Well, So Much for That Idea

Blech! Just the other day, I said that I wanted to write more and, to that end, I would try to be more spontaneous. As the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, might say, “How’s that spontaneity thingy workin’ out fer ya?” I’ll tell you how that’s working out, I’ve written 1200 words of a post today and got burned out by fact checking.

For the first time since I started this blog, a couple of days ago I deleted a comment. As I mentioned in that post, “A Comment I Almost Made,” the final leg on my journey to a skeptical viewpoint was learning to take received wisdom about health and “wellness” with a major grain of salt. I have no idea why health issues are relegated to the lifestyle section of the newspaper and covered in the media with less rigor than “hard” news. The commenter was understandably unhappy. I’m not sure there is a polite way of deleting a comment. However, I’ve heard that when people are presented with false information, they retain it even after hearing a correction. Somewhere in the box of papers in which I threw everything that was sitting on my desk the last time I moved there is some notes from a lecture I went to go hear in which a philosopher was discussing the question of how we know what we know and he seemed especially disturbed by the spread of false information on the internet. On a similar note, the website of the magazine Popular Science shut down its comment section. However, one of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was to reach out to people and I have not found commenters on this site to be uncivil.

So, if someone makes an incorrect claim, unintentionally in this case, what should I do?

Anyway, I’m still chewing over this incident because I’m not entirely comfortable with it. Beyond that, I had to ask myself the question, “Was I right.” Because if I’m going to delete comments over facts, as opposed to opinions, then my facts should be correct.

So I started to write a post about diet and skepticism and it’s turning out to be a much bigger job than I thought, even though it’s quasi-autobiographical as almost all my posts are.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the moment.

I wouldn’t have started a blog if I was just going to post frivolous stuff, but on the other hand writing serious stuff is time-consuming.

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6 comments
  1. I read about Popular Science shutting down comments. I am not really a reader of Popular Science. I read about it elsewhere. Don’t have any answers for you. I haven’t had many critical comments on my blog. I do remember I responded to one early on and wish I hadn’t. It had nothing to do with facts. Just a strong opinion on my belief or non belief.
    Comments are sometimes fun to read. Not because of their intelligent responses. Sometimes I read them to get a good laugh. And many times I read a comment and wish I were brave enough to speak up and say the same thing.

    • fojap said:

      I’m old enough to remember when news came on dead trees and you couldn’t comment on anything. It was a real feather in your cap to actually have your letter to the editor publish it. I remember once attending an event of a social club and one woman there was thrilled because her letter had been published by the New York Times. We all passed a copy of the paper around and told her she was brilliant.

      Eventually, I think norms and standards will develop, and they probably won’t be the same across the internet. The internet is just a medium, like paper. Popular Science would have different standards than a small blog like mine or yours.

      • I am seeing the advantages of having a small blog. lol Returning after a 2 months absence, I have really forgotten the work/time it takes to make the rounds. And that time doesn’t include preparing a post. Small is good! And smaller is probably better!

  2. makagutu said:

    There is only one fellow I told him the rest of his comments would forthwith go to spam if he bothered to comment again on my site and I don’t feel bad about it simply because whenever he has interacted with atheists on other blogs his manner has always been to call people names while not answering any direct questions and I don’t have the patience to do that with him.
    I try to be as factual as is possible at the time am writing a piece and if there are errors, I readily accept corrections but to insult me or anyone who comments on my blog is a no no!

    • fojap said:

      I’ve only had two religious people stop by here and try to proselytize. Generally, I don’t engage them in the first place. I’ve had discussions with close friends I actually know and respect on this subject over the course of years.

      My closest friend spoke about becoming a priest when we were young. He’s an atheist now, but once upon a time he was quite serious in his belief. Actually, when I think of the people I know well, the ones who have bothered me most about being an atheist have not been the most devout believers. There’s one person I know who doesn’t believe in God, but he’s nominally an Episcopalian and he says he appreciates all the good in the world that churches do and he thinks that I’m anti-social for actually saying that I’m an atheist.

      • makagutu said:

        My youngest brother is in a seminary, wants to be a priest, but doesn’t really bother with my being godless. My close friends really have no issues, they have chosen to live and let live.

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