Delusion and Trolling

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:

(Bolding added)

Before proceeding, let me also point out that the above quote comes from the Wikipedia page at either of these two links:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

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”?

Your definitions are fair, but I support brazil84 in eliciting fine reasoning, writing and explication that your OP is witness to.

Another hallmark of such intellectual dishonesty appears to be the continued narrowing down of the ostensibly opposing viewpoint as the wiggle room is being reduced by research: what used to be global warming became anthropogenic global warming, and now apparently is CAGW, though I honestly don’t have a clue what the acronym stands for (wiki only brings up ‘Citizens Against Government Waste’; I’d appreciate any insight into the meaning of the C).

catastrophic anthropogenic global warming

Ah, thanks.

While I agree that Brazil84 is a nutjob, I disagree with your arguements using Bill Clinton as an example. Little turns of phases are what keeps legions of lawyers employed. Consider the question, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” I’m sure the “now or have you ever been” was a late addition – after somebody who used to be a member skated on by answering no to the question, “Are you a member of the Communist Party?” These differences matter.

Wait, so Bill Clinton is a troll?

Among honest debaters this is entirely legitimate. This is refining the debate. Notice that they have given up first on “global warming” as in the world is getting hotter and next on “AGW” as in people are making it hotter. They have very little left except to argue that it is not going to be a catastrophe for them personally as GW is already affecting poor people. They have conceded most of the argument and have only a small fraction of supporters left from their original contingent. That is what debate is supposed to do.

What you seem to be arguing is that they don’t believe themselves, which we can never know.

More to the point: Why would one continually subject themselves to constantly having their ass handed to them on the same subject? Are they some kind of sick fuck that is merely doing it because they want/need the attention? Is their life so dull and boring that this is the only source of entertainment? Or, perhaps, they’re some kind of shill?

“shill” has had my vote in the case of brazil for a while.

I haven’t followed the arguments on this board close enough to really argue the case, but generally and in my experience, what’s taking place isn’t so much a concession as a mere shifting of the goalposts.

And then, when the goalposts have been shifted to somewhere out on the interstate leading to the stadium, they’ll suddenly be transported back to the end zone.

I’m a proud AGW skeptic and I’m embarassed that brazil84 is on “my” team. I’m more than happy to be associated with Intention on this subject, in fact I was glad that he has been able to take up the cudgel and I wasn’t the only skeptic on the boards. But brazil84 makes me cringe.

I actively avoid GW threads these days simply because I know he’s going to participate in them. He distracts from the real issues at hand and presents such a parody of the skeptic position that nothing anyone throws out as a strawman is more ludicrous than the claims he actually makes.

brazil84, everyone has a right to their opinion, but you should probably sit back and analyse whether ypur position is base don a genuine skepticism or a desire to hold on to a cherished position. Simple question: could anyone present actual information that would make you accept AGW? I know that I could be convinced with some basic information, and I’ve laid that out clearly in past threads. But reading your contributions I get the impression that no matter what evidence is presented you won’t be convinced.

I suspect that may be correct. I don’t follow the GW debate on this board as much as I do the GW debate the general public. The general public accepts that GW is occurring and the Rush Limbaugh style deniers are always going to be there.

Wait, is this an environment thread or an economy thread?

I’ll go now.

I agree with Brazil84 on this.

Those terms you are talking about all have very specific meanings, and depending on what the subject is that is being debated, they should be clarified.

For example, AGW != CAGW. A small amount of warming has a very, very, VERY different effect than a catastrophic amount. That’s why they use different terms. (Duh) If you are arguing that governments should spend massive amounts of money to fight CAGW, then a simple cite for AGW doesn’t cut it.

I would think that a shill would choose a place where a significant number of people would read his shilling, rather than dozens of threads in a backwater subforum of a backwater message board where maybe a couple hundred people might see his posts (maybe slightly more than that, thanks to threads like this).

I see this style of “debate” frequently over on the D&D message boards.

Poster A asks a question.
Poster B gives a clear answer.
Poster C disagrees (and is wrong) and gives a faulty counter-answer.
Posters B, D and E point out that C is a doo-doo-head and very wrong, with cites.
Poster C proceeds to fling poo by pointing out that A’s question was vaguely stated, and if you look at it from a slightly more C-centric point of view, C is obviously right.
Posters F, G and H chime in to debate how the question should have been asked in the first place. At this point the thread is completely derailed.
Poster C scuttles off into the darkness.

Do you think
a) this is the only place he trolls?
b) he is the only shill, or even that high on the shill totem pole?

I’m sure if we were more important, we’d get the competent, scientific-background shills. As it is, we get brazil.

Except, of course, with Brazil84, its quite clearly a case of shifting the terminology to avoid admitting that you’re wrong. Its not a case of people being confused because the “incorrect” terms are being thrown around. Brazil84 has previously denied any warming, then, after numerous Dopers pounded him about being an idiot, he shifted to the “Well, the Earth is warming, but we don’t know that humans are responsible.” argument, and clung to that, until he was pounded into a bloody pulp, and now he’s saying, “Well, humans are causing warming, but there’s no evidence that its going to cause any significant problems.” All of which is BS, and has been hashed out ages ago, by people more qualified than myself.