Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jimmy's Rants: woos, at least try to say something new

OK I lied, there is one blog post I wanted to do.

Why is it that woos (and here I include almost all, if not absolutely all, religious believers in the definition of 'woos') never seem to have a new argument when defending whatever it is they are trying to defend?

After all, it is the constant repetitions of the same arguments over and over again that means Bronze Dog is still going with the Doggerel Index, there are so many arguments that we hear again and again from woos that they make the index. It isn't that they are new and so must be added, it is that they meet a critical mass of repetition that prompts people to tag them as doggerel and beseech Bronze Dog for their inclusion.

I've been around the skeptical blogosphere for a few years now and I really don't remember the last time I heard a genuinely new argument from a woo that wasn't also just laughably stupid. So maybe I should correct the title - woos, at least try to say something new that isn't bloody ridiculous as well. I know I am asking a lot but really, if you want to open your mouth on a topic you could at least do the rest of us the courtesy of trying to think about it first.

And by 'think about it', I don't mean:

 "go and find a website that reinforces your already made up tiny little mind and then cut and paste it in its entirety like it is devastating, and if you're a complete tool pass it off as your own work as well"

I mean something along the lines of:
"go and research a topic from all angles, weigh up the pros and cons, consider whether or not it makes sense and then communicate your conclusions in a logical manner"

Now, is that really too much to ask? (OK, don't answer this. I know from experience that I can take a pretty good guess at the real answer anyway).

And why do so many woos (particularly the drive by kind) act as if they have an argument we have never heard before? We can tell from the way they phrase their comments that they think what they have said is something we've never considered or never heard before and is obviously therefore devastating to our case, when in fact it is probably the seventh or eighth time that hour we've read it and will need to write yet another dismissal of. Woos want to know why we get so snarky sometimes - because this behaviour shows a complete lack of respect for us as well as a complete failure on their part to even bother trying to get to grips with the topic under discussion. If they had bothered to understand the topic, if they had any intellectual respect for their opponent, they would not repeat the same arguments because they would have read the counter arguments. Instead of repeating the originals they would, if they had the slightest hint of intellectual courage and capacity, be presenting revised versions that take into account the counters or they wouldn't be repeating the originals at all.

Just because the people you woos usually spend your time with are slack jawed buffoons doesn't mean the person whose blog you are commenting on is, if you pretend and act like you are the only person who has this knowledge and you've deemed us worthy to have it imparted to us you are going to get some snark, and you deserve it for being a conceited twat with blancmange where their brain should be.

And another thing:

If you find yourself repeating an argument that has remained the same for hundreds, if not thousands, of years maybe you should stop and really think about that. Just exactly how far has human knowledge and thought, in every field of knowledge and thought, progressed in the last 100 years never mind two thousand?

Yet you're repeating something that has remained unchanged through all that. That doesn't take into account any of the things we've learned in that time? Your argument is so completely airtight and independent that it isn't affected at all by any of the advances in thought or knowledge from the last hundreds if not thousands of years in any area? Really?

Piss off.

No, the stars can't tell us who we are and where we are going. No, sticking solid needles in my feet isn't going to cure my infertility problems. No, pleading with something in the sky won't make things alright. No, water won't cure me. No, I don't run by means of an undetectable vital force. No, the Universe wasn't created by the being invented by some uneducated and illiterate tribes who thought there was nothing above the sky and that women should be treated like property. No, medical systems invented before we knew what blood does are not equally valid ways of looking at medical treatment. No, the cosmology of people who didn't even know what a telescope was is not as valid as that of modern astrophysicists. No, the creation stories of people who didn't even know what a cell was is not as valid as modern biology. Etc etc.

This is the twenty first century, do try and catch up with the rest of us.

And one other other thing:

We can read. We also know what insults are, even if they are dressed up in flowery language or prefaced with "No offence ... "

The term "No offence" doesn't stop something from being offensive, only a child or a moron thinks it does. If you want to say something offensive, be a grown up about it instead of pretending you aren't really doing so.

Here's some advice, you're welcome:
  1. Don't repeat it like we've never heard it before and it must be a revelation. Show everyone a little respect and see if a counter argument already exists and if it does, take that ito account.
  2. If your argument is old and has remained unchanged since its inception, it isn't because it has passed the test of time, it is because it is almost certainly utter bollocks with bells on. Try updating it and take into account what we know now that the original proponents didn't.
  3. Read the Doggerel Index - if what you were going to say is on there, don't say it.
  4. If you do say something that is on the index, don't complain about your subsequent treatment, you deserve it.
  5. Don't complain about being insulted if you started it. No matter how dressed up an insult is it is still an insult and we can read, even if at times you struggle over the big words.
  6. Address the actual arguments put to you - don't try and pretend that by insulting someone you have countered their arguments. See 5 when taking this into account.
  7. Sometimes an insult isn't just an insult, it can be a statement of fact. If someone calls you an idiot, you probably are an idiot and they're almost certainly able to say why. If you can't say why then you are just insulting. See 6.
  8. You really aren't as funny as you think you are or as funny as the slack jawed yokels in your group repeatedly tell you that you are. Be prepared to have your delusions of wit and charm shattered.
  9. Oscar Wilde you are not. I'm sure that you think you are being clever and witty. You aren't. Get ready to be mocked if you continue to act like you are a literary genius.
  10. You really aren't as clever as you think you are, or as clever as the slow witted laggards you are used to talking to say you are. Don't be offended if we can prove it.
  11. Learn from your mistakes and move on, don't continue to imply or claim you are still right when you blantantly aren't.
  12. Respect is earnt. Try earning some.
  13. Nothing is sacred, so don't hold anything to be so.
  14. Yes, we do say things on the Internet that we wouldn't say in person - this is a good thing. We can really tell you how stupid you are without fear of censorship through violence, and then other people can see how stupid what you say and believe are and we grow as a whole. The anonymity of the Internet increases the flow of opinion and ideas and promotes the ridicule of the obscenely stupid or offensive without fear of persecution or repression - embrace it.
  15. You aren't a martyr, stop acting like one because we can show how silly you are.
  16. Know your limits. Part of arguing intelligently is knowing what you don't know. I guarantee you don't know a lot stuff - I know I don't. That's why if I don't know about something I either don't talk about it or go and research it. Please don't pretend you know about a subject like quantam mechanics because of something you read on an acupuncture or Secret website.
Keep these things in mind and there might just be a chance for you.

Ignore all this, as most of you seem to, and you'll get treated as you deserve to be treated.

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