Saturday, May 14, 2005

A Blinding Realization

I'm beginning to think that arguing with social conservatives is just a complete waste of time. No, I never expect to make any significant difference in what they think. What really became clear to me today on Rightwingsparkle's blog yesterday was some of the parts outlined in my comments. See below.

First someone made a comment about how there was "shameless hucksters" on the conservative side of the issue, making hay for political gain on the TS issue. RWS replied in part:
I remember people like you who called the white civil rights workers in the south in the '60's 'hucksters." I hope you are proud to be in their company Dirk. Pathetic.

TS was "disabled"? Be serious. RWS, I'm not necessarily a fan of Dirk's arguing style, but for you to compare him to racists because he doesn't agree with you about TS is just plain insulting, and to use your words, "PATHETIC" or "SICK" or "SAD", just like trying to compare your cause to that of civil rights workers. I try hard to be polite, but that is beyond what I can stomach politely.

Erik, sorry, but that is how I feel. I saw injustice in the south and people who thought they were perfectly right in opposing civil rights.I see the life issues the same way. This is INJUSTICE. And I stand against anyone who feels it is ok to take innocent life. From the womb to the tomb.

I've been commenting here long enough to understand your positions well. That isn't what irritated me. Maybe it shouldn't. I know what to expect from conservatives in terms of their views. It just jolted me back to the reality that underneath the generally reasoned discourse, you believe that many of my beliefs are quite literally aligned with evil. It makes me wonder why I even bother to discuss things with social conservatives at all, when they see me and essentially all other Democrats this way.

Me again, after another Democrat commenter responded to my last comment, bold was added just now to part of it for emphasis:
Worrywart, well, call me naive, but I really sort of believed that some social conservatives could see past the culture war in their opinions of others, but it seems no matter how it's packaged, it's really the same. I'm beginning to think that the only reason some are even civil is because they hope that Satan's little helpers, so to speak, will convert to their side. In their minds, we are all agents of evil whether this is spoken or not, sugarcoated in "we hate the ideas but not the person" rhetoric. This whole thread has really hit me like a ton of bricks. It's seriously very depressing.

It's still depressing, but I'll get over it. I may need to re-evaluate what is or is not worth the effort.


Two Dogs said...

Erik, you must understand that an open dialogue between two opposing ideas is what makes this country great. When the Liberal in you wants to close down opposing views, it makes you LESS tolerant, not more. I seriously doubt that debate between two parties that agree can stay interesting for more than two seconds.

Come on, you know that some people will get mad and sulk off, there is nothing that you can do about that, but we must keep talking.

Erik Grow said...

That is just another example of the label garbage that is also getting annoying. I'm a Democrat and therefore somehow automatically liberal.

I have no interest in "shutting down" opposing views. I am simply interesting in finding empirical truth. There are some things that I can give reams of evidence for and it just wouldn't matter.

On some issues Two Dogs, I have actually realized that certain issues such as the minimum wage are perhaps worth a second look. I'm just unable to find clear evidence to support it. I'll be damned though if nothing I say or scientific evidence I can provide will make you or social conservatives reconsider the validity of evolution or the innateness of sexual identity. It hardly seems like a level playing field.

Two Dogs said...

Erik, you seem to think that I developed my opinions in a vacuum. Did you? I would hope someone with an advanced intellect or higher education had stopped to consider things before deciding the best course of action for them.

Erik, your opinions are your own. If you find the need to express them publicly, don't be offended when someone shoots them down or takes issue with them. I sure as hell don't.

Point in case, the picture that you used to illustrate evolution. Crank your brain for a second and answer the question, "Does that thing look like a vegetarian?" The honest answer is HELL NO! Why do you think that "scientists" would think so?

Anyway, put on your damn cup, and get back in the game.

Doc NOS said...

I think you're right on the $ here - and that in some ways it goes for both sides, but conservatives are far worse.

The problem with our country today, and I see this as a major problem, is the polerized nature of debate. Forums all over the web take their talking points from Little Green Nutball's racist site, the falsifications from Powerline. I'm sure others take their positions from far wacko liberal blogs/sites. The difference being that liberals tend to be a bit more open minded about things because they don't see things in religious terms. Things aren't automatically good/bad.

This is a real problem in this country. Political dogma.

Doc NOS said...

Oh yeah, that person you were arguing with sounds like an idiot. Disabled? What a poor analogy! Feelings?


Although we ought to have tolerance, there's no need to talk to idiots.

Erik Grow said...

Two Dogs, that's not what I mean either. Of *course* everyone has reasons for what they think originally, but most of the time we learn this before we are willing or able to truly examine those beliefs. My beliefs are similar but not identical to what they were when I was younger. Yes, my opinions are my own, but I want my opinions to be backed up by fact.

You also are proving my point with the whole evolution thing. I made a very long detailed post about the good evidence that we have that the individual tenets of evolution works in the world, and all you can say is that an artists' rendition of one creature doesn't look like it would ever eat plants. Cats are meat-eaters too, but even they eat grass from time to time. I could give you an enormous amount of evidence to support evolution, and you will simply say "it's wrong" and of course have no evidence disproving it.

I never said I was going to stop arguing or fighting for what I believe in. I'm just saying that I need to re-evaluate how many minds I can change. Like I said, when I can give you and others scientific research, you just say it's wrong, and not present any of your own. It's your right to do that, but it's pointless to believe that I can change your views based on empirical evidence.

Doc, thanks for the encouragement. There is indeed that sort of thing from both sides. Democrats are definitely more likely to embrace evidence than Republicans for a number of reasons, mostly to do with their idea of what religion is.

Two Dogs said...

And you know that the people to the Left use NO evidence of anything, Erik. That's why I think that you shirk the label so adamantly. And I am not going to argue the evolution point with you because of the closed-minded approach to the debate that you have. I have said many times that if you could produce any evidence that I would be glad to see it. The best example that I can find for the evolution argument is my own with the corn.

Erik Grow said...

I'll ignore the sweeping generalization.

Continuing, I didn't see your corn comment Two Dogs. Was it on my blog?

If you had to split the world into two halves, then fine, I'm on the left more than the right, however within the Democratic party I am certain that I am in the more moderate half of the party. This means that I certainly do not consider myself to be in the most liberal quarter of the population, and therefore find the "liberal" label inaccurate. Maybe that will make it clearer. On the other hand, if you feel that nearly all Democrats are solidly liberal, as many of the most conservative Republicans do, then no amount of percentages will convince you. I'm doing it in a way that compares me to the country as a whole.

I'm not sure how my argument on evolution was closed-minded. I simply asked for a rebuttal of any of the points. PP was the only one to try really, and even that was geared more toward not knowing for certain than it was proving it wrong. The points I saw you make on RWS' blog were more along the "it just doesn't make sense" line, just like the ones about sexual identity. What I'm looking for from you is something that would show the fossil record is bogus, or that mutations and natural selection don't happen in nature. These are the building blocks of the theory, which are well-documented. I assume by evidence, that you need there to be evidence of speciation shown to have happened in a lab, right? Is that what you would need to prove it?

nicnerd said...

I already discussed with you how fossil record and strata are invalid.

What the heck is this nonsense?

liberals tend to be a bit more open minded about things because they don't see things in religious terms. Things aren't automatically good/bad

You must be joking! Liberals are open minded, are these the same liberal who proclaim that firearms shoul dbe registered and outlawed? Are these the same liberals you push their revisionist history on school children? Open minded indeed, forgive me as chuckle at the mere thought of an open-minded liberal. Perhaps the reference was to highlight the weak moral values heralded by the wackiest of the liberals. This not being open minded, this is just foolishness. A lack of sound morals is not being open minded. These same open minded lefties are the same that would attempt to alienate people of faith throughout this country. How is that open minded? I know plenty of people who are spiritual who are open minded, God forbid some people that attend my church are liberals. Religion is not a block to reason, I resent the insinuation.

Erik Grow said...

Regarding the fossil record being "invalid", I did add that to the end of my last post as an update. I would like to hear more objections to what the record shows if you still think it's all bogus.

There are open and closed minded people on both sides, and I don't think anyone is saying religion is an impediment to thought at all! I will say though that *sometimes* individuals will wrongly use religion to prevent acceptance of empirical reality.

One person's revisionism is another's truth. Tricky.

Two Dogs said...

Uh, there is really no way to revise historical record and call it truth. Has anyone else in this world heard from Alex Haley's family about his fictional account of slavery?

Erik, there are rarely any specific comments about evolution theory, because it is theory. My comment about the corn was on your blog, goes something like this: I can "evolve" corn very simply in my backyard, does that mean that evolution is fact? Why Hell no, but it is the most solid proof that I have seen.

Erik Grow said...

Regarding the revision stuff, not saying that facts are negotiable, but history is so full of interpretation that sometimes you can have the same facts and a different conclusion.

Hector Vex said...

I've always said, Liberals will say you are wrong. Period.

Conservatives will say you are wrong. Then proceed to tell you why or offer an alternate solution. Take in mind the Democratic responses to Bush's last address. They said, "wrong wrong wrong" but didn't offer an alternative.

That being said, I don't belive Erik is a liberal. He's too smart to be a liberal. Just like I'm too smart to be a religious righty (that and I'm a Jew, so that would be awkward.)

Now, about liberals being evil - sure, why not?

See, people (especially RWS) take themselves too seriously and tend to contradict themselves. (Although well meaning, she damn well does it a lot.) So Erik, you shouldn't be wound-up about this shit, as it happens all the time. Which is why I use humor to discuss stuff that is essentially out of my hands.

We really can't change anything by ourselves, and we will rarely change someones stubborn opinion. All we can do is voice ours and not get pissed at theirs.

Devo said...

This is very entertaining! Has anyone far enough to the "right" or "left" ever had their mind changed up? I'm just curious... I seriously doubt it. Perhaps they've had their views refined a bit, even been influenced by people of opposing views, but never outright "changed". Once someone is as infatuated with one particular ideology (and yes, both righties and lefties subscribe to an ideology, and both are trying to force that ideology into policy) to proudly label themselves either "Conservative Righist" or "Liberal Leftist", then there's no "changing" them. In fact, "discussions" between these types of people often simply leads to mounds and mounds of what amounts to little more than mental masturbation.

"Look at how prettily I can display my ideological bent!!!" Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of the very same thing... but I try to recognize that to some extent, and then frame my discussion in terms of exactly that, a discussion rather than a crusade (which is how I"m convinced all Conservatives and Liberals frame their "discussions" in their own heads at least...)

The difference here is mainly in the approach, I guess. When I get into a conversation with someone who is decidedly more conservative than I (which doesn't seem too difficult, for me at least) I try to remember that very few of my observations on the world will gel with their observations on the world. So instead of trying to justify MY beliefs to them, I will simply try to understand THEIR beliefs and then try to understand how my interlocutor came to adopt those beliefs. Often, they had very good reasons for believing what they believe. Other times, it's simply because that's what their parents taught them. Either way, understanding why one believes the way they do is the key to developing a truly worthwhile "discussion". And a truly worthwhile discussion involves an exchange of words, ideas, values and opinions. Notice the word: exchange. I give, I take, you give, you take. All is considered, and everyone goes away feeling a bit edified. No one's hackles get raised, no one expends energy on a fruitless crusade to hammer their viewpoints into the other's head.

Well, that's how I see a perfect world, I guess. Which usually brands me a "liberal"... being able to envision perfect worlds and then trying to stimulate methods of bringing them about. Anyway, that's just food for thot. Enjoy...

Erik Grow said...

No, I don't expect to make that big a difference. I fully understand about people's bedrock values and where they get them from reigning supreme over most any other argument. When it comes to morals, it's hard to change that. What I don't understand is when I put forth very solid evidence for something that can be empirically tested, and it's simply dismissed because it doesn't fit someone's world view.

corpus callosum said...

As of today I've decided to take RightWingSparkle off my list of blogs to visit and comment on. I've been a "regular" there for about 6 months. I came across her site at random, just hitting the "next blog" button. I got off to a "bad start" there by making some intensely critical comments of a post of hers that featured an online photo series of US soldiers that included pics of some dead Iraqis in the streets with a caption about "how cool our troops are". (My comment essentially was that she seemed to be deriving "entertainment value" from the ongoing military intervention. With some qualifications, I still have that opinion.)

After that initial outburst, I settled back into something more like what you've been trying to do there. But as time has gone by, my annoyance factor has gone up while my "civility factor" has gone down.

There's an incredible amount of posing that goes on there with commenters just trying to outdo each other in the wit department. The overall tone is something more like fans at a football game. Just about any insult is tolerated, and the ones from the Right are encouraged. (Think Sparkle applauding Jill's inane putdowns.)

I have to admit I'm guilty of some of that posing too. And in that context I want to apologize to you for that idiotic phrasing I used in referring to your Chernobyl comment a few weeks back ("chirpy pronouncement" I said. YUK - it pains me just to repeat it.)

I think TwoDogs is right when he says that without opposing views debate is dull, and he's also correct when he encourages you to continue. I know that I always looked forward to reading your take on things over there. I'm guessing that there are others who, even if they don't comment, read the posts, and are encouraged by people who make the effort to make logical sense.

But for myself, there is only so much time in the day, and I'm at a point where I need to be more discriminating about blog choices. I no longer want to read and comment on a site where the tone is set by a blogger with a self-righteous and condescending viewpoint.

And hey, I can get my dose of ErikGrow direct from the source.

Two Dogs said...

Wait, Erik are you quitting the Sparkle tour? Man, damn you did get beat up over there a bit, but damn, you're a man, and she's a woman. Put on your charm and keep playing.

Erik Grow said...

No, I am still posting there. I put up a few today. I'm simply re-evaluating what I am getting out of it. Mental exercise for sure. I never felt like I was getting "beat up" Two Dogs. I just felt like I could put up whatever I wanted and someone could just throw up any red herring or insult they pleased that had nothing to do with what I was saying, and it would just get buried in nonsense. Oversimplification, but it's what it is feeling like.

Also corpus, I agree about Jill. It goes downhill quickly when RWS starts endorsing her special brand of nonsensical insults. Screaming "liberal" with every post, calling everyone ridiculous names. THAT part doesn't bother me at all, and of course there are trolls EVERYwhere. However, the fact that RWS encourages her and takes tips on things is discouraging to any sort of real debate. I will still give it a whirl for now, but that whole blog is on probation as far as I'm concerned. Conservatism there is fine and expected, but now it's just becoming a stew of random nuttery.

I appreciate the compliments as well all, and about that comment, no problem corpus. Hehheh. I've been called worse than chirpy for sure on there. Someone called me a jackass today for a post that was really very tame and mostly in jest, with a smiley even! Ah well.