Thursday, October 16, 2008

More on the tone

Political posts, like other posts, are partly there to defend what I believe in, but they are also designed to generate critical thinking. I know this is a forum in which liberals and conservatives can enter the discussion. I also want people to realize that Christians can exercise some independence of mind when it comes to politics. I have seen this from both liberals and conservatives in the comment box.

When I talked about improving the tone of the discussion, it is important to realize that I mean for it to begin with me. I can't control Steve Hays or Ilion or anyone like him. I don't know what to say to people who think that anyone to the left of John McCain is an intellectually dishonest evildoer. I also don't know how to respond to people who think all Christians (or atheists, for that matter) are stupid, ignorant, insane, or wicked. That kind of certitude has always escaped me.

If my posts serve only the goal of political advocacy, they fail by my own standards. It's easy to hit easy targets.

12 comments:

Ilíon said...

Listen to you! Pshaw!

normajean said...

I hope ur being funny, Illion.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Victor why don't you moderate comments? At my blog I had to start moderating because silly people were affecting the tenor of the comments sections, derailing discussions.

Normajean: Nobody with Ilion's obvious ability to write and argue is as stupid as he pretends to be. Anyone that takes ilion seriously really doesn't understand the beauty of internet trolls. If you don't treat him as a fictional character, you miss out on the fun. Obviously the best thing to do with a troll is ignore him, so I will do that from now on.

Charlie said...

Ilion derails another thread.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know what to say to people who think that anyone to the left of John McCain is an intellectually dishonest evildoer."

Vic, can you doccument your claim here re: Hays, or is lying your idea of "changing the tone"?

Whatta joker...

Given your tendency to engage in over-the-top rehotoric via sophistic hyperbole, it's hard to take these posts of yours seriously.

normajean said...

Unfortunately, BDK, Illion looks a lot like what Plantinga spoke about regarding the nature of sin and its cognitive consequences.

Blessings

Victor, please moderate...!

Ilíon said...

How, exactly, does one go about saying mea culpa while pointing the finger?

Do not "actions speak louder than words?"

Ilíon said...

Yes, Mr Reppert, please turn your blog into yet another "liberal" echo-chamber! Heaven (so to speak) forbid that I, or someone like me, should bring conviction to you. Or NormaJean.

Victor Reppert said...

I did overstate the claim that these people believe that everyone to the left of McCain is evil. Not a lie, however. Support for the Obama campaign is the support of evil, at least in the eyes of some.

But I consider it important to make a sharp distinction between a claim about a person's assertions and a claim about that person's character. I have a long-established ability to retain cordial relations in the face of profound differences, both political and religious. I'm not perfect, but does anyone seriously believe that I am not better at avoiding ad hominem arguments than my critics?

There are plenty of conservatives who differ with me without attacking me.

No. I don't believe in censorship, because where does it stop? I do not believe that I have to respond to everything on a thread. I've done a better job at maintaining an atmosphere of open inquiry on philosophy, religion, and politics than anyone I know on the Internet. I guess I'm boasting here, but I think I am justified in making this claim.

Madeleine said...

I am with you. We will not moderate comments either and the result has been a wide range of contributors expressing a wide range of viewpoints on our blog - albeit sometimes in the manner you referred to!

For the most part though the other contributors put the generalists in their place and the overall discussion is healthy and open and people grow in their appreciation of vigorous discussions on things philosophical.

Clayton said...

I suppose you shouldn't censor assertions, but trolls don't make assertions. The practice of assertion is governed by a rational purpose and each assertion is answerable to norms of truth and evidence. When it becomes clear that someone's 'contributions' are governed by no such norms, it becomes clear that there's no assertion to censor. So, I think it's a mistake to think of comments moderation as censorship.

If you agreed with Ilion that moderating his comments would turn this into an echo chamber for liberals, I think that would be insulting to conservatives who would be chary to be lumped in with the likes of him.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Moderating comments is not censorship, and improves signal to noise. However, I respect your stance on that. Plus, you can delete individual comments if there is slander or something.