From The Design Matrix comes this oft-printed list of 10 Signs of Intellectual Honesty. The lesson today, class, is to apply these standards to The Jenius. Of course, in your absence, I'm applying them to Myself, so without further ado, here they are and here's how The Jenius fares.
1. Do not overstate the power of your argument. If someone portrays their opponents as being either stupid or dishonest for disagreeing, intellectual dishonesty is probably in play. Intellectual honesty is most often associated with humility, not arrogance. I can be accused of violating this principle and the criticism is valid. However, most of My "smackdowns" in this area are directed at government officials and other "experts" who are trying to use their positions to push stupid ideas, (there I go again...) so pushing My argument to the max is understandable. (Subtlety is lost on these moron...oops.) I'll give Myself a (B-) on this one rather than a C becasue I spelled "Jenius" with a "J". I'm humble that way.
2. Show a willingness to publicly acknowledge that reasonable alternative viewpoints exist. Fail. I don't do this often enough simply because most of My arguments are aimed at debunking a position and/or highlighting a separate one, not arguing as if in a debate. My blog, My position. But strictly applied, a failing grade nonetheless: (F)
3. Be willing to publicly acknowledge and question one’s own assumptions and biases. Not a problem, since I insist on defining My terms and where I stand. And because I'm convinced My readers hang on My every thought and thought process. (A)
4. Be willing to publicly acknowledge where your argument is weak. "Weak"? "Weak"?! Are you kidding Me?! Okay, I get the point. Yes, I do acknowledge weak points in My arguments, but not often enough. Not because My arguments are bullet-proof (they are, but bear with Me here), but because I look to define My position in under 800 words or so. Not an excuse: I do better than most. But there's room for improvement: (B)
5. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when you are wrong. Not a problem. It doesn't happen often anyway. (A)
6. Demonstrate consistency. A clear sign of intellectual dishonesty is when someone extensively relies on double standards. Nail this one. On an Island where blue supporters protect pederasts from their side and red supporters protect wife beaters and both protect their own criminal mafias, the fact that I have one standard applied equally makes Me a rarity. (A+)
7. Address the argument instead of attacking the person making the argument. Ad hominem arguments are a clear sign of intellectual dishonesty. Yes, I use nicknames that often focus on that person's physical traits, (lack of) personality, (extremely limited) intellectual and moral characteristics and whatnot. But those are not My arguments. Calling Pedro Stupid Rosselló a cocksucker is easy: I just did. But proving he is one is (probably) impossible. And yet. I have proven he deserves Stupid. My arguments are against the idea, position, process or action: the nicknames are just My saltiness in the wound. (A)
8. When addressing an argument, do not misrepresent it. A common tactic of the intellectually dishonest is to portray their opponent’s argument in straw man terms. In politics, this is called spin. Typically, such tactics eschew quoting the person in context, but instead rely heavily on out-of-context quotes, paraphrasing and impression. When addressing an argument, one should shows signs of having made a serious effort to first understand the argument and then accurately represent it in its strongest form. I quoted this one in full because it's central to intellectual honesty. I simplify arguments by removing the spin and placing them in clear contrast. For example, I've written that if Group A uses military might to remove Group B from their legally-owned homes and businesses, Group A is wrong. Now make Group A "Israel" and Group B "Palestinians." The argument is simplified, clarified and the answer DOES NOT change just because now We're discussing "Israel". Our (non)government claims a 93-mile pipeline for natural gas will fix Our energy problems, reduce Our dependence on oil and improve Our infrastructure. All that is spin. The pipeline cuts needlessly through private property, threatens the environment, replaces oil with more volatile (pun intended) gas which does not guarantee savings or better infrastructure. Spin is another word for lie: The Jenius doesn't spin. And if My argument leaves something out, I'm known for going back and taking another look. (A)
9. Show a commitment to critical thinking. Not in doubt. Maybe heading towards "overboard," but never in doubt. (A+)
10. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when a point or criticism is good. I've done this several times, even granting the point to people who I believe would do Us a favor by removing themselves from Our lives permanently. (A)
Final grade? Seven As, two Bs and an F, which gives Me a 3.4 GPA, a B in intellectual honesty. (No grading on a curve, people.) That definitely needs improvement. Let Me at it.
The Jenius Has Spoken.