Respect, Or Coddling? Issues, Or Personalities?

Posted in Blogosphere, Thinking Critically on  | 7 minutes | No Comments →

Before we begin looking at the MGH and Genesis next week, I'd like to address a lingering issue that I'll need closure on before I can proceed: when his guests first began their assault on my character a few months back, DD seemed to support my complaints, and said to his guests:

It’s not “respectful” to treat people like spoiled children who can’t be trusted to acknowledge differing ideas without throwing a tantrum. Nor is it respectful to assume that believers are constitutionally incapable of handling the truth. 

It is disrespectful to make unsupported accusations against people, e.g. by suggesting that their views are caused by an intrinsically corrupt and immoral nature. I have to say, though, that in my experience atheists like Dawkins are far less likely to make such accusations than to be the target of them. And while it may be tempting at times to think that “the other guy” is arguing out of some personal character flaw rather than a sincere desire to acknowledge the truth, I still think it’s better to debate respectfully, which (as Daylight Atheism points out) means presenting your case honestly, openly, and with a view to the facts. (DD, March 9, 2009, bold mine)

I'd say that's quite interesting in light of some of DD's more recent comments…!

In response to my concern that DD's Loser's Compromise series abandoned the strategy he previously admonished, DD said:

Your remarks suggested a more general topic that I considered worthy of addressing, and consequently I addressed the issue, and not the personalities, involved in that topic. That's what it means to focus on the issues rather than on the personalities: when you talk about it, what you talk about is the issue, the factual question under debate, rather than talking about the person… If you think there was anything unduly harmful or inappropriate about making posts that focused solely on the issues without indulging in personal attacks, let me heartily encourage you and exhort you to wreak your full vengeance on me by giving me a taste of my own medicine. Omit all further complaints, criticisms, speculations, insinuations, asides, diversions, and accusations concerning personalities, and speak only of the factual issues and the evidence for or against them. Hoist me on my own petard. I deserve it. I welcome it. I'll endure it silently, and will tell myself that I'm only reaping what I have sown. That'll teach me, eh?

First off, the word loser denotes the person making the argument, not the argument itself, correct? My gut feeling (for many reasons) is that like the Heckler's Defense and Straw and Chaff, the Loser's Compromise (LC? CL?) represented DD's attempt at maligning me while escaping responsibility for his statements about respect, coddling, issues and personalities. I can't know if this is true; I believe it is based on the evidence. I feel great about it, too: I don't care anymore. I've already accepted the reality that people will see what they want regardless of the truth, and I've moved along, mentally and literally. 

Back to the issue at hand, months and loads of disagreement later, I submit that DD seems to have changed this "respectful" strategy which sought to respect believers by avoiding the assuming that they are constitutionally incapable of handling the truth:

[cl] cannot refute my facts, so he needs must find (sic) some scapegoat in order to claim that he has confronted the enemy and proven them wrong.
This is a fairly typical example of cl’s “mental warfare” approach to apologetics. It’s all about creating personal conflicts and taking cheap shots at atheists and other unbelievers. It’s a war, not an honest inquiry; the goal is to harm others, not to reveal the truth

When given the opportunity to engage the issues in honest, good faith dialog, cl consistently declines. It’s a war, not a quest for facts, so why expose yourself to potentially harmful criticisms? He baits and goads and sneers in a relentless attempt to create an environment of conflict in which the participants turn aside from the work of discovery and critical thinking, and become consumed in the martial maneuvers of attack and defense. 

He has no interest in presenting us with reasons to believe as he does. He’s just here to do damage, like any other infiltrator. cl, sadly, has proven himself to be the sort of guest who comes into your living room and sneaks behind your couch to take a crap on the floor, just so he can tell all your neighbors how bad your house smells and what an unsanitary housekeeper you are. I have indulged his rudeness and guile long enough. 

He has yet to make an honest, good faith contribution to the discussion, other than to provide us with an interesting case study in the negative effects a Christian worldview has on a reasonably intellectual mind. That’s not enough to entitle him to retain a place in an honest discussion. He can still comment, but I’m going to take a zero-tolerance approach to his unique brand of Christian crap, and I’d encourage my other readers not to give him the encouragement of rising to take his bait. It’s time for the rest of us to move on.


I’m willing to make allowances for a certain lack of self-awareness, and indulge someone—even a troll—for long enough… Believe it or not, though, I did have a use for that sort of input, and I’ve actually got quite a bit of good material out of some of the dialog that’s taken place in the past few months. I appreciate the patience with which you all have tolerated the imposition in the interim. It hasn’t been easy, I know…

If you ask me, such drastic change is certainly consistent with the idea that I ruffled DD's feathers pretty good! I'd consider DD's increase in making insults on my personality and enacting free-speech impediments complimentary were that what I was after, but it's not. I'm continuing in this discussion to resolve the issues, and my offers to DD along those lines stand.

In the interest of a fair trial, I ask those involved to answer the following four questions as honestly as possible, especially my Power Commenters: 

1) Do you agree with DD that I've "yet to make an honest, good faith contribution to the discussion?" Why or why not?

2) The word loser denotes the person making the argument, not the argument itself, correct? Would you say DD's above comments more reflect "only of the factual issues and the evidence for or against them," or his perception of personalities? Pay special attention to the comments I've bolded.

3) If personalities, would you say DD's attempted exoneration fails? 

4) If "yes" to 2 & 3, would you say such contradicts DD's calls for vigilance concerning respect and coddling?  

*In response to one foreseeable response that I'll leave to the reader to discern – if that's the case – why didn't DD make such a stipulation in his original call for vigilance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *