A few blogospherics before bed


Just a few quick, interesting things (a short RCimT, if you will) before I hit the hay.

Monocle-Cat

I bet Russ looks something like this.

If you haven’t already seen it, check out Jim Gardner’s multi-part review of Joe Cienkowski’s tract really-short-book Atheism is a Religion – Evolution Is Their ‘Creation’. As an added bonus, I clash with some random anonymous dude here in part 2 over some specious claims about the ability to be “true-agnostic” like True Neutral in D&D. Amusingly, later in the same thread, a steady-stater named Russ shows up to talk about how light can get tuckered out, and how he knows better than the scientific consensus through his self-education in particle physics and cosmology over the past 41 years. And guess why there’s a scientific consensus about the big bang cosmology? That’s right, a global conspiracy for money! Of course!

Our Lady of Perpetual Win, AKA my evil overlord, has a fantastic meta-analysis post about how alliances are formed and maintained on the blogosphere, and what can be expected from allies — and conversely, what CAN’T be expected in any fairness. And here I just thought you went around collecting minions from willing subjects. Suffice it to say, expecting a nascent community of otherwise outcasts to act monolithically is pretty counter-intuitive. Though I guess if you were really supposed to collect minions, you could expect at least some measure of uniformity in action. Stephanie also reposts a salient piece from last year about allies, containing this most-choice quote:

The people we need to reach, in the mainstream or in other marginalized groups, are not monolithic. We need as many ways to reach them as there are people to be reached.

So, again, quit elbowing the people on your side of this argument. Just because they do things differently, doesn’t mean that method is inherently wrong or will damage “the movement”, if there even is such a thing.

And finally, George W, a frequent commenter, takes it upon himself to enter dialog with someone that confronted PZ Myers, PZ ignoring him, and the Pharynguloids going rabid over him thereafter for his troubles. While I don’t personally care for the whole tone debate, this is exactly what Stephanie means by that pullquote above. There is some utility to the slavering hordes at Pharyngula. There is also utility to my making fun of, say, the more fundamentalist Sunni Muslims for believing some fan-fiction about their prophet and threatening people for drawing him as the logical extension to that belief. Likewise, there is utility to those cases where someone honestly, and without malice, offers their hand to the person on the other side of the debate, hoping to educate them about how the universe actually works and how splendorous it is unfiltered through religious dogma.

Mind you, there are some cases where the person you’re trying to lift out of dogmatic belief has no intention of ever leaving it. Sometimes you have to live and let live. It’s why I do not argue against the sillier beliefs on other people’s forums unless the owners are known quantities and, well, already proven allies (so to speak). I advertise, instead, hoping people with sincere beliefs will come to me seeking enlightenment. Or sometimes, just seeking a fight. You get some depraved and tenacious loonies this way (search for Zdenny on this blog!), but every once in a while, you get a genuine discussion with someone that genuinely wants to know more about the universe, and those make it all worthwhile.

Comments

  1. says

    I would be careful how critical you are of Zdenny. A simple google search to see if that douchbag was for real is what first brought me to lousy canuck in the first place. So for me at least, I consider him a troll of good furtune. Without Zdenny I might never have been on this site, might have never had you show me how to use basic HTML, and likely would never have felt empowered to start my own blog.
    The main point of my conversation with Andrew (and his IP confirms that it is really him) is not to convert him. I think PZ robbed Andrew of a right of passage into religious arguing on the internet. I was once like him, filled with piss and vinigar, ready to tell the world about that prolific thought my 18 year old brain had just formulated.
    Then comes the real world. Nothing is new under the sun, and greater men than we have waded through these arguments before. PZ could have schooled Andrew, given him the lesson that you need more than an unshakable faith to impress on the internet.
    I would love to see Andrew come to agree with my arguements, but I am a realist. I just hope he sees that he needs to at least ask questions of his faith, go deeper than face value, and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe I’m feeding a proto-troll, maybe I’m helping crerate the next Zdenny, or maybe I’m just helping a well meaning kid answer questions about his universe.

  2. says

    Really? Wow, I’m surprised. Here I thought Zdenny was just a boat anchor on my blog. Turns out his months-long stranglehold on my comment sections had an actual utility function!

    I don’t know that PZ’s place in this world is to provide 18-year-olds with their rite of passage into theological debate. I admit that I would probably have scoffed at some “punk kid” coming in and telling me that the benefit of the two or three years of critical thought since hitting puberty is so invaluable in a world stocked with seven billion people, most of whom were also 18 at one point in their lives; the more so if I was an evolutionary biology professor of some years being told by said 18-year-old that I was obviously wrong about everything I’d studied in my life. PZ was right to laugh. The Pharynguloids were not right in massing up for a gigantic “Hulk Smash” tidal wave of abuse. That is useful in certain situations — e.g. against the heavy-hitters like Behe and Ham and (sigh…) Comfort. Not so useful in helping a newbie to the field come to terms with the fact that his sophisticated thought processes are not as unique in the world as he might have believed.

    If anything, I hope Andrew learned a valuable lesson in this. I would no sooner expect to go straight to the end boss right after the introduction in a video game, and be able to win, than I would taking on PZ Myers as my first target of opportunity when trying to gain experience on my first foray into debating on the intertubes.

  3. says

    Super pleased people are picking up on my reviews of Joe’s tome of tears. If I can stop just one person buying into creationism by highlighting the level of intellect its proponents hold then it’s all been worth it.

    Thanks for the link-back and please keep on commenting!

    Zeus bless!

  4. says

    He is, at that. Huh. And here I thought he took his blog and Twitter offline because he was too busy with his new real-life proselytizing to intertube any more.

    Kingdom Insight is one big bait-and-switch. Juanita wanted atheists to come discuss things with her, ostensibly to foster discussion. She really just wanted to convert everyone, and was willing to bully, lie, cheat and wield power she doesn’t actually have, to do it. Not that you wouldn’t know this yourself Jim, you actually made an attempt to play her game. I just avoided it from the get-go.

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