When someone can’t put aside their instinctive “Ugh, yuck” reaction for long enough to discuss an issue dispassionately and maturely, that’s their problem, not yours.
In a discussion on a taboo topic, if you take an unpopular position that violates a social taboo and someone can’t argue against it on its own merits (or lack thereof), they often end up resorting to the “urgh, yuck” defence rather than acknowledge to themselves that maybe - just maybe - you have a point.
It’s caused by them realising at some level that they’re in danger of losing the logical, rational debate so they retreat into irrational emotionality (and as you found, often even ad-hominem attacks) in an attempt to move the goalposts and avoid losing. Sort of a disingenuous and shitty “if you can’t win the game you’re playing, change the rules of the game”.
It’s the debate equivalent of knocking over the game-board just because you’re losing - immature, obnoxious and reflecting only on the person that does it, not on their opponent."
Quoted from a thread on Reddit, debating the morality and ethics of child porn, and the place of paedophiles in society.
It’s highly annoying discussing issues such as this with close-minded individuals, because approaching the issue impartially and philosophically puts you at considerable risk of being branded as a paedo’ yourself.
I’d Also like to take this chance to say that I come from a family full of really shitty debaters, and that it seems at times that I’m the only one who developed any sort of faculties for critical thinking.
Mother, sister and father all used to complain to each other that I ‘always have something to say’ in a debate, and so arguments with them would invariably result in them exhausting their ammunition in less than a minute, and then adopting a stupid brute-force approach.
My personal favourite was my sister’s ‘just shut up’ device.
Don’t even get me started on religious debates with extended family.
- 1 year ago
Psychic Phenomena and Paranormal Activity
Whilst visiting my girlfriend’s family residence, I happened upon a book sitting on the kitchen counter. It was a short paperback critique - a cross-examination of the various postulations of new-age weirdos: horoscopes, cleyvoyance and all that sort of hackneyed and supposedly-psychic bullshit.
Some further reading into the book’s blurb on the back gave me the chuckles. It turns out that the book, whilst written with the intention of debunking the lunacy of psychic claims, was penned by a gentlemen from an institution with a name to the effect of ‘Christian Foundation for Science and Reason’, or some such. A good comical comparison would be a hypothetical ‘Nazi Foundation for pacifism and semitic charity’.
The ironic and contradictory name of the foundation was the first thing to amuse me, as religious faith - built upon the suspension of reason - tends fly in the face of sound and sane logic. But I guess that’s one of the key sources of my incredulity towards religious faith - how it can create individuals who are intelligent, articulate and reasonable in every relevant way except for their unflinching belief in some ancient fairy tales and an omnipotent imaginary friend.
Here’s some of the stated core investigative objectives of the book.
- Do ghosts in any shape or form exist?
- Why is there a rise in psychic phenomena today?
- What do psychics believe about God, Jesus and salvation?
- What is Satan’s role with the paranormal?
- How can parents protect their family from the psychic trend?
That’s right, these are questions to be addressed by a crack-pot who himself believes in an omnipotent creator, along with all the assorted and minute details contained within the ancient codex of traditional nonsense.
The whole debate is laughable, really. It is the intellectual or academic equivalent of being a spectator to a fist-fight between a pair of mentally handicapped children. You watch in awe as they flail their arms at each other, biting, scratching and pulling at each others’ hair - one calling the other a retard, when in reality they are both retards. I guess then the only thing we can deduce from the fight’s conclusion is not who is or isn’t the retard, but who is the more retarded of the two.
When you think about it, this book would be a lot like Pol Pot penning a denunciation of Stalin’s paranoia and maniacal personality cult. But this kind of debate essentially captures the bogus nature of inter-faith debate. For thousands of years, countless lives and waking hours have been sunk into the fruitless war to prove which made-up fantasy is better than another made-up fantasy. Hell, the Catholic and Islamic faiths are like two children fighting over which Pokemon is cooler: Charizard or Blastoise. With that in mind, I can’t help but invert the questions levelled against psychics, and turn them towards their origin - towards the author of this particular book.
- Is the spiritual realm, along with the classical interpretation of Heaven and Hell actually a miscellany of highly suspect fairytales?
- Why are more and more people being duped into religious conviction today, hundreds of years after the emergence of rationalism.
- What right do Christians have to criticize those who believe in prophecy, prescience and spirituality, when they themselves are adherents of such blind, uninformed and complacent belief?
- What role does the boogie-man of Brimstone play in the disappearance of your milk and cookies?
- How can parents protect their family from the cancerous and corrupting grasp of the religious trend?
And before anyone who doesn’t read this essay thoroughly asks me, no - I am not defending psychics or believers in paranormal phenomena. By saying that, you’d be missing the point. In my eyes, such people (psychics and ghost-chasers) are exactly the same as the faithful masses. Both parties believe in fantastical entities, both manipulate the complacent and gullible, both seek to substitute productive and meaningful activities with their meaningless and made-up bullshit, and both make an absolute shit-ton of money from their flocks of unquestioning sheep.
- 2 years ago