A key to advancing human knowledge and freedom is the ability to individually keep and spread ideas, unpopular as they may be. This freedom is, obviously, a key tenet of this forum due to its goal to fight ignorance, and all effort should of course be made to safeguard this.
The argument that I would like to make, however, is that there is a difference between an unpopular opinion and sheer delusion, and more importantly that this is something provable.
An example that was given, was that of Galileo. By official decree of the church, his view on heliocentrism (that the Earth revolves around the sun) was wrong, and it was something which needed to be suppressed. Galileo had an unpopular opinion that does appear to have been the accurate, yet by popular opinion of the time, he was quite possibly a mad man and delusional.
But now let’s consider a different example, Bill Clinton and the word “is”.
This isn’t stating an unpopular opinion. This is either pure delusion about the meaning of the word “is” or really poor weaseling. Either way, we’re not discussing Monica Lewinsky or whatever the overall topic was that led to this, we’re talking about whether this person is capable of engaging in honest discourse on the subject, whatever that subject may be. What’s causing that incapability is, similarly, irrelevant. Perhaps they’re truly bonkers, maybe they’re liars who don’t want to get in trouble with their wife, and maybe they’re simple trolls.
Anyways, buy that argument as you will, but in the hopes… Let’s get to business.
brazil84, wonderful nutball that he is, has been a regular poster in debates on global warming. In the last one year he has been active in somewhere between 20 and 30 debates of the scientific merits of the theory.
Now I think that any reasonable person would agree that someone who has spent that much time and effort discussing the topic of global warming would, for instance, have been able to pick up that “global warming” and “climate change” are used fairly interchangeably among the literature. He should also be able to determine that “CO2” and “greenhouse gasses” are not mutually exclusive terms.
For instance, I do not believe that any rational person would read the following quote and have any doubt that it is talking about “global warming” and the human causes, thereof:
Before proceeding, let me also point out that the above quote comes from the Wikipedia page at either of these two links:
Now, brazil84 feels that this quote does not actually say anything in regards to the idea of “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” because:
He professes to be entirely unaware of common and prevalent terms:
Now my challenge for anyone willing to take it, is to support the following as an intellectually honest method of supporting an unpopular position:
I wish to prove that the current theory of gravity is incorrect. This is, of course, an unpopular thing to do.
Now, since I have my theory of gravity, and there is the commonly accepted theory of gravity, the term, “Theory of Gravity” is not sufficiently narrowly defined.
Any research on the Newtonian Theory of Gravity (NTG) which does not clearly define their usage of terms to distinguish it from my theory (CTG) or any other possible gravitational theory ever proposed, can not be said to distinctly refer to NTG. It is most likely referring simply to the personal theory of that individual author.
To use in support of your argument for NTG, I will ignore all research which does not specifically provide definitions that I would agree refer specifically to NTG.
I would say that this method of approaching things is not the only example of his fairly blatant intellectual dishonesty, but it is the first I have seen which can easily be shown as such.
I’ve debated with Armenian Holocaust deniers, seen plenty of information about Moon Landing Hoax theories, and encountered any other number of people with loose grips on reality in regards to particular subjects. And from that I can say that pinning a nutball down with evidence hard enough to declare them a troll is pretty damn hard. Clinton didn’t get the boot, so I’m not too hopeful. And if the person is simply delusional, is that a bannable offense? I’ve no answer.
But I would say that if you think the evidence is strong enough that any reasonable person would agree that a lack of ability to engage in honest discourse has been proven, then isn’t that pretty darn close to the meaning of “trolling”?