After my post semi-defending the use of the word “stupid” in arguments, I feel obligated to say that after thinking about it a bit more, I think “silly,” “absurd,” and “ridiculous” can mostly do the work of “stupid,” without the unfortunate baggage. I’m not promising to absolutely never use the word “stupid” in arguments again, but I’ll try to ask myself if one of those other three words might work better.
I don’t see this as a civility issue. Calling someone’s argument ridiculous isn’t terribly polite. It’s just a word choice issue, an issue of picking the word that says exactly what I want to say and not something else. What other such substitutes can you think of?