Monday, December 18, 2006
Doggerel #48: "Hateful"
Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
Attacks on skepticism are full of propagandistic stereotypes. Woos often claim, or at least imply that all skeptics are inherently miserable, bitter, rude, obsessive, arrogant, negative, closed-minded, oppressive, limited in their thinking, thin-skinned, and all sorts of nasty things. Some of the extra-nasty trolls will even use today's word: "Hateful"
First, as is common to the Doggerel entries, this one is a change of subject. If Hitler came in here and made a valid argument, his Hitlerness would have no impact on the validity of that argument. A valid argument is a valid argument, so even if we were hateful, that doesn't change anything.
Second, skeptics like me typically see ourselves as defenders. If a "psychic" is bilking people out of their hard-earned money with a few parlor tricks, are we just supposed to smile and nod? Of course not. We're supposed to criticize bad things. We're supposed to point out problems when they occur. Although I think the world is a nifty-keen place, I'm not going to pretend that it's perfect and let wishful thinking slip in for myself or others. We've got problems, so let's solve them. The first step in solving a problem is to recognize its existence.