So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Enemies of reason? Different folks, shared strokes.

Secular-religionists (extreme secularists, regressive liberals) and militant Islamists share a common insecurity: neither can stand any criticism of their respective agendas.

The enemies of freedom of speech and freedom of religion are a great threat to civilization. Secular-religionists and militant Islamists alike are waging war on reason.

Because secular-religionists and militant Islamists are typically unable to make a rational argument in defence of their respective agendas, they employ various tactics to silence their opponents.

Dismissed! Everyone knows this tactic. Dismiss a valid argument, for example, by name-calling. Label the (op)position Islamophobic or homophobic or racist or bigoted or sexist... . Why use reason when you can demonize your opponent and persuade others to avoid their responsibility to employ reason?

Drown out the opposition. Bully your opponent by interrupting him/her or by continuously talking (shouting) at him/her. The idea is to crowd out any responses, cause frustration and thereby bog down one's opponent. Many groups routinely employ this tactic because they have no real argument and are threatened by criticism.

Pile on the stats. Quote studies and massage statistics to conveniently bury the inconvenient truth. A form of verbal camouflage. The numbers game is one that has been used to suggest that high numbers equals normalcy. That is, if enough people engage in a certain behaviour, that behaviour must be true and therefore merits acceptance. What escapes the advocates of the numbers game is that the moral validity of one's behaviour is not determined by the number of people who adopt the same kind of behaviour.

Confuse the issue by substituting feelings for facts. Make the issue about your feelings rather than discuss the facts. Who but a cold-hearted beast could possibly object to the tears and quivering voice of an advocate arguing for the adoption of an irrational agenda?

Freeze frame. Label a question as unfair without explaining why and then refuse to answer. This tactic tends to confirm that the user is a petulant child masquerading as an adult.

I know you are but what am I? Dismiss extremists in one's own group as the lunatic fringe while labelling extremist members in an opponent's camp as devout, faithful, etc. The endgame of this tactic is to cloud the judgement of the third party whose support one is seeking to recruit by painting the opposing camp as a group composed exclusively of like-minded whatevers: bigots, hooligans, etc.

Not asked and answered. Answer a question that wasn't asked. This tactic is quite popular among politicians!

Shift the context. Rationalize falsehood (violence, etc.) by appealing to a context that does not apply or by equating an occurrence of bad behaviour with an historical act of aggression waged for a just cause. "If that was the case way back then, so it must be now."

Play the moderator. Identify yourself as the moderate or your position as centrist in order to marginalize your opponent and define him as extreme (left or right of centre).

Run down the clock. Instead of answering an accusation, accuse your opponent of using one or more of the above tactics without providing any foundation for such an accusation. Demand a thorough answer from your opponent. In the time it takes for one's opponent to deny such accusations, time runs out in the debate.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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