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"White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
#1
"White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
"White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.

Introduction.
I should start by saying this is a guide for everyone as this problem is inevitably encountered by everyone. It is a guide that does not take a theistic or atheistic stance but adopts an ideal that the art of debate should not be left to be tarnished without significant difficulty. I think thats an ideal we can all appreciate.
I make it a point to try and pick up a lesson from every debate, I believe I have developed some rather accurate insights into one of natures wonders that plagues forums such as these. I have named this specimen the insulting deflector and I vainly hope this guide gives some ideas as to what you're dealing with and how to deal with it.
I do not presume to have more experience or intelligence than anyone reading this. I am fairly certain there are many who are my better in either. Even so the objective of this guide is not only to inform but to alert.
To alert to the simple fact we cannot let this type of behaviour be seen as a legitimate method of debate if we are to set a good example. This behaviour must be challenged and countered wherever it crops up and it can be countered. Not with anger or insults but with the opposite, with calm and intellect. With unshifting patience that cannot be worn down with childish cruelty. With pride and integrity in the fact that if we hold fast against such intellectual cowardice without giving into the desire to be dismissive we can see the debate through to its inevitable conclusion.

1. The defintion.
The insulting deflector is one who relishs in avoiding giving direct answers to questions he cannot answer without comprimising his position. He will attempt to change or redefine the question into an entirely new one. Other times he will dismiss a very reasonable question entirely as stupid or childish giving a feeble explanation of why this is the case. When in a tight spot he will often insult his opponents too in an effort to anger them into an aggresive retort that comprismises their integrity and reduces the debate to a slanging match.
All three of these methods are an attempt toward an ultimate objective, to have all thoughts of the original question that caused him pause entirely erased in a haze of text, barbs, straw man and hot air.
Dismissing such a person as an idiot is not only giving the individual what they want and setting a bad example but it is also entirely inaccurate. This person is not an idiot, he is dishonest. Big difference. He is merely emulating the retorts of an idiot to inflict frustration that will end the debate prematurely. They see this outcome as a victory. Such a person is entirely unused to the extraordinary patience and will it takes to see a debate tainted with these methods to its inevitable conclusion. This leads me to my next section.

2. Persistence and Technique.
These observations were gained through trial and error on various subjects whose identities I will keep to myself.
Your question has been asked but it has blatantly been avoided. Of course you should take great care to read through your opponents statement to ensure this is the case. Assume this is down to a honest mistake, copy and paste your question, explain why you feel it unanswered and ask them to answer it.

Same result? Well now, this is starting to look suspicious but it could still be a mistake. Is he insulting in his retort? Ah, now its looking slightly more certain. Still, you're here to debate and should conduct yourself accordingly. Explain why you see his deflection as a deflection and that you're unsure as to why he is resorting to insults. You just want your question answered after all. Copy and paste your question in quotation marks again. While repetitive this cannot be classed as anything other than being helpful by patiently showing him the question he missed.

Oh dear, did he do it again? I bet he seemed more angry and desperate to take attention away from the question this time too didn't he? Know why? His insults did not have the desired effect, you remain calm. He wanted you to get angry, hurl abuse, maybe ever threaten him giving him licence to turn this into a slanging match, block you, back out with the moral high ground or all three. Lucky your an adult isn't it?

Show puzzlement and mild sarcasm at why he is evading so desperately and some minor resentment at treating you and anyone reading as if they were fools unable to see through such a guise. Minor sarcasm is more devastating in this regard because it sends the subtle signal that his abusive behaviour is not worthy of being retorted as though it were anything more than a minor inconvenience. The insulting deflector is above all else an attention seeker and this will vex him indescribably but he'll be unsure why.

De-construct his deflection once again. Helpfully display the question you wanted answered, an ultimatum underneath:
"Please answer, retreat or if you feel like making this thread a little more cringe worthy; continue with your obvious deflections."
Or some variation. Slight irritation is warranted and acceptable. At this point he will be very aware how his behavior will seem to the readers in contrast with yours.

Repeat this step patiently until a result other than insulting deflection occurs. Even if he notices this tactic there is little he can protest about. The question remains unanswered for all to be seen and your query is still legitimate, why shouldn't you demand an answer? He will either begrudgingly or accidently answer your question after some time or he will retreat under a veil of insults. The first one allows the debate to continue in a legitimate manner despite his best efforts, the latter grants you a victory of sorts and the satisfaction you stood your ground against this abusive behaviour.
Either way the behaviour has been confronted and countered setting a good example to others that this type of method will not be presented without resistance.

3. Patience is a virtue.
Yes yes, I am perfectly aware of what an incredible cliche this is. It also happens to be bang on the money. When faced with such overwhelming rudeness and abuse of the art of debate it is incredibly tempting to respond with the same. But to quote another cliche "that just makes you as bad as them". Like it or not giving in to this temptation allows the insulting deflector a free pass for their behaviour.
I have seen people more informed and probably more intelligent than I fall into this toxic trap, the opponent retreating with the satisfaction he got to them. It does not have to be this way. By keeping your cool you give the insulting deflector no valid reason for his behaviour or for his retreat. This in itself is intensely frustrating for this individual and he will not keep his smug mask intact for long when faced with it.

Should he adjust his behaviour to be polite through awareness of this tactic then... who cares? Isn't this exactly what the tactic essentially aims to achieve? A polite and honest answer? What if they are polite and deflect? This in my experience doesn't often happen, it is near impossible to deflect someone discreetly and repeatedly while remaining polite. If it happens the first time then someone whos being legitimately polite will have made a mistake and acknowledge that you require a clearer answer to your satisfaction. If it is you who are mistaken they should politely explain very clearly why it is not a deflection but nevertheless endeavour to be clearer and give more significant detail.
This is not common place, if it were we wouldn't need to debate whether there was a heaven or not. We as a species would reach a higher understanding on all things, conflict would be eradicated and we would already be there. Well... ok that might be a slight exaggeration for effect but my point is assholes are everywhere and bullshit is their native language, not social etiquette.

4. Conclusion.
I apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes you may find. This has been a long one I'm sure you'll agree. I hope this hasn't come across as lecturing or protentious. If it has I apologize, that was truly never what I was aiming to put across. This has simply been an attempt to put across some minor observations that although obvious to almost anybody remain relatively overlooked and ignored.

So, what is "Jerrys final thought" on this topic?
That everytime we give into the anger an insulting deflector is intentionality attempting to inspire in us we let ourselves down?
No, you should of already concluded that all by yourself.
That debate is not simply a tool but an art form that should be calmly but passionately defended from "trolls".
Close but thats still not it.

My conclusion, is that it isn't for yourself or any ideal you are fighting for when you passively confront this blight on an otherwise interesting and thoroughly enjoyable activity.
No, its the person who reads it. The person whos learning what reason is, how adults conduct themselves in a discussion. You're helping them decide whether discussion is a pointless endeavour that ultimately ends with conflict... or something wonderful that defines us as a species. You're doing it for the person you were when you witnessed your first debate and found yourself captivated by the calm clarity that the words of the speaker inspired, for the person you became when you realized that talent wasn't exclusive to that speaker and for the person you are today who honours the inspiration that pushed you to pursue this art form.

Our actions are not simply defined in terms of what we do but also what we choose not to do and it can make the difference between someone who sees the best in us or the worst. Our amazing ability to communicate without offence, without deception and without hostility is one that has become the essence of who we are. It is worth defending.
And with that; "Take care of yourselves, and each other."
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
Reply
#2
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
I have to admit that when someone does not want to really debate me and only wants to appear as if they are debating me and introduce strawmen, I don't give a shit if it is impatient to then insult them. They are never going to be honest and answer the question and, like it or not, the resulting pissing contest is at least satisfying.
Reply
#3
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
(July 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm)Shell B Wrote: I have to admit that when someone does not want to really debate me and only wants to appear as if they are debating me and introduce strawmen, I don't give a shit if it is impatient to then insult them. They are never going to be honest and answer the question and, like it or not, the resulting pissing contest is at least satisfying.

Perhaps but my point is it sets an extremely bad example and appears to lower our standards and integrity infront of an audience who expected better. I say appears because thats not to say it actually does, rather thats the appearance we present. I don't consider it a worthy trade but you're entitled to your opinion.
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
Reply
#4
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
...? Is there anyone here who actually wants to have a thoughtful, rational debate? Anytime I challenge anything in even the most placid academic tone--e.g., epistemology, proposing counterexamples and asking politely why they don't work, etc.--people jump down my throat and call me a retard, irrational, unreasonable, and so forth.
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
Reply
#5
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
(July 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: Perhaps but my point is it sets an extremely bad example and appears to lower our standards and integrity infront of an audience who expected better. I say appears because thats not to say it actually does, rather thats the appearance we present. I don't consider it a worthy trade but you're entitled to your opinion.

Not to be too sarcastic, but I didn't realize we were performing for an audience. We're a community of people with different opinions and different methods. Yes, many of us debate extremely dishonestly and many of us (myself included) don't think that adults should have to censor themselves to spare someone's feelings. We get to choose who we care about. Being careful about people who are being dishonest dicks is just too much work. I would rather put my effort in where it is deserved.
Reply
#6
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
(July 29, 2012 at 12:49 am)Shell B Wrote: Not to be too sarcastic, but I didn't realize we were performing for an audience. We're a community of people with different opinions and different methods. Yes, many of us debate extremely dishonestly and many of us (myself included) don't think that adults should have to censor themselves to spare someone's feelings. We get to choose who we care about. Being careful about people who are being dishonest dicks is just too much work. I would rather put my effort in where it is deserved.

I don't think that conducting yourself well in a debate is really about how well you'll get treated in return. A big part of it--probably the majority--is about being someone who's worth a shit.
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
Reply
#7
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
How you conduct yourself in a debate stops mattering when it stops being a debate. The second someone starts dodging questions and starts saying asinine things, it is no longer a debate. You can't debate someone who will not cease the use of strawmen. Unfortunately, we have a great deal of members who love strawmen. You go in one second from arguing that self defense isn't murder to another moment being told you advocate murder. You could say you do not like yellow and someone would come back with the idea that you hate colors.

Now, that is not to say that we should not be polite when our "opponents" are polite, but when someone takes someone disagreeing with them as a personal affront, they kind of earned a personal affront. I mean, why bother being bitched at for being a big fat meanie face without at least making it worth it?
Reply
#8
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
(July 29, 2012 at 12:49 am)Shell B Wrote:
(July 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: Perhaps but my point is it sets an extremely bad example and appears to lower our standards and integrity infront of an audience who expected better. I say appears because thats not to say it actually does, rather thats the appearance we present. I don't consider it a worthy trade but you're entitled to your opinion.

Not to be too sarcastic, but I didn't realize we were performing for an audience. We're a community of people with different opinions and different methods. Yes, many of us debate extremely dishonestly and many of us (myself included) don't think that adults should have to censor themselves to spare someone's feelings. We get to choose who we care about. Being careful about people who are being dishonest dicks is just too much work. I would rather put my effort in where it is deserved.

When you debate it is very, very rare thing to sway your opponent to your way of thinking. After all, he has invested so much in his view point he has chosen to debate for it. It is the readers who witness both sides presenting their points who will gain the most benefit. Thats why alot of debates are held publically, so people can see both sides of a fair and reasoned argument and come to their own conclusions. It is the audience who deems the point effective or ineffective. If we are just doing it for ourselves then we are missing the point of the debate and it is lesser for it. Whether we see our point as sufficient or not is irrelevant. We'd all like to write our own reviews but if we did we should be in extreme doubt as to how accurate they are.

I don't think asking adults to act adult is censorship. The fact of the matter is if they fail to act as a mature adult they provide the insulting deflector with ammunition and detract from their own argument.
If a point is so important to you that you choose to debate it then you should not sabotage it through a moment of emotional weakness which is after all, exactly what the insulting deflector wants you to do. It should be confronted with calm resolve because that is the one thing they cannot deal with.
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
Reply
#9
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
Swaying them to your opinion is irrelevant. At any rate, I do not think the point of this forum is for readers. We are doing it for ourselves. This is a place for people to talk to each other. We are not the Alexandrian library of theism and atheism.

While it may not be censorship, it is condescending. Who are you or anyone else to say what is mature and what is not? Is telling adults how to behave in an open forum mature? Is passive aggressive asides telling others how immature they are whilst engaging in the same nonsense mature? Is wasting time debating with someone who is never, ever going to actually debate you mature? We all have different ideas of what is acceptable and what is not. In this forum, the only ideas that matter are the rules. Beyond that, people are free to behave as they want and free to be called out for it, particularly if they are being insulting.
Reply
#10
RE: "White Noise": The Guide To The Insulting Deflector.
(July 29, 2012 at 1:32 am)Shell B Wrote: Swaying them to your opinion is irrelevant. At any rate, I do not think the point of this forum is for readers. We are doing it for ourselves. This is a place for people to talk to each other. We are not the Alexandrian library of theism and atheism.

While it may not be censorship, it is condescending. Who are you or anyone else to say what is mature and what is not? Is telling adults how to behave in an open forum mature? Is passive aggressive asides telling others how immature they are whilst engaging in the same nonsense mature? Is wasting time debating with someone who is never, ever going to actually debate you mature? We all have different ideas of what is acceptable and what is not. In this forum, the only ideas that matter are the rules. Beyond that, people are free to behave as they want and free to be called out for it, particularly if they are being insulting.

If we do it for ourselves then we may as well talk at a balloon with a face on it. If you are your own standard by which you judge your own argument then isn't that falling into the same trap you accuse your opponents of falling into?

No-ones telling anyone how to behave. I am simply stating that reducing an argument to insults and anger is counter-productive to following a line of reasoning and questioning. In the case of the insulting deflector it plays straight into his hands. Forcing an insulting deflector into a retreat sends a message that this method does not work. That satisfaction will not be gained from it. If the message is issued enough times it may actually get through.
I would class the trading of barbs to be immature, perhaps you do not agree. Regardless this is how I choose to describe such behaviour, this saves me time when discussing it.
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
Reply



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