First off, I know that making a Dark Knight reference so long after the film's release is a little lame.
Second off, I get it: accuracy is important.
Third-off, I know that writing about these meta-skeptic issues is awfully presumptuous of me. Believe me, it makes me a little uneasy trying to tell my fellow skeptics about skepticism. It's arrogant, I recognize this....but I need to get something off my chest, and Skeptic North is not the place for it (since these are my own words and opinions, and not necessarily of anyone else). I ask your indulgence. (How Canadian is this? I'm apologizing for expressing an opinion! Sheesh)
Now, on to the meat.
I don't know if it's just me, but I've been noticing an increase in aggressive, condescending rudeness in the guise of pedantry and accuracy. I (and several other of our Skeptic North colleagues, as well as some of my friends over at Skepchick and elsewhere) have been accused of playing foot-loose and fancy-free with the facts to either a) suit a 'skeptic agenda' , or b) fulfill some poetic license which constructs a pre-conceived narrative.
But here are some of the comments that have been coming through (usernames and URLs will not be included for what I hope are obvious reasons) lately:
Or,While you're on your "There's no link between Mercury and Autism" rant, here's a link to an article from Science Daily you might find interesting.
Since you claim to be so knowledgeable on the subject, I'm sure you're familiar with the article, but maybe you'd now like to point out that Science Daily is a woo-based rag pushing the anti-vax agenda......
Great. After having just done so to a great degree, such a disclaimer is meaningles [sic]and empty. Not to mention that you've set us up to make any disagreement with you appear as a personal assualt. [sic]Way-to-go with the manipulation.I fail to see anything in your post that speaks to skepticism, objectivity, balance, accurate history (aside from the obviousness of the foolishness of holocaust denial), or even a reasonable degree of non-bias.Or,
I know this is a hostile comment, and I intend it as such. Your post is incendiary, heavily biased, emotionally triggered, and woefully subjective. So I am responding in kind, though I am attackiong [sic]the post, not you, even though the structure of your post makes that a near impossibility.I do not and never have celebrated mass murder, whether it is defensive or offensive. That was then, this is now. It's time to stop destroying the people of the world for the sake of political, religious, and corporate expediency. And that starts with stopping the celebration.
Blog readers cannot be mind readers, and should not be required or expected to be.Or,
Blog writers (all writers) should avoid the trap of presuming/assuming comprehensive common ground or universally understood information and experience even within a similar cultural milieu.
A proficient writer avoids the trap of assuming that the reader knows what is unstated and buried within the writer's personal experience.
This would appear to be but a thinly disguised right wing diatribe to denigrate one of the most respected families in US history. Yes , their dirty laundry was hung out for all to see. But not content to celebrate (discreetly , of course) the assasination [sic] of the two borothers [sic] , John F. and Robert , and demonize in death the late Senator Ted Kennedy , their family is dragged through the mud over scientific data that may be inaccurate. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin would have been proud of you.
Sorry, Steve, you are an asshat and don't even realize that. These people know what they are referring to, but that fact just flies over your head. It's normal for stupid and ignorant people to think that everyone, whom they don't understand, is stuid. [sic]
In reality t's[sic] the opposite.
This does sound a little extreme, but over the course of any given week, I'll see a comment (or connected series of comments) not too dissimilar from this one. Some people have even decided to take their complaints to my email inbox (which I "love" to read after 6 hours of teaching electric guitar to kids). Oftentimes I'll see comments accusing the author of poor spelling or grammar in a comment that is itself, riddled with grade 7-level mistakes.
I don't know precisely why we / I get these sorts of comments. They are certainly not representative of MOST of our comments (which are generally respectful, civil, helpful and insightful), but it's one thing to correct a single typo that slipped through the net (it happens everywhere), it's quite another thing to cry foul that because that typo, I am an embarrassment to skepticism.
It might be because a) It's the internet, and trolls no longer live under bridges, b) Skepticism can attract a certain, pariah-type personality that is prone to thinking that contrarianism for its own sake is what matters, c) We (both Skeptic North and my own independent material) are getting more traffic, and this could simply be an artifact of those increased numbers. I really don't know what's going on here, but it really stinks when you spend hours to produce some content that some know-it-nothing then decides it is their solemn duty to point out that because of this one turn-of-phrase in one side-point that has little to do with the main issue is not 100% up to agonizingly detailed standards, that I'm somehow and idiot.
Thanks for allowing me to stand on this soapbox. I honestly don't like doing it, but I hope you understand that I think I have good reason to.
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