Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Troll vs Contrarian

A Contrarian takes a position.  Specifically a position contrary to the other's (or the mainstream's) position.  Therefore a contrarian is subject to rhetorical attack both for their criticism and for their contrarian position.

A religious skeptic, for example, isn't just skeptical of religion, they adopt atheism.  That makes religious skepticism not trolling.

A concern troll need not take a position, though what they sometimes simply do is adopt the mainstream position, or the position of the group they are mingling with, without argument or defense.  Instead they focus all their rhetorical energy in attacking that very position indirectly by showing all the nuances that must be maintained in arguing about it, thereby constraining the argument ultimately to the advantage of an opposing position.

All arguments are deliberate falsehoods, in the sense of limiting the information to a particular set of ideas among a universe of others. Not the whole truth is an important aspect of truthiness, some sentences capture the whole truth better than others, but none can capture very much of it.  So we should not be surprised when all arguments can be in some ways shown to be false.  But there is no need to belabor the point.  The heart of an argument as an argument is primarily in it's capturing the primary essence, which if accepted means it becomes the most subject to qualification, not the least.