Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Morning Scepticism: Respectful Dialogue

It is often said that a respectful dialogue is needed when it comes to contentious issues, and its easy to see why. But can there be a respectful dialogue when there's fundamental dishonesty in the arguments of one side? Creationists might complain that academia is excluding them, but it's hard to feel sympathy when the same people quotemine statements to make them appear to support their position. Likewise, what good does it do to have a respectful dialogue with someone who argues that vaccination is mass-slaughter? That government healthcare means death camps? A respectful dialogue cannot happen when there's such insanity or dishonesty, otherwise it's going to be one side conceding ground to crazy for the sake of appearing tolerant.

1 comment:

Wowbagger said...

People who don't like having their ideas criticised use the term 'respectful dialogue' but what I suspect they really mean is 'no dialogue at all unless it's agreement' - or, at worst, 'disagreement without criticism'.

Considering what certain religious people are like - as you and I have experienced first hand - the only 'respectful dialogue' they want to hear from atheists is 'we're sorry we don't believe in your god, but you go right ahead and keep doing what you're doing while we sit down and shut up.'

That this position is supported by so many people who (allegedly) aren't religious - [cough] Chris Mooney [cough] - is very disappointing.