The Skeptical Zone is Broken

The Skeptical Zone is not fit for its intended purpose.

Elizabeth created The Skeptical Zone with admirable and lofty goals:

My name is Elizabeth Liddle, and I started this site to be a place where people could discuss controversial positions about life, the universe and everything with minimal tribal rancour (pay no attention to the penguins….)

My motivation for starting the site has been the experience of trying to discuss religion, politics, evolution, the Mind/Brain problem, creationism, ethics, exit polls, probability, intelligent design, and many other topics in venues where positions are strongly held and feelings run high. In most venues, one view dominates, and there is a kind of “resident prior” about the integrity, intelligence and motivation of those who differ from the majority view.

That is why the strapline says: “Park your priors by the door”. They may be adjusted by the time you leave!

She provides more details on the Rules page:

So I’m going to start a bit vague, then get more specific as need arises.The principle is in the strapline: Park your priors by the door. Everyone has priors, they are crucial to way we make sense of the world. But the impetus behind this site is to be a place where they can be loosened and adjusted while you wait. So leave them by the door, and pick them up again as you leave!

There are plenty of blogs and forums where people with like priors can hang out and scoff at those who do not share them. There’s nothing wrong with those sites, and I’ve learned a lot from them. But the idea here is to provide a venue where people with very different priors can come to discover what common ground we share; what misunderstandings of other views we hold; and, having cleared away the straw men, find out where our real differences lie. In my experience, when you reach that point, who is right becomes obvious to both parties 🙂

It is painfully obvious that Elizabeth’s final sentence is not supported by the empirical evidence. Measured by its ability to achieve Elizabeth’s stated goals, The Skeptical Zone is broken. The reason for that is obvious: Elizabeth’s goals can only be achieved if all participants are genuinely supportive of them and willing to not just assume good faith but actually act in good faith. That is not the case here. It is clear that several members of the TSZ community are not at all interested in “find[ing] out where our real differences lie”, parking their priors at the door, or risking disconfirmation of their positions. These people add nothing to the discussion but disruption through the repetition of baseless, nonsensical claims even after multiple refutations.

The root cause of why TSZ cannot meet Elizabeth’s goals is the nature of one of the primary topics here, intelligent design creationism. IDC is a religiously-based political movement, not a scientific endeavor. There is no scientific hypothesis of IDC, there are no testable entailments, no one supports it because of evidence or reason. IDC is creationism dressed up in a costume lab coat. It is a fundamentally, inherently dishonest attempt to make an end run around the separation of church and state after the Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard.

IDC supporters are not interested in challenging their own religious beliefs. There is no evidence or logic that will sway them because their identities are too tightly tied to those beliefs. They are incapable of aligning with Elizabeth’s goals because they are waging Culture War. Evidence, reason, science, and truth are not what they value.

While there are interesting discussions on a wide variety of scientific and philosophical topics here, they are being increasingly crowded out by the high volume of comments containing little more than PRATT (Previously Refuted A Thousand Times) creationist tropes. We have a couple of participants suffering from aggressive, weaponized ignorance and a willingness to display it in a prodigious stream of comments. We have someone who aspires to be the clown prince of intelligent design creationism but only manages to be an attention whoring, dishonest, humorless troll. We have a presuppositionalist who can’t see out of the hole he was placed in as a child and pulled in after himself. We have a young earth creationist who uses the valuable input of working scientists solely to hone his ability to indoctrinate others with his anti-science beliefs. We have a number of seagull commenters who just fly in, crap all over everything, and leave. And we have a lot of people, myself included, who eventually respond to such prolonged stupidity with frustration.

So what, if anything, is a possible way to achieve Elizabeth’s goals for the site? How do we get to the point where we can “find out where our real differences lie” so that “who is right becomes obvious to both parties”?

One option is better tools. “Technical solutions to social problems rarely work.” is an engineering maxim, for good reason. In this case, though, it may be that better technology that reduces the noise generated by the anti-science participants could have a significant benefit, while respecting everyone’s freedom of expression.

TSZ does provide the ability to ignore specified participants. That reduces some of the volume from those who are not aligned with Elizabeth’s goals, but the sometimes large number of replies to those being ignored are not blocked. Usenet solved this problem decades ago through newsreaders that support threading of discussions and personalized killfiles to remove specific people or topics from the user’s feed.

Another alternative is a karma system like Reddit or Hacker News. Giving individuals the ability to configure their viewing preferences so that only comments above some threshold are displayed would reduce the ability of those not acting in good faith to disrupt discussion. This would also eliminate the need for admins to move rule-violating comments to Guano. One size does not fit all, so a karma system would have to take into account individual relationships. For example, the system might know that I generally agree with one person’s comment ratings and give their votes more weight in my personal view of the site. This could result in multiple disjoint sets of participants. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Unfortunately, no software with these capabilities is currently available for WordPress. We should adopt them if and when they are, but it’s not a near term solution.

Another option is increased censorship. (We could use nice euphemisms like “moderation” or “curating” but let’s be brutally honest.) Censorship can take many forms. We could make failure to act in accordance with the site goals a bannable offense. We could follow the After the Bar Closes approach of giving particularly disruptive participants their own thread and banning them from any others. One admin, if I understand him correctly, supports treating PRATTs as spam and moving comments containing them to Guano.

That last suggestion is one step on the path to curating every post and comment for quality. This is journal-style moderation where nothing gets posted without approval. While it might achieve Elizabeth’s goals, it is a very labor intensive approach.

We could maintain a list of PRATTs (the Talk Origins archive is a good start) and move all comments that repeat them without supporting evidence to a Guano-like thread. We could go further and heavily moderate comments that don’t contribute to the discussion.

All of these possibilities violate the principle of freedom of expression. They do not encourage the free and open exchange of ideas, they are vey likely to lead to significantly reduced participation, and they’ll definitely lead to more arguments and meta-discussion in Moderation Issues. I’m certainly not interested in playing the role of censor and I wouldn’t trust anyone who volunteered for it.

The only currently viable option I see is to let the TSZ community be what it wants to be. There are a large number of valuable posts and comments here by experienced scientists and philosophers that are worth preserving. Even with the noise from the anti-science crowd that signal isn’t completely drowned out. There is also value in honing arguments against those incapable of changing their minds, even when that doesn’t meet Elizabeth’s goals and distracts from discussions that are aligned with them. It seems that the community wants both.

If there are enough of us here who are aligned with Elizabeth’s goals, we can achieve them voluntarily. Elizabeth touched on this approach herself:

This post by Reciprocating Bill sums up the ethos of the site brilliantly so I’m quoting it here:

Participation at this site entails obligations similar to those that attend playing a game. While there is no objective moral obligation to answer questions, the site has aims, rules and informal stakeholders, just as football has same. When violations of those aims and rules are perceived and/or the enforcement of same is seen as arbitrary or inconsistent, differences and conflicts arise. No resort to objective morality, yet perfectly comprehensible and appropriate opprobrium.

The current rules don’t support this ethos. In the interests of taking off the gloves and giving opprobrium the chance to work, I suggest two rule modifications. First, the rule about assuming good faith should not require active stupidity in the face of bad faith. Calling out flagrant dishonesty and repeated, willful ignorance should not be against the rules. Second, I suggest eliminating the overhead of endless Moderation Issue discussions by no longer allowing admins to move comments to Guano. The bannable offenses should still be enforced since they provide legal protection to Elizabeth and the site.

My final suggestion is being the change we want to see. Rules and tools are not going to achieve Elizabeth’s goals. People acting individually and cooperating voluntarily can. That means having the discipline to stop feeding the trolls (or at least moving the slop bucket to Noyau). It means encouraging the quality posts and comments and ignoring the noise. I think a good percentage of the TSZ participants agree with what Elizabeth is trying to achieve. Let’s turn the free speech dial up to 11 and take responsibility for it.

274 thoughts on “The Skeptical Zone is Broken

  1. So I have a condensed version of the OP that I have created.

    Here’s a list of options that won’t work because the technology doesn’t exist.

    Here’s a list of options that are undesirable because they involve censorship.

    The only currently viable option is to let the TSZ community be what it wants to be. … If there are enough of us here who are aligned with Elizabeth’s goals, we can achieve them voluntarily. But … The current rules don’t support this ethos.

    So Patrick proposes two rule modifications. They turn out to be redundant by the way. So we’re left with one:

    …eliminating the overhead of endless Moderation Issue discussions by no longer allowing admins to move comments to Guano.

    That’s it. But it turns out that even that is unnecessary, because the mods can just decide amongst themselves to not move posts to Guano.

    oh, and:

    My final suggestion is being the change we want to see. Rules and tools are not going to achieve Elizabeth’s goals. People acting individually and cooperating voluntarily can.

    To summarize:

    Mods will agree to stop moving post to Guano. this is something they can do without any rule change.

    And everyone else will try to do better. Or not.

    peace out

  2. Patrick: The only authority the admins should have is to enforce the bannable offenses (spamming, doxing, and porn, basically).

    How do you define “spamming”? And seeing that the “tunie” link wasn’t porn, what now?

  3. Mung: Mods will agree to stop moving post to Guano. this is something they can do without any rule change.

    And everyone else will try to do better. Or not.

    Not moving posts which they consider worthy seems to me to be breaking the rules.

    The second has already been in place, so we can determine its outcome.

  4. Mung: But it turns out that even that is unnecessary, because the mods can just decide amongst themselves to not move posts to Guano.

    I already give a pass to many minor infractions. But occasionally the infractions get out of hand, so I guano a few.

    I’ll note that there have been several minor infractions in this thread, and all moderators seem to have given them a pass.

  5. A rule implemented on some boards is to regard all moderation discussions as OOB. Instant deletion. Don’t like it, go somewhere else. Just putting it out there.

  6. Frankie: How do you define “spamming”? And seeing that the “tunie” link wasn’t porn, what now?

    No one else has done it so I guess the banning worked, you are still posting so you suffered no damages. Your reputation is intact.

  7. Frankie: What? No one has demonstrated life can arise from matter and energy via blind and mindless processes. And of course no one has demonstrated that matter and energy can arise via blind and mindless processes.

    Pots and kettles come to mind here…

    Clearly we need technology to strike through comments that are just absurd. Not delete them, just make it clear they are nonsense.

    Like accusing the other side of your own side’s shortcomings. But hey…I might be wrong…maybe I’m digging my heels in and others will show me that someone has demonstrated that life can be designed from scratch or poofed into existence by magic…

    Clearly Glen’s worldview is to his core and to remove it could be fatal

    Project much there Joe?

  8. Robin: Like accusing the other side of your own side’s shortcomings. But hey…I might be wrong…maybe I’m digging my heels in and others will show me that someone has demonstrated that life can be designed from scratch or poofed into existence by magic…

    LoL! Can you show that blind and mindless processes can produce life? We can test the concept of irreducible complexity. What we cannot do is test the ability of blind and mindless processes to produce it.

    And Robin, if someone could demonstrate such a thing I would abandon ID.

  9. I’m not a JoeG sock, but I’ll take a turn.

    JoeG socks are immediately recognizable. They always seem to be written by someone who’s spent the last twelve months on a strict regimen of steroids and crystal meth.

  10. John Harshman:
    I don’t know if “broken” is the right word. TSZ is currently not very satisfying or interesting. This is largely because of the great majority of posts I have to wade through that say nothing. Even though I have the main perpetrators on ignore, two problems remain: responses to the contentless posts from people who sometimes do have something to say, and thus can’t be ignored, also tend to be contentless, and the ignoredposts still push real posts off the front page, making it easier to miss them.

    Briefly, the main problem with TSZ is low signal to noise ratio. I don’t know how to fix that, but let me make a probably futile appeal to anyone reading this: before you post, ask whether it’s a useful contribution. If the answer is no, don’t post.

    I’d hate to lose your participation. I’ll keep looking for better tools and, yes, I’ll try to apply your suggestion.

  11. Mung: I’m pretty sure that when walto writes “everybody” he’s not talking about people like myself and Erik. I’m sure you already know that though. He’s talking about people like you. If you don’t like it, stop giving Patrick a pass.

    What is this pass you’re talking about? I’ve had disagreements with pretty much everyone here at some point or another, including my fellow admins. Heck, I think I’ve even argued with petrushka, one of the mellowest people here.

    And that’s how it should be. This is supposed to be a skeptical zone, after all.

  12. keiths:
    I don’t give Patrick a pass, much less a “permanent” one.I agree with him when I think he’s right, and I disagree with him when I think he’s wrong.

    You bastard! How is a theist like Mung supposed to be able to understand that kind of behavior?

  13. Mung:
    Can we have a moment or two of brutal honesty? What is the dominant view here at TSZ and who, therefore, ought to lead the way in parking their priors in keeping with Elizabeth’s wishes?

    With the recent influx of IDCists, the balance is tilting. If you go by number of comments, you and Frankie are dominating.

    Further, how does Patrick’s OP not fly right in the face of Elizabeth’s declared wishes for the site? It reads like a manifesto for exactly the sort of site she doesn’t want. It’s a shining example of how one view dominates and there is a kind of “resident prior” about the integrity, intelligence and motivation of those who differ from the majority view.

    It’s not a prior, it’s a set of observations. Intelligent design is an inherently dishonest variant of creationism. That’s simply the truth. Many of the people supporting it here are willfully ignorant and disruptive. That’s also simply the truth. There’s your brutal honesty.

    Who is going to go to Elizabeth and ask her to sell her soul to the devil?

    That would be me. I admire her goals but I think they are naive. There is value to this forum, I’d like to see it flourish, but some changes need to be made. We can go for heavier moderation or for greater freedom of expression, but the current settings are non-optimal.

  14. Gregory:
    One of the problems is that IDism is already dead or dying as an ideology concocted and attempted as a ‘movement’ based in Seattle, Washington. Anyone who thinks that ‘movement’ is thriving would appear in denial of facts, such as Dembski’s retirement and Luskin’s abandonment of the DI to instead return to school.

    I agree with Gregory! Maybe miracles do happen.

    Lizzie was more explorative & fuzzy than self-righteous extremist atheists like Patrick.

    I’m fuzzy. (Check your PMs for pics.)

    She was often reasonable & decently ‘scientific/scholarly’, until requested to explain how her apostasy never meant anything to her in the first place. Then chaos & nonsense erupted from her again & again.

    And we’re back to normal.

  15. Allan Miller:
    I’m aware that the person I’m responding to is simply not going to get it, and I am also aware of the ‘serious’ posters groaning ‘ohjustshutupwillya’ as I hit the button. Still, to me, it’s largely an exercise in formulating arguments, the purpose being principally my own amusement and education.

    There’s certainly value in that. The same arguments we see here from the IDCists are also used by their fellow travelers in school board meetings and editorial pages across the country. It’s good to have prepared responses that have been honed by years of experience. That’s where the important battles are being fought.

    It is an inevitable consequence of lightly moderated web discussion, I fear. My own interest in comments at Sandwalk diminished after getting fed up with the deterioration of every thread.

    Any thoughts on how to prevent that from happening here?

  16. All silly utopian fantasies are aspirations. And about penn Jillette, i said libertarianism was only common with a certain group. I didn’t say restricted to that group. And that group, by the way, is a group Penn belonged to.

  17. Patrick: Intelligent design is an inherently dishonest variant of creationism.

    No, it isn’t. ID has been around in one form or another since the ancient Greeks.

    Many of the people supporting it here are willfully ignorant and disruptive.

    And yet we have shown that you know less than we do. You didn’t even realize that AVIDA wasn’t a genetic algorithm. You didn’t understand that natural selection is blind and mindless. And even after scientific hypotheses and testable methodology for ID have been presented you choke and say it hasn’t.

    The truth is, Patrick, you don’t know much of anything. Perhaps you are good at your profession but no so much when discussing science, ID and evolution.

  18. Frankie: LoL! Can you show that blind and mindless processes ID can produce life? We can test the concept of irreducible complexity speciation by mutation and selection. What we cannot do is test the ability of blind and mindless processes ID to produce it.

    And Robin Joe, if someone could demonstrate such a thing I would abandon the Theory of Evolution.

    FTFY

  19. Robin: FTFY

    As I have said, Robin, we have the methodology to determine if life was designed or not. And it involves eliminating blind and mindless processes, which we can easily do as no one in earth’s history knows how to test such a claim. And now having eliminated blind and mindless processes we see if living organisms meet the criteria laid out by Behe and others. And it does.

    That is how science works when it comes to determining design or not, Robin.

    BTW nice equivocation with the “mutation and selection” and “speciation” bit. I bet it doesn’t even bother you

  20. Frankie: For years I had defended evolutionists as honest people seeking scientific answers to the question of how did we get here

    If you did this for years, you should have no problem posting a few links to these comments. If not.

  21. Neil Rickert:

    Robert Byers: Is it broken because of my threads???

    No, not at all.

    Personally, I disagree with the ideas that you present.But it is fine to debate them.And your debating style does not pose a problem for the site (in my opinion).

    I concur. I think you’re wrong, but at least you’re polite.

  22. petrushka:
    Radical proposal: have a thread for each member/poster. When you respond to someone else’s post, the response shows up on your own thread, along with a snippet and link from the original.

    Would require a different kind of software. Essentially a multi-author blog, with interaction between authors. Perhaps a feature allowing you to follow favored authors. A twitter blog.

    I think you’re describing Tumblr.

  23. Mung:
    I’m a theist. I believe God exists. Critics of theism here don’t spend much effort trying to demonstrate that God does not exist. So why should I change my mind about it?

    . . .

    I’m also a Christian. I believe Jesus existed. I see mocking of Christianity, what I don’t see are arguments that Christianity is false. I see mocking of the belief that Jesus existed, what I don’t see are arguments that he didn’t exist. So why should I change my mind?
    . . .

    Burden of proof. You’re doing it wrong.

  24. Frankie: How do you define “spamming”? And seeing that the “tunie” link wasn’t porn, what now?

    I showed it to Kairosfocus and he called it porn. Don’t believe me? Post it on UD and see.

  25. Been just about able to keep up with reading comments here. Lots of good points which I find encouraging and would like to pick up on when I have more time.

  26. Patrick: Burden of proof. You’re doing it wrong.

    No wonder you think this site is broken.

    If people don’t give me a reason to change my mind then I have no reason to change my mind. I don’t have the burden of proof for not changing my mind absent any reason I ought to do so. If I were like keiths I’d take their inability to give me any good reason to change my mind as evidence that I ought not change my mind.

    I’m pointing out how the site could be improved. You are either interested in listening or you’re not. Since you’re one of the major offenders, I’m thinking not.

  27. Patrick, what rule states that moderators must send rule-breaking posts to Guano? I ask because I don’t see any such rule. I see Elizabeth mention guano once, and the one time she does mention it she’s lying.

    Maybe that’s why the site is “broken.”

    You don’t need to modify the rules. The entire OP is pretty much a farce. It looks like you just needed to vent. I miss hotshoe_. She’d say what was on her mind and moderators be damned. You and keiths should follow her example instead of trying to lay blame on other people for your absence of courage.

  28. Mung:

    If people don’t give me a reason to change my mind then I have no reason to change my mind.

    I repeat:

    Mung,

    I see mocking of Christianity, what I don’t see are arguments that Christianity is false.

    You see plenty of them, but you’re in denial.

    Want to test that hypothesis? Start a thread asking for arguments against Christianity. You’ll get an earful.

    Pretending that we haven’t argued against Christianity is a lot easier than responding to our arguments, isn’t it?

  29. Mung:

    I miss hotshoe_. She’d say what was on her mind and moderators be damned. You and keiths should follow her example instead of trying to lay blame on other people for your absence of courage.

    This is from the same guy who whines “that’s against the rules!” when I point out his dishonesty.

    Get your shit together, Mung. It’s embarrassing to watch you tripping over yourself.

  30. keiths: This is from the same guy who whines “that’s against the rules!” when I point out his dishonesty.

    That’s right, if I call you a liar or I call you dishonest and my post gets sent to Guano then it’s only fair that if you call me a liar or you call me dishonest that your post gets sent to Guano. See how that works? No?

    Hell, we have examples right here in this thread of your posts not being sent to Guano even though they clearly break the rules.

    Get your shit together, Mung. It’s embarrassing to watch you tripping over yourself.

    Maybe I PM’d the mods about your post and they decided to give you pass. Maybe I didn’t. Perhaps all I do is point out to you that your post violates the rules and you can’t stand it when I speak the truth. LoL.

    No wonder this site is “broken.”

  31. keiths: Start a thread asking for arguments against Christianity.

    I’m looking for you to actually support your claims. You said you support your claims. You claimed Christianity is false and never supported that claim. Why should I start an OP? It was your claim. You have the burden of proof. In spite of what Patrick may think.

    Perhaps atheists like Patrick and keiths who make claims and then fail to support them are the reason the site is “broken.”

    Yeah, I think that’s it.

  32. Mung,

    Does the thought of starting that thread frighten you?

    If so, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

  33. Patrick: With the recent influx of IDCists, the balance is tilting.If you go by number of comments, you and Frankie are dominating.

    If you go by scientific content they’re both tied for dead last.

  34. Alan Fox: Been just about able to keep up with reading comments here. Lots of good points which I find encouraging and would like to pick up on when I have more time.

    Please ask her majesty why she’s keeping around a moderator who obviously disagrees with her rules, who admittedly fails to enforce them, and who also willingly and repeatedly violates them.

  35. keiths: Does the thought of starting that thread frighten you?

    If so, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

    I am scared to death at the mere thought of a thread that might convince me that Christianity is false. Frightened, even.

    Of course, Christianity would be false if Jesus never existed. And you have compelling arguments which establish that Jesus never existed. Even if it’s only anti-science loons who believe that Jesus never existed.

    Why not start with that one? Christianity is false because Jesus never existed. Go!

  36. Mung:
    If people don’t give me a reason to change my mind then I have no reason to change my mind. I don’t have the burden of proof for not changing my mind absent any reason I ought to do so. If I were like keiths I’d take their inability to give me any good reason to change my mind as evidence that I ought not change my mind.

    Do people generally come to a discussion site to look for good reasons to change their own minds? I doubt it.

    Or do they look for opportunities to change other peoples’ minds? Possibly, but that’s a fool’s errand.

    Or are they just addicted to trolling? That’s where I put my money.

  37. MungOf course, Christianity would be false if Jesus never existed. And you have compelling arguments which establish that Jesus never existed. Even if it’s only anti-science loons who believe that Jesus never existed.

    Why not start with that one? Christianity is false because Jesus never existed. Go!

    A person named Jesus may have existed, but that’s not the issue.

    Guess what the issue is.

  38. Another option is increased censorship. (We could use nice euphemisms like “moderation” or “curating” but let’s be brutally honest.) Censorship can take many forms. We could make failure to act in accordance with the site goals a bannable offense. We could follow the After the Bar Closes approach of giving particularly disruptive participants their own thread and banning them from any others. One admin, if I understand him correctly, supports treating PRATTs as spam and moving comments containing them to Guano.

    In a moment of “brutal” honesty an admin finally admits I was being censored. Hmm… I wonder what Patrick had to say back about a year ago when I was being censored and complaining about being censored.

    Maybe a certain lack of honesty from Elizabeth and the mods is the reason the site is “broken.” This site could certainly use more honesty.

  39. Mung,

    And you have compelling arguments which establish that Jesus never existed. Even if it’s only anti-science loons who believe that Jesus never existed.

    I haven’t argued that Jesus never existed, but you know that already. Why are you trying to get me to defend an argument I haven’t made? (Rhetorical question.)

    Since you’ve indicated that you’re afraid to start the thread, I’ll do it for you sometime tonight.

  40. Patrick: I showed it to Kairosfocus and he called it porn.Don’t believe me?Post it on UD and see.

    I don’t believe you and the tunie link doesn’t fit the definition of porn. It doesn’t fit YOUR definition of porn. So perhaps you have some other issue

  41. keiths: I haven’t argued that Jesus never existed, but you know that already. Why are you trying to get me to defend an argument I haven’t made? (Rhetorical question.)

    I’m not asking you to defend it. Feel free to say why you think people who think Christianity is false ought not argue that it’s because Jesus never existed in the first place. Surely you’ve seen that view put forth here. Surely it would be part of the earful I’d get if I started the thread. If I started the thread I’d have to deal with a lot of BS that even you don’t take seriously.

    Be sure to address what it even means to say that Christianity is false.

    I’ve already given one thing that would falsify Christianity. Another would be that Jesus was never crucified. So that’s another one for you. Perhaps you have compelling arguments which establish that Jesus was never crucified. Even if it’s only anti-science loons who believe that Jesus was never crucified.

    Christianity is false because Jesus was never crucified. Go!

    keiths: Since you’ve indicated that you’re afraid to start the thread, I’ll do it for you sometime tonight.

    As long as you’re not afraid of being accused of acting like a trained seal. 🙂

    You’re being played. But that’s not to say I won’t take your OP seriously. I will. I get tired of your silly accusations that I am afraid to take on certain topics. Like hell.

  42. keiths: Get your shit together, Mung. It’s embarrassing to watch you tripping over yourself.

    It’s embarrassing to watch you responding like a trained seal. And amusing!

  43. Mung:

    You’re being played.

    Help! I’m being manipulated into humiliating Mung again!

  44. Tom English:
    William J. Murray,

    Ah, so you will extricate yourself from the Chrumptian circle jerk to synthesize an equation, not present in the OP, of trolling with “flagrant dishonesty and repeated, willful ignorance.” You are not a troll. You are flagrantly dishonest, and willfully ignorant.

    Well, if I’m dishonest, I’m not aware of it. And if I’m “flagrant” about it, I’m unaware of that as well.

    Willfully ignorant? Well, I’m willfully ignorant of many things because I don’t have the real-world time to invest in investigating … everything. So yes, it’s a conscious choice to remain ignorant on countless subjects (like not understanding Mandarin or not knowing how to repair a jet engine). However, I honestly admit when I do not have such knowledge soooo …. still not really sure how I’m “flagrantly dishonest.”

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