Talking to Trolls and Idiots

I watched Best of Christopher Hitchens Arguments And Clever Comebacks Part Five on YouTube a few days ago. Hitchens was a fine speaker with a sharp mind and a ready wit that he would unleash to hitch-slap a debating oppponent or heckler. There are any number of videos on YouTube featuring Hitchens on atheism and the existence of God, why religion is bad, and so on. One thing that often strikes me is the ludicrous nature of the comments that viewers leave. Occasionally, there some semblance of a civilised argument, but by and large, the exchanges quickly degenerate into abuse and name-calling. Typically, the same thing happens for videos about evolution and creationism/intelligent design. The pattern is: Person A, a Christian/Young Earther/Creationist, will make some remark about the video. Person B will initially respond with some relevant scientific argument, which A will either completely ignore, deny or counter with some fake science. A will resist all attempts at rationality, and B (and others), at some point, exasperated will simply start name-calling. A (and others) will reciprocate in kind—indeed often they will have started the insults.

This video is no exception. The most recent comment, as I write this, is from some idiot, called Walter White, who wrote:

I wish he was still alive, so I could punch him in the face repeatedly until he begged God to stop me.

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