Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What the Hell's Up With Nisbet?

Well, you know this guy stirs up a lot of commentary when he's mentioned. I generally don't bother to follow his blog, so no recent complaints beyond that bit on "denialism." What annoys me about the guy is that for all his talk of framing, he's doing what looks like a damn poor job of it. One fundamental error I remember someone mentioning that summed it up well: Not everyone responds to the same frame well.

In Nisbet threads, I usually get a compulsion to mention that I was deconverted by the fire breathers. The inoffensive types didn't really do anything to shake me out of generic spirituality. It was harsh-worded skeptics who relentlessly and unapologetically pointed out fallacies, contradictions, and mundane explanations in the face of eternally evasive woos who got me on their side. In my eyes, they succeeded in claiming the moral high ground, and as defenders of spiritualism continued to fail at explaining and answering honest questions, I eventually figured they didn't have any.

Yeah, there's probably a fair number of people out there who need a more gentle approach, but that doesn't mean people who need a firm verbal slap once in a while don't exist. All too often, I find the real target of skeptical talk are not the thin-skinned woos, but the apathetic shruggies. They're people who need to be awoken out of complacency so that they can know woo really is harmful, or that big questions can be answered, not just contemplated in a shallow manner.

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