Dumbest arguments … pretty much pick any argument I’ve ever had facilitating with guests at the museum where I work. I’ve heard everything from aliens building the pyramids to lizard people living inside a hollow earth. (and these are believers, not the ones making jokes).
I’ve heard just about every claim from the flat-Earthers and the creationists telling me why science is wrong, or we’re all being lied to. (and let me tell you, they can come up with some real doozies!)
Honestly, the hardest part is getting them to stop talking and let me move on to someone else. I’ve never had anyone get physical, and the few times a guest started really yelling at me, another guest stepped in and told them off. Of course, then I have to try and politely break up that fight instead.
Ahh. Fun times.
As for the arguments themselves, they just give me great stories to tell later.
Not really a full argument because I got to shut it down pretty fast once it really started, but it’s great…
So I’m in a meeting where a system we have to protect some digital content from being stolen is being presented and explained in detail. The guy running the meeting says something like “all the videos use the RTMP streaming protocol” and I have to interject with “actually it’s regular HTTP with some special chunking” and he’s like “oh, okay.” Then he says something like “it has a local server that provides a token” and I’m like “actually, no, the token authorization is online in a centralized location,” and again he seems cool with it.
This preamble is important because up to this point I thought I had been invited to the meeting specifically to elaborate on details, but apparently he thought I was just some rando who was there for funsies. So then he says something like “all the videos use the same decryption key” and I say “actually, each individual piece of a video has a different key, so on average there are about 100 keys needed to decrypt and play a single video” and that’s when the guy gets in my face.
“Okay genius, why is it YOU seem to know how all this works?”
“Because I invented this technology and built the system. Isn’t that… isn’t that why you invited me here?”
I think he believed it was a standard copy protection system we had licensed from somewhere and was trying to take credit for having implemented it. Well he got fired over this and I went on to much better assignments. JUST KIDDING! He got promoted to Vice President and I was given stupid monkey work for the next several years.
I’ve adopted a Do Not Engage policy with that kind of crazy these days. Of course it’s easier since I rarely have to deal with the general public. Instead I get to talk to archaeologists who think knowing how to make a form in Access makes them a database expert.
When I was maybe 11 or 12, I had a stupid argument with my friend about the Moon, which he insisted was a star. I got really mad eventually and just said, “the Moon is NOT A STAR!” and his Dad (a professor) in the other room overheard and piped in, “the Moon is a star!” And I had to go in there and start talking about how no, the sun is a star because stars are gaseous bodies that produced nuclear fusion in their cores (I knew about astronomy) and he suddenly went, “THE MOON IS NOT A STAR! THE MOON IS NOT A STAR!”
English was his second language, but he had been living in the U.S. for decades, had written multiple scholarly books in English and was a professor of comparative literature, so that really wasn’t an excuse.