How Not to Impose on a Complete Stranger’s Time

How Not to Impose on a Complete Stranger’s Time September 26, 2013

Method 1: Demonstrate those Napoleon Dynamite with a Mean Streak social skilz (chicks dig guys with skilz) that do so much to enamor internet atheists to Normals.

From: Socratic Forum
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 2:19 PM
To: Mark Shea
Subject: Debate Proposal– challenge!

Jersey Flight from the Socratic Forum for Thought would like to challenge Mr. Shea to a debate. Our understanding is that Mr. Shea resides in Washington?
The format of the debate would be a bit different. Short opening statements, after which the respective debaters will engage in an informal exchange.

On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM, Mark Shea wrote:
What is the debate about? With whom?

From: Socratic Forum
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 2:35 PM
To: Mark Shea
Subject: Re: Debate Proposal– challenge!

With Jersey Flight.
Topic: Does God Exist?
ii) or Is Theism Relevant?
You can listen to the last debate we sponsored here:

On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Mark Shea wrote:
So you want to have a debate about something you’ve already debated about?

From: Socratic Forum
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:04 AM
To: Mark Shea
Subject: Re: Debate Proposal– challenge!

Yes. Haven’t you addressed this topic more than once? Me thinks you might be afraid?

No. Extremely busy, as grownups tend to be. And I might have done it despite my being swamped, but the grade school taunt decided me against it. Out of all the work I need to plow through, adding “Argue with some stranger who insults me” is not something I need to add to the list. Enjoy your sophomore year in high school. Hope you learn some manners.


Dear Internet Atheist: Learn from Wil Wheaton. When you ask a total stranger to drop everything he’s doing (in my case, editing a book, ghosting two others, working fitfully on a novel, maintaining two blogs and a column, as well as cranking out several other pieces each month, and working 60 hour weeks on a lot less sleep than I’d like in order to keep the wolf from the door) in order to go indulge your intellectual dilletantism for free, consider it possible that as a rational economic actor he needs to budget his time. So if you want him to carve out that time just for Extremely Special You, you had better work on those politeness skilz your mommy tried in vain to teach you. Because if you immediately suggest he’s a coward when he wonders why you want to argue about something you’ve already argued about, it’s likely he–and all Normals–will conclude that you are in gross violation of Wheaton’s law and dismiss you on the basis of not casting pearls before swine. Wheaton’s Law: Learn it. Love it. Live it.

Browse Our Archives