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Mar 04 2013

Around FtB

So today I thought I’d read FtB like our critics do — twisting everything to fit their preconceptions that we’re all evil people. I might be mildly misrepresenting the content of their posts, but you won’t know unless you actually read them.

  • Stephen hates teachers so much, he wants to launch them all into space.

  • Hank notes that the deity is all-powerful.

  • Stephanie promotes the Slymepit, and explains how you can, too!

  • Dana is a bad blogger who can’t provide original content of her own so she just links to other people’s hard work.

  • Frederick finds that blacks have gotten richer since the Reagan years. Yay, racism is over!

  • Kate makes the case that therapists are all wrong.

  • Zinnia has gone all shallow and materialistic, crassly exhibiting her bling.

  • Aron thinks the Flintstones was a documentary, and shows proof that dinosaurs and humans lived together.

  • Nonstampcollector is getting chummy with Ray Comfort, and even photoshopped himself into a Way of the Master video.

33 comments

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  1. 1
    Gretchen

    Awesome. I love this way of doing “Around FtB”– brightened my Monday morning.

  2. 2
    Zeno

    This just in: PZ experiences an epiphany and sees his FtB fellow-travelers for the shallow, godforsaken materialists they are . He recoils in horror!

    Hmmmmm. Coils!

  3. 3
    janiceintoronto

    PZ it struck by lightning, has a revelation and decides to become a Benedictine Monk.

  4. 4
    sylwyn

    I was going to comment on the irony of accusing someone of “linking to someone’s hard work” in a blog entry that does nothing but link to the hard work of others. Then I realized you were taking this exercise one step further and trying for one of Ed Brayton’s “Bryan Fischer” awards. Good. I don’t recall seeing one recently.

  5. 5
    Gretchen

    Uh, sylwyn…you understand that the entire post is meant to be parody, right? As in, irony absolutely intended?

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, read the first para. Everything in this collection is a distortion of what the people said.

  7. 7
    sylwyn

    I understand and understood at the time it was parody, and enjoyed it for what it was. When I suggested you were “taking the exercise one step further” I meant to imply that you were not only twisting the posters words like the critics do, but were reflecting the projection that Mr. Brayton tries to highlight. I also thought it would be neat for you to have an additional award that no one else in FTB could claim.

    What I have done is fail to appreciate how the tone of my own writing could be read. I am sorry; my intent was to join, and hopefully add to, the fun. I might make an attempt to say I was writing in the style of trolls, but frankly it was poor email tonality (is that an apt description?) on my part.

  8. 8
    Pierce R. Butler

    PZ Myers @ # 6: Everything in this [blog borg] is a distortion…

    Remember, folks: You read it here first!

  9. 9
    klortho

    Sorry, what’s the point of this post? Isn’t it just nine strawmen, lined up in a row?

    I’m new to this blog / these blogs, so I don’t have much data. But on the one post that I commented on, and followed along the whole discussion, We are the WEIRD, I thought the level of critical comments was pretty good — people were for the most part respectful, and stuck to the issues rather than getting into the typical flamewars. Disappointingly, the author never returned to respond to any of those criticisms.

    I’m not suggesting that flamewars don’t happen here, I’m sure they do. But I’d ask again, what’s the point of this post? It seems designed just to ridicule and trivialize criticism, in general. Shouldn’t a blog that uses the masthead “free thought” be trying, instead, to encourage and welcome criticism and lively debate?

  10. 10
    ChasCPeterson

    Isn’t it just nine strawmen, lined up in a row?

    It would be if it was a series of arguments, I guess. No, Prof. Myers occasionally tries to spread the wealth by linking to other FtB bloogers in a good way.
    This time it’s irony.

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    So Sylwyn got it after all, and then klortho stumbles along and goes “duh”. Oh, well.

  12. 12
    Anthony K

    Isn’t it just nine strawmen, lined up in a row?

    Why does this sound fam—fuck, it’s Elton John:

    Hey there PZed is it cold
    In your little corner of the world?
    You could roll around the world
    And never find a warmer soul to know

    Oh I saw your byline on the blogl
    Nine of your straw soldiers in a row
    A beard that looked like goats on fire
    The human heart a captive in the snow…

  13. 13
    Stacy

    It seems designed just to ridicule and trivialize criticism, in general.

    Not at all, it is designed specifically to ridicule and trivialize intellectually dishonest criticism–the sort of criticism that makes strawmen of one’s arguments.

    You may not know all the backstory, or perhaps your irony meter needs a tune up.

  14. 14
    Stacy

    Correction:–the sort of criticism that makes strawmen of one’s opponent’s arguments.

    I hate it when I fuck up a perfectly good comment by leaving out a word. I do that a lot. *hangs head in shame*

  15. 15
    klortho

    Ah, so everything was meant to be ironic! Even this, then:

    So today I thought I’d read FtB like our critics do — twisting everything to fit their preconceptions that we’re all evil people.

    And he’s going for the “Bryan Fischer” award, so that must mean he’s accusing others of doing something he’s doing himself. Let’s see if I can get my head around it — maybe it’s too “meta” for me. So, he’s twisting what his critics do to fit his preconceptions. So he’s really saying that his critics don’t twist things to fit their preconceptions. This is his way of complementing and saluting his critics. Duh! It must be that PZ’s ridicule of me, a new commenter on his blog, is all part of the game. Fantastic irony! Brilliant!
    (Has your irony meter had a tune-up lately?)

  16. 16
    sylwyn

    Ok…

    Just to be crystal clear on this…

    My “Bryan Fischer Award” comment was specifically in reference to the line about Dana (where he gives her ‘grief’ about linking to other blogger’s posts while linking to her post). It had nothing to do with the rest of the post. If you want to go that route you’ve got a heavy burden of proof.

    As for the rest of the “meta” track, I’m not sure that combining an overgeneralized claim of “irony” with a misplaced Brian Fisher Award (if that’s actually possible) gets you the moral equivalence of Opposite Day.

  17. 17
    Stacy

    Aw, PZ, I think you hurt klortho’s feelings.

    When he misrepresented your post (“It seems designed just to ridicule and trivialize criticism, in general”) you were supposed to step in, take him gently by the hand, and explain the context.

    You do that for all newcomers, right? It’s not like you have anything better to do. I mean sure there’s the teaching, the lecture-preparing, the grading, the flying around donating your time speaking, the blog writing, and your family, but you must have a few minutes left to call your own, and what better than spending them interacting with a stranger with a stick up his ass?

  18. 18
    klortho

    Beg your pardon? What did I write to elicit that kind of response? I thought my post was clever, giving back a little of what I got. Yours on the other hand, just makes me wonder … wtf?

  19. 19
    klortho

    Plus, believe it or not, I’m actually trying to make a point — and your response is actually helpful in that regard. My question at the get-go was, “what is the point of this post?” Let me spell it out, since it’s clear that real irony doesn’t seem to be appreciated here.

    PZ starts with, “So today I thought I’d read FtB like our critics do, twisting everything to fit their preconceptions …”. Well, I’m one of his critics, so I took that as directed at me, and I don’t think it fits (either me or any of the other critics of this blog that I’ve read so far (but again, my sample set is small)). Well, either that statement was meant to be ironic, or it wasn’t. I don’t think it was. But then he claimed later that I didn’t “get it”. Didn’t I? If I didn’t, then I still don’t, so could you please explain it to me?

    It is irksome to be dismissed — I won’t lie about that. An analogy that comes to mind is if the post started, “Today I’m going to read FtB like a woman would, …”. Then, let’s say you complained, and were laughed off as being too touchy and emotional. PZ runs a “free thought” blog. So, yes, I think it’s incumbent on him to encourage and foster open, lively, respectful debate. At least, that’s what I had hoped for when I checked this place out.

  20. 20
    Nick Gotts

    Is klortho sincere but a bit dim, or just another misogynist troll? Bets?

  21. 21
    DLC

    Klortho : 1 ) stop digging. 2) go actually read a few of the linked posts. PZ is doing a parody version of the least charitable reading of some of his fellow bloggers here. The criticism he’s pointing out is not the logical, reasoned criticism of reasonable people, but the blind, arrogant nay-saying that happens because “someone at FtB wrote it” .

  22. 22
    throwaway

    How is it remotely thinkable that a post addressing critics would be relevant to you, klortho, unless you’ve also been misrepresenting the bloggers at FTB? Either your humor failed to hit the mark or you’re incredibly narcissistic, or both.

  23. 23
    klortho

    Is klortho sincere but a bit dim, or just another misogynist troll? Bets?

    Well, I, for one, am certainly enjoying the irony of this thread.

  24. 24
    Stacy

    klortho, I apologize. I actually thought you were dismissing me. And I was trying to be nice with my first comment.

    Anyway, the thing about “our critics”–it’s a very long and rather painful story. I recommend you lurk for a while, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of chances to get caught up.

    Bottom line is, yes, FtB has critics who love to twist what they say and describe them uncharitably. Which PZ was parodying in the OP. It wasn’t directed at all critics–just a particular subset.

  25. 25
    Stacy

    (And the people linked to in the post aren’t the critics. PZ is just describing them as the critics might. Just in case that wasn’t clear.)

  26. 26
    klortho

    Stacy, thank you! You have restored my faith in humanity.

    I can understand how my post #15 above might have seemed dismissive. Several of you seemed to be suggesting that I didn’t understand that the original post was meant to be ironic. Well, of course I understood it — it is really pretty obvious. As I mentioned, these dismissals were irksome, especially PZ’s, and especially when it seemed (still seems) that you/they didn’t get my point. So, since the suggestion was that I didn’t understand irony, I thought I would write a doubly-ironic reply. As I said, I thought I was being clever, but it was probably a mistake: parody, irony, and sarcasm are not the best way to communicate. Sorry about that.

    Regarding your other point, about the history with critics here, I would say, that this being the Internet, of course there will be nasty and dimwitted trolls. But, there will also be thoughtful people who disagree, and who might even have opinions that you find objectionable. As I said above, I would suggest, this being “free thought” and all, that it’s vitally important to approach every newcomer, and indeed every new conversation, with some assumption of good faith regarding the other person. Otherwise, what is the point of having a conversation, after all?

    I still have to say, your apology notwithstanding, the reactions of commenters here has been, in my opinion, appalling. Why didn’t anyone feel compelled to censure you for saying I had a stick up my ass, or Nick Gotts for suggesting I’m a mysogynistic troll? In my opinion, just because this is the internet, doesn’t make it okay to casually toss out insults like that. (Having said that, I’ll say again, I do very much appreciate your apology.)

    To finish this up:

    DLC wrote:

    The criticism he’s pointing out is not the logical, reasoned criticism of reasonable people, but the blind …

    Then he should have written “So today I thought I’d read FtB like some of our critics do”, but that’s not what he wrote.

    Throwaway wrote:

    How is it remotely thinkable that a post addressing critics would be relevant to you, klortho, unless you’ve also been misrepresenting the bloggers at FTB?

    Because that’s not what all critics do, it’s what some critics do. See my reply to DLC above.

    I keep harping on this because I think it’s important. I am fascinated that there is so much vitriole and so many flamewars and nasty internecine battles in this community. And I think it is deeply, deeply ironic, because this is purportedly a community of rational and skeptical people. So, what causes them? How can they be mollified? I think, welcoming people of different opinions, and yes, even people with opinions that you might find objectionable, is a good start. And it doesn’t matter how much vitriole or nastiness there’s been in the past — what matters is what we do from now and into the future. So that’s why I still think this particular blog post is counter-productive.

  27. 27
    John Morales

    [meta]

    klortho:

    I keep harping on this because I think it’s important. I am fascinated that there is so much vitriole and so many flamewars and nasty internecine battles in this community. And I think it is deeply, deeply ironic, because this is purportedly a community of rational and skeptical people. So, what causes them? How can they be mollified? I think, welcoming people of different opinions, and yes, even people with opinions that you might find objectionable, is a good start. And it doesn’t matter how much vitriole or nastiness there’s been in the past — what matters is what we do from now and into the future. So that’s why I still think this particular blog post is counter-productive.

    Bah. Your trite concern is boring.

    (I am particularly amused by your claim that the past doesn’t matter)

    PS

    And I think it is deeply, deeply ironic, because this is purportedly a community of rational and skeptical people.

    Stupid straw-Vulcan trope is banal.

  28. 28
    throwaway

    Because that’s not what all critics do, it’s what some critics do. See my reply to DLC above.

    I shall.

    Then he should have written “So today I thought I’d read FtB like some of our critics do”, but that’s not what he wrote.

    Questions: when two people know the subject and have been embroiled in an hour long conversation prior to your arrival, do you not think it a bit presumptive to assume a defensive tone when one of them seems to over-generalize? Do you not think it inappropriate to assume that the subject is broader than you imagine, barge in and cry foul on the whole conversation because not all of [general group] does that?

  29. 29
    throwaway

    broadernarrower in #28.

  30. 30
    throwaway

    Wait, I had it right the first time, let me rephrase it because I’ve got defensive pedantitis now since I’m sure that much ado will be made about split infinitives or somesuch…

    Do you think it is inappropriate to assume the subject is broader than what those in the conversation mean it to be?

  31. 31
    klortho

    Stupid straw-Vulcan trope …

    I think you’ve got that exactly wrong (http://www.islandcrisis.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/double-facepalm.jpg)

    Do you think it is inappropriate to assume the subject is broader than what those in the conversation mean it to be?

    No, they’re just plain English words, after all. It would be one thing if you were using a secret lexicon, but “read FtB like our critics do” is pretty clear.
    Oh well, John is right, this is boring. It seems sad to me to have confirmed that people who call themselves “rational” can still be so in thrall to someone or something that they can’t even see such a simple point as the one I’m trying to make.
    Enjoy yourselves!

  32. 32
    throwaway

    Klortho – you do realize that a blog is a conversation right, that topics can persist in perpetuity, they get rehashed over and over until readers are so familiar that when the blogger exaggerates in a certain way, the meaning is not lost on the people who are familiar with the conversation. Then someone comes bumbling in to correct something in the most pompous, faux-literate way imaginable, because some axe needs grinding – tell me, how do you think that would look to people who have been in on the conversation long enough to know that they’re just talking shit and have no substance to their complaint? Now look in the mirror. You are that which is talking shit.

  33. 33
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    We see your point, klortho but people who read this blog regularly knew full well who PZ was referring to when he said “Our critics”. You clearly didn’t, but that is no reason to continue writing big ol’ Wall o’ Texts harping on about the lack of the word some. We get it, you’re very concerned that PZ is denigrating everyone who disagrees with him and that would make him a terrible person (waah!), but he wasn’t, you got it wrong, so stop digging, stop being all defensive; you are making yourself look like a douche.

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