After presenting an argument, I sometimes get the response: “You claim X, but X is absurd for the following reasons. Therefore you are an ignoramus.”
The form of this counter-argument is valid, but it usually misfires because I never claimed anything remotely similar to X. For example, I have been accused of rejecting quantum mechanics, and therefore of being entirely ignorant of modern physics. But here is an excerpt from what I actually wrote:
“Quantum mechanics has its origins in a series of discoveries made during the late 19th and 20th centuries . . . A close look at this early history reveals that the mathematics of quantum theory was developed in an admirably logical way; it was guided by experiment, by the conservation-of-energy principle, and by the requirement that the theory reduce to Newtonian mechanics in the macroscopic limit.
“As a mathematical formalism, quantum theory has been enormously successful. It makes quantitative predictions of impressive accuracy for a vast range of phenomena, providing the basis for modern chemistry, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and optics. It also made possible some of the greatest technological innovations of the 20th century, including computers and lasers.”
Is that a rejection? A woman who rejected a man in that manner would probably wake up with him in the morning.
Are my critics delusional? Well, not exactly. They know that I have rejected something; they just can’t be bothered to correctly identify it. In fact, I reject Niels Bohr’s interpretation of quantum theory. Bohr said “there is no quantum world,” whereas I say there is one. So which of us is the real champion of quantum physics?
Of course, it’s much easier to dismiss me as a crackpot than to defend Bohr’s avant-garde subjectivism. It’s easier — but it’s also cowardly and evasive.