Monday, January 15, 2007

Some Naturalists Are Turning Nasty

During the last few election cycles, it has become more and more acceptable to stereotype those of us who trust Jesus. We are not very bright, easily led, closed minded, and probably have a gun rack on our pick up.

A few month ago when I attended the Global Warming Conference put on by the Skeptic Society, they used a comedian who said things about Christians that he could have never said about Muslims or science professors. It was pretty vile.

As I visit other blogs dedicated to promoting Darwinism, Naturalism, or anti-theism, I am faced with extremely dismissive discourse towards those who don't buy their particular "truth." This same attitude is seen by those promoting global warming. Those who don't agree with these folks are not just wrong, but ignorant.

I raise this issue because it seems to me that this works against arriving a truth. The issue is reasoned discourse without ad hominem statements or other techniques that don’t go to the issue. Calling a person or an idea dumb doesn’t do a thing to advance the discussion, it merely creates a negative environment.

When we do brainstorming at our company, we assess a $1 fine to anyone who is dismissive of even the seemingly most inane ideas. We find that a truly outside-the- lines idea commonly leads to something remarkable. We also know that some folks who are more likely to be good at upside down thinking quickly shut up if they feel that they or their ideas have been marginalized.

In addition, such approaches to debate suggest that the speaker is lacking humility, not open minded, and given to looking down his nose at those he doesn’t agree with. These are all the kinds of things that may eventually result in “hate” of the opposed group. In turn, those who, as a group, think this way may begin to advance stereotypes and act prejudicial towards the suspected “ignorant” group. (Failing to hire, promote, or otherwise reward those on faculties who think wrong, for instance.)

Don't think this is just a small issue that doesn't have potentially huge consequences. Dennis Kucinich said today that Congress will take up the fairness doctrine again:

Kucinich said in his speech that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."

Translated "We are going to make sure that Conservative and Christian media give equal time to Liberal and Anti-theist commentators." But of course the MSM is already fair and balanced, so it won't need to have any comparable oversight.


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