Over at The Bearded Taint's blog, the citizens have lit torches, grabbed pitchforks and come after me (again). I don't think I have seen more concentrated hate in one place. It's actually quite fascinating from a mental health perspective.

I left my own comments on the Bearded Taint's blog if you want to follow along.

The interesting thing is that I'm reasonably sure my haters and I have exactly the same opinions on the topics they are getting worked up about. But once the Internet decides you are a holocaust-denying, creationist, science-hating, sexist, sock puppet, all evidence seems to support that view. And in this case, these science-loving folks are basing their views on rumors, stuff taken out of context, misinterpretations, faulty memory of stuff they once read but don't fully remember, and that sort of thing.

I'll say it again because it is so interesting: The people who are hating me because of my opinions have exactly the same opinions. They just don't realize it because of the fog of confirmation bias.

I'm totally guilty of blogging in a way that was guaranteed to get this sort of reaction. I'll own that. I think there is an audience for people who are willing to play with ideas and not take any of it too seriously. The problem is that I become a target for advocates who need well-known enemies, manufactured or real. But I do understand that is part of my chosen profession. It's more fascinating than annoying. I love watching normally rational people get spun out of their minds by The Bearded Taint and his type.

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Jun 18, 2013
PZ Myers... Never heard of him. I'm surprised this pretentious sesquipedalian has any readership with his extremely low reading comprehension. Also, he needs his penis revoked for being such a mangina.
Jun 18, 2013
Wow, just... wow. I truly thought that the Internet had outgrown that level of mouth frothiness.

What's really interesting is that the individuals posting aren't just easily dismissed as morons. There seems to be a generally high level of intelligence, based on the subject matter, and the way that full sentences are the norm, not the exception. And yet they STILL insist on misrepresenting things.

You know what it reminds me of more than anything? It reminds me of 25 years ago, when Usenet was what we thought of as "the Internet", and the conversations were largely poo-flinging contests between people who took themselves ultra-seriously. Extreme umbrage was the expected response to anything that smacked of non-PC thought. It was an exciting time to be online, because the future seemed full of endless possibilities. We were going to transform the world! Then AOL came along, and ALL THE AVERAGE NOBODIES got online, too, and the Internet became clogged with the detritus of normal life. Which made it better, except for the people who hated it.

I think the folks over there want to go back to those halcyon days. In fact, one of PZ's other post has this line: "Be sure to read Dana’s post — she’s an under-appreciated warrior around here." The word "warrior" is very telling: these people see themselves engaged in a battle with... well, something, I'm not sure what, but they are very, very serious about it. Well, they'll grow out of it, eventually. And if they don't we can laugh at them.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2013
Put up an open sign at your cartoon business, and anyone can walk through that door. Sometimes wearing a beard and an inferiority complex.

@Will Von Whizzlepig
That about sums it up perfectly.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2013
AtlantaDude and Melvin1 are spot on. EVERYONE is intolerant of something (even Scott, when he dismisses certain views without fully examining them). But it is only the "progressives" who are brazen (or stupid) enough to call their close-minded intolerance "open-minded tolerance".

+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2013
I have really no idea why they decided they hated you and started using offensive names (wanker, seriously?), it seems insane from the point of view of someone who reads most of your posts. This guys who calls himself what I would call myself (a godless liberal) must be looking for fame, otherwise he would acknowledge that you agree with him on all the important points he defends.

We are with you, Scott.
+27 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2013
I agree wholeheartedly with AtlantaDude. I've lived in the conservative, rural Midwest and in the bluest part of Massachusetts, and seen a variety of people from each end of the spectrum. But it seems that conservatives (especially those with a religious bent) know and accept that they are conservative, and perhaps judgmental - you know, Ten Commandments and such. But the "progressives" tend to think they are completely open-minded. And if you don't agree with them 100%, then you're a greedy, close-minded, sexist, racist, ignorant, fascist bigot.

How utterly open-minded.
Jun 18, 2013
I grew up in the northeast, back when it was politically moderate, moved to the very conservative southeast, and have spent a couple years in the very liberal SF bay area.

All that is to say that I have met very closed-minded conservatives and equally closed-minded liberals. However, the conservatives kinda know that they are closed-minded, whereas the closed-minded liberals actually think they are extremely open-minded, which makes them the most annoying of the bunch.
Jun 18, 2013
So today I learn that it is Scott's scrotum which I have to thank for making him lose his job and starting him on the path of becoming one of the world's most successful cartoonists.

Keep it up, Scrotum.
+19 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2013
Am I alone in wondering how many of those people read all of Scott's work here before deciding how they felt about him? From what I could tell from the comments (and now I need to spoon my eyes out), not many.

I like to read this blog because the fun posts make me happy.....and the thought experiment posts make me think. Sometimes they touch on taboo subjects. Sometimes they go against societal norms. Sometimes they challenge accepted wisdom.

All of those things make for uncomfortable reading, because they can make me challange the things that "I just think are right". They make me look at the subject, and try to decide how much of what I know is demonstrable fact, and how much is a combination of assumption, convention, and laziness.

To use Scott's posts the way they are intended, requires you to be prepared for an immediate knee-jerk reaction against the apparent meaning, but to then work past that reaction and challenge yourself and your preconceptions. Sometimes that challenge is rebutted, sometimes it succeeds, but you have to be prepared to make the effort.

Sadly, it seems there are too many peopl out there who can't (or won't) try to get past the immediate knee-jerk horror. They are unable to differentiate between "what a drunk might say in the pub" with "what a philosophy professor or buddhist master might say to their students to get them to challenge their way of thinking". To them, the latter is ALWAYS, really, just being the former but using longer words.

Scott ain't a philosophy professor, nor a buddhist master (heh, watch THIS paragraph get removed when my post is torn apart), but equally he isn't the drunk in the pub. He is a reasonably intelligent person, interested in the way people think, and with an interest in getting people to THINK, rather than react: surely something we should ALL be in favour of?
Jun 18, 2013
"The problem is that I become a target for advocates who need well-known enemies".

This is perfectly stated. They have a stark black and white view of the world and claim to be "objective" when they are really little more than judgmental, closed minded blowhards who are so focused on one tree they miss the forest. This is also why you can't and shouldn't debate with them although I applaud your optimism that it is possible to have a reasonable discussion with people whose mindset filters reality like a Photoshop filter that reduces everything to two colors in high contrast.

I wouldn't let it discourage you. Part of the problem with the internet as a medium is no one knows anyone else and relationships are short and fleeting so there is tendency to rush to judgment and the internet also brings out a lot of intolerance and narcissism from many people who should know better.

Incidentally are you running a Google filter on yourself to find this stuff? Lol.
Jun 18, 2013
Wow, I can't imagine going through life as unhappy and angry as those people.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 18, 2013
This is only tangentially related, and definitely spam, but it's times like this that the Internet seems peacefully quiet for me.

I started a small project to block user comments from websites in general: http://mute.bradconte.com . It does a decent job, and keeps a lot of the general stupidity away. I don't see any of the comments mentioned, and I don't really want to, either. :-)
+18 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2013
Scott, I applaud your ability to find amusement in their insanity. Those people scare me, though, exactly because they may able to pass for normally rational.
+18 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2013
Scott, I really like your blog. I enjoy your thought experiments and your interesting ideas. Don't ever stop! :)
Jun 17, 2013
As I am a fan of both Scott and PZ, these occasional flare-ups are like having to listen to your brothers call each other fart-head for two straight hours on a car trip. You don't care who is right, you just wish they'd stop.
Jun 17, 2013
PZ Meyers (author of that word turd) vs. Miss Utah - Which one was least correct?
Jun 17, 2013
The funniest part about it is that its hosted at freethoughtblogs.com, yet the context of the blog and all the commentors have nothing to do with free thought. Dennis Miller summed up a similar type of obnoxious social phenomena in one of his rants from the 90s in which he entitled this behavior as the "fascism of absolute freedom." Despite monitoring by the NSA or anyone else, the internet remains a place where people believe they have absolute freedom to say whatever they want, so long as they remain perfectly anonymous. This cauldron of freedom, becomes more of a cess pool as the self-righteous vehemently attack anyone that they think disagrees with their own superior beliefs. And obviously they don't let pesky little things such as free thought or the truth get in the way.
+24 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2013
GAH!! I can't believe you tricked me into adding to PZ Myers' FreeThoughtAsLongAsWeAgree hit count! Now I have to spend two hours in the shower!
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2013
I don't know why you bother Scott. Just say "Dance, monkey, dance!" and be done with them.
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 17, 2013

You're way too sensitive! Why do you care what these morons think? Why even refer your readers to their blog?
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