Sunday, June 30, 2013


This is a lovely term, and I will employ it henceforth.

Derp: when someone has a strong attachment to his prior conviction, such that exposure to evidence will not make him surrender that conviction: that person is said to be derpy, or a derp.

For instance!  Take Obama and his birth certificate.

Take your hardshell tea bagger.  He (or she) is convinced that Obama was born in Kenya.  That is her prior conviction.

Now many of us -- you and I, I dare say -- if we have prior convictions, if, for instance, we head into a given situation, thinking, for example, that O.J. is guilty, or that Dan Cathy is kind of a homophobe, well, if we got evidence to the contrary, we'd be willing to change our minds; with enough evidence to the contrary, we would hold a different conviction.

As an example of this, when I was twenty I thought libertarian philosophy made sense.  I hadn't actually read Ayn Rand, mind you, but I had read books that talked about her, and I had read other libertarian philosophers, and when you're twenty and don't know much, all that seems fairly cool.

However, as I got older, and encountered new ideas, and read further, and deeper, and got more evidence, I began to see flaws in the libertarian philosophy.  I began to hold different convictions.

With derps, this does not happen.  Instead, they simply reiterate their prior convictions, more and more strongly.  They shut out and even flat out deny the evidence when it is presented to them.  (See here for a wonderful shining example of this, which led me to the term derp.)

I love this word, and I love even more the concept, which explains a thing that I have seen happening all around the internet and the country for the past decade or more, and have not been able to pin down with any exactitude.

Derps.  Yes.


Anonymous said...

Which, of course, reminds us of the hark a vagrant comic...

Though I guess they spell it durp.

Anonymous said...

Derps! Yes, I know a few. You can tell them by the way they begin an argument with "I've always said . . . " Blah, blah, blah, as if the fact that someone has been saying or doing the same idiotic stuff for 50 years has anything to do with the truth of what is being asserted.

Derps give way too much credence to longevity and consistency, although fossilized thinking is the opposite of critical thinking.