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Posted by J Raymond Redbourne on November 17, 2002 05:35:05 UTC

and the people in them. I am here to present my own stuff, to see others' work, and to get feedback on my own. All the insults are just a bit of sparing, and excellent practice for formal debate;- if it ever happens. Which is to say; it is necessary to learn to field insults, and not muddy the debate by being drawn in to such distracting involvements.

One thing I have learned here is that no matter how creative the insults are, it does not perform any useful service. And those who use mindless insults do themselves no favour breaking from disciplined logical debate. This is especially true if it were a live public debate with a mediator, say on television, or in a courtroom as with the Scopes trial on Evolution.

The forums are teaching me a lot about the psychology of presenting my case in a logically convincing way, that can also be acceptable to others in a political way. I sarcastically mis-named the Aetherphobia post out of habit.

So far, I know some things not to do. But at the same time, the preemptive attackers must get a few bruises to learn to back off on personal attacks, and stick to the principles.

I especially appreciate people who use their full names. Pseudonyms can be playful and lighten things up a bit. But a name like cosmotiger just invites "puddy tat" responses. I've avoided using that one because it's a bit too obvious. I like my humour to be a bit more inventive and subtle. The "dense crackpots" was a good one.

I've kept a few in my pocket like "Indigenous Aliens" and "Most people live lives of fashionable disaster" (apologies to Thoreau), simply because the insults were becoming a bit boring, when I'm here for more important things. But I enjoyed the repartee. And it has upgraded my attitudes...after an initial dip.

A serious debater should always use his full name, if only for the record, as it supports him for future reference. And this forum, along with Superstrings, are serious forums, in which a professional person can inflict injury to his own career by silliness. These are not mindless chatrooms. These discussions are archived and in the public domain. At least Superstrings is.

It would not surprise me at all if there is a completely anonymous group of onlookers; professionals who print a lot of this stuff off for private consideration. That's why I do my best to weed out ambiguities, typos, bad spelling and bad grammar. It's a very bad first impression. So all serious posts take me a while.

Theoretical Physics is in desperate need of a new saviour with new ideas to break the iron fist of Relativity. I'm seeing some of my stuff "raising its ugly head" in magazines now.

Black holes on tomorrow's post. It's quite involved.

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