More stupidity on Ye Olde Interwebbe. I pretty much lost my shit with a guy on io9 this week. Not that I wanted to, but… well, here’s a synopsis of the conversation:
Me: Exploring fantasy is a good thing. Metaphorical thinking is useful in a personal crisis. It helps because thinking about metaphors allows you to be more conceptually flexible.
Him: YOU’RE WRONG! Because… SCIENCE! Magic is bad!
Me: Umm… I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. I didn’t say anything about magic. What I mean is, theoretical knowledge doesn’t disprove the experience of pain or misery, but previous practice exploring metaphors can help deal with it. Here’s a scientist talking about what that means (linked video).
Him: Fantasy implies magic. That guy seems to be saying that consciousness is magic. But I only watched a few minutes of that video. It’s a whole hour long! Obviously he is wrong. You’re wrong! Science! SCIENCE!!! Metaphors are stupid!
Me: Go away.
Him: You’re boring. You go away! I’m not even interested in this topic.
Me: Seriously? What do you want here? We can’t really have a conversation if you’re not interested in the discussion. Maybe you’re misunderstanding me. Here, this linked video talks about it more directly.
Him: Yes seriously. I shouldn’t have to look at those videos because I disagree with that guy, and anyway, they’re too long. I came here to have fun and have a discussion. I don’t think you understand SCIENCE!… [I skimmed the rest.]
Me: Sorry, I didn’t read your whole post. After all; I disagree with you, so why should I?
That’s when I left the conversation. He replied twice more, but I didn’t read them. This guy just made me so angry. I seriously would have hit him if we’d been in the same room. I know the internet magnifies everything, but holy crap.
It’s unfortunate when someone disagrees with you because he doesn’t understand what you said. It’s obnoxious when that person vehemently insists that you’re wrong, because he thinks he understands you but refuses to find out what you actually meant. It’s bullshit when that person doesn’t even live up to his own standards of argumentation, because then you can’t even talk to him on his own terms. And it’s absolutely infuriating when that person continues to shout at you, regardless.
I find myself wondering what the lesson is, here. I guess I could have been a lot cooler about it, and obviously it was a mistake to keep talking to this troll as long as I did. As usual, it seems that contrary to their own assumption, believers in hard rationalism are no more immune to irrational speech as their counterparts in religion.
It’s very frustrating.