Of arguments

I love to argue. I find it the best way to understand something. Because your argument is the sum total of your understanding. If someone points out a flaw, and if it’s valid than it improves your understanding as well. I do understand that all things cannot be argued using logic, but these I find are the topics which I see as beyond arguments. Topics like, “Bitter gourd (karela) is the worst vegetable of the world, cannot be brought to any conclusion. I had previously written here about objective and subjective issues.

But for all my love of arguments, i find it difficult to find a good partner. Egos get hurt really fast and I have had many difficulties in my friendships because of these. Recently I found in a mail by D.R.Nair, posted in a newsgroup, what all not do in an argument. It seems there are standard mistakes commited by many debaters. And when I read it I realized myself of having committed a few. I hope someone will benefit from these. And let the arguers thrive.

a) Argumentum ad hominem – A fallacy seen in most discussions where the person is attacked rather than his arguments.

b) Straw man fallacy is when you misrepresent someone else’s position so that it can be attacked more easily, knock down that misrepresented position, then conclude that the original position has been demolished.It’s a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that have been made.

c) Argument from Personal Incredulity- I don’t know something or i find it difficult to believe. So it should be wrong.

d) Red herring- Introducing irrelevant material to the issue being discussed, so that everyone’s attention is diverted away from the points made, towards a different conclusion.

e) Fallacy of the excluded middle- Seeing everything as only two alternatives. To quote Bush, “Either you are with me or with them”.

f) Anecdotal evidence- Using personal experience to generalize facts. If I have a good Hindu/Christian/Muslim neighbour, then all
Hindus/Christians/Muslims are good neighbours

g) Theorizing the consequences than the causes and arriving at wrong conclusions.


ol oleesh

When i was 5 we changed apartments. A nice neighbour aunty was left behind, so much so that i am not able to remember her name even. Her children where not there in their home. Mybe they were away for studies or something. So she showered all her love on me. Whenever i was there i would say ‘ol oleesh’ and she would put a spoonfull of horlicks into my mouth. The spoon would remain in my mouth till all the sweet powder dissolved and then i would repeat my signal of ol oleesh.

I still remember one of the stories she told me, of how she came close to becoming lady tarzan sheena. It seems she was also a child some ages ago. It was a winter afternoon and her mother had laid her on a mat in the courtyard in the sunshine. There were a lot of monkeys around her home. Normally they did no one any harm apart from stealing some food. But luck had that when our baby aunty was soaking the sunshine there was a she-monkey in the trees who probably had lost her child recently. So when aunty’s m other went inside for a minute, this monkey decided to adopt our baby aunty and fled with her. Luckily her mother came out hearing the baby cry and somehow the baby was recovered with only a scratch on her back.

For a long time i teased her saying that she must have looked like a baby monkey.

Why is our memory so selfish, only remembering things that interest us and dumping everything else someplace without a pointing neuron.


trek to Dhakoba

dhakoba fort
uploaded by kaa on flickr.

Friday night at midnight i buzzed Raman, and in half an hour we decided to trek to fort Dhakoba. The trek is a actually a longer one with fort Dhakoba and fort Durga with a temple in between. But to complete that needed 2 days, so we decided to just do the first one. Went to bed at 2 and was still sleepless when the alarm went off at 4:30. Raman was to meet me at Mulund station at 5:30.

Met Raman at station, caught a train to Kalyan, then bus to Murbad (Rs.17), jeep to Dhansai (Rs.16) and a finally a jeep to Polu (Rs.12). Reached the base village Polu at 9:45. Now unlike other treks, this place doesnt see much crowd as reaching here is a pain. So the villagers were really staring at us. But they were quite nice and one man went to great lengths in trying to tell us the way. And if someone really tries hard I can understand almost 80% of marathi.

The sky was cloudy in the morning and we were hoping for rains, but as we started walking the clouds vanished. And the combined forces of heat and humidity began to take our toll. We were to walk uptil the hillock were we would find the beginning of a stream. If we followed that stream through the valley we were to reach the fort.

uploaded by kaa on flickr.

From what i had gathered from the villager and from Kaushal’s posting, the key point was reaching the stream. But Kaushal and team had taken a guide and lost their way as soon as the guide returned to the village. So i had some doubts about the way. Please see the photos at flickr to know THE wrong way and the probable way.

Soon we lost the track and were scrambling through thorny bushes. Somehow we climbed over hillock no.1. On the right side of hillock no.1 we could see the stream. So we climbed down the other side and walked along the stream. After about 1.5 hours we reached a huge waterfall. Practically a dead end since it was short of impossible to climb without the right equipment.

It was already 1:00 pm. We had to get back to the village at 3 pm at the most, or we wouldnt find any conveyance (jeeps stop doing trips at abt 4-5pm).

If we backtracked for an hour, and then searched for the right track it would mean 3 hours min. So there was no point in doing that. So we did what is best in the situation, that is take a nap.

uploaded by kaa on flickr.

after about 1.5 hours of wakeful sleepiness, we turned back. Dhakoba would have to wait.

p.s. there is a village called, guess what, “Singapur”, next to Polu. We forgot to take its pic. Next time 🙂