Monthly Archives: March 2018, Still The Better Option

I opened a Minds account when it was starting to gain popularity, about two years ago, something like that.

The platform is really decent in terms of interacting with others and uploading content, as well as chatting privately. And lacking censorship, you don’t have to worry about being reported for “offending”, whatever that means when simply exchanging opinions.

At some point it was overrun by the right and far right, as shown by trending themes. And that was a bit off-putting.

But however accommodating one might find Facebook, the reality is the platform monetises everything down to private messages, peered into for nefarious purposes.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was of utmost importance. It explained so much regarding this so-called organic rise of the right, “coincidentally” around the time of major elections across the world.

And fair enough, there are many people duped or radicalised by such propaganda on these platforms designed for free speech.

But you as an individual can still communicate with your friends and acquaintances without having to worry about your every word being used against you or exploited for commercial purposes.

And that’s the main thing, I imagine.

The ability to express oneself without the worry of being monitored or reported for potentially offensive language, which is such a subjective notion, is also important. Even if you have to sift through really unpalatable stuff on a regular basis.

It really is paramount to feel safe from hysterical types likely to intimidate, censor or even report you as a result of taking offence.

The Microsoft privacy scandal added to the already existing Facebook controversy.

Perhaps these platforms based on free speech, coupled with open source software, are the actual way to go right now, without hesitation or delays.

Later edit

Having been more active on Minds lately, it’s very enjoyable and engaging, especially through the circuit of earning points and using them to boost the views of your content or someone else’s. I’d never used that option before and hadn’t looked into how it worked.

You don’t have to pester anybody or pay money (although there is an option for the latter as well) in order to get more views. Just being active enables you to earn points in a variety of ways, an then redeem a minimum of 1000 views for a post, video, profile etc, or wire points to someone else. You can be flat broke, “friendless” (without a network to share your content) and still get your content out.

It’s a very good system.

It’s much better than Facebook, which relies on people sharing your stuff (if they even see it), you linking to it on various pages etc. Which I wouldn’t do anyway, not just because it’s “spammy”, but because posting opinions there, in more developed forms than short comments, is always risky (one can be mobbed or reported for the slightest thing; you just don’t know when it’s going to happen.

What I also can’t stand about Facebook is comment filtering – some algorithm deciding which comments are relevant. Even the mention, “some may have been filtered out”, is extremely annoying. I make a point out of looking for them even if I don’t particularly care, just to try to figure out their criteria. Obviously, any comment I post can be rendered invisible, based on who knows what, so what is the point in posting it?

Facebook also chooses when you get updates from pages you subscribe to. At times you don’t get them when they are posted but in bulk, later. I haven’t verified whether you get them all or simply what they show you.

The more I use Minds, the more I like it.


Writers Using Microsoft Word Should Be Very Concerned

As of May 2018, the new Terms of Service, freshly embellished by Microsoft, will allow the company to “revise the content” of a service user if there are suspicions of it violating their Code of Conduct.

That involves a sweeping freedom to police any material created using Microsoft Office, or kept in One Drive, for “offensive language”, whatever that means (no list of actual words is provided, therefore making it an arbitrary judgement). By sharing, I suppose sharing it with one person counts.

iv. Don’t publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).

By default, that would include any drafts (calling a typed document a manuscript may seem strange) someone isn’t sharing publicly and is keeping for completion and editing. Private writings, to be specific. Anything you keep there, from memoirs and journals to fiction, will be, as of May, potentially “revised” (policed) by Microsoft at their discretion in search of forbidden language, even though such documents are, I repeat, private. If, say, a character you have created uses “offensive language” or “hate speech”, your document just might be flagged by a bot, resulting in someone peering into it and anything else you might’ve written.

“Material involving nudity and criminal activity” is very vague. Does it apply to drawings? Apparently, yes, as Paint 3D is among said services. Does it apply to sharing articles about criminal activity? What about fiction? What about erotica? That would be classed as pornography, I suppose (which would take us back to the 1800s or something).

Although they claim they will not “make an attempt” to police everyone’s content in real time, the fact that they take the liberty to do so is unsettling.

Adding to that, this article points out the following:

I’m not sure that will make you feel better, as another portion states that Microsoft “may also block delivery of a communication (like email, file sharing or instant message) to or from the Services in an effort to enforce these Terms or we may remove or refuse to publish Your Content for any reason.”

To block the delivery of a communication in real time, it must be monitored as such.

“We may remove” means what, since it also applies to Office and One Drive? Remove a document from an Office program it is created in; remove it from the cloud?

How’s that for intellectual property?

No, they are not law enforcement and the only consequence would be the swift termination of your Microsoft account, with its potential ramifications (which could be substantial if One Drive is the only backup you use for your files, for instance).

Nonetheless, it is downright creepy and too evocative of communism, for those who have experienced it or have first hand accounts of what it was like. And if anyone is puzzled over people freaking out over this, please note it does not mean those people use racist, xenophobic, homophobic etc language or want to do so in the future. But this is just too creepy.

Not knowing exactly what words they’ll be looking for means they can set any criteria for “offensiveness”.

When engaging in creative writing, the last thing you want to worry about is whether a term you use, either directly or through a character, is flagged by a bot, resulting in the complete invasion of your privacy and termination of your account (without warning and enough time to retrieve any information you might lose, I presume). Your emails and Skype communications will also be policed. Yes, that is actually coming, pardon the alarmist tone.

Most emails are very private and unless they represent proof of some criminal activity, signalled by someone, they should remain as such; it is unacceptable for a person to be scrutinised by a company for the language they use in that context; it would be like doing so for the language used inside their home.

That is somewhat like the Stasi, pardon the dramatic comparison, opening up your intimate letters, looking through your journals and manuscripts to check for forbidden words. The feeling it causes is similar – that of being suddenly watched in everything you do and transmit to others. Whilst I understand the need for restricting language on a public platform, where people interact and can cause or take offence (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc), this is like invading a person’s home; a person’s private space.

Of course, you do have options. Such as Libre Office (which I am now using). And Linux (which I will be using shortly).

We’re all aware surveillance and data collection are going on at some level. But this is too much.

It’s not even law enforcement looking for potential (actual) threats, but what’s-his-face working for a corporation, behind a computer screen, going through your private material scouring for something to pick on.

I rest my case.

Later Edit

Apparently, the “revision” would have to be prompted by a complaint against you (although if they reserve the right to revise your material anytime they could do it regardless, and your consent would be presumed by continuing to use their services).

But even that leaves room for abuse and vindictiveness.

Let’s say you sent a joke, at any point, containing language deemed unacceptable by Microsoft, to someone you trusted, via email or Skype. Let’s say the person later becomes angry and vindictive towards you, for completely unrelated reasons. They are now aware of you having broken the code of conduct, even in a minuscule way and in good spirits at the time. They can now launch a complaint against you and prompt Microsoft to invade your privacy and possibly terminate your account.

So no, this is not a workable plan.

I understand that the comparison to communist data collection may seem exaggerated. However, in those days, and presumably now in some countries, reporting a person for having used a forbidden term or having expressed a forbidden opinion was sometimes a matter of retaliation for personal issues. It’s not a far stretch to conclude that this policy would – and will – be used by some to settle personal vendettas.

Yet another edit: your information on LinkedIn is part of the package as well, apparently.

As have many people, once upon a time I opened a LinkedIn account at someone’s invitation, not realising the platform was about to be purchased by Microsoft. And as have many people, I only added a few contacts, then forgot about it and didn’t use it again.

Today I belatedly came upon the fact that not only does Microsoft now own all the data posted there by users, but there is some kind of integration between LinkedIn and Office 365, to enable document sharing.

As of 2018, Skype communications are supposedly encrypted; previous tests showed that was not the case for some time. In fact I was surprised two or three years ago when, while texting to someone and mentioning a city, an advert for its “best hotels” popped up in a matter of seconds. Advertising didn’t bother me that much, however, it proved that the content of the conversation was relevant to a third party.

Since the code of conduct also applies to Skype, it makes me wonder how they would investigate any complaints, or block text messages from being sent.


Stripping In Taverns, More Dignified Than Being A Talent Show Contestant

As I don’t watch talent-finding competitions, the issue has never been of much interest to me. Much about them seemed contrived, overdone, following a worn-out script designed to attract gawkiness and through it heaps of money.

However, speculation around shows such as The X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent only scratched the surface; there is a video detailing an actual contract one has to sign when auditioning for the latter.

Among the most disturbing aspects are the following.

Contestants sign over the rights to any intellectual property they have ever produced, to the company, to be used as the company sees fit.

Remember that old scene from Friends with the Smelly Cat song being sold to a company to be turned into a jingle? A small odd example, but that could literally happen to a contestant’s precious work of years or decades.

Imagine that, giving away your every composition, be it musical, written, filmed etc, to a pack of corporate sharks who put nothing towards it. Creating is a very intimate process and involves a lot of emotional attachment. Sometimes it evolves out of deep feelings a person has while going through a powerful life experience.

And technically, should it be found of some commercial value by the company, it could be used in any way. Technically, they could take a song you composed after the death of a loved one five years prior to auditioning and use it in an advert for kitty litter.

The same applies to content posted on social media, such as a channel on any given topic. They will now own years of putting hours and hours into an organic project of your own making. All that for the prospect of being controlled by them in the future.

Obviously, as the video details, anything you released that they find unpalatable, such as blogs or videos, is now at their discretion, to be left online or taken down. That could be years of time and effort invested, simply wiped away by your new owners.

If that is not selling your soul, I don’t know what is.

Contestants sign over their rights to their own image.

Anything ever released in public, containing your image, will belong to the company. That includes past, present and future material.

Which means you can no longer retrieve previously posted material should you choose to do so, and should the company decide to leave it online, it’s staying there.

When merely grasping at a chance to become famous, a person possibly doesn’t consider the carelessly posted images or footage hardly anyone has an interest in except for friends or family. Should they want to remove it later, they’ll have to go through their new owners.

Of course this applies to any footage, even personal (family holiday photos etc) for the duration of the contract. Hell, they’ll own your wedding photos I suppose, if they are publicly shared, and of course that cannot happen without their permission (details below).

Now consider this situation: someone hacks your computer or phone and retrieves some nudes, and then publishes them. Stupid as it is, people do take and keep such photos. Your nudes, if published, even against your will, will be owned by the company as agreed by contract. The company decides whether to pursue a course of action to have them removed or whether it would be more beneficial to leave them in place. As an individual you might be able to go to the police about the hacking, but you have no right to those images. So basically you are signing away the right to prospectively keep your toby or vagina off the internet, and any other humiliating material. Your toby or vagina is now a commercial asset.

Illegally obtained paparazzi footage? Another celebrity might be able to take them to court and have the images removed, if they were trespassing or using other such methods. But you won’t because the company now owns them all.

Contestants who get to the semifinals give up their right to express themselves in public, in any way, shape or form, unless authorised by the company by written consent.

In other words, before even replying to a comment on Facebook or Twitter, which hundreds of millions of people freely do on a daily basis on a coffee break, you must ask permission from the company. As the author of the video broods, it’s no wonder people who are on a contract with these fuckers are so silent.

That is infuriating and I can only imagine it feels like being in prison or in a witness protection program, while trying to live a normal life. It must be very isolating to have less options to express an opinion than a ten-year-old.

How does this fare with the Human Rights Convention? Is it legal to force a person to live like this if they change their mind?

The company can keep renewing the licence to your content in perpetuity.

That is to say, if you lose your market value to them, you might get the rights to your content back and be freed from the devil’s grasp.

But should they decide they can keep milking you, they are free to do so for as long as they like, even long after you have concluded that the deal was  shitty to begin with.

This is not collaboration or employment, it’s ownership of another person’s labour and basically falls short of ownership of that person as well.

Contestants who suffer as a result of the company’s actions cannot sue the company.

This is a major one, because half of those becoming involved in talent shows are lured there in order to be turned into laughing stocks, nationally and internationally, for monetary profit, which can have a major negative impact on their lives. By the time they realise this it’s too late.

Some of them are very young and naive, not very literate or even psychologically frail and prone to exploitation. Many do not fully read or understand what they are signing. The producers are not only aware of it but banking on it.

And as has been exposed before, some who are observably vulnerable are pursued by such shows in order to be ridiculed as much as possible. There was a Welsh lady, a few years ago, pestered by representatives of the X Factor to re-audition (three or four times); she was even offered free lodging and transport. Exploiting her in order to turn her into the subject of mockery was vomit-inducing.

People watching these shows are probably not aware that no one wanders in there off the street. Everyone enjoying the “privilege” of national and international ridicule, for years to come, goes through a series of auditions first and is deliberately misled into thinking they have a chance.

This is an obvious breach of trust, morally fraudulent at least; it can and does result in people ending up with depression and suicidal thoughts. They are systematically, cruelly lured into having their lives turned upside-down for the profit of these sharks.

It really should be illegal.

By signing that contract they obviously don’t understand (since they don’t even understand the practical perils of these shows), they are giving up the right to complain about being deceived and exploited.

Sliming which is one inch away from defamation is made legal by this contract.

Whereas defamation involves spreading lies in order to destroy someone’s reputation, the techniques employed by these shows don’t fall far behind, in terms of portraying people inaccurately by splicing and piecing together bits and bobs to make them look ridiculous.

They don’t have to make anything up; all they have to do is manipulate the content you provide them with in order to create a certain image.

One particularly cruel method the X Factor uses in the so-called “judges’ houses” (rented properties where said celebrities briefly show up) is depriving contestants of food and water for long periods of time, in scorching heat, to then film people who are physically sick and dehydrated, creating the impression they are agitated or even freaking out.

They can be portrayed as emotionally unstable or hysterical by inducing physical malaise, as arrogant for reacting negatively when prodded, or as less talented by deliberately giving them tasks which can’t be optimally accomplished (putting together groups which don’t sound well, mandating they sing songs which don’t suit their voices etc). All this is done for entertainment and in order to obtain as many flops as possible.

Sometimes they make them dress ridiculously on purpose.

Adding to that, they can, as stipulated by the contract, demand that contestants behave in certain ways in front of the camera and then release the footage as genuine, leading viewers to believe that is your actual behaviour and personality. Whilst it takes a dash of stupidity to actually do it, some people don’t realise the consequences the so-called silliness can have.

One contestant who couldn’t cry on cue for the camera to produce the staple sob story was let go of shortly after.

In conclusion, they are treated like monkeys in a circus, to be exploited in any way and for as long as possible, and nothing more. No one deserves that, especially when going there in all honesty.

Idealisation – A Plague For Free Thought

Many people today proclaim their healthy scepticism as a guiding principle, constantly reevaluating their views, absorbing more information and trying to be as objective as possible when taking a stance.

Apparently, at least.

When engaging in conversations on social media, I can’t help but notice how many are still enslaved by their biases to the point of rejecting proven facts, denying history and common sense, not to mention displaying double standards, in order to affirm their complete trust in a public figure, political movement or religious figment.

The enamourment of some leftists with Margaret Sanger runs along these lines.

She is praised as a hero for “championing women’s rights”, when her declared agenda was to rid her country of as many “undesirables” as possible (underprivileged, that is).

Rumour has it the left stands for those same people Margaret Sanger despised; the internet is littered with quotes from her books, praising eugenics as an efficient method of reducing the number of the “unfit”. She showed nothing but disdain for them.

However, since she is pushed forward by the religious as some kind of proof that atheists are utilitarian, some atheists have embraced her as a symbol of women’s liberation. That in itself shows they either know nothing about the woman’s actual views and simply propagate memes, or they don’t mind those views that much, despite adhering to the left side of politics, which now campaigns against these exact views today.

Honestly, it’s a mindfuck.

Propaganda in favour of eugenics has not been mere hateful rhetoric; it has had dramatic, life-altering consequences for large numbers of people, who were subjected to forced sterilisation in the US and elsewhere.

There is probably nothing more degrading to a human being than being told they are so unworthy of life that anyone potentially carrying one of their traits must be prevented, by force, from being born.

Nowhere does the elitist part of the left become more evident than in agreeing with or tolerating eugenics. Some commentators infer the measure was meant to reduce impairing conditions; however, it implies considering those singled out inferior by default, and less or not worthy of existing.

And where would one draw the line once the initial line is crossed? What would be acceptable to some?

Sanger didn’t focus on the passing down of “wrong genes” (those causing impairments), but on limiting the number of poor people, not by reducing poverty but by encouraging the poor to stop breeding.

How that can coexist in someone’s mind with seeking equality and social justice, I’ll never understand.




The Alt-Right Fetishising Eastern Dictatorships

It’s something you’d have to see to believe – some who lament the “tyranny” of today’s left have developed a fascination with countries like Russia and Belarus.

Sifting through hundreds of comments below documentaries such as this one, revealing a system much like Ceausescu’s Romania, was a baffling experience. The blood-curdling accounts of people threatened with arrest for watching anti-system plays, the imprisonment of political dissidents and candidates, the assassination attempts, the executions and torture, the disappeared who have never been heard from again.

All this to some means absolutely nothing, compared to the fact that “in the UK you’re not allowed to bash gays or be racist anymore”. All this, compared to the drama of the persecuted “white cis heterosexual man”, is a side issue.

“Minsk is the cleanest capital in Europe”, some say. “The streets are safe and people are happy there; pay no attention to western propaganda; liberals are the true fascists.”

“I love how this documentary is like “this place is an evil dictatorship” and people look insanely happy.”

How deluded can these people be?

Just because it doesn’t happen in front of their eyes on a daily basis, while they’re on holiday, they’re willing to claim it’s not an issue. Guess what – communist Romania did a great job of creating an idyllic image while these horrors were going on in the background. In public, everyone laughed and clapped enthusiastically, and had to be seen smiling, while privately terrified of what could happen to them for having told a joke in a pub. To this day some around the world take that “happiness” as genuine.When are they going to stop believing those who claim a dictator is widely loved, for fear of losing their lives if they say otherwise?

Why must those who suffer brutality, genuine censorship and having family members murdered be spat in the face by basement-dwelling skinheads who call their situation “ideal”?

To some, Belarus sounds like paradise.

“They didn’t submit to the Jewish plan of flooding Europe with immigrants.” “You are not forced to adopt the gay agenda there.”

How fucked up must someone be, and how central to their life must it be to bash gays or be racist, to claim they’d rather live among KGB kidnappings and executions than endure the diversity of western liberalism?

That is why sane people are adverse to socialist states, shitheads. Because of what has happened and continues to happen in places like Belarus.

How can those who complain about Twitter bans drool over living in a place where one is arrested and tortured for having the wrong opinion? How can they even make that comparison?

Russia is an even greater example of popular misconception, as Putin has, paradoxically, become the hero of “free speech advocates” who “oppose the Soros-sponsored agenda of leftist censorship”.

What it boils down to, for these muppets, is that even though such countries are suffocated by human rights abuses, people there still have the crucial “freedom” to be bigots, which to them seems to be everything that matters.


It’s Not Zen; It’s Neurosis

Although the title is in jest, as by no means am I qualified to identify mental illness, I have to point out my perplexity in the face of the toothpaste commercial smiles, literal or figurative, displayed by religious zealots I have debated. More often than not, the glibness masks a deep anxiety, which surfaces as soon as their claims are disputed.

It’s almost as if they had something to prove to themselves, not to the world at large, about the purity of their positivity and beliefs.

At first sight, they look down on the rest of us mortals from a mountain top, convinced they have mastered not only the art of flawless living, but also boundless love for mankind and the perfect, guru-like composure.

“God has filled me with love; like Him, I love even those who hate me; I know it’s not their time to understand the divine plan yet. I look upon them with compassion, extending my hand with a fragrant flower and the holy scriptures. I know they will someday find the right path and I have a duty to point them towards it. I smile at them and speak softly, and nothing can ever disturb my peace.”

Not only are their claims about the world, so gently expanded upon, often offensive and repulsive (when not simply delusional); when they are challenged, this love swiftly morphs into indignation, false pity and even disdain.

However, there are those non-believers who take the “niceness” seriously for the sake of civility (though claiming to be free thinkers) and thereby defend it, regarding the drivel-spewer as an elegant dove of peace, as long as their tone remains a soft one. The grotesque nature of what they are actually saying seems beside the point. Pretending that it doesn’t bother me or insult my intelligence would be a lie.

The invisible Stasi 

When speaking to a believer, one must remain aware that they are not only preoccupied with what their interlocutors think, but also with how they fare before the omnipresent, ever-recording God, who takes note of their every word and thought, to someday hold them accountable. Which is why a natural dialogue, unrestrained by such concerns, is hardly possible. It’s like having an invisible oppressor over your shoulder, speaking only what he/she would like to hear, in anticipation of a reward or punishment, if not now then later.

Imagine this train of thought inside a believer’s head, in a real time conversation with a detractor.

“I’m calm because You want me to be calm. OK, this one is a little standoffish. Inspire me to persuade him. Nope, that didn’t work. He’s really getting on my nerves now but I must be kind, because he will eventually see Your greatness. Should I call him out? You called people out so I guess it’s alright. I can’t lose my temper though because I will fail you and I can’t afford that. OK, this didn’t work either. Let’s up the game a bit. I know it’s hypocritical; I’m far from perfect; but you want me to teach him, right? I’m doing your work here. Unless I lose my humility and then I’ll be guilty of pride and sent to hell. But this guy just blasphemed; it’s unacceptable. Will you please forgive him? I must pray for him; it’s my duty. I must show love. Alright; that’s it. Warrior mode now. There’s a time and a place and this is it. Give me strength to put up with this idiot and set him straight. Oh, here goes the pride again… I’m sorry. But I must fight your war. That slightly compensates for my sins, which are numerous. Oh shit; I’m going to hell anyway, aren’t I?”

Of course these thoughts would occur at the speed of light, but that’s a glimpse into how it feels to live with the divine Stasi in your head. Everything is filtered through what he would or wouldn’t want from his loyal minion.

Which is why a conversation of this type cannot unfold naturally.

Satan in the bush

Not only is God following and recording the believer in real time; Satan lurks nearby as well. And as we know from Christian teachings, he seeks to exploit someone’s flimsiest weakness. He reads minds too – that’s how they have to watch their thoughts constantly, lest they be intercepted and used for temptation.

That is why the believer is, deep down, in a perpetual state of anxiety – and that’s why a relaxed and “loving” conversation can swiftly turn into the non-believer being warded off as a propagator of devilish lies. Have you ever noticed how quickly they switch their mode? It’s no secret that, as the “Satanic panic” proves, devout Christians see threats to their purity everywhere and are quick to avoid potential corruption. There are countless videos claiming to identify satanic influences in popular culture.

The very next step, for some, is to claim that non-believers (and especially anti-theists) are, wittingly or not, “working for the devil” (hey Satan, cough up the dough; I’m due a few years’ wages).

A believer therefore cannot yield an inch, for fear of leaving God or Satan with the impression of taking their faith less seriously. If a mere “maybe” slips past their lips or keyboard, it’s bad news.

God’s persecuted soldier

One might wonder how a person can seem Prozac-happy while thinking the world is evil, adverse to anything pure and a constant source of corruption.  The cult member/religious fanatic grin, accompanied by a glazed stare, is partly rooted in the thought of being special.

We are the chosen ones, who will emerge victorious; we rejoice anything the world throws at us.

This mentality leads them to see anyone attempting to reason with them as their persecutors, their enemies, who seek to transform the world into a satanic kingdom of debauchery and cold, murderous utilitarianism (atheists are associated with Nazism, communism etc).

Hence even a simple debate turns into the ancestral fight between good and evil; not only are they inflating their role but seeing you as a revolutionary for the destruction of the world (for, say, agreeing with gay marriage). Every anti-theist position you hold, even mildly, grants you that label automatically. They are at war, imagining you want to destroy them (yep, that actually happens and it’s quite something to witness).

The prodigal son fetish

I’ve seen believers describe (so candidly) their fantasies of the day those who reject God will turn around and glorify him, as if positioned atop a hill, watching the end of a long torment they suspect unbelief is (indulge in some popcorn while you’re at it). This phantasm fills their hearts with warmth and produces a delighted smile, based on… well, a shit sandwich. Based on nothing, basically.

Somehow they’re unable to comprehend how alienating that is and how it facilitates cutting contact with them altogether. It’s uncomfortable to relate to someone when in real time they are developing this parallel fantasy in their head where you’re concerned (one you’re aware will never manifest). The fact that they don’t accept you for who you are is reason enough to distance yourself (when feasible, of course). Whilst you might exercise tolerance with an elderly relative, everything considered, when it comes to friends matters are very different.

The saviour/ teacher fantasy

Isn’t it every believer’s dream to bring a poor lost soul into/  back into the fold? The condescension and tone of the wise lecturer are enough to make someone vomit.The appeal to emotion, the manipulation and all the cheap techniques they imagine they can use on you only produce embarrassed laughter, in the vein of this is so pathetic. 

Holding the absolute truth, a believer is convinced of being able to outsmart you and gently prod you into joining the ranks. The bouts of creativity in approaching you don’t demonstrate genuine wisdom or profound thought, but a mere sales pitch.

Don’t you know it’s their duty to love and correct you, to feel sad when you sin (although they do it constantly as well)? The righteous have a duty to “preach the truth”, even after in practice they fall short of following it.

Which is why you must be made to believe that they are genuinely better and happier than the general population.

Mutual reinforcement 

“Don’t worry; these people are on such a low level; they lack the proper understanding of our doctrine. They’ve got their own role as our challengers. But we’re safe in our world (wink wink).”

Community spirit can be so helpful and yet so damaging, depending on the circumstances. When troubled by logical questions posed by nonbelievers, believers often seek comfort in the safe bosom of their echo chamber. In conversations with multiple interlocutors, a dialogue of this type feels like observing a case of folie a deux. There is no need for reason or logical arguments, only exultation on both sides.

Tell them all you like that Noah couldn’t have gathered and “housed” all species of subterranean animals, not to mention all animals living halfway across the planet, which wouldn’t even have survived in his particular climate. That he was not a tamer of lions and pumas and crocodiles. That a boat that size, with the available materials and technology, wouldn’t even float.”God made it happen”, because “God can do anything”.

The glibness sometimes comes from the reassurance that no matter how far-fetched the things they claim are, there is someone in the vicinity to provide an echo. In fact, in a fair number of countries, the religious constitute the majority, which is why they can happily spill any bullshit without worrying about how it sounds.