Monday, June 20, 2011

Troll Solomon's Mind

Over the past week and a half or so I have consciously engaged a troll in the comment section on one of my posts. I don’t get a lot of comments so it is, perhaps, a little too easy to engage me with them. The blog has steadily been increasing in popularity. Last week I was named “Atheist Blog of the Week” by Atheist Connect (a new online atheist magazine). So I should probably develop some kind of comment policy. It was obvious from my troll-dealings that a “be civil and intelligent” policy would be quickly tested by even the slightest increase in traffic. However, I’m not ready to develop (or more likely steal) a policy as it seems a bit premature at this point.

I’ve got the Spam filters set on high, and I delete out anything with Viagra adds or links to Indonesian escort services.

It was a bit indulgent to engage the troll who called himself “Solomon”, but I gleened some amusement in dealing with him/her.

Solomon distinguished himself by launching into a general attack on atheists. He had nothing to actually say about the post he commented on. In fact he sounded like he was just commenting on the title of the blog. I called him on this, and invited him to actually read the blog he was commenting on. By way of an admission that he never planned on even reading the blog he was commenting on he said:

“Thanks for inviting me to read your post which I might consider.” – Troll Solomon
Interestingly enough he shoots off a hypothetical philosophical question:

“A toy is produced in an assembly line in a shoddy factory.Suddenly the toy claim of its own origin.  The manufacturer or the toy has the authority or knowledge of claiming the toys origin??? “ -- Troll Solomon
At this point it appears as if he does not speak English well. However, his English appears good enough to hunt down the meaning behind his hypothetical.

I figure he must mean something specific about the subject’s ability to know anything. Since a toy lacks the ability to know anything it being unaware of anything in particular is trivial. Why did he choose toys as his example? I decide to press some detail out of him:

“Who is going to play with all those toys?” – AOA
Troll Solomon is having none of my fact finding:

“Don't worry about the toy. They can take care of themselves.” – Troll Solomon


Which suggests that his hypothetical toys might have some animation in them. This is important because it suggests that he may be defining his toys with the ability to know what he does not want them to know defined away. This is a great metaphor for the believing religious mind. I decide it would be great to see how he/she would see this if it was laid bare for them.

Unfortunately he also goes off about how wonderful things are, and about an ant being taken to the moon and dying. He needs to get back on track. After another prod he comes back with the most telling description of his philosophy I will get:

“If you just pretend not to understand, the story is about the atheists who always claim to figure out the origin of human base on their own thinking, in other words the claim came from within the human itself.An existing being or thing would not exactly know the real origin of itself if not told by the creator or the builder.” -- Troll Solomon

Around this time someone else chimes in, and TS responds with a mixture of belligerence and ignorance. I try to get things back on track by directly addressing the issue I have:

“If you are trying to make the point that the lack of knowledge in the toy is not a feature of the toy's capacity for knowledge then choosing an example with no capacity for knowledge (unless they are magical) is a very poor way of progressing with your thesis. Does a toy know anything? If a toy knows nothing is it the fact that is does not know it was created on an assembly line any less trivial than the fact that it does not know the price of 7-11 burritos in Ohio? If you do not know the price of 7-11 burritos in Ohio does it mean your knowledge on anything else is as limited as the toy?” -- AOA


In response TS bifurcates the argument. The original gets defined as:

“At this point they are just wondering or guessing how they originate.Thats what I say, they must be told of their origin by their creator, its a simple 1,2,3 concept.Its not possible or even un logic for they themselves to determine their origins. “ – Troll Solomon


The new one gets introduced like this:

“Look here, now you're gettin confused.
A human, compared to the wondrous creations or phenomenons around them & things that they have'nt know yet is as disdain as the toy, unless they think they're superior enough.(the atheists)” – Troll Solomon


Premise 1 has been fleshed out just a smidge more. The problem is in communication. The created entities can understand, but they cannot figure it out for themselves. The only thing needed to do here is describe a plausible situation where the magic toys figure out that they have been created without directly hearing it from their maker. I picture a group of magic toys leaving their small town, traveling to the factory's main headquarters in Ohio, and then finding a set of toy plans hidden in a dusty file-cabinet. This plausible (in a children’s story way) scenario directly communicates many aspects of their creator without the need for direct creator communication.

The second point sounds like some immature moralizing. I begin to suspect that my fundie commenter is a 13-year-old agnostic trying to gain attention his parents will not give him. What of the fabulous creations, what of man’s place in the creation, and what does this tell us about our ability to examine evidence for our conclusions? I, of course, push him on a this a bit.

“A human, being a weak creature in terms of physical, mental or other fields as compared to the other miraculous gods creations is worthy to be compared to the shoddy toy unlike the atheists lots who boasts around in what they thought they have been superior enough.
Is that understood?” -- Troll Solomon


No I think…No that is not understood at all. In fact...WTF! Are atheists not human? Do other creations, like armadillos who argualbly know nothing, know more about this creator? How do I deconvolute the sentence enough to disagree? I ask him if he is a native speaker of English. Some of this has to be the result of a language barrier. This sends him into complete paranoia:

“A favorite question the atheists usually ask...
Design to mock theists of their incapability to communicate in English or a way to find out from which region they came from.” -- Troll Solomon.


I find TS’s use of the word “theist” quite interesting. I’m fairly sure at this point that he is a 13-year-old agnostic pretending to be a fundie at this point. TS refuses to answer the language question then admits not being a native speaker, but refuses to say what his primary language is. I suspect that his primary language is “teenspeak”. He drops this interesting description while not telling me his primary language:

“I have to keep it KIV for a while, who knows you might keep a hidden agenda to backfire it on me later.” – Troll Solomon


Did he just redundantly use a pop-culture English-derived acronym (Keep it Keep in View)? I decide it may be best to talk about what most 13-year-olds really want to talk about…themselves. I fire off an eight-point condemnation of TS’s character.

Then, to my surprise he sortof apologizes:

“Its not what you might think author regarding my character. You will later find me more reasonable and rational than what you might expect.” -- Troll Solomon


Then he says he has to go to bed (at noon MST). Did his Mom call to him? Someone outside the conversation advises me that TS may be a serious east-European orthodox fundie. We agree that TS is probably 13 and male.

As if making my out-of-conversation advisor’s point TS comes in with yet another philosophical path:

“The brains comes in package with other parts or organs of the body. Suddenly the brains spoke of the origins of the whole body existence.Would you hear what the brains claims?” -- Troll Solomon


“Come on now” I think “This is one of my least favorite fundie approaches to rational conversation: lets just keep changing direction so it looks like we are going somewhere in the conversation”

This must be the lamest question yet. What besides the brain would speak of the origins of anything? Does TS really think this is a philosophical chestnut? I reply in kind:

“Your fingers comes in package with other parts or organs of the body. Suddenly the fingers type out nonsense they claim comes from a brain. Should I pay attention to what your fingers type?” – AOA


To which TS says:

“"clever"....
But not so clever....
Nothing significant to respond to...
Just uttering of words I suppose... “


This kindof clinches that I am wrong about the young agnostic playing pranks. This is the standard “You must not be listening because you have not said I am right” form of fundie discourse. I am suddenly quite tired. This guy won’t ever fess up to what is irritating his psyche. His pain, boredom, and sense of personal inadequacy will simply fester in his personality. Nobody will ever measure up. When he grows to an adult he will probably abandon his children, and use complex indictments of their character to justify the holes in his own.

“I don't think you will find anything that you find worthy of responding to here on this blog.” – AOA

“Atheists are !!!FOOOOLLSSS!!!
Fooled none other by a wicked heart.
Who will inherit !!HELL!!
Unless they repent...” -- Troll Solomon


Early in the conversation TS had insisted that there was: “one true religion & one true God Almighty”. I decide to start calling him a Muslim.

“Reasonable....
Only a camouflage...
Right beneath is a !!FIERY!! wicked, sick heart!” – Troll Solomon


“I'am just telling the truth.
You will be burned in !!HELL!!
Unless you repent.” – Troll Solomon


To his credit he begins to calm down after I question his ability to interpret the Qu’ran. Even if he is a fundie I will interact with him if he acts civily. I give two understandings common in civil discourse, and also offer to try and use his primary language for part of the conversation:

“1) Can you recognize the difference between someone showing you where you are wrong and attacking you, and are you willing to do so in this conversation?
2) You will need to be able to at least recognize when a point has been made, and change your mind about the concreteness of your position when it has. This point does not mean that you need to give up on your mystery beliefs, or admit that you are wrong about everything, but I think many of your arguments are flawed, and you must be open to reasonably recognizing that in order for any conversation on your issues to be productive. “ – AOA


TS responds calling the conditions of civility “traps”. I must have done irreparable damage by calling him a Muslim. Oh well…win some…lose some…and if I had to choose one to lose this would be high on the list.

Finally he demands my compliance to whatever he wishes:

“You have been ranting around with irrelevant issues within this 10 days without debating on the real arguments that I posted. If you keep on demonstrating such behavior I won't hesitate to abandon this blog which is quite boring.” – Troll Solomon


Since he established early on that he wasn’t going to actually read the blog the comment about him being bored lacked the resonance I believe he hoped for. I think he got the message hidden in my reply:

“Please go away” – AOA


Because he has not written since.


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