Don’t argue with a mirror

Everyone on the internet* is wrong, except me** and people that agree with me. Things that people on the internet have been wrong about recently include:

Whether wind turbines are useful.

The validity of climate science.

The scientific method.

Basic statistics.

Elementary logic.

And yet, despite my patient explanations and refutations the internet people refuse to change their minds!

Quite why this comes as a surprise to me I really do not know. I had practice for the internet, before such people were aware that it existed. I had my Dad.

My Dad, you must understand, is always right. He has always already thought about every facet of a thing, and so to argue with him is pointless. I have come to accept this. It is how he is. I will change the subject. I will find a tangent on which we agree. I know that I can’t control my Dad’s opinion, and so I let go.

This has only come after many years of bitter experience. Thankfully, sometimes other people’s bitter experiences. There was the occasion when my sister decided she wanted to do single award Science GCSE instead of double award, and my Dad spent all night arguing with his childhood best friend on the subject, on said friend’s only visit to the family home when I was a child. Or there was the occasion of his first (and only) overnight visit to my house in Exeter, when my Ex (who obviously wasn’t my Ex at the time), threw him out of the house after an interminable argument about the cruelties of hunting and fishing. I finally fully realised the futility of these arguments when he attempted to instruct me on how to rewrite the twenty year old computer code at work to deal with the problem of the convergence of the meridians at the pole.

Of course, sometimes I have found myself bitterly defending an erroneous argument to the death. It is incredibly difficult to take a step back. Think. And then to admit that one was mistaken. However, I am proud that I have made an effort to do this over the last few years, at the same time as learning to deflect potential arguments of the deaf with my Dad.

The internet is really just the same. Everyone behaves as though they are bringing the true light of rational truth to all the stupid dumbasses out there, and no-one is really listening. The really tragic part is that by taking part in the endless charade of interaction one is doing precisely what one abhors in others.

And that’s why I need to stop arguing with the mirror of the internet, accept my lack of control over other people’s opinions, and concentrate on what I can contribute, and do, myself.

* I know. I mean the Web. I’m calling it the internet anyway.

** Me = You and everyone else apparently.


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