Some anonymous PhD on the internet said it must be so.

Yes, I stumbled into the usual pointless Facebook comments section tar pit this morning. I've been pretty good avoiding Censorshipbook lately because of being super busy with freelance work and just doing other stuff much more useful.

You get the chick who uses emoticons and laughing reactions because she has no argument. Then you get the guy (gal? who knows) who comes in and rescues her. It's tag team rescue time!!! Full of 'yeahbutwhatabout' refutation of every piece of information you share!!!

Both have anonymous accounts, but the second claims to have a PhD.

"I have a PhD in some area of science so I must be listened to."

"But your little friend already dismissed another source because the guy wasn't a medical doctor."

"But I have a PhD."

"So the doctors and nurses I've spoken to who say masks are pretty useless, and the studies I've read that don't show great effectiveness, and all of this other valid information from knowledgeable experts -- I should ignore that?"

"Yes, because I have a PhD."

"But you're an anonymous account on Facebook with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle profile image."

"I have to do that because the people in this state are morons."

"So you're the person that's supposed to convince me, an anonymous alleged PhD on social media who is debating about something that is supposed to protect the people of the state whom he just called morons."

"Yes."

"Sure, dude. Grow a pair."

I put my name to my stuff*. Boy howdy, do I ever. I'm sure my parents could cry. 

I don't have a lot to lose. Check out my work history. I've been on the receiving end of doxxing and some real harassment. But I still use my name. 

If you are a PhD with all the self-assessed smarts and purported knowledge and skills to enter into a debate and take a stance of authority and even name-calling, you'd better:

  1. Lose the TMNT profile image.
  2. Put your name to it.
  3. Talk to your mom, because she's probably upstairs.

I remember the pipeline protest, and all of the anonymous keyboard warrior losers.

When anyone won't use their real name or photo, you have permission to dismiss what they say. Unless they're from Communist China or North Korea or somewhere where identity must be protected, you don't have to listen.

Why?

When we are hearing new information, there are a few ways we determine what we'll do with it, and whether we'll believe it or adopt it, or reject it.

The first way is to consider the source. Tag team gal in the above-mentioned discussion did that right out of the gate, dismissing every source people shared with her ("not a medical doctor, that was fact checked as a bad source, etc."). We ALL consider the source and I don't know why these anonymous profiles think their anonymity has no impact on the validity of their statements.

The second is to simply listen and compare with what else you've learned. Regarding masks, when all this started and the initial CDC masking recommendation went out, I started reading. Heck, I even sewed some at the time. But I kept reading. I talked to some medical nurses and doctors in the area. I listened to what some of them said online in groups as they talked about what they were seeing. I came to a different conclusion, ultimately.

When debating and considering, you have the right to know who the person is you're talking to because that has some determination on whether you should give them the authoritative respect they're demanding. Particularly when someone says they're a PhD, and are playing into the "trust the experts but not those experts" approach. Anyone can copy and paste some science-y sounding jargon into the comments section.

As I've said previously, an appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, and in a year when the authorities and experts have been neither in agreement, have been trying to assert authority they were never given, nor have been very respectful of our Constitutionally protected rights, it's not really a great appeal.

"I'm a PhD you morons. Listen to me."

Tell me, did your mom cut the crusts off of your PhD milk break sandwich, sweetheart?


Cartoon from the pipeline protests, where plenty of anonymous experts and trolls thrived.

P.S. Having letters after your name doesn't give you the right to rule people. You don't get to take away our rights no matter what papered degree you have.


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*The exception has to do with the long-forgotten Crafts Report forum, which shut down in 2003. Quite a story, ha ha.


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