Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Just Google It...

[Johnathan Clayborn]

This particular post is part rant, part plea with people who have half a brain. I have seen a growing trend on the internet....or perhaps I'm experience Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon and I'm just noticing it more. In either case, the behavior perplexes me and I don't understand it.

If you've ever read my my blog before you will know that I enjoy having intelligent discussions with people who disagree with me because I am always secretly hoping that people can provide me with new information that I had not considered before.

The infuriating trend that I'm noticing of late goes something like this. I engage in a conversation about a topic. Someone else makes a general claim opposing my position about said topic. I am genuinely interested in how they arrived at their conclusion, so I ask them what information they read to arrive at their conclusion and they reply with "just Google it".  This is infuriatingly maddening.

Any Google search that I do would have presented me with information that I would have already considered when taking my original position. But, we don't all use Google the same way. For example; I might have searched "photo-voltaic architectural constructs whose primary purpose is the dissemination and distribution of vehicular traffic", but someone else might have searched for "Solar Roadways". Because the information that I get from Google is limited exclusively to my worldview, lived experiences, and vocabulary, it's always a possibility that I missed something when I looked in the first place. Hence the reason I enjoy engaging in discussions with people who do disagree with me. They have different experiences and knowledge and their Google searches would, probably, yield some different results based on their search criteria.

One of the claims made by the people who use this defense is "I don't feel like doing the research for you". This is a bullshit cop out. For one thing posting a link to a resource in a comment is not even remotely close doing the research. The article still has to be read, validating, synthesized, etc. If you are one of the people doing this, stop. You might think that it makes you seem smart, but it doesn't. In fact, it has the opposite effect; it makes you look lazy and stupid. It makes you look like you are afraid to cite your sources because you are afraid of being called out on bullshit.

If we are going to ever have a serious conversation about anything online you must at least be able to cite your sources. If you are confident in your beliefs, then back them up. If you generally want to actually try learn something, cite your sources. Telling people something and then not providing any examples or references to cite your sources makes you an intellectual coward. The person that I was engaged in conversion with today responded by essentially telling me to go to hell because I asserted that he was not capable of doing research due to his inability to provide a source. The funniest part of all of it is that at the beginning of our conversation I thought Solar Roadways might be a feasible idea in the long-term and he asserted his opinion that it was not feasible. I now actually believe that it is not feasible or possible, but only because other friends in my circles stepped up and shared their sources and provided information that I had not seen before. I am not afraid to change my position based on new evidence that comes to light. I am not afraid of making a mistake in my initial analysis because I approach things logically and consider new facts as they are presented. Those who have the intellectual prowess to analyze things cognitively and rationally generally don't have this issue. People who lack the wherewithal to engage in cognitive analysis, in my experience, generally tend to cop out and make excuses. They make wild claims and then refuse to back them up. They don't come across as intelligent, they come across as ignorant, and sometimes a touch crazy. Don't be that person. Seriously, share your sources. Learn something from each other.

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These blogs represent my thoughts, ideas and opinions. They may be different from yours. You may not agree with them. While I do enjoy a good, polite debate on a topic (where points are countered with other points based on logic, reason and fact), I do not enjoy an argument (where you tell me that I am wrong simply because you disagree and cannot offer any reasons to support your position). I am very respectful of others, and I expect everyone on here to be respectful in return, not only to me, but to each other as well. Disrespectful posts will be deleted automatically. Feel free to share your ideas, but keep it civil, please.