November 19, 2010

Loaded Verbal Gun

Buon giorno. I was going to use today for an article on how to give me hate mail, but this tripped my trigger. I have to do a boatload of qualifiers and disclaimers here. This appeared on my Twitter account (a thing I seldom use beyond autoposts), and I cannot reply to it while working. So, I cannot discuss it with the commenter before writing this. If he wants to lay claim to it in the comments section, he is welcome. Otherwise, I am assuming that he wants his privacy. So, today his name is going to be Lincoln Sears. He is an atheist, and I do know his name.

I do not know exactly what Mr. Sears means by his comment, and I am not going to put words in his mouth or assume that I know what he is thinking. (It's only fair, don't you think, Norman? Are you going to say that I faked that comment?) What I am going to do is use it for a springboard.

Wow, enough with the disclaimers and stuff. On to the fun!

I should point out that I have never been able to leave a comment at Answers in Genesis. Sure, I leave one occasionally on their Facebook page, but not their Weblog. It's frustrating, I know. Maybe I'm just missing it, but I've been around Algore's Amazing Internet (thanks to Chris Plante for that term) for a while now.

What got my attention, however, was Mr. Sears' use of the phrase "reasoned response". What comes to mind is a kind of "poisoning the well" fallacy by using loaded language, because the way it is used brings a couple of things to mind. First, that "religious" people are not rational or reasonable. Second, that only atheists are rational or reasonable. Never mind that some of the greatest minds in history have been "believers", I think they would be offended by being automatically excluded from the Thinking Humans Club.

By the way, Mr. Lincoln Sears could have used something outright inflammatory, which I also consider an attempt to poison the well with loaded terms. In my last post on persecution, a jerk called a Christian radio show and said that Christians who died for their beliefs were stupid because they were not rational, and they believe in "fairy tales". Someone who uses a term like "fairy tales" is accomplishing several things: Provoking an emotional response, showing his ignorance of the Bible by dismissing the entire thing, and he is showing that he is unwilling to engage in reasonable discussion.

How about if people asked the American Humanist Association for a rational approach by dropping their provocative antics? Sounds reasonable to me.

Mr Sears, hope I did not rile you, I gave all the disclaimers that I could think of. Feel free to leave a comment, or contact me if you want to remain anonymous.

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