How Not to Have a Discussion

My last post mentioned a recent article I had written which got published at the website Desmog Blog. Some people might be surprised to see me have an article published there because of this backwards notion of "tribes." You see, some people consider me a skeptic/denier, and as such, they feel I should only post at websites that are skeptic/denier websites. DeSmog Blog is about as far from that as you get.

I think that's stupid. First, I'm definitely not a denier. Second, I'm not even sure I'm a skeptic. Nobody's ever been able to tell me just what the lines between all these various groups are, and quite frankly, I don't care. I've publicly rejected the idea I'm a skeptic because I dislike what I've seen too many other people calling themselves skeptics do, but I don't know if that actually means I'm not a skeptic now.

Anyway, the point is, the people who'd normally read DeSmog Blog and I probably wouldn't see eye to eye on a number of issues. So some people might wonder, why would they run my article at all? I can't say I know. The issue never came up. I didn't even think about it. Maybe nobody talking to me was familiar with anything else I've written. Maybe they were and just didn't care. I don't know.

What I do know is I don't think it matters. No matter how much I may disagree with people on some subjects, I can still talk to them. And even if we can't have fruitful discussions on some topics, we may be able to have wonderful discussions on other topics. If people are willing to try.

So now that I've shared some of the goodness which came from the experience, I want to share some of the opposite. I want to show what happens when people refuse to have any sort of discussion, no matter what lengths doing so requires. I'm not going to talk about it or give commentary. I'm just going to reproduce the exchange I had so you can see what is probably the absolute worst way to approach a discussion. It'll be an amusing interlude while I'm away on a trip for the weekend.

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I really didn't intend to keep posting comments after my first one. My original plan was to make the one comment, perhaps one follow-up remark then leave it at that. I suspect it'd have been better if I had stuck to that plan. I just couldn't resist responding because I don't think I've ever seen anyone participate in a discussion in a such an obviously bad way. Even the worst troll I've ever seen did a better job of trying to encourage people to respond. This guy just made me think, "Other than being amazed at how stupid you are, why would I ever respond to you?"

I still think that, by the way. I've long believed the world is insane, but the level of willful incompetence he displays is the sort of thing that makes me think the world is so insane, being insane is the best way to get by in it.

Because honestly, I don't know how I would handle meeting him in person without trying to get him committed.

14 comments

  1. "Because honestly, I don’t know how I would handle meeting him in person without trying to get him committed."

    It could be worse; he could be your family member...

    When the dust settles on this debate the physiologists and psychologists should write a chapter on in in every text as a going standard showing how beliefs are born, propagated and tend to want to place man at center stage whether as hero or as villain.

  2. It's always a pleasure watching you dismantle a tribalist, whether pro or agin. What this twit hasn't bothered to investigate, is the fact that you're an equal opportunity, pain in the ass, to both sides of the debate.

  3. utterly astounding behaviour , is this bloke really a scientist ? he appeared to go into a frenzy at the measured response you provided .

  4. I have never heard of this Forrester and all I have to go on are his replies. The poor man comes across as deranged. However, I suspect the reason why this is so is the result of a fail strategy to hide his ignorance of any topic of relevance.

  5. I know nothing of Ian Forrester other than what a little internet searching shows, which is he's been doing this exact same sort of thing for years. As in, the five minutes I spent looking to see if I could find out if he really is a scientist just tons of other examples of this, dating at least as far back as 2009. It's disturbing.

    Armando:

    Brandon, "I’ve long believed the world is insane" It's your world.

    There are quite a few people who would disagree, feeling I have no business being in it. Or at least, not in any part of it they are in.

  6. I feel like we're descending into solipsism here Armando, and I hate solipsism. Whenever it comes up, I can only think, "But how do I know I exist?"

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