as you well know.

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  It can’t be.”

Mr Rook: “But what if it is?”

Mrs Queen (shouting): “Shut up, you morons!  We have an agenda!”

Mr Bishop: “I don’t know why … wait, that’s not right, can’t be … why are you shouting?”

Mr King: “Ha, ha.  Ha, ha.”

Mr Rook: “Didn’t get any last night, eh?  Would you be calmer if you had, I wonder?”

Mrs Queen: “Never mind.  Let’s get back on track here.  Formalising our debate methods…”

Mr Pawn: “I’ve heard quite enough, and I don’t agree just because you’re the chairperson.  I vote we elect another chairman.  Me, me, I’ll stand.”

Mr Knight (affecting different voices): “Seconded!” “Thirded!”  “Fourthed!”  “Aye!”

Mrs Queen: “Huh?  But it was unanimous!  Each of you agreed that I was to be chairperson for the next two years!  All your votes said so!

Mr King: “Ha, ha.  Funny.  Funny.”

Mr Rook: “But what if they didn’t?  What then, eh?

Mr Pawn: “Not me.  No, sir.  Ma’am.  Never.  Uh-uh.  I didn’t.  Anyway, Professor Plural Poncey Positions over at Pustule Puniversity?  He wrote an article for that magazine ‘Prurient Passions.’  In it he says that you’re wrong.  Wrong.  Not just you.  He also says that all the other Profs and doctors are wrong.  And if anyone does, Poncey Positions knows!”

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  Never could be.  Ever.”

Mrs Queen: “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

Mr Pawn: “See?  See?  Don’t you get it?  It’s obvious!  Obvious!  You’re wrong.  Poncey Positions’s right.  He says his article is being adapted for Densecyclopaedia Buttanica.  What’s more, we talked this through, through, me and my seven brothers and some blokes down the pub, and we all agree.  Agree, you hear?”

Mr Rook: “But what if he doesn’t?  What then, eh?”

Mrs Queen: “I don’t know what…”

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  It just isn’t.”

Mr Castle (loudly): “Well, stone me!  I do believe Bishop’s onto something, by Jove!”

Mr King: “Ha, ha.  Funny!  Ha, ha.”

Mrs Queen: “Order please, gentlemen, order!  Mr Castle you have the floor.  But please, for all of our benefit, especially that of my retarded protégé Mr King here next to me who can only master single-word sentences as you well know,…”

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  No.  No.”

Mr Knight: “Yes, that’s right.”

Mr Rook: “But what if he isn’t?  What then, eh?”

Mrs Queen (shouting): “Shut your gibbering cakeholes, you leprous loons, and let Castle speak!  Don’t you understand?  In here it’s okay to make sense!”

Mr King: “Ha, ha.  Loon.  Loon.  Funny!”

Mr Rook: “But what if he isn’t?  What then, eh?”



(Continues…)
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Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 16:09:26 PM »

(Continued…)


Mrs Queen (somewhat calmer, sharply): “Quiet!  Mr Castle, please proceed.  And please try to contain your usual appetite for conversing in inscrutable riddles, okay?  Because I think you might have something worth adding to FLIMFLAM.”

Mr Castle: “Me?  Riddles?  Whatever gave you that idea?”

Mrs Queen (sternly): “Mr Castle, please!  Your point?”

Mr King: “Pointy!  Ha, ha.  Funny!”

Mr Castle: “Oh, sorry, OK?  Did you notice how Bishop keeps saying ‘it’s not right,’ ‘it’s wrong,’ and such?”

Mr Rook: “But what if he hadn’t?  What then, eh?”

Mrs Queen: “Shut up, you irritating mental midget. Yeeess…, he’s been rather trying, religiously following one of our more powerful ‘Intellectual Guerrilla Warfare’ rules when he shouldn’t: deny, deny, deny.”

Mr Castle: “Sure enough, just like each one of us has done up to a point with our favourite rule at this meeting so far, even you.  But did you notice that he never once said what’s actually correct or factual?”

Mr Knight: “Agreed.  Excellent question.”

Mr Rook: “But what if he had?  What then, eh?”

Mrs Queen: “Be quiet, nincompoops!  Yeah, and so?  The rules say nothing about that.”

Mr King: “Poops!  Ha, ha.  Poops!  Poops!”

Mr Rook: “But what if they did?  What then, eh?”

Mr Castle: “Exactly, Rook my fine fighting friend, you learn quickly, don’t you?  What if our rules expressly forbade us from taking on and defending a well-defined position?”

Mr Pawn: “I always said she was a good chairperson.  I did.  Yes, sir.  Ma’am.  Uh-huh.”

Mrs Queen: “Button your lip, turncoat!  I think I see where you’re going with this… Yes!  It’s… why, it’s fiendishly clever of you, Castle.  Well spotted, you wily rascal, you!  It means we can just deny, if it suits our purposes, whatever argument the opponent offers up!  As long as he doesn’t notice that we haven’t committed to any well-defined position, we can selectively flit between whichever possibilities we like!  Pure genius!  Please swap places with Mr King here next to me, he’s demoted.”

Mr Knight: “Hear, hear.  Down with King.  Seconded.”

Mr Castle: “But isn’t there more?”

Mr Rook: “But what if there isn’t?  What then, eh?”

Mrs Queen: “Shut the f… Oh, never mind.  Yes, wow, better yet!  The effectiveness of our ‘Irrelevant Attack Strategy’ is immensely boosted…”

Mr Rook: “But what if it isn’t?  What then, eh?”

Mrs Queen: “Right.  Listen up, you micturating buffoons.  As you all know, our…”

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  Can’t.  Not ever.”

Mrs Queen (louder): “As you all know,…”

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  Never.”

Mrs Queen (very loud at first, gradually quietening): “… our ‘Irrelevant Attack Strategy’ guides us to ignore our opponent’s main point, and instead to focus on individual words and phrases used to express it.  The rule urges us to latch onto anything that is perhaps poorly expressed or slightly ambiguous, and to twist meanings or to manufacture such if needed.  The more places of this kind we can nitpick about, the better our chance of success.  Of course, if the main point is actually cogent, or we cannot instantly frame a quasi-coherent counterargument, we are to steer well clear of it, and hope that our opponents do not notice.  If they don’t, they will concentrate instead on defending the trivialities we have attacked, and the main point will be lost in the resultant confusion.  Add to that Mr Castle’s astute suggestion, which we shall call the ‘Nebulous Position Strategy,’ and we’ll be invincible, you know!

Mr Bishop: “That’s not right.  You can’t.  Oh no.”

Mr Knight: “Invincible.  Good, good.  Seconded.”

Mr Rook: “But what if we’re not?  What then, eh?”

Mr Pawn: “I think I should be chairman.  I do.  I do.  You’re wrong.  Wrong.”

Mr Castle: “Do you even know what you’re saying?”

Mr King: “Ha, ha.  Nebu.  Funny.  Nebu.  Ha, ha.”

At this point, an unknown technical problem with the sound recording device prevented further capture of the meeting.  The on-site SEEC agent reports that there is much uncertainty about subsequent events.  The agent’s impression, supported by the testimony of several uninvolved witnesses, is that uncommonly energetic flames emerged suddenly and proceeded to consume the meeting hall very rapidly.  No persons were seen leaving the burning hall, and no bodies have so far been recovered from the ashes.  SEEC continues to investigate.

'Luthon64
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mdg
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 16:36:53 PM »

Hmmmm, sounds a lot like the discussions around here lately....hehehehehehe  Wink
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 14:11:32 PM »

If the Faithful learnt how to argue and reason properly they would all lose huge amounts of their faith. They are permanently in denial (you know ... that river up in Africa  Smiley) and it seems to me they have to be in order to maintain their credulity.

It also seems to me that Faith is inversely proportional to Knowledge, as well as one's degree of self-deception to one's ability to think critically.
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 18:47:07 PM »

Not just woo-woo nuts... Wink
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