The perils of engaging the fractally wrong . . .
As heard on a recent episode of The Non-Prophets podcast:
The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person’s worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person’s worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.
Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person’s opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.
If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet–in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums–your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.
Hmmm . . . maybe I ought to have heeded this advice when engaging Saved Sinner’s tortured reasoning at Oz Atheist’s blog. I just read this to my girlfriend, and she remarked that all those atheist podcasts I listen to seem to be one long exercise in wasting time on fractally wrong people. Perhaps she’s right–but then again perhaps, as Paula Kirby’s exquisite demolition of the “fleas'” arguments demonstrates (well worth the read, lengthy though it may be), it is a necessary evil.