Saturday, 26 February 2011

Misplaced Outrage

Imagine someone rejecting God because they don't like the way the Catholic Church behaves. Perhaps there might be an argument that satisfies the link, but in general it's misplaced outrage. The Church's actions and whether God exists are just two different issues.

In general, I find these kind of misplaced arguments common. Denial of climate change because of its support by the Green movement is one example. Rejecting medicine because of Big Pharma is another. Supporting conspiracy theories because one cannot trust their government, denouncing carnivores because of factory farming... I could go on.

It takes effort to characterise a position right. In the case of climate change, there are many who agree that the environmental movement is problematic while still supporting the science. Having large corporations in charge of our medical knowledge can be argued to be problematic while the data still working. Being distrustful of the government doesn't mean trusting any random crazy person who can string seemingly coherent sentences together. And meat-eaters can be concerned with farming practices and the suffering of animals, yet will just advocate for more ethical practices.

It's dealing in red herring arguments, distractions from the real issues surrounding those very real questions. The worst thing is that the red herring arguments make for interesting discussion, if only applied correctly. How we take on board government information or the role of the Catholic Church in society are issues that should be debated. Putting them in the wrong argument is not only devastating to that argument but framing the issue correctly.

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