Category Archives: Rant

Quinn Norton: Trolling, “Men Are Raised To Hate Women” and Other Confusing Statements.

They See Me Trollin'

Twitter has been big news of late, with reports that they plan to implement an abuse reporting function.  I’ve been asked a few times what my thoughts are on the matter, and I’m all for it.

Threatening and unlawful behaviour is completely unacceptable and those who engage in such a manner should be held accountable.  I displayed my willingness to side with this sentiment recently by reporting a clearly threatening tweet (not to me) to the police.

My only concern is: how will this be regulated?  Will Twitter have the manpower (or women!!!!!) to efficiently distinguish abusers and trollers from genuine disagreement or attempts to engage in meaningful discourse? Given the vast numbers of Twitter users and the seemingly unrealistic task of policing it, is it likely to be an unmanned,  automated process?  An algorithm simply reacting to multiple ‘abuse reports’? Only time will tell.

‘Troll’ seems the buzzword of late.  The problem is, that “troll” in the context of the internet has no unified definition.  I personally take trolling to mean the act of intentionally making insincere statements to an individual, or individuals in order to provoke a response, or as they would call it,  a “victory”. Others use it simply to describe an individual who seeks out arguments online.

I’m trolled daily in the former sense. People will tweet me en masse with clearly disingenuous statements in the hope that I may respond.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  It often depends on how dull my commute to work is that morning.

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More fun and games with Challenge My Church

Over the last few months, I’ve engaged with @ChallengeChurch on twitter, and on this blog about varying subjects, but mostly entertaining logical failures and god of the gaps fallacies. I’ve also taken to mocking and pointing out the obvious flaws in their religious statements. But mostly mocking. It amuses me to no end that an organisation (possibly one person), who has so little understanding of “things”, actively invites challenge.

This occasional “debate” and mockery at the hands of myself and fellow atheists has prompted them (possible him/her) to address it in a new blog entry here, entitled CMC VS Athiests (Yes, they are still spelling it wrong).

Normally this type of “argument” would not warrant a response, but what it lacks in valid points, it compensates for un-unintentional humour. It’s worth pointing out before I address some points individually that @ChallengeChurch bases every single argument on a fallacy of “You can’t explain X, therefore God”. There is never any attempt to present evidence for the claims made, but rather questions and false assumptions about out current scientific understanding of the natural order.

I don’t need to go into detail how this argument doesn’t stand up, except to say atheists accept science doesn’t explain everything, but they also accept that stating “god did it” explains nothing.

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“If Evolution is True, Why Are There Still Monkeys?”

This “question” is often a mild source of frustration for me, which can, on occasion manifest into episodes of chronic rage and indiscriminate violence, but not entirely for the reasons you may imagine.

It’s not the complete lack of understanding in regards to common ancestry and evolution that gets my sacrificial goat; it’s the Incomprehensible levels of arrogance that the question alone indicates.

Now, this may come as a surprise to some, but I’m not actually a scientist. No, honestly.

I would consider myself someone with an average level of academic ability. This is why I find it useful to defer the shortcomings of my own knowledge to experts who endeavour to seek the truth, via credible and robust methods of observation, study and testing. I believe this makes it possible to consider myself informed. This to me seems a reasonable method of learning what…is.

I do think it’s important to have patience with people when such ignorance is a result of naivety or lack of education, but unfortunately, this question never takes the form of a sincere desire to learn the answer. It is void of all inquisitiveness. In fact, it’s not even intended as a question. It’s a smirking premature declaration of victory by the poser. They believe, in one act of intellectual superiority, they have destroyed Darwin and flipped scientific understanding on its head. That’s some feat. Bravo!

It’s this extraordinarily high regard for ones own intellect that I find mind-blowing, especially given the subject matter of the question. In fact, you don’t even need to understand the theory of evolution (which they don’t) to deduce that you must be mistaken in your questions premise, or at the least, short of a few key pieces of key information.

Let’s have a look at some things you must assume about yourself/knowledge to even put forward this question, or perhaps should have considered before asking it:

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