Saturday, August 14, 2010

Question Man

One of my trolliest of commenters, in response to my usual debunking of his typical respouting of Foxobeckian drivel, asks:

"Really, Sid. Is this how you speak to people in real life? Does this make you feel more manly on the Internet? Are you unable to be polite to people with whom you disagree?"

Aside from the hilarity of the framing, coming as it does from a guy whose comments are, in most cases, the equivalent of dropping by to take a dump, there is a grain of a reasonable question there.

This being a blog which by its own title announces my intention to rant, readers ought not expect silken speech. However: I base everything I say on fact, demonstrable and demonstrated with relevant links. I make no excuses for responding to ubiquitous idiocy and craven cynicism with strong language, but I most strenuously lay claim to careful thought and open-eyed assessment.

Similarly, the careful reader will note that when challenged by commenters with reasonable questions and interesting documentation (yes, it has happened) I respond -- happily! -- in kind. I love to engage those who disagree, when the disagreement amounts to something -- anything, in fact -- more than the schoolyard taunts and -- what shall we call it? Blue language? -- that usually appear. It's particularly amusing to read the above questions, coming from a person who evidently has no idea how uninteresting and unoriginal his (or her) comments are. "I know you are but what am I" is not a style that carries much weight after about the third grade.

So. Were it ever to happen that the person in question engaged in actual discourse, responding to a point I'm trying to make in a given post with actual counter-arguments while keeping at least a toe on the firmament, he (or she) would be engaged most enthusiastically, with respect commensurate with that given to my argument. In the case of this individual, however, there's no evidence that there's the capability.

Meanwhile, I suppose I owe answers:

1) No.

2) Huh?

3) No.


  1. Well Sid, we have all been puzzled at the ability of many people - mainly self identifying "conservatives" of the InsaneClownParty (ICP) variety - to ignore the obvious, defend the indefensible, and otherwise revel in bat shit craziness.

    I have always believed that such persons are trapped in a dilemma such as that described in the problem of "The Monkeys Fist."

    To catch a monkey, you can make a small hole in some object (perhaps a coconut?) and place something good to eat inside.

    The hole must be large enough to allow said monkey to insert his little hand to grasp the edible, but not large enough to withdraw his hand with the edible in his grasp.

    The monkey is trapped because even when he (or she) is threatened with capture, she (or he) refuses to let go of the goodie and run. That's crazy, right!

    Most of the ICPers, of my tenuous acquaintance - at Xmas, Thanksgiving etc - seem to behave that way. They are heavily invested in the political beliefs of family, church and party, and to let those goodies go means social isolation or worse.

    I got very drunk once, with an ICPer - passionate Christian type - and when we reached the moment of drunken camaraderie, I asked him how he could believe things that he had to know were untrue. He said " I have to say I believe them; if I don’t I’ll lose my family and all my friends.”

    He added, non sequiturily: "Do you want the niggers to get all the good jobs?" Ahh, bat shit crazy Christian love!

    Very sad! Andit reinforced my theory. But I read today that there may be an evolutionary explanation.


    The authors state:

    “The reason we succumb to confirmation bias, why we are blind to counterexamples, and why we fall short of Cartesian logic in so many other ways is that these lapses have a purpose: they help us “devise and evaluate arguments that are intended to persuade other people,”

    “Failures of logic, he and cognitive scientist Dan Sperber of the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris propose, are in fact effective ploys to win arguments.”


  2. Too many people embrace the philosophy of " I'll see it when I believe it".

    I think Sid does a very good (irritating?)job of referencing material that supports his position(s). While that may cause some folks angst-why not counter with a well referenced argument rather than a response of "B...S...t, you don't know what you are talking about.

    Sid methinks you have become a threat to the cognitive types-the end is clear!

  3. No, Tom, it's not cognitive types. Which is the whole point.


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