The Internet allows people like me to put my views and opinions out there. In return, I must accept criticism of them. Criticism is the primary means to locate and fix errors; to make progress.
Everyone gets commentators that simply don’t like what you said in your post. It’s a struggle to know when to be “fair” in accepting and addressing criticism and where to draw the line, rejecting there ever-lengthening, obfuscating remarks?
Call me traditional, but if I disagree with a blog post or article, I like to have backup for my opinion – a reference or a coherent argument, for example. Not so for many people who comment on a science-based post. I think the problem is that they are not on the same page. Literally. They do not read it with the same worldview in which I wrote it.
I’ve had some fun and enlightening volleys with those who got all defensive about nothing. I have a commenter on the Aquifers Cause Cancer post who says “You did not do research.” She accuses me of not knowing what I’m talking about or that I ignored or misinterpreted things that are of critical importance. A similar one appeared on the post referencing cold fusion. I’m apparently way off base. Me and the majority of scientists around. I suppose there are trolls who voice their antagonism for every scientific idea.
I found these same individuals (or their namesakes) posting at other sites under similar topics. They ask loaded questions but respond to none. Commentators such as this engage in “spinning dramas to preserve the fervor of their followers, without ever having to support their assumptions, programs or goals.” (http://www.davidbrin.com/disputation.htm) There is no intellectual rigor or accountability. In other words, you are throwing a fit, stirring up the pot. It’s all emotion-based.
To start a logical discussion and get anywhere, one has to begin with common agreements – the rules of the argument and facts that are not in dispute. No making shit up. Unfortunately, this lack of common agreement may not become obvious until the exchange is well underway. That said, here is my open letter to commentators who do not like my conclusions.
Thank you for reading my blog! I welcome your input and comments. However, I’d ask you to consider the following before commenting.
“Research” is defined as a diligent, careful investigation. For blog posts that critique a book, website, idea or article, I will take days, sometimes weeks (as in the “Aquifers…” post) or even months, to research information and clarify a position. I try hard NOT to be mistaken in any representation. I like to refer to what others have said; I use the most definitive sources I can find. It takes A LOT OF TIME.
I would ask similar from you: Do your homework before accusing me of being mistaken. If you spot an inaccuracy, or have a disagreement, tell me EXACTLY where and why it is wrong. Provide references. I’d like to learn. I want to improve.
If you just don’t like what I concluded because it conflicts with your comfortable beliefs, I’m sorry you feel that way. We can’t all agree all the time. If you think you can change my mind with additional evidence, provide it. But consider this: what would make you change your mind? What evidence could I provide (if I had it) that would convince you?
If nothing will change your mind from your position, you need not bother replying because having an entrenched view precludes us from a meaningful discussion. Come back when you want to engage in civil discourse (look it up).
I have refused to post further comments from some individuals who just whine and provide no argument for me to respond. Instead, I might send them an email, as I did to the lady who did not like my view on aquifers and cancer, and ask her to answer similar queries she posed to me. She didn’t respond. That would have taken too much work. Curiously, she just attempted to post her rejected comments again. Maybe she thought I wasn’t paying attention. I am. I think you need to get another hobby other than throwing spitballs and picking fights.