International Journal of Inactivism — Mindless Link Propagation section

  • 05:00:13 am on April 14, 2009 | 0

    Via Michael Tobis: Julian Sanchez says:

    […] there’s a certain class of rhetoric I’m going to call the “one way hash” argument. […] You can multiply a couple of large prime numbers much (much, much, much, much) more quickly than you can factor the product back into primes. A one-way hash is a kind of “fingerprint” for messages based on the same mathematical idea: It’s really easy to run the algorithm in one direction, but much harder and more time consuming to undo. Certain bad arguments work the same way […]: The talking point on one side is just complex enough that it’s both intelligible — even somewhat intuitive — to the layman and sounds as though it might qualify as some kind of insight. […] The rebuttal, by contrast, may require explaining a whole series of preliminary concepts before it’s really possible to explain why the talking point is wrong. So the setup is “snappy, intuitively appealing argument without obvious problems” vs. “rebuttal I probably don’t have time to read, let alone analyze closely.”

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