Thom Stark announced that he was “retiring” from blogging the other day; he said he needed more time for family and other responsibilities. I’m sure the fact that we were dropping responses on him like lightning hadn’t much to do with that.
Recently, too, John Loftus in mourning the death of a fellow Skeptic remarked that the death was making him re-evaluate his use of time he spends on the computer.
Want a surefire way to spend less time on the computer? It’s simple:
Produce better arguments. Seriously.
If you produce better arguments, you won’t have to spend as much time defending yourself later from criticism. In other words, as the old saying goes, do it right the first time.
It’s no secret how to do this. It involves research and dedication. It involves surveying a wide variety of views from a wide variety of sources, so that you can anticipate potential counter arguments, and also synthesize findings from other related fields and resources. It involves anticipating possible objections by thinking through your argument and thinking how YOU would answer if you were on the other side. (Loftus calls this the “Outsider Test”. He thinks the only proof you did it right is that you became just like him.)
For example: When I look up something about, say, a passage in Luke, I don’t just look for the first Luke commentary I see. I pull down at least 5-7 of the most recent and best commentaries, including those from perspectives I generally disagree with, to see what they say. That way I know if answers are sound, or are open to criticism, or what sort of arguments I may get from an opponent in the future.
This isn’t 100% foolproof, of course. There are some objections (especially stupid ones) that can never be anticipated no matter how hard you try. But it sure helps, and that’s one reason why I very seldom find it necessary to spend time on the computer past usual working hours – maybe once or twice a month at most.
I wouldn’t look for Skeptics/critics to learn their lesson, though. It’s much easier for them to do it wrong the first time.