Intellectually Dishonest – how to drive a poster crazy by your comments in forums

By Eric Bright

It’s curious to see how religious geniuses (Christians and the like) are almost the only ones who “find” flaws in articles such as this one; only them. You never have the “right interpretations” for what they think must be the case. You don’t see as many commenters under those posts who are (1) non-believers and (2) do not wish to cover their own asses by trying to take down anything that questions their sanities and (3) find something substantial about the argument to attack, instead of red herring and attacking a straw man of their own making. For that matter, you don’t find a commenter who only meets the first criteria in the list for posts such as that one. Isn’t it interesting? One should ask what their motives might be. Why only them and not anyone else?

The situation is a bit like this (with a few exceptions). You say, hey, anyone who dipped his hand into that bucket must have a black hand now because of the paint that was in there. And suddenly you see ten black-handed people descending upon you whose hands were dipped in the same bucket, trying to tell you how wrong you are.

When some intellectually dishonest, religious people try to cloak their ulterior motives in socially acceptable formats (i.e. comments in forums and online communities) and then sell them to me as if they are actually proving something, things get truly ugly.

Just look at the debates that any non-believer has with almost any believer. With almost no exception, red herring is the line of attack. The non-believer says something. Then the believer starts to attack something entirely else that was not in the non-believer assertions and bashes it. Then in those cases where the non-believer is smart enough to catch the trick, she or he mentions the problem. And guess what happens next? The believer moves on to yet another totally irrelevant topic and burns that one to the ground. Some winners, eh?

Red Hering

This is a nasty sophistry. What they are doing, to put it in the simplest words, is to attack a wrong article with wrong arguments in it for wrong reasons. Why should anyone listen to those futile childish games then?

Red herring is the main source of my frustration. Each time that it happens, I am reminded of a comment—on a different topic but stemmed from the same frustration—made by Scott D. Weitzenhoffer regarding Eugenie Scott’s book Evolution Vs. Creationism:

“Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”

Or Troy Britain’s comments on a similar issue:

Moving the goal-post

“Add to this their constantly moving goal-posts, their tendency towards scatter-shot (keep throwing stuff against the wall and hope that something sticks) mode of argument, their constant digressions to irrelevancies, non sequiturs and other logical fallacies, and it gets pretty breathtaking.”


Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) Intellectually Dishonest – how to drive a poster crazy by your comments in forums. BlogSophy.
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