Argumentation versus Criticisizing with Kindness

Argumentation is a skill, and most of us here are pretty good at it. We’ve honed our skills with years of practice in online forums. You may have seen this infographic describibng the heirarchy of argumentation before; it’s a good one. If you want to WIN an argument, this is the way to go:


BUT that is the rest of the Internet. Here at Peaceful Science we are trying to do something different, something better, where we talk to each other rather than talk at each other. And for that argumentation is not enough.

Criticism is harder than argument. It requires listening, understanding, and admitting to points of agreement (common ground) before offering the critical comments. Daniel Dennett puts it like this:

My goal here at PS is to encourage this sort of kind criticism, rather than the endless cycle of pointless argument we see in so many other forums. I realize just how hard that can be, the temptation to jump ahead to “YOU ARE WRONG” can be overwhelming. But that approach gains nothing, and we really need to work on understand each first, and put any wrongness second.

This is my appeal to the more … firmly opinionated … members of this forum: Please try harder to understand, and less on being right. I think you will find the satisfaction of a sincere discussion is far better than to momentary victory of refuting a stupid numpty. Give it a try, please!


This is a really important post I hope that we all read.

We need to start a fight - that always attracts lots of attention.

Speaking of fight, where is @Michael_Callen when I need him!?! :laughing:


I’m here Dan and ready to play the role of the jerk that everyone hates. Born for it!

Hahaha… thanks for checking on me and helping me to find a special purpose.

*** Seriously, @Dan_Eastwood @swamidass, what a timely post. Thanks for calling it out!