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My own loose ends, Watson and Herr Professor

I breezed into Herr Professor’s lair to see if there was anything I ought to respond to.  I too enjoyed the exchange, though I wonder if he ever really appreciated the points I was making.  Things could go round and round, but that is what I have a discussion forum for.

At risk of setting off another wave of responses from the good Doc, it is worthy of reflection is a set of assertions in one of his later remarks where  he concludes that since I highlighted the fact that Watson denounced the quotes put in his mouth, I no longer have any longer for thinking Watson ‘put his foot in it.’

You can find the original article here.

I think that you will see that I was really working on a whole different set of points.   Namely, I was arguing in relation to the Maine birth control incident that we have got to be careful in our deference to scientists and ‘experts.’  I explored a whole variety of reasons.  The Professor made Watson’s alleged racism into an issue.  Even in my next immediate reply I tried to focus on my primary topics of the first entry.  But Herr Professor wouldn’t let it rest.   I think he doth protest too much.  Finally, in my third reply I decided it was time to set the record straight.

Herr Professor clearly thought that Watson’s comments were racist, and even as he tried to prove from the article that I was ‘siding’ with him he utterly failed to point out that Watson was denying the very quotes he was finding to be racist.  I labeled this as being ‘knee-jerk.’  What I said, then, was:

I am open to hearing other comments by Watson that may be incriminating to him on this score, but The Professor responded to my post where I quoted an article with Watson denying the charge, so he has no excuse for attempting to make this link.

He relentlessly ignored this and continued to try to press his point.   The whole problem with his whole line of argumentation, and in particular his self-congratulations, is that the original article which he replied to was an entirely different direction then he decided to interpret it.  Because, he, of course, had paid little attention to the fact that Watson had denied the quotes.  He probably didn’t even notice it until I pointed it out.  As it is, whether he said it or not seems almost irrelevant to the Doc, as it seems that even his clarifications aren’t sanitized enough.

If I were to start over and speak specifically to Watson’s remark as my primary point I expect that the post would look a lot different.  That wouldn’t have anything to do with The Professor’s “Time Well Spent.”  That would have to do with the fact that it was my central point and as such, the post would take a different form.  The Professor has very well illustrated just how important it is to read with the context in mind.  If he had done this, he wouldn’t have yo-yoed back and forth on Watson’s quotes and he would have stuck to responding to the point that really was central to the post.

Till next time, Herr Professor!


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  2. […] The Professor Gosh, it seems like it was just the other day that Anthony Horvath was telling us how much he was enjoying our discussion, and boasting about having me “on the ropes.” Now it appears that […]

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