Behold, Intellectual Dishonesty!
May 24, 2005
I am thinking of creating an award for each week's best display of intellectual dishonesty. That's not people who are lying, but rather people who are deliberately saying something they either don't believe or know to be false, or that they've positioned so that audiences will draw an irrational conclusion. It's evil, it's hateful, and it's everywhere!
I haven't come up with a name yet, (The FUDdies?) and the temptation to name the awards after a particular individual is too great. Lou Dobbs just doesn't deserve any more attention. But here's some great examples that I've come across lately that deserve nominations.
John Dvorak! He's a smart guy, and a world-class troll. This time, he's deliberately conflated Microsoft's Smart Tags with del.icio.us-style tagsonomy, and thrown in some semantic web bashing along the way. Plus, didja know people hate Flash? If he were really going for it, he would have shoehorned in some Linux vs. Windows platform wars, but he managed to get a whole bunch of hot buttons into one article already, so good for him. Best of all, John clearly knows the difference between these things, but wanted to stir shit up so he ignored the distinctions. That's intellectually dishonest!
Matt's pointed out another nominee: Susan Butler! She mentions a sad anecdote of a songwriter with AIDS who uses his royalties to pay for his treatment and indicates that a Creative Commons license would have kept him from making enough royalties to pay for his case. Why, if I never put my blog under a CC license, he might not have AIDS at all. That's intellectually dishonest!
Of course, there's many more examples. But facts have no place in this sort of discussion. It's time for ad hominem attacks and non sequitir arguments. I welcome suggestions for what we should name an award for intellectual dishonesty, along with a design for a badge that recipients can proudly display on their websites, or ideally, on their persons. Who's with me?