Since I will use vulgar language, this post will be mostly below the fold.
This commenter asked me to justify a claim, to which I responded by calling him an asshole. The reason is simple, the question is a simple factual query which could have been answered by checking the source I cited. The reality is that adding links to my posts take time, but I do so on the theory that readers will take some time out of their day and follow the links to make sure they fulfill their obligation toward due diligence. Sure, I could have simply responded “check the link,” but I didn’t like the tone of the commenter.
The fact is that I could have cut & pasted the data into a table in HTML and what not so that it was out in front of everyone, but I didn’t. Why? That would have taken time, as it is, I trusted in readers to follow the links if there were issues they had questions about. If they didn’t follow the links I would expect at least that they would be polite and not assume a tone which seems to imply that they have a right to the “proof.” I don’t have patience with lazy readers, and the reason is that I’m a mortal, and every minute that passes is a minute closer to death. I don’t mind answering questions from civil readers, though I would prefer that they did some leg work first before issuing a query on a first order factual point. I’m a habitual user of google, wikipedia, google print and amazon’s “search inside” feature. I make a point to look up data. Unfortunately I don’t always link to things, sometimes I’m in a hurry. Usually if I don’t link to a supporting point, or make a reference, I’m pretty open to taking time out to answering questions. If the issue is more analytic and second or third order, that is, you couldn’t just “look it up,” I’m game for getting into it with readers. I don’t do this out of altruism, I do this for my own enjoyment.
The issue ultimately goes back to “why do I blog”? I don’t do it to be a political activist, I don’t care much about politics anymore. I don’t do it to foster a “community,” I’m a prig to a lot of my readers and I’m not interested in the personal details of the lives of my correspondents and commenters. I do it because blogging gets me into touch with people who can better help me in furthering my collection and analysis of data. That might sound robotic, but that’s just how I am. Some people want piles of money, some people want a harem, while others bask in the glory of fame, but I just want a big pile of well analyzed data before I pass into oblivion. The human mind being what it is many of my facts are transient and they disappear from my accessible memory, so I have to keep stuffing myself just to keep up, and the unfortunate truth is that the more data I absorb the more ignorant I feel. It’s a cycle. Nevertheless, there are many smart people out there, and they point me to books, critique my ideas and offer me new conceptual tools.
As I said, I am willing to be a normal human being and make issues known to others. Most of the posts on this weblog have been pretty simple, but the long term goal is to get in touch with others who are interested in the topics I’m interested in, and have us read the same papers and same books so we can engage each other. People like Matt McIntosh or Agnostic are picking up books on evolutionary genetics, and soon enough they’ll be where I am. This isn’t because I want to “convert” them for their own good, I don’t care about that, but I want their input, as they might see what I miss. I know very well that the goal of my life, to know as much possible, will be furthered by getting in touch with others with concurrent goals.
This means that I’m not that interested in this forum in “convincing” anyone of my viewpoint. For example, some idiot posted some stuff about ancient Egyptians being black. I could have taken 10 minutes in PUBMED to find the relevant archeogenetic papers to refute this, but what would that get me? I don’t care what the loon thinks, and I doubt he really cares about papers. I just told him he was dumb, and hope he’s offended enough never to come back again.
There are other tacks I take. I regularly delete all comments from Creationists and Intelligent Design people. The reason I am proactive here is that it seems flies swarm to shit, and so I don’t want to seem like I tolerate that crap. I’m totally uninterested in that material on a substantive (as opposed to sociological) level, and it just wastes my finite time.
Now, I don’t read many other weblogs, but when I do participate in the comment threads I often understand why I don’t, I just don’t get why people say/do the things they do. Once I was on Matt Yglesias’ blog talking about evolutionary biology and group selection and making a reference to “DS Wilson,” and another commenter, who thought he was the shit reminded me, “By the way, that’s not E.O. Wilson, that’s David Sloan Wilson.” I was like, “No shit sherlock, ain’t you smart? I figured that using the initials DS could clue you into the fact that I know the difference between two people with different first names?!?!” Another time I was on Winds of Change and I pointed out some inaccuracies on the part of one poster (on a comment thread) in regards to slavery and Christianity, and off he topic he stated, “Antony Flew now believes in God” (he knew I was an atheist). That was my last comment on that thread, and I don’t really comment on that weblog partly because of children like that (the idiot was Glenn Wishard).
The key here is “why do you speak?” Do you speak because you want to win an argument? You want to seem smarter than someone? Want to “catch” someone? Well, homey don’t play game. There’s plenty of places to behave like a child. Life is short, we’re all going to die, and I don’t believe in an eternal afterlife to contemplate God’s Creation. I’m trying to take it all in now, bitch! To people like Rob Skipper, Greg Cochran, John Hawks, Matt, Mike Mckeown, Agnostic, the David Bs, John Wilkins, the long time non-bestial readers of my other weblog etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (and so many more offline), a big thanks. Not that you should care that you’re making my life sweeter before I die, I’m thinking about what you can do for me. In the process if I can do something for you, all for the better, I’m human enough to have some tinkling of empathy and vicarious pleasure.
Note: I spent 30 fucking minutes on this non-post! My life = Now – 30 minutes!!!
* I don’t mean retard in the Down Syndrome sort of way, I mean retard in the way you act and how you like to waste other people’s lives.