The Courtier's Reply is a concept first articulated by PZ Myers, who proceeds to prove what a brilliant communicator and educator he is by presenting himself as a continuous living example of it. From the Rational Wiki -
It derives from a supposed spin doctor for the naked emperor in the fable The Emperor's New Clothes. Essentially it is a form of intellectual bullying that questions a person's right to rebut an argument on the grounds that the rebutter lacks experience with the subject at issue.
This argument is particularly favored by anyone who fancies themselves more qualified than others on a subject.
The essence of The Courtier's Reply is one of aloof disdain in dismissing critics when defending positions that, usually, the courtier is incapable of defending. It displays contempt by implying that the critic is uneducated, poorly read, and is beneath the courtier intellectually.
This definition for the The Courtier's Reply is somewhat limited, because it does not highlight the full range of contemptuous dismissal to avoid answering the question that is present in the full FFTB arsenal. Below are other common variants of The Courtier's Reply.
"I don't have the time right now"Edit
Usually presented in this kind of format -
- "I’m more than usually swamped for time right now, and don’t have time to get more deeply into the conversation."
The implication is that the person making the statement is super-busy, super-important and how dare a gnat like you waste their time with irrelevencies? This dismissal is elevated to high art by Greta Christina, but is a standard staple for most of FFTB.
"You have anger management issues"Edit
This is dismissal coupled with denunciation and is delivered in numerous variations. The implication is that the critic has no control over their irrational hostility, and is best ignored in order to not inflame their hostility. It also attempts to deny the fact that any legitimate grievances against established FFTB orthodoxy could ever exist.
"X is exhibiting clear indicators of suffering from Y"Edit
Another extremely common dismissal/denunciation rooted in FFTB amateur psychiatry. The implication is that the critic is mentally unstable and suffering from neurological disorder, because any sane person will always agree with established FFTB orthodoxy. Thumbnail diagnoses are routine. They are based on such concrete evidence as "X is probably schizophrenic" because someone once saw X smoking a cigarette. This variant of The Courtier's Reply is particularly useful for evasive tactics, because, apparently, FFTB have the entire DSM-IV manual at their disposal.
The dismissal of shallownessEdit
AKA "dismissal of last resort". Implying a critic is empty, shallow, deceitful and of no consequence, therefore they should not be read or linked to. Reserved mostly for critics that make points that cannot possibly be refuted by any conventional means, and outright abuse or threat fail. Unlike the other Courtier's Replies, it does not address the target directly and is typically a warning to others in the third person and follows this format -
- #126 PZ Myers: please don’t echo Scented Nectar’s empty-headed dishonesty here. What I mainly recall about her is her bizarre habit of posting videos of animated anagrams as if they somehow had meaning: she’s dumb as a wet bag of hair.
Above is comment #126 written by PZ in a Pharyngula article against an MRA