Well, I'm of the opinion that convincing someone of a philosophical view takes more than ignoring 'quacks'. It requires educating them and bringing them to a point in the road to where they feel they cannot hold the position that they formally held. True, that's an apparently impossible task, but I never give up on the human spirit. I think Dick is a very intelligent guy, just that he has certain philosophical misconceptions and it is not easy to convey those misconceptions because he is not educated enough to understand them. So, I see my role as a teacher to try and convey those things which I think will get him finally thinking about his position.
Okay, it seems like a hopeless task to you. But, I am not just doing it to convince Dick that his position is wrong. I am heavily focused on the issues which we speak, and I am reading Dummett, I am reading Putnam, and I am reading Davidson, etc. All in the idea of stretching my concepts to the point to where their concepts become 'old hat' and easy for me to understand.
With this process comes insight. I am then able to stretch my philosophical bounderies to new dimensions and see deeper insights. It's a pure joy when I come upon a view that I see big name philosophers beginning to discuss, and I feel that I fully understand why they are making those moves.
True, I get a little testy at times and that shows sometimes. I apologize. I don't mean to take away from anyone's positive forum experience, it's just that I get aggrivated when I see departures from critical reasoning, and that can lead me frustrated.
I don't mind dialogue, but I just don't see the point in trying to talk me out of my philosophical interests. I'm not interested in watching "Will and Grace", I'd rather understand what Putnam is talking about when he discusses William James' natural realism. I'd rather try and comprehend Davidson when he talks about the relationship of meaning to truth. Does that make me have 'no life'? In your book it evidently does.
But, try to understand that not everyone is like you. Some people don't like studying things that are impermanent and will change. I could spend all my time acquiring more technological skills, but what is that going to do? Make more money? Buy more stuff? I'm not a materialistic person. I like philosophical thought and probing the deepest aspects of this thought known to modern philosophy.
Yes, in a bizarre way, Dick brings me closer to that thought. It's no consequence of him, it is just that as a skeptic I find incentive to dig deeper. In addition, with Dick I am forced to simplify my viewpoint such that he can understand it. I can't write a paragraph of Davidson-like text, otherwise he would comprehend none of it. This is why Dick often comes back with a one sentence reply, he simply doesn't understand what I said. By 'dumbing down' the text I take criticism from him because he can't believe what I have done (e.g., insert the term 'spiritual' in front of all the ontic words he uses), but he gets the idea and tries to reply to my tactic.
Well, other people are of course welcome to respond or post their own philosophical arguments. I would respond to them and probably find them much more helpful to my pursuit of understanding the deepest aspects of philosophy. But, that's just not the case here. The pros get spooked off by sites such as this, so this is the state of affairs here, and I work within those state of affairs. I have no ambitions other than my own personal agenda to understand. If that makes me an easy target for someone such as yourself, then I guess that's the situation I have to accept.