Trolls are nothing new in the life of a freethinker, particularly those who like to spread lies and claim ad hominem when you point out evidence of irrational and deceptive actions. It can be a very stressfull life when you consider that all these people who like to spread information and make personal attacks never get tired when they are in the Internet voicing their strong opinions (without having to ever bring up evidence or without the intent to listen to the other side’s diplomatically framed argument).
Internet trolls are very easy to come by. The best solution is actually asking the persons to put their money where their mouth is and bring them to a public discussion. When they begin to sound crazy, it’s not just you who notices. This applies to the religious ones, even those with the Religiously Granted (but Unearned) Credibility of a Priest, to a “middle-aged” netizen, or any one who resorts to cheap tactics, like drowning out the other side’s argument with rants and being unable to communicate their ideas efficiently enough to let you have a word in.
When this happens, bring a camera and threaten to post in Youtube or host in a torrent. Point out deflections, fallacies, captured lies, and cognitive biases in their arguments when there is a whole lot of public around to see them at their worst (and they’ll know it is their worst because they know better than to let themselves get public).
Learning to fight, argue, and discern the lies and deceptions is an important part of life. We will encounter these problems in business and in our personal lives. Someone will always be trying to take advantage of you with an argument designed to deceive you, both face to face and on the Internet. We are free to ignore them or to answer them at our leisure time, but when reality catches up we should get used to the idea that we will have to publicly argue with them. Imagine how such people have taken advantage of you or your loved ones and being powerless to stop them.
As a freethinker you shouldn’t worry, since there is an answer. Counter-deception skills are a Science and available to the freethinker because it takes the same kind of skills to find such knowledge. The sciences hated by many trolls are (Behavioral) Economics, Game-theory, and Cognitive Science, mostly because these are related to the sciences that disprove or don’t support their claims.
It’s not as if you’re alone trying to learn the skills to find more honest answers from people or facts. There is a whole lot of people who are tired of bullshit and would like to hear less of it. They have the advantage of being able to cooperate, practice these skills together, and develop new techniques. I’ll leave the possible consequences of a group more skilled in catching bullshit and developing a strategy to throw it back to the trolls’ face with greater force to the imagination.