Slashdot Idiots

Today on Slashdot:

“I’m guessing that everyone here has a valid criticism of Microsoft’s attacks on, and approach towards the Open Source model. To me, that begs the question of what we think would be an “appropriate” reaction from Microsoft towards the Open Source model…” Article here.

This always makes me grind my teeth. No, you illiterate pseudo-intellectual idiot, you can not use that phrase like that. Let me quote from https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/19/begs-the-question/ (and the same information is available from a million other places):

“An argument which improperly assumes as true the very point the speaker is trying to argue for is said in formal logic to ‘beg the question.’ Here is an example of a question-begging argument: ‘This painting is trash because it is obviously worthless.’ The speaker is simply asserting the worthlessness of the work, not presenting any evidence to demonstrate that this is in fact the case. Since we never use ‘begs’ with this odd meaning (‘to improperly take for granted’) in any other phrase, many people mistakenly suppose the phrase implies something quite different: that the argument demands that a question about it be asked–raises the question. If you’re not comfortable with formal terms of logic, it’s best to stay away from this phrase, or risk embarrassing yourself.

(P.S. in 2018: That last bolded sentence has been replaced with: Although using the expression in its original sense is now rare, using it in the newer sense will cause irritation among traditionalists. Oi.)

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