Some Thoughts on Trolls

Materialism, positivism, progressivism, nihilism, cultural suicide, liberalism have won – certainly in an academic context in the developed world. From this point of view, the contributors to the Orthosphere are all heretics. On this lonely outcrop, the dissenters dare write in favor of Christianity, tradition and other anathemas.

But lo, the SJWs and logical positivists have found us – I’m not quite sure how. Why did they bother? And the plan is … what? To troll and flame, apparently. The world is supposed to be a better place if you don’t leave us alone? Really? Are we that scary? Are we actually in danger of converting anyone? I think it is more likely we are offering like-minded thinkers moral support, additional insights and things to ponder.

Given the “diversity” mania – don’t we add just a little diversity? I know, I know. Diversity actually means total uniformity. I won’t tell if you don’t.

I find it funny that some of the trolls, at least, seem to regard us as low IQ individuals who need a little help with our thinking. Is trolling us actually to be remediation then? That’s very civic-minded of you. However, I do believe that we have seen the wares you are selling long ago and have declined. That’s actually why we are at the Orthosphere.

Fifteen years ago I got into a philosophical email exchange with my polar opposite. The fact is that when people don’t have enough in common, communication becomes unworkable. For instance, he denied that life exists. How can one continue with such a person? There really isn’t any point.

At the beginning of all thought are unprovable axioms/assumptions. Perfect logic and reasoning in the service of false axioms are likely to lead to false conclusions. If you are a convinced atheist and I am a convinced theist we will just argue past each other. The rhetorical blow we imagine will be so devastating proves ineffectual. Reductio ad absurdum arguments rely on finding an implication of a position that contradicts other beliefs the arguer holds. But, more often than not, they don’t hold those other beliefs. So, for instance, if you showed me that morality was a neurobiological outcome of evolution, instead of giving up on morality, I would give up on neurobiological evolutionary theory – except I never subscribed to the stupid theory in the first place. See? It’s all a bit pointless isn’t it? We’re lost causes.

28 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Trolls

  1. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ . . .”

    We’re evidently the grand prize!

    Well, I don’t believe that — such would make leftist crusading a matter of charity, and the evidence weighs against that possibility. Rather, I think that there is something obsessive-compulsive in their tyrannical minds. Perhaps leftist control freaks find it exhilarating to stamp out dissent — to purge the land of ideological impurity. The heterodox are an itch that drives them mad. How dare such opinions persist in 2016! They (we) must be destroyed. Écrasez L’infâme!

    • @ Joseph A. – Yes. Stamping out dissent seems to be the aim. When the “comment” turns into a two page tirade, you know you are out of the realm of reasoned debate.

  2. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Trolls | Neoreactive

  3. Are people just attempting to troll? As I don’t really see any such comments, unless its the nonsense on the atheism thread.

    • Here is an example of by the numbers trolling (apparently, the troll-post itself has been deleted) — “… And there it is: the term ‘Darwinism’ being a creationist code word for ‘evolutionary biology’ that is also known as ‘science’… you know, the method that produced the field of genetics itself … [blah et blah et blah]

      • @ Ilion: Yes, by the numbers trolling indeed. I find it pointless, so deleted it. When the details of the argument of a post are ignored and one just gets angry sputtering against the heretic, then I choose to ignore the sputtering.

  4. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Trolls | Reaction Times

  5. I think Christians have an advantage over positivists when it comes to dealing with intellectual diversity. In their epistemology, everyone has the same basic “Reason” once the rubbish of prejudice and tradition has been scraped away, so disagreement infuriates them. Our epistemology has always recognized that Reason has different attitudes; attitudes that can change through metanoia and repentance. This isn’t to say that Christians have never been hidebound and intolerant, but that men should inhabit different realities doesn’t really surprise us.

  6. I endorse JM Smith’s thesis that “Christians have an advantage over atheists when it comes to dealing with intellectual diversity.” The recent trollomachy at The Orthosphere suggests a related thesis: Educated people have an advantage over uneducated people in dealing with reality. At one point in one of my engagements with the swarm, I responded to the commentator’s claim never to have heard of atheists being friendly to Muslims, by pointing to the sitting political establishments of Sweden, France, and Germany. (I might indeed have included the USA.) The comeback was words to the effect that, Gee, I don’t know anything about those countries. Exactly! And that was by no means the only thing about which he – or she – or they – let us say, they – apparently knew nothing.

    Of course, the initial assumption of the rhetorical razzia was that the perpetrators of it knew everything while Orthosphereans knew nothing. Here again, however, there was a colossal failure of inference which can only be grasped as a lack of education. Even a ten-minute review of major Orthosphere postings over the last few years would have signaled to a potential challenger that the erudition and intellectual resources of the site’s contributors are considerable. Such a reconnaissance might have urged a perspicacious challenger to come prepared, which none did. Either there was no reconnaissance (my first guess); or there was one, but what it revealed was so far beyond the horizon of the reconnaissance party that it never registered.

    It goes beyond that. The typical atheist’s ignorance, not only of Christianity, but of religion generally, strikes me as close to complete. Was there a single clue in all of those wordy comments to suggest that any of their authors had any knowledge of the immense library of Christian Theology, from Paul through the Alexandrian Fathers to Jerome and Augustine and then to Aquinas and beyond? I saw none. I infer from having seen none, that all of that is a blank for the people in question. Neither was any acquaintance with serious atheism – with Nietzsche, say – in evidence.

    Nevertheless, our trolls exhibited (at first, anyway) total confidence in their self-supposed total knowledge. It is a study in Gnosticism and one of the things that it teaches is that Gnosticism does not need to be rooted in complex intellectual systems, like Valentinianism; it can be rooted in the SJW’s sophomoric ignorance.

    • @ Tom Bertonneau: Yes. Some trolls seem to imagine that if we haven’t adopted their perspective, it’s because we are intellectually handicapped. Some of them seem to think that they just need to point out that logical positivism, for instance, is true (despite being self-refuting, as several of us have pointed out) and that Darwin’s views on evolution (gradualism, (not true) and natural selection leading to macroevolution (unproven)) are correct. In some cases, they seem to have exactly reversed the actual state of affairs. An intelligent reconnoiter would be most appreciated. As you say, in many cases, we know what they know, the modern mindset, but they don’t know what we know – two thousand years or more of thought not hostile to theism.

  7. Are these mostly Darwinist trolls? Or SJWs in general?

    I suppose in both cases they still see themselves as a victim class. That even the smallest particle of the old ways could spawn into a monstrous tyranny.
    It is their duty to purge the world of all uncleanness, and show zero tolerance for dissent. They have out mentaled the Fundies.

    • My sense is that the trolls in question are SJW’s – and therefore of the left-liberal or progressive stamp – first; and atheists second, their atheism being a subset of their politically correct purity.

      • One of them was quite a bit moldbuggy, pushing the Christianity as progressivism meme; his name was anti-Puritan or something similar.

  8. Josh: Moldbug was always miles above what we’ve just seen. A Carlylean he was, and respectable. The Left purged him brutally. He would be a worthy interlocutor at The Orthosphere. If two hard-drive crashes had not obliterated his contact information, I would invite him to talk with us.

    • I agree. I used to read his stuff every Thursday. In fact, he played no small part in my conversion. What I meant was, this particular troll fancied himself a moldbug acolyte, rather than a sjw. He was clearly third rate.

  9. I wonder why you guys get all the trolls. I never have to deal with this stuff at Throne and Altar. (Not that I’d want to; I prefer the usually friendly commenting I get.) Even the isolated heckler has become a rare event. Maybe this is a good sign for the Orthosphere–it’s still somehow coming to the attention of the larger world. It would be useful to know how these atheists found out about this place. It’s too bad we can’t convince them to take exit surveys as they leave.

      • @ Zippy – That webpage is the SJW Index. An interesting list of all the things you are not allowed to be from a troll POV. This could still be the source of the trolls, or something like that. So we are Biblethumping? I’m sure we could qualify for some other categories, but I’d rather not tempt fate. Isn’t it nice that this thread has been completely troll free? Again, touch wood.

      • It is possible that the Orthosphere was recently added, or recently discussed. I started to look into it and then quickly lost interest.

      • No, we’ve been listed on that page for years. So has Bonald.

        It’s an interesting thing. I doubt there is any page anywhere on the right that lists SJW sites. I can’t think of anything that would so bore, or indeed repel, our ilk. But there are several such lists on the left that include us, Bonald, WWWW, and quite a few of the other sites on our blogroll. Consider the sheer labor of research that went into the construction of those lists. It’s appalling.

        Why would they think it important to let each other know about us in this way? Is it like in the Soviet days, when it was a good thing to know whom you should ostracize, lest you be tainted and fall under the suspicion of the secret police?

        And then there’s this: having found out about us, why would they lurk at our sites? Why would they then occasionally betray their lurkage by trollery? What reward do they get out of this? Do the terms of our discourse exert some fascination, that they cannot resist? Some allure?

      • Yeah I really don’t get the trolling. When I try to read their stuff (including “new atheist” books) I feel like I am going to die of boredom from the sheer solipsistic midwit banality of it all. Like Lewis’ dwarves in the stable, they are pitiable creatures and at the same time entirely uninteresting.

        For a few moments I almost suspected the troll invasion here to be a deliberate Lenten penance embraced by the Orthosphere contributors. Give me stripes and hair shirts any day over that level of insipid tedium.

      • There’s a source, for sure. It’s concerted, for sure. “Comments Closed” is an effective way to deal with it.

    • Here’s my hypothesis: I write fewer posts with the word “atheist” in the title. I think they look out for when people are talking about them.

  10. I say just ignore them. It’s clear they’re just attention seekers and one I suspect is a homeless person sitting at a computer in a public library from open until close.

  11. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    — C.S. Lewis

    I think the trolls believe they are posting here for our own good. We poor, deluded souls—uh, people—are lost in our belief in “superstition” and reject the One True Faith—er, One True Paradigm—of scientism. We need saving from ourselves. So until we acknowledge that everything we think is wrong, and that we have been a bunch of heteronormative, cisgendered, patriarchal, superstitious, and ignorant pre-rationals, they will keep coming back.

    • @ Wm. Lewis – for our own good and the unwary internet traveler who may be lulled by our sweet charms. They’ve administered the antidote just in case.

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