So Stay Wrong

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been following the news about Skepticon on Twitter. Yesterday, a link to a recap on Damion Reinhardt’s blog came up. So I read it. Then I laughed.

Then I tweeted, “TIL: A presentation on psych research on a cognitive bias stops being about skepticism when you mention social justice. Who knew?”

You see, the post isn’t a recap. It’s a rehash of the question that popped up, back when Skepticon started getting big enough to rival TAM, of whether it was entitled to use “skeptic” in its name. You’re excited by this question, right? We should get the Skeptics Council right on that?

It’s funnier than that, because there aren’t even broad operational definitions being applied here. So humanism–historically an outgrowth of the fading belief in an interventionist god–doesn’t count as atheism. A presentation on what free speech means and doesn’t mean historically doesn’t count as skepticism, presumably because only science makes appeals to reality over bias. (Those people fighting Holocaust denial? Not real skeptics.)

It was yet more hilarious to find my presentation on a common belief that warps our perceptions to the point that it’s often called a fallacy described as “other”. I mean really? Be better at this.

Or, apparently, not. This morning, I woke up to an email from Storify with a link to “Conversation with @szvan, @D4M10N and @BlueBallSkeptic“. It started with my tweet. I’ll reproduce the rest here.

Now, there’s no mention of how Reinhardt saw my tweet to respond to it despite me having blocked him. Nor any explanation of why it would be a good idea to tag me in the tweets despite it being against Twitter policy. Luckily for them (Blue Ball Skeptics, by the way, is a podcast Reinhardt does with his buddy Chas Peterson Stewart), Storify has still not implemented the blocking capabilities they promised more than two years ago. So they were able to shove this under my nose in a way I can’t avoid unless I want to turn off all notifications from Storify.

If they want me to address this, however, I can address it. My position on this is simple. If Reinhardt wants to stay ridiculously wrong about his classifications, he can stay wrong. He can be loudly and publicly wrong. He can proclaim his poor reasoning from the rooftops.

He can also tell the world that he’s not willing to spend time looking at whether he’s wrong unless I deign to interact with him. Show off that epistemology, dude.

I was being kind with yesterday’s subtweet. This kind of desperate social heuristic should embarrass anyone who calls themself a skeptic, much less someone with pretensions to gatekeeping skepticism. Either the truth matters or it doesn’t. It doesn’t stop mattering because I don’t pay attention to you.

So stay wrong. And stay out of my Twitter mentions.

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So Stay Wrong
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15 thoughts on “So Stay Wrong

  1. 1

    It would help if I even understood what Damion was TRYING to do.

    I mean, he’s created some arbitrary categories, thrown the talks into those different categories for reasons he barely explains, and then presented totals as though they say anything meaningful. About anything.

    The whole thing looks like an exercise in rhetorical onanism.

  2. 2

    Just the exercise of putting talks into mutually exclusive pigeonholes is weird enough, but deciding that anything that discusses how atheism/skepticism influences our thinking about culture is not skepticism/atheism is self-defeating.

  3. 3

    The whole thing looks like an exercise in rhetorical onanism.

    That is pretty much his whole style though? Chas too with their laboured denial of the “Elevator” group shot being the obvious example.

  4. 4

    Makes me wonder how he’d cope with Shermer talking about his book The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom.

    “Oh noes! It say Science and Reason but then he cancels all that out with stupid morals and freedom and… *gasp*… Justice! 😯 “

  5. 5

    there’s no mention of how Reinhart saw my tweets

    He had a working internet connection?

    Nor any explanation of why it would be a good idea to tag me in the tweets despite it being against Twitter policy.

    I keep hearing this but I don’t see anything on Twitter’s T & C that suggests that tagging constitutes some sort of harassment. If you have someone Blocked or Muted you don’t see them anyway.

    It seems like you need a Protected account if you only want to interact with your followers and those you follow.

  6. 7

    He had a working internet connection?

    As it turns out, my tweets are not automatically delivered to everyone with a working internet connection. For someone I’ve blocked, it requires work to see the tweet. The fact that he would go to that much effort is what requires explanation. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but monitoring people who have been quite clear they want nothing to do with you is not considered normal behavior.

    I keep hearing this but I don’t see anything on Twitter’s T & C that suggests that tagging constitutes some sort of harassment.

    It’s in the rules, under targeted harassment, where it talks about one-sided behavior. It doesn’t get much more one-sided than continuing to tag someone who has blocked you. I’ve reported accounts for this before and had them suspended.

    If you have someone Blocked or Muted you don’t see them anyway.

    Except, of course, that I’ve already explained how this was pushed to me. Or did you comment without reading the whole post? Also, if you educate yourself at all about how Twitter is used to harass, you’ll understand how tagging is used to solicit abuse from third parties.

    It seems like you need a Protected account if you only want to interact with your followers and those you follow.

    In fact, I interact with plenty of other people on Twitter. The vast majority of its users aren’t assholes with years of harassment under their belt or people I’ve blocked for behavior like that. And the vast majority of people I’ve blocked for being jerks manage to respect the fact that they’re blocked. Again, perhaps you need a better grasp on what is considered normal, acceptable behavior.

  7. 9

    It seems like you need a Protected account if you only want to interact with your followers and those you follow.

    Doesn’t work, you see all the unsolicited tweets and can’t make a sarcastic reply that they’ll see. The only way I can keep my account protected is by blocking/muting lots as otherwise I’d have to unprotect to tell them to f-off !

    I find this personal block bot is quite a useful app that you can install on Heroku, this way anyone I don’t follow and who I can’t reply to as my account is protected, is instantly muted 🙂
    https://sjwomble.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/your-personalblockbot/

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