Wednesday, January 29, 2014

That's not an argument.

I have some friends who like to argue. An evening spent with this group can be expected to deliver at least one example of toe-to-toe of verbal sparring. I'm ashamed to admit that in the past I've been sucked into the maelstrom, but I'm learning to keep my lips buttoned.

I decided to start clamming up after I mentioned that the insulating blinds installed in my kitchen are causing a thick build up of ice to form at the bottom of the windows. The ice, and resulting water, are damaging the wooden sills.

I thought the blinds were an example of an incomplete understanding of how insulation interacts with water vapour in a home. Buildings are facing an increasing number of problems with black mould and I believe the causes are insulation and moisture combined with ignorance.

My statement found no agreement at the table. In fact the fellow beside me said I was failing to credit these new, insulating blinds with delivering great energy savings during hot, summer nights.

Soon I found that no matter what I said I was going to be contradicted. I felt like I was entering the world of Monty Python -- and I was right. I had entered the Argument Clinic.

Part of the pleasure of this sketch is derived from the undeveloped meta-argument put forth. Meta-argument: An argument about an argument.

Embracing the meta-argument position, one soon understands not even getting into an argument in some situations is the rational thing to do. More to the point, arguing strenuously with others whom have all gathered to enjoy a fine dinner is simply bad manners. (I hang my head in shame for my role in the minor dinner table brouhaha.)

Emily Post suggested on try to change the subject the minute a discussion feels like it is escalating into an argument. (Now, how do I get my friends to read this post?)

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