Debi got the point of that previous post, with her comment:
You’re right. I do.
However, the statements are too broad and brief to effectively invite me to debate the detail of any of your positions. So simply; yes, I disagree with a lot of these.
That was exactly the point (or part of it). It’s absolutely amazing to me how people ‘read into’ things, seeing statements that just aren’t there. I’ve deliberately not argued too much with commenters here, but I did to an extent over on Charlotte’s insta-reaction page. Charlotte herself didn’t infer *too* much that wasn’t there in the original post (though she did seem to assume, oddly for someone who knows me, that my disapproval of something equals the wish to ban it) but some of the comments on her blog are arguing about things that bear no relation to my points, such as they are (for example Roger Thornhill somehow jumping from a semantic argument about whether words that don’t have clearly-defined referents can be meaningful to a claim that I view humans as chattel, incapable of informed choice). Richard in the comments section to the post below is still bravely arguing against statements I never made, though as I explain myself little by little in Charlotte’s comments he’s become more understanding.
So in a sense, Charlotte was right about me ‘trolling’ – I wanted to see what posting some genuinely controversial views would do. But I do stand by *the statements I made*, as opposed to *the statements people assumed I was making* – some of them are, to the best of my knowledge, facts. Others are matters of taste. I was just interested in how people who read my blog were interpreting my statements.
Interestingly, the comments from people who are long-term readers of my blog tended to infer something like the intended meanings from the statements, as far as I can tell, while those who’ve come from Charlotte’s link (and Charlotte has been reading this a relatively short time, and most of her readers won’t have read my stuff before as we have very different audiences) misinterpreted a lot of what I said (along with assuming that I am stupid and/or evil).
This suggests to me that the context of my previous posts over a course of months or years allows people to ‘fill in’ somewhat the arguments I would have made had I chosen to. Either that, or people who read my blog agree with me generally ;)
It’s no surprise that Debi, who is both scientifically trained and someone I’ve known for years, was the first person to state that she wasn’t going to debate because there wasn’t actually enough content there to debate with.
If anyone’s genuinely interested in how I can justify those statements, let me know – because I *can* justify them (I only stated things that I genuinely think). I won’t be doing it in comments, however, because each one of them would require a post or several of its own – so also don’t expect the posts immediately…
(Oh, and one more thing – I do find it quite insulting that so many people consider me incapable of thinking of the immediate obvious objections to my statements. Generally when someone makes a ‘controversial’ statement, they’re either ignorant and stupid, or they know more about the subject than most people. I may fit into the former category, but it’s depressing how many people assume I do without checking…)
ETA In response to Debi’s comment that she felt like this was a test of the readers of the post, and she resented being tested, I can only apologise. That wasn’t my intention – I wanted to test how people were reacting to my writing, because I am becoming increasingly unsure of my own ability to communicate effectively. It was me I was testing, not you, and I am very sorry that I’ve actually upset at least one person I like and respect, and possibly other people too.
ETA To clarify the clarification… what I was trying to do was see if, with only minimal statements, people *who normally read my blog* would jump to the correct or incorrect conclusions about what I was actually saying. Mostly they did, with the exception of Debi who made the wider point that I wasn’t saying anything concrete at all. People like Duncan and David seemed to get what I was saying, even though the content was almost non-existent, because they’ve read a lot of my posts. People who don’t regularly read my blog mostly didn’t – but I wasn’t expecting them to read it, pretty much by definition (which is why I commented in far more detail on Charlotte’s blog than on my own). What I certainly wasn’t doing was sitting there saying “Ha ha ha, look at the fools! I have befuddled them with the cunning power of ambiguity and brevity!”
I also think the actual ‘ten things you disagree’ with thing is a genuinely good idea on its own, for a whole variety of reasons.
But that post, more than any other, was intended for my normal audience, It was intended as a bit of fun and a test of my own writing ability, and I was *not* expecting it to be linked by a blog that is far higher-profile and has a very different audience than my own.
The conclusion I came to, for the record, is that the more of my previous writing someone has read, the more they will be on the same wavelength with my other writing. Which suggests that aiming my writing at the people I know already read this could be dangerously counter-productive, as people will take away the opposite meaning from what I intend. As I inadvertantly also proved.
Again, I apologise if anyone was offended, or felt like I was testing them. I wasn’t. Truly. And I had no intention of upsetting anyone. I just wanted to test a hypothesis about my own writing while simultaneously doing something that on its own merits I thought might be quite a fun little ‘meme’. I am absolutely mortified, in particular, that I caused offence to Debi, who I respect greatly and consider a good friend, and Mark, who I don’t know well but whose blog I admire.