Sunday, August 22, 2004

From: Bob Bruce [mailto:qskeptic@uq.net.au] Sent: Sunday, 22 August 2004 11:38 AMTo: qskeptics@yahoogroups.comSubject: Re: [qskeptics] Outa here !


I'm unsubscribing from this list.

Dear All,

This is a revolting development.

Opinions are well developed cognitive designs that bolster our own world view and are generally held strongly by anyone who has the moral courage and tenacity to expose them to anyone else.
Many people without this courage tend to keep what meagre (not in a pejorative sense) opinions they have to themselves.

Many Skeptics hold strong views often contrary to popular opinion, intuition and conventional wisdom (or lack of it). The scathing attacks, however, we tend to proffer as 'argument' therefore aim at our opponents very basic world view and provoke predictably strong responses.

If we continue to mercilessly annihilate, expunge, disintegrate, dismember, denounce and defrock all opinion and opinion holders other than those consistent with our own precious world view then we will continue to remain on the fringe and be lampooned by the media and those that listen to them. There are not thousands of people flocking to join the Skeptics and few Skeptics enjoy the pillorying we get from various quarters even when we are right.

When we have dissembled someone, rather than convinced someone, rightly or wrongly we have failed to achieve a useful goal. All we have done is create an 'enemy' and although that is unavoidable sometimes in the long haul we make our overall job harder.

Am I proposing a compromise then? Hopefully not. However, we must realise that as openly opinionated people we represent a social rarity and rather than dogmatically thrust our opinions on unwilling ears we have to be circumspect and couch our arguments in inoffensive terms. Having reached an impasse we have to accept individual differences and continue to refine our terms of reference so that well defined issues can be settled - insofar as we are dealing with
rational things and beings at least. Dealing with ignorance in the most naive sense is like raising children, we have to train and treat people very gently or we will be labelled brutal
bombasts and we will simply be relegated to the pages of history. It is a very arrogant and nihilist attitude that forces reliable information onto unwilling listeners, knowing that to disregard forthright advice will lead to failure, proving also to be the listeners 'fault' . Shoving truth down peoples throats and forcing them into reality creates an imbroglio in which they
will invariably try to reject 'truth' in the most ridiculous and fanciful ways, even with their lives.

We cannot fairly push people that far.

We too have many lessons to learn and we have some high stakes to hold and nurture.

Bob Bruce qskeptic@uq.net.au