Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quote Of The Day: Cutting Through Nonsense

Caption: A kitchen knife. It has three edges, but it will still cut through vegetables.

Image credit: Yashima

Stephanie Zvan, over at Almost Diamonds wrote this a few days ago:

People who are talking about how being mean or angry doesn't teach people to think critically or evaluate evidence are missing half the point. Skepticism is only partly process. It's also a set of values. Good luck getting someone to put in the time and effort required for critical analysis if they don't understand why objective truth is worthwhile. Expect to be told to lighten up and go get some sunshine if the person you're talking to doesn't understand--viscerally--the harm done by relying on unworthy sources of "knowledge."

On The Utility Of Dicks

Truth, so the saying goes, is a three edged sword - your side, my side, and the reality. That might be true, at least in the sense that there will always be a bit of room between our understanding of the universe and how it actually works. That's no excuse for not learning what is known about the world, and it's no reason to avoid criticizing an opinion that differs from our knowledge of reality because someone really, truly believes it with all his heart.

I've written before on the frustration of trying to discuss with religious fanatics their complete lack of understanding of their world. The people I wrote about in that article aren't interested in a reasoned discussion of beliefs. They're just out to promote theirs. If you just tell them nicely that you disagree with them, they think they've found someone they can convert, or at least someone who is interested in discussing their nonsense. At least if you tell them forthrightly that they're lunatics and they should learn something about their own religion before insisting that we plaster its commandments all over our public buildings, they'll at least understand that you're not a pushover.

So, yes, when some fool comes along, hears the end of that discussion, and decides that I'm being unreasonable by explaining that I'm not going to "respect" beliefs that make no sense, I get a little uppity. If you'll notice, the knife in the illustration has three edges. Two of them are close together. The other one's the dangerous one.

There, that's a saying I can get behind.


Stephanie Zvan said...

Aw, thanks!

Cujo359 said...

Thanks for providing the inspiration.