Friday, June 3, 2011

How NOT to debate: assume other guy's insulting you

Historian of science and Skeptics Society foun...Image via Wikipedia
EDIT: Michael Shermer
EDITOR'S NOTE: this is a rant, against a certain individual and a blog that doesn't even belong to him, who will remain unnamed. He is free to insult me on that blog-that-does-not-belong-to-him. He has discovered this little rant, and has "responded" by again, distorting what I said/wrote through his own filters. 

If you read my earlier blog posts you'll see that a certain anti-fraud crusader had somehow concluded that because I didn't join him in denouncing his most hated scam (hint: starts with A) I must somehow be against him.

Recently, he started denouncing some OTHER scam in Asia, a fake survey company. So I offered an olive branch, posting a comment that basically said great job, don't you see that there are scams even MORE evil than your most hated scam? "Most hated scam" actually have products to sell, whereas this scam has nothing, similar to that other scam (which is what got our verbal war started). I then cited Michael Shermer, head of Skeptic Society, and his 10 rules to detect baloney.

Instead of taking the olive branch, it was slapped away. According to this "crusader", I had somehow assumed that he and his readers don't know about Michael Shermer, which is an insult to his intelligence. In his own words:

Typically, Mr. Chang assumes that we must have no knowledge of Michael Shermer.

He had assumed that I had assumed that he doesn't know about Michael Shermer.


Then he proceeds to insult me about my lack of intelligence in order to understand his point of view, and proceed to call me fraud sympathizer. Again, in his own words:
However, Mr. Chang doesn't attempt to refute the quantifiable evidence that (despite the 'AXXXX' organization's own propaganda) during the previous 50+ years, virtually no products, or services, have been regularly retailed to the public for a profit by any of the tens of millions of ill-informed, and insolvent, individuals around the world, who have been churned through the economically-suicidal 'AXXXX' closed-market. 

The problem here is the guy completely misses the point. My "olive branch" was pointing out a scam that pretends to be MLM, but sold nothing. Clearly, it must be more evil than this "AXXXX" alleged scam that actually sells something. He completely ignores the point and went on to RANT about the evilness of "AXXXX". Again, because I didn't join him in attacking this AXXXX.... 
With a level of naivety which beggars belief, Mr. Chang apparently seriously expects your free-thinking readers, to follow his example, set aside 50+ years of quantifiable evidence and blindly believe the fanciful baloney that, because 'AXXXX' has products and services, the organization can simply oblige its adherents, henceforth regularly to retail this effectively-unsaleable wampum to the public for a profit. 

Again, this guy missed the point. The difference is while all these 50 years of evidence simply proves that it HAD NOT BEEN. It doesn't prove that it CANNOT. He was arguing about something else entirely.

Besides, I wasn't even talking about that AXXXX scam! I was talking about something else!

It is clear at this point any sort of olive branch would be utterly wasted. A simple name reference was construed as an insult to his intelligence, by making DOUBLE assumptions. Who's being insulting now? Then my reference was turned into a strawman attack, falsely attributing a viewpoint to me that I do NOT hold, and is in fact, irrelevant.

LESSON LEARNED: Don't talk to fanatics, even if they have their hearts at the right places. They will only drive you crazy. 

Fanatics act as if they have huge chips on their shoulders, so they are basically out to pick fights with you, provoke you at every opportunity. It's either join them or be their enemy. It's false dilemma.

EDIT: I see Mr. Brear has decided that this article had been written specifically against him and has responded in kind on someone else's blog, instead of commenting here.

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