15 Responses to On nutters

  1. Eva Amsen says:

    I don’t actually understand what they’re talking about. None of it makes sense. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with the article (I think).

  2. Stephen Curry says:

    Sorry – too busy to engage with that particular universe. Saving my energy to go motoring. On the. A13.

  3. Austin Elliott says:

    Not sure if those are nutters, Richard. Possibly Arts or Social Science graduates, though.
    PS The real nutters were on the comments thread you talked about before on peer review.

  4. Richard P. Grant says:

    Good luck with the A13 Stephen.
    Thanks for the refined taxonomy, Austin. It pays to be clear about these things.

  5. Jennifer Rohn says:

    The ratio of comments like that to what we’ll charitably call ‘helpful’ comments tends to be pretty high in the broadsheets. Perhaps Nature News falls somewhere in between.

  6. Richard P. Grant says:

    I have a theory about this. I reckon the nutters are everywhere (especially on the bus), it’s just that until the Internets we didn’t hear them (except on the buses) because they didn’t have a voice.
    So it’s not a case of it being the internet’s fault, or being silly expecting to find intelligence on the internet, it’s just that the stupid has found a way to be heard. I maintain that there needs to be an internet usage licence; after all, you need a licence to drive and the internet is much more dangerous.

  7. Richard P. Grant says:

    And talking of nutters, CK alerts me to a truly excellent article about reclaiming scepticism (and homeobollocks) … and the one comment that was there when I read it was from a nutter.

  8. Nicolas Fanget says:

    Although I try, when I can, to set the record straight when plain falsehoods/lies/errors are written in blogs or newspapers I read,I tend not to engage in arguments with the deranged/moronic/evangelical. The reason? They drag you to their level and then beat you with experience. Or in the best case you’ve won an argument with a deranged/moronic/evangelical person. Meh.

  9. Richard P. Grant says:

    Yeah, there’s an XKCD cartoon or two that might be relevant here.

  10. Austin Elliott says:

    Agreed, Nicolas.

    “Never argue with an idiot. The best outcome you can hope for is that you won an argument with an idiot”

    – Anonymous Internet Sage

  11. Richard P. Grant says:

    So do you think we should just cover our eyes and move on? What about the people who don’t know the nutters are nutters? Do you think we should try to engage them? Because to do so will mean engaging the nutters’ (non-)arguments anyway.

  12. Nicolas Fanget says:

    Well, averting my eyes is what I do most on the time on the internet anyway! I think it is better, when possible, not to engage the nutters directly but to post factual information for people to make up their mind or read up. Unfortunately more effort than that is wasted in my opinion.

  13. Mike Fowler says:

    bq. What about the people who don’t know the nutters are nutters?
    And what about the nutters who don’t know they are nutters?
    Actually, the important point here is that people without experience in a particular field (e.g., Bragg, when generalising about what scientists are and how they work) will always find it difficult to distinguish between the right and wrong side of an argument. Especially on rant forums on tinterwebz.
    It’s hard to ignore the ranting, but it’s better to engage the public on your own terms, rather than getting dragged into someone else’s.

  14. Richard Wintle says:

    Hm. I remember being moderately annoyed at a Billy Bragg interview some years ago when he was in Toronto… thinking it was none of his business what our domestic issues here in Canada were (it was the seal hunt, or the environment, or native rights, or something). Fortunately I think I’ve grown up enough to realize that concern for people’s well-being is concern for people’s well-being, no matter the origin. Even if he lives in Dorset, which one commenter seemed to find offensive.
    The most telling line in that interview though, is I think this one:
    For example, in Richard there’s the line “every alpha particle hides a neon nucleus”.
    I presume he’s talking about RPG, not me.

  15. Richard P. Grant says:

    Get your filthy paws off my neon nuclei, you nutter.

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