Thursday, May 03, 2007

Insulted by facts?

I don't have a dog in this race, but I love Mr. Hitchens' implicit hat tip to MacIntyre's critique of emotivism, that insipid belief that one's dignity/self-esteem is only respected when the individual's gut feelings are accorded synonymity with reason and conscience.
1. "Dear Mr Hitchens, I feel utterly insulted by your gratuitous claim that there is no such thing as ADHD'. You are obviously an ignorant moron. You should do some research on this, and then you would know that it was a real problem."

A. An insult can only be offered to a person, directly, and concern his personal failings or faults. It is not possible to be 'insulted' by a statement of fact, or by an argument you disagree with. If the statement isn't true, then you are well placed to prove that. If you disagree with the argument, then you can say so. To say that you have been 'insulted' is to refuse to accept that there may be some truth in what I say, possibly because you have some doubts about the matter yourself. In fact I often find that angry, personal vehemence in an argument is a sign that the person involved has serious doubts about his or her position. Let us begin as we mean to go on, and treat this as a matter of facts and logic. Also, as it so happens, I have done a great deal of research on this matter, not least as a result of dealing with several waves of correspondence on the subject. And the more research I have done, the more alarmed I have become at the great numbers of children and teenagers being drugged because they are supposed to be suffering from a complaint for which there is no established, objective test.