Although I have to say, the adage that “you can’t reason a man out of beliefs he hasn’t reasoned himself into” always struck me as a load of cobblers. Growing up is, to me, a process of discovering that what you always believed was true ain’t necessarily so. But I’m sure it gets harder as you get older.
For years I have been bemused by the website called The Skeptical Zone. Every few months I go over there and peruse the posts. And I think to myself, if they are so skeptical, why does practically everything they say line up with the received dogmas and conventional wisdom of the early 21st century Western intelligentsia?
Do they not know what the word “skeptical” means? Are they going for ironical?
But in a flash of insight today, I finally figured it out. The key is in the quote from Cromwell at the top of their homepage that serves as the motto for the site:
I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.
All of this time I mistakenly thought that they were using the aphorism the way Cromwell intended as in “We should bear in mind that each of us is fallible; it follows that each of us should always allow for the possibility that even his most intensely-held beliefs might possibly be mistaken.”
Yes, Barry, that is precisely what I intended it to mean.
No, that is not it. It all becomes clear when you realize that they mean their motto quite literally and when they think of it they think of it this way:
I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that YOU may be mistaken.
The YOU refers to all those who read the words, including the owner of the blog.
There you have it. They are skeptical all right. They are skeptical of everyone’s views but their own, which they hold with a breathtakingly dogmatic tenacity. It all makes sense to me now
Well, we all tend to think that people who seem unable to see our point of view are holding that view “with a breathtaking dogmatic tenacity”. After all, if we thought we were wrong, we’d change our minds, wouldn’t we? It’s intrinsic to the nature of disagreement that we think the other guy is wrong, and greater the clarity with which we think we are seeing the truth, the more dogmatically tenacious the other guy seems to be for not seeing it. Which simply goes to show that one [wo]man’s obvious is another [wo]man’s nonsense.
So: Just to remind everyone: No, the motto is neither ironical, nor addressed to a subset of the world. It is addressed to everyone, unironically, including me. And of course Barry, should he come over, which I hope he will. Please regard it as the Primary Rule of this site.
Edited to, I hope, avoid copyright violation.
The study found 7.8 percent fewer people described themselves as Christians in 2014 than in 2007, with an increasing number identifying as agnostic, atheist or say they have no religion.
Commenter ‘fifthmonarchyman’ from UD has joined us and has some thoughts on active information.
I’ll cross-post his comment from the Ewert thread below.
Barry ‘Banny’ Arrington has a new, rather confused post at UD:
Many of us are banned at UD, and those who aren’t banned are in danger of having their comments purged at any moment. Let’s avoid that cesspit and respond here at TSZ, where open discussion is encouraged and Arringtonian censorship is anathema.
I actually have three technical questions for Winston, but plan on one post apiece. He should respond first to questions he receives through Google Moderator, including those from DiEb, who has added a relevant post to his blog. Hopefully he will join us here when he’s done with that.
…tries transparent rhetorical gambit
Will Barry be brave enough to leave his pillow fort to discuss this?
Yes. Can I remind thread-starters not to moderate their own threads, even though you technically have that capacity.
I have not yet found a way of setting permissions so people can post OPs and not have editing rights, so it is an honour system.
In any case, we do not edit posts, except to delete malware and porn links, or identifying info. No Loudspeaker in the Ceiling.
After reading this comment by Elizabeth I went and checked the moderation rules. It had been quite a while since I had had reason to read them and I discovered that they had been amended:
If you have author permissions, and post an OP, you may find you have the technical ability to edit comments to your post, and move them. Please do not do so. Rule violating posts will be moved by moderators, and it is a principle of this site that comments are not edited, deleted, or hidden.
I apologize to Reciprocating Bill for adding a comment to the end of one of his posts in violation of the principles of this site.
And for those who have been claiming or implying that I was refusing to own up to what I had done you’re just ignorant.
1. I put my name to the comment when I added it.
2. I admitted to having done it when Reciprocating Bill asked.
I see OMagain accused me of deleting his posts in an attempt to have my thread authoring ability revoked. Is there any reason to believe that’s true? I don’t see any option to delete a post.
Let me begin with a little history. Continue reading