The Map to Nowhere: Intellectual denial of service attacks, part 2

Stick ’em up, you were wrong on the internet

In my first post on intellectual denial of service attacks, I covered something I dubbed “bad infinitum,” a tendency for non-experts to overwhelm experts with repetitive, costly, and often unproductive demands for evidence or counter-argument to oft-debunked or misleading claims. Here, I’ll cover another of these intellectual attack vectors, which I’ll call “the map to nowhere.” An asymmetry exists in each of these attacks: easy to launch, hard to counter.

Many responses to my first post mentioned the need for a renewed trust of experts. I’m not so sure of this. The squelching of productive conversation can go both ways, as I hope to describe.

(Aside: In a comment on Hacker News, tinono mentioned noticing a similarity with Paul Graham’s essay, “Keep Your Identity Small,” in my comment about not wanting to go back on previously-stated beliefs. His essay greatly influenced my thinking on the topic, and it deserves your attention if you haven’t read it)

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