Welcome to Feedback Friday! It’s the day when I respond to the viewers!
It’s not often that I get feedback which so seamlessly blends bitter disdain, elegant poetry, and juvenile, outdated 90’s sitcom put-downs. When this one came down the pike, I was fascinated. I would tell you what post he’s commenting on, but as you will see, it makes no difference. You’d be surprised how often that is the case. Here is the comment in its entirety:
Dude, you just don’t get it. Your lack of curiosity and willingness to repeatedly ignore the science in favor of Ouija board philosophy and proscribed reality. If you cared one whit about what makes us human you might consider that it’s possible your methodology for acquiring knowledge might be limiting and or flawed. You are constantly being schooled on simple subjects your average high schooler knows and you blithely wrap yourself in your proscribed cloak of knowledge while repeating the same biblical nonsense. Your world view can be summoned up in two words. “As if”. No big words needed.
I hope you took all of that in, for now I respond- though because his comment lacked any REAL substance, I choe to offer a literary critique for not only this author, but for anyone who wished to “debunk” me or any of my various positions:
“Dude, you just don’t get it.”
Oh. Don’t I? Here I thought I got it. How very disappointing to be shown the error of my ways in this manner. What with me thinking all this time that I got it.
I always considered myself a person who gets it. “Whatever else goes wrong,” I would tell myself in dark times, “at least I am a person who GETS IT.” But I have been living a lie.
I shall not sleep well tonight.
Since I shall be spending a sleepless night, I may as well educate you on the proper way to “Take me down a peg.” I mean, asserting the fact that I “Just don’t get it” aside, the reply above, and many of your others if I may be so bold, have been horrible failures in this aspect. But don’t worry. I shall explain how it is done so that you can properly show the world here in the comments section just what an idiot I am.
Let’s start with what not to do:
Your comment above, while certainly poetic in nature, doesn’t actually say much. I mean, it is sincerely well written in terms of flow and word choice. Where as most other dissenters would say, “This guy is an idiot,” you have chosen to say, “you blithely wrap yourself in your proscribed cloak of knowledge.” It flows like honey butter and almost demands to be said with a snooty British accent at an otherwise civil tea party. So, in all sincerity, well written. But, when all is said and done, you’re just saying, “This guy is an idiot.” SUBSTANCE must be the foundation. Otherwise the poetry is thrown away like fresh cilantro on a McRib.
Right off the bat, you started with a phrase SO banal that its used on sitcoms in the mouths of irritable girlfriends and ex-wives for the sole purpose of communicating, “You are an idiot” to the man being addressed. It cheapens the poetry which follows. If you are going to write poetry, don’t start with a throw away line from a forgotten episode of Seinfeld.
“Your lack of curiosity and willingness to repeatedly ignore the science”
This is almost just grocery listing. For one thing, the lack of curiosity line merely leaves me confused. When and how did I show a lack of curiosity? You offer no explanation, and so I am left to wonder if its ME you are thinking of with this comment. Are you somehow mixing me up with a different good looking, brilliant and witty author of internet prose? You follow a terrible opening line with making me wonder if you are addressing the wrong person.
Where I should be doubting MY brain power, I am doubting yours.
And naturally you accuse me of “ignoring the science” but once again “The science” is such an ambiguous term here that, even if it were true, I would have to blindly guess as to what you mean. THE SCIENCE? My argument relies on science, and you have offered no science in contrast to my position. How can it be said that I am ignoring science when I am making scientific arguments? Once again, this leaves me wondering if you either didn’t read the post you are responding under, or if maybe you just meant this comment for someone else.
This next phrase, “in favor of Ouija board philosophy and proscribed reality.”
I must say I am torn. On one side, it is poetic and interesting. It drips with sarcasm and snide dismissiveness (which I am sure was intended) and I can almost FEEL you looking down your nose at me. But then, Ouija boards are very much at odds with Christian doctrine. I could give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you know both Christianity and the occult well enough to know this, but as you have put yourself on the side of the internet atheist trolls who take your position, and because your other comments have been full of far more attitude than arguments or facts, I am left to wonder if you are making an informed jab or if you, like so many before you, are so ignorant of the worldview you are attempting to criticize that you don’t know it from the furthest opposite? So while you once again attempted to explain to me how stupid I am, you have left me wondering how stupid you are.
“If you cared one whit about what makes us human you might consider that it’s possible your methodology for acquiring knowledge might be limiting and or flawed.”
This appeal to my emotional motivation breaks in like an 80’s guitar solo, which frankly is a bit jarring on account of the previous sections almost exclusive reliance on intellectually focused insults. You go from curiosity and science to CARING. Not only do you meander from CARING over to “methodology for acquiring knowledge” (which after that start feels forced) but this entire sentence is a blind guess on my internal motivation or desires even worse than the opening bit about “curiosity”. Once again, even if you were right, you couldn’t possibly know that, which makes this no better than an emotional ad hominem founded on arm chair philosophy. Instead of leaving me questioning my grasp of scientific facts or basic logic, I am left with the impression that you are using me as an outlet for your anger toward some other person- former teacher maybe? Father figure? Because the attacks you are leveling at me are not things you COULD know about me even if they mattered to the discussion at hand. If seems like you are trying to make ME into a straw man for you to bat around.
I’m left with the impression that you are emotionally unstable and have daddy issues.
“You are constantly being schooled on simple subjects your average high schooler knows”
This is entirely false, and of course you know that, otherwise you would at least allude to some such interactions. Were it CONSTANT as you say, then the examples would be everywhere and the only question is where to start. You have opted not to start at all, which tells both of us that you know better. You are a child caught in a lie, having expected that if you talked fast enough I would not catch the lie, but once again, I have. This weak attempt at name calling has only made you look foolish.
“you blithely wrap yourself in your proscribed cloak of knowledge”
I love this line so much that I am left to wonder if you stole it from another author. Something from the Harry Potter series maybe?
“while repeating the same biblical nonsense.”
That it doesn’t make sense to YOU does not make it nonsense.
Were it really nonsense, you would be making concise and solid arguments against my position, but thus far you have failed to do so.
You have barely even tried.
Are you aware that you have not tried, or have you convinced yourself that these over-decorated name calling comments are arguments?
Do you even know what an argument is?
“Your world view can be summoned up in two words. “As if”. No big words needed.”
You end as you began- with cheap dialog stolen from some made for TV live action Disney sitcom aimed at gradeschool kids. In terms of writing or speaking, the audience remembers two things better than anything else: How you start and how you end, and in both cases you set the bar impeccably low. If I had been scanning as quickly as you hoped I would, I should have decided, based on the open and close, that you are some juvenile twit who watched too much tv and didn’t even read the post to which you are commenting. “As if” is not only cringingly old school, but has the dignity of saying the opposite of what you mean and then (pausing for effect) shouting “NOT!”
But let’s sum up the actual content of this comment:
1. You say I am an idiot who rejects science- aka “Science denier.”
2. You essentially lump all religions into one big pile and dismiss them all with the same wave because… science?
3. You feel you can not only question my intelligence, but my emotional state and motivation.
#1 makes YOU look like an idiot because it is baseless name calling which COULD have been supported, were there any support to be given. Because you fail to support this anti-science claim, you make yourself no better than Bill Nye, science clown, running around claiming (in the place of evidence) that people who reject his position are anti science, science deniers and should be jailed. Or Dawkins suggestion that people reject evolution because they are “Wicked.” When you abandon argument for name calling so fast, and especially in places where in it should have been easy to make a case FROM SCIENCE, it makes you look like an idiot who is incapable of such arguments. The reader is forced to ask, “If his position CAN be defended, then why did he choose NOT to defend it? Is he too ignorant?”
#2 is no better than #1 but in a different subject matter. It reeks of too much time on the internet learning what Christianity is and what the Bible teaches from dirty youtube vloggers who have never read an entire book, let alone enough of the bible to know it from the Quran. The phrase “biblical nonsense” seems like an immature cheap shot intended merely to evoke an emotional response, but which inadvertently shows how ignorant you are.
#3- this is probably your weakest point. I am making philosophical arguments based on observational science, and instead of addressing either philosophy or science you have stooped to name calling which is OBVIOUSLY speculation at best, and again carries no more than childish name calling, but draws attention to the fact that even your personal attacks against me are not based on anything you actually know. It reeks of emotional desperation, as though you are angry that you CANNOT defend your position, but you are too immature to follow the logic where it leads and instead have diverted your efforts into emotional attacks because you stubbornly insist on defending a position you have already recognized as the wrong one.
So how SHOULD you have done this?
Very simply, make a case.
I made a series of connected statements intending to support a conclusion. You could either provide evidence that my FACTS are in fact incorrect, or you could show how I have used logical fallacies in place of proper logic and thus reached false conclusions. While you have ASSERTED the idea that I have used false facts or logical fallacies, that’s all you have done- blanket assertions with no support.
Once you make such an assertion you immediately have the burden of proof and need to support your claims, other wise it is merely ad hominem. You can’t just say “You don’t understand” or “You don’t get it.” You then have to explain WHAT I don’t get and what it OUGHT to get. Otherwise you are literally putting yourself up as an authority whose word I am to take over my own knowledge or other prior learning, or other sources of information. Claiming you are such an authority on ANY subject, let alone on philosophy, science AND religion, is quite a claim and one you have done nothing to support beyond merely asserting it.
Start with a foundation of SUBSTANCE. Let the name calling and poetry decorate a well built argument, not try to take its place. I expect you to try better in the future.
And if you rip off JK Rowling, make sure you site your sources.
And in order to show me how immature I am and what errant arguments I have presented in this critique, he replied one more time with this comment which I present in its entirety:
I’m sorry, there’s an echo in here. What were you saying?
So I summed it up:
I was saying, even though you seem to have nothing of substance to say, and your opening and closing lines were weekday-live action-Disney sitcom-for-kids bad, you have a lot of potential to be a great writer.
But I suggest you first have something worth saying.
And yeah, what is with that echo?
I need to fix that. That is annoying.