Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Fundamental Problem

Woos aren't aware of it. They don't know why we accept or reject various ideas. All they know is that we're often on the opposite side of the debate. They'll make up stories about how we weren't hugged enough as kids, how we were "hurt" by some member of their group, indoctrinated into a nonexistent philosophy, just want to be nasty, or whatever Hollywood narrative they like. They do this because they don't know how we think.

That's why so many woo trolls are unable to speak with us as people. They're ignorant of what it means to be a critical thinker, and often willfully so when they refuse to listen to our points. They can't attack our actual beliefs because they're unwilling to learn them. That's why they resort to straw men, ad hominem fallacies, repetitive propaganda, and defense mechanisms. Their unwillingness to listen to us serves to compound the problem.

By the same token, many, many trolls have an unwillingness to commit to or even speak of any claims. I've had countless arguments where my fellow skeptics and I repeat various demands for clarification on the beliefs in question, only to get stalling tactics and intentional vagueness, followed by another volley of ineffective attacks.

The bottom line: Most woos who engage in trolling are poor communicators and don't care if they are. They don't care what we actually believe. They don't care about defending their beliefs. They only want to beat up figments of their imagination.

At least we can try to have fun seeing if they'll actually react to something they don't expect. Half the time, I search for weird angles of attack in hopes of inspiring a Work Time Fun response.


Anonymous said...

how sad for them . . . .

Yakaru said...

It's interesting watching how they respond to being presented, in a non-threatening neutral context, with ideas that lead them into cognitive dissonance.

Simply explaining the a concept like confirmation bias (for eg), without attacking their claims of telepathy - simply presenting the idea straight up, makes them squirm. They can't say it's implausible, because it's such an obvious possibility for human psychology, indeed many film plots and stories depend on characters making the wrong the wrong assumptions for quite understandable reasons. But the idea itself is poison to their finely tuned defense mechanisms. They know if they let the idea take hold, their entire world view will eventually unravel.

Professor Preposterous said...

I'm told that many people are ignorant and unaware of it, and if asked, 95% of people claim to be above average. Obviously at least 45% are wrong, by definition.
Do you think psycholgical projection is involved?

Marshall Schreiber said...

@ themadengineer

That's called the Dunning-Kruger effect

Ryan W. said...

It's so hard to get a response when asking them to clarify their beliefs.

I think some of them are so self-centered that they assume we know what they're talking about.

Case in point: ask someone to define "God".