Is a "lie of omission" dishonest?

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Kittamaru, Sep 3, 2015.


Is lying by omission still dishonest?

  1. Yes

  2. No

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    Hmm, I don't think that's really the same thing...
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  3. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    lol, okay, point taken (semantics and such)
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  5. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    i hate when people accuse me of lolly gagging when i'm clearly dilly dallying.
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That question is worded in such a way that the question is already biased. If it was asked by an attorney in a courtroom, the opposing attorney would be justified in objecting.

    It's already being assumed in the way the question is worded that somebody is lying. Obviously doing that would be dishonest, assuming that we agree that lying is dishonest.

    But what if the person wasn't lying? What if the person had no intent to deceive? What if he or she wasn't even aware of the information that wasn't stated? What if he or she knew about it but didn't believe that it was relevant or important?

    And just in general, in formal debates, in courtrooms and in academic disputes in the journals, participants don't have the responsibility for presenting their opponent's argument as well as their own. They don't have to include all possible counterarguments and rebuttals to their own position. Failure to do that isn't lying and it isn't dishonest.

    If the other side makes damaging points, it's best to respond to them as well as one can. I'm not sure that failure to respond convincingly to your opponents' arguments is dishonest exactly, it's just rhetorically ineffective. It puts you in danger of losing the argument.

    In real life, there's often a lot of disagreement about how strong arguments are. We often believe that our own arguments are invincible slam-dunks and that our opponents' arguments are weak and unconvincing. When opponents continue to argue their points after we've made points that we believe should be totally devastating, they aren't necessarily lying and being dishonest. They are just weighting things differently.

    Arguments rarely if ever end in one side's abject surrender. People watching the argument (the trial jury, the debate audience, the journal readership) will make up their own minds.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
    James R likes this.
  8. akoreamerican Registered Senior Member

    its not a lie as long as the omission was unintentional. this is one of those cases where you will never know for sure if its a lie or not unless you are the person doing the omission, and its wrong to accuse people of lying when they havent, so if you are not sure, just treat it as if it was done unintentional till you see evidence pointing otherwise.
  9. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    Actually, I have NEVER seen someone surrender. As you said, the only good that comes out of these arguments is for the viewers -- and that can be a very good result.
  10. OnlyMe Valued Senior Member

    I voted no, but wholely for reasons of context.

    If the discussion is one where both or all parties agree on the fact based evidence, the answer should be yes... But even then there are contexts where the answer would be a grey area. An example might be where socially accepted and even expected omissions, are expected.

    If on the other hand as is the case in many discussions on these forums, not all parties to the discussion agree on what the facts are, it would depend on the forum the discussion is taking place. If you are discussing core science in say Physics & Math, all parties should at least acknowledge and respond to a counter argument, and be prepared to provide credible reference, even where they might disagree with the interpretation... Say where the evidence is based on scientific speculation or theory and where the facts are drawn from experimentally proven and confirmed sources, a harder line should be drawn.

    When discussions involve subjects, where believe systems and even philosophies, or as is the case in the, On The Fringe section of these forms, the discussion begins with an inherent understanding that not all parties agree on the underlying facts or what even qualifies as an underlying fact.., I don't believe that failure to acknowledge an opposing view as fact can be considered a lie.., even where a majority may believe the ignored fact, is a fact. (Run on sentences, don't ha hate me?)

    So the answer is all about context, which is as much about where the discussion is taking place, as it is about the discussion itself. It was my impression that Alternative Theories was created to try and move the belief driven discussions of science out of say, Physics & Math.., and provide a place for discussion where credible reference was not required, to support what a poster believes. It would seem that the same would apply to all sub forums within the, On The Fringe section. And even to some extent to discussions in the Phylosophy section.
  11. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    My point, though, is that we have, on numerous occasions, had someone choose to ignore a post that utterly refuted what to they had said, and go on to then reiterate their original post as a fact, even though it had been evidenced that said post was faulty or otherwise not factual.

    Would/should that not be considered dishonest?
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    He or she might not have found the "said evidence" convincing. Failure to find an opponent's points convincing isn't dishonesty, unless we already are assuming that those points are absolutely definitive somehow.

    Even in the wild, predators aren't hunting 24/7. They hunt when they are motivated to hunt. That needn't contradict the observation of their being capable hunters on the occasions when they do hunt.
  13. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    Yes. And was that person suspended? Or reprimanded? Or given infraction points? Or whatever punishment is doled out on this forum?

    On a certain science forum where I am a member, failure to respond to questioning by other members can be a suspension-worthy crime. But that forum is a LOT stricter than this forum.
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    It's not; it's a different example.

    Kitt, you clearly have a specific example in mind that you are not describing. Why not describe the example that you are wondering about?
  15. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    I will dig up some links and quotes when I can (not likely to be today due to working both jobs... which I'm doing thru Monday urg)
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Is that the same forum where anyone putting any alternative hypothesis has a month to validate said hypothesis?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    And yes quite strict.
  17. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    Yes sir. Very strict. And, absolutely no politics or religion -- anywhere.
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    I'm still a member there also, although non contributory at this time.
  19. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    I think that site is TOO strict. They have this formalized system of infraction points which defines what kind of suspension you get for accumulating so many points. I've never been infracted there but I'm also not very active. I'm not real active on any forum really. I'll go back to sleep here after a couple of days . . . .
  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Totally agree.
  21. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Indeed - we wish to be open to ideas while also adhering to a reasonable standard of evidence. It is, in my experience, inevitable that members will become aggressive and aggravated when legitimate, relevant evidence is simply "hand waved" or outright ignored during a discussion.
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Let Us Try A Very Straightforward Example

    Scientists 1 and 2 dispute Point X.

    • Scientist 1 raises data range [A-D], pointing to a result that verifies his assertion.

    • Scientist 1 proclaims and even celebrates his victory.

    • Data range [A-D], however, is extracted from a larger data range [A-H].

    • The excluded data [E-H] include a result that verifies the counterargument by Scientist 2.

    • Furthermore, this is not a case of both being right, because Scientist 1 asserts to require that Scientist 2 is incorrect; the counterargument, however, includes the argument by virtue of broader paradigmatic coverage.​

    I've thrown flags for that. Well, at least a flag; sometimes the data range is a little more complex and the exclusion of data harder to define. But, yes, I've seen it that straightforward before.
  23. tali89 Registered Senior Member

    I have an issue with the question itself. "Is lying by omission still dishonest" is begging the question, since lying is by definition an act of dishonesty.

    A more appropriate question would be: "Is it dishonest to re-iterate the same statement, when a counter-argument has already been made against it".
    Yazata likes this.

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