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Valar Qringaomis

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

The pros and cons of civil disagreement

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 152 - Dan Fincke on “The pros and cons of civil disagreement”

"Dan disagreed with me, but his disagreement was so thoughtful and nuanced and reasonable, that it was -- on complicated issues I tend to feel like I have a lot more in common with the people who disagree with me, but think the issue's complicated than the people who agree with me and think it's obvious...

The atheist community I was a part of often, even though it ostensibly says it's about promoting reason, sometimes it engages in tactics which are not really rational, right? They're very emotionalistic. They're very much about demonizing religious people, or being really abusive to them in the way that they'll call them stupid and insane. That's problematic to me. To me, if we're going to be in the business of promoting reason in the public square, we have to do that by modeling it...

If we get into the attitude that any speech is okay, that if you're offended it's always the person who's claiming offense's fault, then that's wrong. Basically I think that ... there's something C.S. Lewis calls Bulverism, where instead of making an argument that your opponent is wrong, you just declare that they're wrong and diagnose why.

Sometimes that argument is, "You're privileged, therefore you're wrong," instead of, "Here's why you're wrong and oh, I think I know why, because privilege may be a factor." Your privilege is supposed to be diagnosing why you're wrong before even proving you're wrong...

There is a joke or satire or something that can be interpreted, maybe was intended as being a satire of something racist or misogynist or otherwise bad, but many people interpret it as actually being racist or misogynist. Maybe a good example is the New Yorker magazine cover that was a political cartoon of a sort of Islamic militant imagined version of Barack and Michelle Obama, doing like a terrorist fist bump. Michelle Obama has like a Black Panther-reminiscent 'fro. To me it was clear that this was, or it seemed clear at least, that this was a satire. It was making fun of people who view everything, even the most innocuous fist bump that Barack and Michelle Obama do as being a sign that they're secretly Islamic and terrorists. But many people thought it was racist...

Sometimes the social justice side acts like nobody cares about being seen as immoral. Nobody cares about being called a racist or a sexist, that doesn't hurt anyone. We have to recognize that it does hurt them...

I think what happens sometimes is the social justice movement will fixate on an individual, and lose sight of the point that it's not about that individual, it's about the systemic issues. Pummeling that individual as a scapegoat, as the source of all evil, is a huge ... it's not fair, like you said, it's dishonest

Julia: Right. Systematic issues don't have faces or names and are much harder to target, make much less natural villains, I guess, than a person."
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