Diagramming the inner loop of immovable commenters

January 25, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

I attended Catholic grade school, so I was highly trained to diagram sentences.  Truly, at least six years of spending an hour each day to diagram sentences.  A very sophisticated method of warehousing students, I now realize.  The silver lining is that this ground-in urge to create diagrams has spilled over into many other areas of my life.

For instance, I was thinking about those un-curious website commenters who so often frustrate me with their entirely predictable thought processes.    How would that thought process look on a diagram?  Would it look as simple as it so often sounds?

I opened up Microsoft Publisher and spent 40 minutes concocting the diagram attached to this post.  This about sums it up for me.  This describes those conversation-killing commenters who so often frustrate those of us who want to be intellectually challenged, not preached to, not yelled at.

Any suggestions for improving this diagram would be appreciated.


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Category: ignorance, Psychology Cognition, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mobius 118 says:

    That's actually a perfect example of circular logic.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Mobius 118: It does seem to be circular, but that isn't necessarily apparent when reading an isolated comment or two from one of these people. Over time, however, the circle closes.

    Then question, then, is to what extent we should entertain that thought process. It LOOKS like conversation, at least initially, but it is usually rock solid impenetrable by any ideas inconsistent with the circle.

    Then again, many have eventually broken free, for example, bible scholar Bart Ehrman and skeptic Michael Shermer.

    It seems that patient indirect confrontation is the best approach. Dropping seeds here and there and waiting to see if these folks will, on their own clock, let those seeds sprout a little.

    Perhaps a better analogy is Daniel Dennett's "universal acid," a term he invented as a child to represent a fictional acid that eats up everything. If you spilled it, it would consume the entire earth.

    Skeptical inquiry through the scientific method is universal acid. That's why the fundies refuse to open the door even a crack.

    One more thing. . . heated direct confrontation is a terrible idea for a well documented reason. Psychologists have clearly shown that when humans are threatened (physically or with ideas), they narrow their focus; they fight hard with blinders on. Even if there is a better way to think, that heightened stress caused by an idea will make that idea unavailable for assimilation. We all end up wasting our breath (or words).

    Again, to what extent should we entertain the people who exhibit this loop? Especially when they hook on to this site and try to comment four times every day?

    The answer is not never but it's not always, I'm convinced.

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