My main cause for alarm here is the statement that sounded like "don't talk about definitions of words"... personally... that's personally, not going into classical rules of debate or anything of the sort... personally, I've noticed that I often differ in my understanding of particular concepts and yes, even words. I think this is a function of a fundamental communication problem between people. I think by default everyone assumes that everyone understands particular words and concepts the same way they do... and more often than not I have personally found that this is not the case. People can and do take even simple words in a vast variety of ways. For example, if I use the word "flour", what do you picture? Many, maybe even the majority, might picture a bag of bleached all-purpose flour that you see the most of at your local grocery store, probably in a white-coated brown-paper bag. I know one person at least though who would think something a little different, possibly something as simple as "the unbleached all-purpose flour in my cabinet" or "bread flour from King Arthur Flour". The differences are small and some might assume that if they use the word "flour" the other person will immediately know what they mean. Would they be wrong? In the abstract sense, perhaps not, perhaps those things are close enough that in most cases it wouldn't matter. You might at some point try using bread flour or pastry flour in a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour. It really produces quite a different result. Does that warrant some talk of definitions? I think so, but then I could be wrong. It seems to me though that in order for any debate to come to a satisfactory end, both sides have to come to an agreement. It also seems to me that coming to an agreement might depend first upon an agreement of definitions.
I do have a tendency to abstract things to try to find the general rule rather than simply looking at a particular occurance and trying to determine its "meaning" or whatever. I find it difficult to gain knowledge of the meaning of peoples' words and actions without finding out how the more abstract concept works. I do have a tendency to understand people more intuitively than I do based on any sort of hard facts. This is just me talking about myself though.
As to the straw man tactic, yes, I use the straw man tactic frequently... in fact I wouldn't be surprised if I were the one Ensis was thinking of when he wrote that part of his article. I do wonder if he thinks that it has been my intention to distract him so that I could attack him when he was tired. That has never been my intention and I'm truly sorry if I've made him feel like that's what I was doing. In part it is a self education about Ensis's beliefs and personality. In part it's also a self defense mechanism, guarding what I truly believe because I know that what I believe doesn't have a lot of logical backing (as I know his and many others´ that I know don't) and I fear that, if attacked by logic the attacker will decide to say "Ha! Your belief is not supported by logic, therefore it is irrelevant". I really don't feel like putting up with that.Blah, that's all for now.