Friday, June 08, 2007

How to pretend to win a blog debate (paca)

I have just picked up on a neat little trick in blog debate technique that allows one to pretend to successfully argue a point, while not in fact arguing the point much at all. The trick is to wait for the crazy guy to show up and then latch on to him as the only opposing point being made. The form is this:

Step 1: Write a blog post about some topic that is plausible but might have some genuine flaws. It always helps to pretend that what you are saying is the only reasonable viewpoint and drop hints that only freaks would disagree.

Step 2: Let the comments come in, but don't answer any of the legitimate criticisms of your post. After all, if your blog is heavily traveled enough, a crazy guy will show up eventually.

Step 3: Wait. This can be the most difficult step. You might be tempted to respond to reasonable people. Don't. Down that path lies actual discussion, and there's a chance you might have to change your view. No one wants that. Your goal is to prove yourself right by making the other side seem completely bonkers.

Step 4: There it is! The crazy comment! Sieze on it. Now, the key here is not to simply point out the obvious problems with crazy guy's opinion. The objective is to pretend that crazy guy is the only point of view other than your own. If you can convince yourself of this, then you get to think that you are engaging in conversation and genuinely justifying your points, when in actuality you are ignoring every point you can't handle and engaging with no one.

Step 5: Celebrate the reasonableness of your opinion and wonder why you participate in blog discussions at all since only crazy people disagree.

Here's a made-up example.

Blog post: Why There is No God by Blogger Extraordinaire
Paragraph about the incompatibility of omnipotence and evil; perhaps a paragraph about the lack of evidence and the scientific method; perhaps one about solving a mystery with a mystery; etc. (i.e., plausible points). Obligatory paragraph of disdain for people who disagree, such as hinting that anyone who does believe in God is weak-minded and needs comfort.

Comment 1. Blogger, you mention the problem of evil, but this has been discussed several times before and there are answers to each of your points. Here's a link dealing with point 1. Here's a link dealing with Point 2.

Comment 2. I find it interesting, Blogger, that you believe that the scientific method doesn't allow for God, and yet almost all the great mathmaticians and scientists in history in fact believed in God, from Newton to Leibniz to Einstein to Darwin (I think) to Pascal and Descartes.

Comment 3. You say that God is a mystery, but it's only a mystery because you've never bothered to learn theology which in fact tries to handle this very point....

(Now, if Blogger Exraordinaire was actually interested in discussion to see if he can handle these objections, he might try to respond to comments 1, 2, or 3. Don't do it. One of you may learn something and your goal is victory. The crazy guy will show up.)

Comment 4. All atheists are going to hell. I hope you burn, blogger, for eternity. And you can take all your secular progressive moonbat friends with you. It was revealed in the lost scriptures of BorgleBorgle that....


Blogger Extraordinaire Comments: I think it indicates something when the response to my well-argued post is to hope that I die and rot in hell. Did you even bother to read it? It says something about religious belief and....

Success!! You've just won! Only crazy people disagree! Your beliefs go unchallenged in any substantive way and you can sleep comfortably knowing that the only positions are yours or the weirdo's. Nicely done. If you do this regularly, the people who wrote comments 1, 2, and 3 will eventually wander off.


December/Stacia said...

Yep, I see this one allll the time.

J said...

I see it too - nice observation. Ann Althouse does it all the time and it drives me crazy.