Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Apologies

Upon further reflection, I think that I might have to offer some humble apologies here.

Yesterday, I administered a blog slapdown to a particularly deserving blowhard named Karl for his simple-minded, fact-free, and logic-free attack on Skeptico and then on Skeptico, Autism Diva, and me. Apparently Karl didn't like our recent frequent blogging dedicated to debunking the scaremongering of RFK Jr. about a supposed link between mercury in childhood vaccines in autism. No, I'm not apologizing for administering said slapdown (which Karl richly deserved), although admittedly it was akin to using a Howitzer to eliminate an ant.

No, I'm apologizing to you, loyal reader, for in my irritation with Karl's many logical fallacies I subjected you to the inane rants in his blog Word Soup. Even though watching Karl melt down in the comments sections of the two posts linked to above under the onslaught of comments from readers of Skeptico and Respectful Insolence and then change the contents of his original post (for example, softening his offensive comment mocking autistic "unique snowflake personalities"--note that the way I quoted it was verbatim from the way it originally appeared) was highly entertaining (and probably is still highly entertaining), after a while it became more akin watching a car wreck. Karl's repeated refrain seems to be:
I don't play pseudo-science Google patty-cake with anonymous pseudo-scientists, sorry.
and
You seem to think this is either a lab or debate club. Too much academia I smell on you guys.

"Too much academia I smell on you guys?" What is this guy, Yoda? In any case, the above have to be two of the most pathetic excuses for not backing up one's opinions that I've seen in my long years of online discourse.

On the other hand, this addition to the part of his post where he bragged about the size of his penis is rather amusing:
That's sarcasm for egomaniacs, academics and experts so sheltered by institution or academia they can no longer properly process humor.

My penis is actually very, very, very small.
Ah, the truth at last! On the plus side, Karl did let me exceed my quota of Respectful Insolence for this month, much as RFK Jr. did last month.

On to better things. Of course, if anyone wants to leave one more comment for Karl, I'm not stopping you. I'm just sayin', you know?

2 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 7/27/2005 9:09 AM, Blogger Axiom said...

I certainly didn't have a problem with the slapdown yesterday or the rant quotes.

I honestly believe that one of the greatest achievements of the Internet / web is not porn (though there are many that would argue the point) but is, in fact, the rediscovery of prose. People are reading again (Harry Potter has certainly helped as well).

However, lots of people are also writing and there are people who like to use specious arguments and logical fallacies to sound convincing without regard for the actual FACTS involved. As long as the other person / opponent / reader is bamboozled or convinced, the irresponsible writer feels victorious.

You and I certainly remember the percursor to all of this: USENET. I believe that this is a fundamentally different environment in that there is no cost to entry (whereas USENET was primarily a university-associated forum back in the day). Everyone can access all the time.

Anyway, I honestly believe that responsible writers have a responsibility (intentional redundancy) to point out faulty reasoning, specious arguments, etc. with tips on why the argument is awry and how to avoid being convinced in the future.

Besides, it's fun to dissect a total loon's babbling showing how, once you remove the fallacies and ad hominem attacks, all you have left is whitespace....

 

At 7/27/2005 11:34 AM, Anonymous paul said...

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life"

- Winston Churchill

At first, I thought you (and Skeptico and AD) were wasting time dealing with Karl, and providing his site with undeserved traffic. But I've reconsidered, because he actually represents a significant % of the anti-thimerosal crowd, which relies simply on the suspicion of corporations and government for their "proof" of a link.

 

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