Thursday, January 20, 2011

Do atheists spell better?

Well, based on actually empirical data, probably a little bit, but not much. But in my direct experience amongst atheist bloggers and blogophiles? ZOMG, the comments on the blogs I frequent are a joy to read compared to the tripe that infests most of teh interwubz. It's not even just what is said, or the logic and critical thinking that is applied -- though that counts for something too. It's that people seem to care a little bit about spelling and grammar, at least enough to try and make themselves understandable.

What occasioned these remarks is that I happened to stumble upon this while I was Googling for something else. Neither the Creationist nor the person debating him/her comport themselves particularly well. They both come across like idiots. I didn't read the whole thing, so I don't know if "99octane" eventually got around to anything of substance. But "ViRuS"'s initial post is just hilarious. Best line of all:

If evolution is so write then hocome it's still called a theory?

This is not even Poe's Law; this is beyond Poe's Law. If someone were to present this little gem as a parody of intertubian Creationists, I would say that it is not realistic, nobody could be that dense and still manage to find the right buttons to post to a forum. I pray (figuratively!) that English is not his or her first language, because then it would be partially understandable -- although the "hocome" part just blows my mind.

Well, at least "ViRuS" used the proper form of "it's"/"its"...


  1. That'd be a nice dissertation for a sociology student extending my research on religion and verbal ability! A systematic content analysis of comments on forums/blogs of different religious character could look at spelling, grammar, and sentence complexity....or even fact and logic!

  2. There's definitely some kind of correlative effect going on here, though I couldn't tell you what correlates with what. But I know that every time I wander too far off the beaten path of my familiar corner of the Internet, I'm just absolutely stunned.

    It's not only the atheist blogs, though... A couple years ago I spent a lot of time behind the scenes at Wikipedia, so that includes people of all stripes -- nerds; pedants; zealots for any number of causes; alt-med mavens; uber-nationalists of any country, you name it; crackpots and conspiracy theorists; religious fundies, religious liberals, Randian douchebags, secular liberals, and everything in between; activists for any cause you can possibly think of; and people who just like to show off how they are RIGHT and everyone else is wrong. And yet, generally speaking the quality of dialog even in the most questionable corners of the project was a noticeable cut above what you find elsewhere, like on YouTube or whatnot.

    Several years back I spent some significant time on a chess forum. I read an LGBT activism blog (where occasionally I get lightly chastised for not being nice enough to the theistic allies, hehehe). On all of these disparate things, the quality of discourse, while not always great, at least is good enough that it doesn't make me want to weep for the human race.

  3. I've definitely noticed the same trend, and have wished for someone to do a rigorous study. I also once wondered aloud on some thread whether there exists a viral alternative spell-checker among creationists. Someone very evil could have had a good laugh.

    However, I can understand the how come typo much better than right/write mistake.

  4. "Well, at least "ViRuS" used the proper form of "it's"/"its"..."

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  5. When you think about it, even Markuze's mental diarrhea is better than average than most interwub drivel, at least in terms of spelling and grammar. Capitalization and formatting is about typical. And while the incoherency and violence of his comments are probably worse than most of what you see on the internet, it would not really be out of place at all in YouTube comments, would it?