Some time today, I’m going to go through all the writers’ groups I belong to online and cancel my memberships of all but a couple. It’s something that I’m very sad about since I love chatting with other writers about books, genres, ideas, and the craft of writing, but I’ve had enough. The problem is, in every group to which I belong, while there is a handful of serious, intelligent people who can talk sensibly about these things, that happy few is vastly outnumbered by a great mass of stupid, ignorant idiots who can’t even construct a sentence let alone put anything worth reading into it.
Arrogant? Opinionated? Moi?
Well, yes, I suppose so, but if I join a “hard science fiction” group (say) I don’t expect it to be full of people speculating about the role their particular god played in manipulating human evolution (or, in a couple of cases, denying that evolution even happens!) When I cite Einstein or list some experimental findings to support an idea, I don’t want to be told I have a ‘closed mind’ because, well, I’m not sure why, except that the position of most people in these groups seems to be that, if you can imagine it, it must be possible, so scientific evidence can all be taken with a pinch of salt!
The thing is, they’re writers, of course, not scientists (for the most part) or philosophers, and that seems to give them freedom to talk all kinds of twaddle about life without the need for any kind of evidence or investigation. Their belief seems to be adequate justification for any bizarre position whatsoever. And I don’t just mean belief in gods or other supernatural beings of forces – just belief. They don’t believe in global warming – so it’s not happening. They believe that alien bacteria are alive on Earth – so that must be true. They don’t believe that the speed of light is the fastest you can go – so there’s no need to worry about that, then. They believe that psychic powers are real – so they can ignore forty years of exhaustive studies on the matter that say they’re not. And on, and on. It’s driving me mad. Mad, I tells ya.
I’m beginning to think that, when I’m Dictator of the World (surely it must happen soon, since anything is possible, right?), I will make everyone who wants to write take a sanity test. If they fail – because they believe their beliefs are more valid than actual evidence and are therefore clearly certifiable – they will only be allowed to write in crayon in locked, padded rooms. Meanwhile, the best I can do is stay out of the places where these people congregate – science fiction writers’ forums – and lament that my efforts to network with like-minded people have been stymied by the astonishing scarcity of such people.