Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A dialogue with the irrational

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Irrational, n.: lacking in reason: contrary to or lacking in reason or logic

I happened to on the Facebook polls section answering a few here and there. It never ceases to amaze and scare me how much vitriol is out there, even more so considering how much of it is based on misinformation and a frightening lack of critical thinking. Poll questions like "Do you agree with the president's plan to ban guns?" I couldn't find it, but I'm sure there's one asking, "Do you agree with the president's plan to make school children chop up aborted fetuses and sprinkle them on top of their salad while they chant Satanic and communist slogans?"

One of the poll questions I responded to asked if you agreed with the decision to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from "government schools." I made the mistake of responding in the forum that this was a bogus question because it hasn't been banned. Some random guy sent me a private response. The result was honestly the most mind-numbing exchange I've ever been a part of.

I've come to believe that the important thing is not what you think but how you think. It's not about your ideology. What's killing this country is the complete deterioration of critical thinking skills, a deterioration aggravated by the fact that there's now an increasing contempt for such skills. "Debate" is no longer about facts or even a logical argument. It's about snark. It's about scoring points on trivialities.

There's all this happy talk about finding common ground and transcending partisanship. But when you can't even agree that facts matter, then how can you ever hope to reconcile differing interpretations of and values applied to those facts?

It's not this guy's ideology or hyper-religiosity that bothers me. What bothers me is his complete rejection of the idea that facts matter, his complete refusal to provide the tiniest scintilla of evidence (even from the media outlet of his choice) to back up his hysterical and dubious allegation, despite his insinuation that this was common knowledge.

I tried to be gentle at first, giving him the benefit of the doubt. But it become clear that he was clinging on to his willful ignorance, which I feel is one of the worst sins.

Here's the mind-numbing exchange, verbatim...

T: The Pledge of Allegiance was removed from the government ran school system because it "offended" too many other religions! Well guess what, to stinkin bad if your offended! This country has been blessed from God for so many years because of how we have supported israel. (Genesis 12:3) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Me: I have not heard this. Do you have a link to a news organization for this "story"?

T: i have an even easier way for you to find out. how bout you look for yourself. call up a local elementary school in your district and simply ask them? they dont allow it anymore because of an african-american lady that complained about it! im sorry, i dont have a name to who this lady was, but they (the government) allowed the school system to take out the Pledge of Allegiance out of public and i believe even private schools. check it out man, im a christian conservative and i wont lie about something like this.

Me: In other words you can't provide evidence because it's not true. As I figured.

T: well man believe what you want. if you choose to be blind to the truth then thats your choice. you should at least look into it if you want to prove me wrong, but thats your choice. The return of Christ is very, very near friend. if your into the bible and Gods word at all, or have an open-mind to it, read the bible. the bible talks about the ending times and what will happen during this time period. we are living in the moment of what the bible talks about! but, dont take my word for it, check it out yourself! i recommend the King James Version (KJV). take care and God bless!

Me: If this had any relationship to reality, this would've created a HUGE firestorm of media publicity. I live in a very conservative area where every far right molehill is made into Mount Everest. Nothing has been said about it here. To say nothing of the fact that the government can't dictate these things to private schools, which is why religious schools exist in the first place. It's possible it may have happened at one individual school but it's NOT nationwide. I don't expect you're lying. I do expect you're badly misinformed by some hysterical rumor someone else started to get people riled up about nothing. YOU check it out. You're the one making the wild allegation you can't back up. You're the one who will believe something without a single shred of evidence and calls other people "blind to the truth" because they don't believe every wild rumor they hear. Like I said, just because some random person on the Internet that I've never met says something doesn't mean I'm going to automatically believe it's true or that he's fully informed. If you try to back it up, then I'd consider it. I have plenty of reason to believe you're misinformed, but you haven't given me a single reason to believe you might be right. It's that simple.

T: you can believe anything you want. if you live in a conservative area, then your very lucky! i unfortunately dont. the state i live is very liberal and communist! i dont like it at all, but the whole country is socialist now because of the president and his administration. if your younger brother still says the Pledge of Allegiance, quite honestly im surprised! government run schools, or "public schools" teach bs info about global warming, evolution and the big bang theory! they brainwash the youth because there easy to brainwash and the parents dont always know what is being taught! The Pledge of Allegiance HAS been taken out of the majority of public school systems across america! to say that every school has across america, well that i dont know! i dont believe i said that in the first place, but IF i did, i miscommunicated that info! to sit and argue with you all day is a waste of my time and im sure your time. debating i dont mind doing, especially with liberal commies! im glad to hear that where you live they haven't taken the Pledge of Allegiance out yet. however, i warn you about this, they way the government is on this massive power overhaul now, i wouldn't be surprised if they pushed for that in your area in the near future! i hate saying that, but it would not surprise me! one other thing quickly, i dont mind being PROVEN wrong if they fact are there and i do enjoy debating. i also support God and His word and believe in the freedoms in which our founding fathers fought and died for. for all that and MY opinion, i am very well hated because of my right-wing terroristic views of the country i love! take care once again, and my God be with you and yours!

Me: Until you back up your wild claims with actual evidence, further discussion is pointless since you don't seem to believe in the importance of actual facts. If there really is a god, I hope he blesses you with a little wisdom.

T: well maybe if you took an extra approach to prove me wrong and see what im talking about by researching or looking information up on the internet, you would have an idea of what im talking about. and there is a God! and wisdom he teaches comes from the bible! if you choose to deny Christ, then thats your choice! but, if you do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour, you wont spend eternal life in heaven! you can knock me down all you want, i honestly dont care what you think about me. but the facts are there and speak for themselves! i gave my life to the Lord some time ago. if you want to learn Gods word, or open yourself to Gods word, then open the kings james bible and read! the facts are there my friend, but you must open yourself to his word. you want facts, then read this (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoseoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Me: Basically you know you're wrong and cant prove it because its not true but are afraid to admit it. It's pride. But you should try to overcome this sin.

Me: Actually I'm curious... I heard on the Internet that Christian extremists are killing gays, chopping them up and eating the pieces. Can you disprove this?

Note: This was tongue-in-cheek to make a point. This hyperbole, you'll see, obviously eluded him... thus further illustrating my point about his unquestioning nature.

Me: Oh and it must eat at you that the guy who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance didn't include the word God in it (despite being a Baptist minister) AND was an avowed socialist. And unlike you, I can actually offer some evidence. From the right wing website Lou Rockwell.com: (The Pledge's author) "Francis Bellamy said that one purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance was to help accomplish his lifelong goal of making his cousin’s socialist fantasy a reality in America." Bellamy "understood perfectly well that the first step along the way to his socialist utopia was a consolidated or unitary state, just like the one Bismarck had created in Germany through "blood and iron," and the one Abraham Lincoln championed in the U.S. Monopoly government, in other words, was a necessary first step on the road to socialism." You're defending socialism. Who knew?!

T: well obviously your trying to make a mockery of me and thats fine. i could honestly careless what you think of me or ANY bible believing and/or God fearing christians out there! if you choose to listen to the liberal medias version of "facts", thats your choice! i however choose the truth! and the truth comes from the word of God! i do not support socialism in this great country, but we are now, with this new government. i dont mind debating issues with people, i really dont. and yes your right, facts should be supported to back up what a person is talking about. and i try to get facts to support what i say, when i say there facts. but, it dont sound to me at all that you have many facts yourself! am i trying to make a fellow american upset? no actually im not! and the Pledge of Allegiance does have the word God in it. "One nation under God", does that ring a bell? Check it out for yourself. Apparently you've never said it before yourself? and about the apparent christian extremists eating and chopping up gays? ive never, ever heard that before. am i saying i dont believe it? not necessarily, but i listen to christian conservative radio everyday, and conservative radio, and i have never heard anything about that. thats horrible if thats taking place. but i will say this to you, ALL sins must be repented and confessed to the Lord Jesus Christ! no sin is greater than another! want facts? open the king james bible and start reading friend! id recommend you start reading in the book of John. if you choose to not believe what the word of God says, you must take that to God! take care and may God be with you!

Me: First, the Pledge as it was originally written in the late 1800s did not contain the word God. It was added by politicians in the 1950s. That's a fact you can look up (though I'll be happy to provide a link). You say that the "fact" about the Pledge being banned is all over the Internet yet you can't provide a source, mainstream or conservative. Frankly, I feel sorry for you. You believe whatever you hear without question, without investigating. That's what makes people, liberal conservative or whatever, to be brainwashed. It's not what you think, it's how you think. And it's obviously that critical thinking is something you oppose.

T: you can say whatever you want about me. put me down every way you want, i dont really care! i stay tuned into politics because I LOVE MY FREEDOMS, and i will NOT go down without a fight! you choose to listen to what you want, and i will choose the facts! i hate putting it that way, but so be it! put me and my views down all you want. im plenty used to that from the lefty communist side of this country! its unfortunate, but true! take care fellow american, and again... may God be with you and yours! i continue to pray for those that are lost, and you may be one of those i pray for! the return of Christ is very, very near! do you know Christ as your saviour? you keep ignoring this subject about God. the return of Christ is very near... do you know Him as your Lord and saviour? take care and God bless!!

Me: You have offered no facts. You've refused to provide facts every single time I ask.

T: yeah ok! once again, may God be with you and yours!

Me: It's weird how you're defending a Pledge that talks about unity ("one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for ALL") while yelling so mch about how much you hate so many Americans.

T: ok, now you are really trying to get under my skin! when did i ever say that i hated americans? illegal people in this country i dont like because the liberal government is allowing them to take away hard-earned tax dollars from AMERICANS, and waste away when they dont even pay taxes! AND AGAIN, you change the subject! you seem to really enjoy arguing... whatever lol. if you want to ignore the TRUTH about Jesus Christ and his return, thats your choice. ill pray for you. God bless!

Me: Every meesage you sent me has been a rant about how you hate Americans who are communists, Americans who are socialists, Americans who are liberals, Americans who aren't Christian, blah blah blah. You basically seem to hate every kind of American who isn't exactly like you. You're a hateful person and I want nothing more to do with you. Good bye.

1 comment:

PCS said...

As soon as he mentioned god and evolution I would have asked him - how old is the earth? I'm almost certain he would say 6,000 yrs. That would end the conversation.

I've been having similar conversations about health care reform with an SL local on the Enterprise website (did you know they allow comments?). These people are fact-deprived. You can point out non-partisan "fact checking" sites and it makes no difference. Evidence and fact means nothing to these people.

PS - You will really enjoy checking out the lack of critical thinking on the Enterprise comment board.