And the moderate secularist might say, "Well, if it
makes you happy and helps to hold your family together, then good for you.
I'll just look the other way and let you believe whatever you like." Harris
points out that there is really no other area of life where people are
allowed to avoid scrutiny and its gotta stop.
David, thanks for the lengthy recent post. I guess you convinced me on
this: if the theists want to join in the MoQ Discussion groups, they should
be welcome, but as equally open to probing of their ideas in this context as
everyone else. Ideally, there should be no taboo 'safety zones' where, for
example, you can always go to always be right.
I guess what pushed my buttons in your earlier post (quoted above) was
Harris's statement that the moderate secularists shouldn't "look the other way
and let you believe whatever you want." Harris's statement sounds like a
call to arms - "it's gotta stop" - as if...we gotta get out there ... we gotta
get up off the couch and stop those deluded people who are "happy & holding
their families together" ... which is quite different than your
very agreeable assertion that everyone who comes on the MD to discuss
philosophy should be equally open to critique.
Certainly in the context of MoQ discussions, we all do each other disservice
by "looking the other way", letting each other off the hook, etc. But in
Harris's presumed general case, I think it's OK to let someone off the hook,
and not jam them up with scrutiny... unless it bears on some "relevant issue".
Perhaps there's the rub. Being so broad, issues of faith can't help but
touch on some relevant issue to both the parties involved. But, this seems
Again, I guess I think of all sorts of neighbors, inlaws and octagenarians
for whom I'm quite willing to 'look the other way," if the alternative is
varbal combat over entrenched delusions. (If they came to the MF, though,
they'd be back on the hook!)
What did Harris mean by the remark that "there is no other area of life
where people are allowed to avoid scrutiny?" Who is he referring to?
Public figures? Job Applicants?
Other than the MF/MD, (where everyone should come expecting to be
critiqued,) in what context do you (or Harris?) think we should stop looking away?
I could go on, but I think you get my drift.
As for our specifics, here, I'm not so swift at argument & debate
techniques, nor at sizing people up quickly, but I've come to believe that Kevin Perez
is sincere in his dealings, here... I don't know how actively you've been
lurking... at first, there was a mutual suspicion between us, but we are past
that, now. Now the difference between us seems like the Grand Canyon. I
don't think either one of us will ever cross it.
> The caveat is that, as a man who maintains a love relationship with
> Jesus, I may use language that would tend to inflame other people's
> sensibilities. If this becomes a problem then I'll have to bow out of the
> It could
> be seen as an announcement that you're simply not going to respond
> to those who might have a problem with what you're saying or how
> you're saying it. It says, "Don't you dare." And that's the kind of
> emotional blackmail Harris was talking about, the kind that is used to
> protect beliefs from scrutiny.
I didn't take Kevin's caveat
as a threat to withdraw from the MF in spite if we don't make unfair
exceptions for him. I took it as an actual offer to sit out a specific topic. In
other words, maybe it wasn't a debate tactic as you suggest. I can see it
more clearly in Sam's case ("Just remove me from your recipients if you don't
like my input, (but I'm staying here!)" ) but I thought Kevin's offer might
be something else. I guess when I felt suspicious of Kevin's motives in the
past, I waited a bit to see where things would go, and then tried to post my
suspicions, rather than assuming the worst, and attacking first. And you
know I have a boat-load of Christian baggage, personally, and I do recognize
and agree with your basic premise (there should be no taboo safe-haven,
"can't touch this" spots on the MoQ.)
Since Kevin's caveat scenario has not played out - why not wait & see what
Or one could ask Kevin if that was his intent (to set up a future taboo
zone) and see how he responds. If Kevin also agrees there should be no taboo
zones, then don't you have him where you want him, in terms of debate tactics,
and fairness on the MF/MD ?