Good Morning December 1st, 2016

Good morning on this the first day of December in the year of our Lord 2016.

So once again I’m contemplating the fact that there are many dumb atheists on Twitter who are good neither at thinking nor at reading. It’s frustrating, of course, but that’s really not very important in the grand scheme of things. More important is that it is a real temptation to over-generalize. Twitter’s extremely short character limits require a fair amount of imagination, background knowledge, and good judgment in order to understand non-trivial things which are said; of those who do not understand well some just move on and some ask for clarification, but there is a self-selection in favor of people with at least some wits and wisdom keeping their mouth shut unless they have something of value to say. Twitter, therefore, selects for a great many replies (to non-trivial tweets) being very dumb, since their lack of wits and wisdom make them think they have something to say when they didn’t even understand what they’re replying to.

But any time one has a self-selection bias, it becomes a great temptation to incorrectly generalize. And there are few ways to lose credibility faster than incorrect generalizations. Of course errors tend to compound, too, so not only will one lose credibility; believing in false generalizations will mean that before long, one won’t deserve credibility either.

For the moment my strategy is to mute people on twitter liberally. It’s not optimal; all people have value, though not everything everyone says has value, but I think what most of these people need is a friend to talk with them in depth over the course of several decades. That I certainly can’t be to random people on Twitter, so I think that simply ignoring them is the best compromise in order to avoid the temptations which the spewers of idiocy pose.

On a happier note, I tried out teledoc for my reinfection of strep, and it worked really well. The first time, a few weeks ago, I went to the local urgent care facility, which wasn’t too bad. Better than a hospital and about equal with a doctor’s office, though with less annoying paperwork. Still, one has to sit around and it’s not the cheapest thing in the world, if not overly expensive. At least under my insurance, Teledoc costs $40 per consultation, and after I signed up and filled out a short medical history questionnaire, I requested a consultation by phone and a doctor (located in my state, so they say) called me within five minutes. I described the history and symptoms in two minutes, she sent a prescription for amoxicillin over to my pharmacy one minute later, and after answering my question about the relationship of amoxicillin to penicillin (they’re the same class of drug, but are not at all the same drug, like how some drugs are metabolic precursors of the same thing, i.e. they become the identical drug once they get into your bloodstream), I was done. For the sort of illness which can plausibly be diagnosed over the phone, this is a really great option, and I’d certainly prefer this over going to a physical doctor’s office. Nothing in this world comes without tradeoffs, but at least for common stuff this seems like a real improvement.

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